Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

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Compensated Communities

Social Capital

During the Progressive Era, L. J. Hanifan, a practical reformer and visionary, defined a new conceptual invention, terming it “social capital,” writing:

. . . those tangible substances that count for most in the daily lives of people: namely good will, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse among the individuals and families who make up a social unit. . . . The individual is helpless socially, if left to himself. . . . If he comes into contact with his neighbor, and they with other neighbors, there will be an accumulation of social capital, which may immediately satisfy his social needs and which may bear a social potentiality sufficient to the substantial improvement of living conditions in the whole community. The community as a whole will benefit by the cooperation of all its parts, while the individual will find in his associations the advantages of the help, the sympathy, and the fellowship of his neighbors.

Tribes of Trust

Hanifan’s social capital, in networking, is built through “tribes of trust.” Leaders build trust within the tribe and trust builds a culture of reciprocity (the Golden Rule) within the community. Reciprocity creates speed within the tribe, because people learn that deposits made into the community will be reciprocated, even without a ledger account. The tribe, in other words, through building trust, creates a culture of reciprocity, which, like a tide raising all ships, lifts everyone within the tribe. Yogi Berra’s defined reciprocity by saying, “If you don’t go to his funeral, he won’t go to yours.” Perhaps a better definition is from Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, “A society characterized by generalized reciprocity is more efficient than a distrustful society, for the same reason that money is more efficient than barter. If we don’t have to balance every exchange instantly, we can get a lot more accomplished. Trustworthiness lubricates life. Frequent interaction among a diverse set of people tends to produce a norm of generalized reciprocity.”

The best compensated community builders, therefore, build “tribes of trust” where reciprocity flows throughout the organization. Trust produces reciprocity, which builds speed and growth. The fastest growing tribes have leaders who serve their communities, trusting that this service will be reciprocated. In fact, its the leaders who must initiate the service model to others. When the tribe sees the leaders example, it reciprocates service throughout the organization. Those who serve, in other words, deserve. Leaders without the tribe’s trust will not maintain their following. Abraham Lincoln aptly stated, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.” When the tribes discovers the leader isn’t authentic, the culture reverts to the all too familiar selfish motives.

Those Who Serve, Deserve

Unfortunately, networking is filled with examples of fast growing communities which eventually crash and burn. For when leaders forget that tribes are not sheep to be sheared, but rather people to be served, the crash is imminent. Great leaders are servants, period. Servant leaders achieve results when their groups reciprocate the love invested unconditionally into them. The tribe serves others, not by compulsion, but through compassion. Effectively, people respond in kind when they experience the time deposits from the leaders. Not surprisingly, the level of reciprocation is equivalent to the level of leadership currently inside of the person. For example, a true leader isn’t going to remain passive when multiple deposits are made into his life and business by up-line leaders.

Culture of Reciprocity

In essence, the best kept secret in community building is its culture of reciprocity. With the breakdown of family, friendship, and faith throughout Western Society, compensated community building tribes provide a sense of belonging and safety for thousands of previously isolated people. Compensated communities isn’t just a way to make money, its a force for good in a world declining from lack of community. Most people feel something is missing in their life, even though few understand the angst traces back to lack of community roots. Putnam, again, emphasizes this point, “Social capital turns out to have forceful, even quantifiable effects on many different aspects of our lives. What is at stake is not merely warm, cuddly feeling or frissons of community pride. We shall review hard evidence that our schools and neighborhoods don’t work so well when community bonds slacken, that our economy, our democracy, and even our health and happiness depend on adequate stocks of social capital.”

Compensated Communities: Have Fun, Make Money, and Make a Difference

A healthy compensated community tribe has three attributes:

1. Tribes have fun
2. Tribes makes money
3. Tribes makes a difference

Having fun and making money are different sides of the same coin. In truth, the tribes making the most money seem to have the most fun. Remember, people join the tribe for many reasons, with most members never intending to become wealthy. Instead, they join because of the the fun and fellowship offered within the community. Strikingly, more people quit communities due to hurt feelings than from lack of profit. Tribal leaders must never forget this point. Make joining the community fun and a person will never lack volunteers who desire association with the tribe. People aren’t looking for another job, but would love to find a fun-loving community who are accomplishing something with their lives.

Ultimately, the real goal of community building should be to make a difference. Having fun and making money are great, but unless people grow personally, the tribal experience will seem shallow. One of the greatest joys for leaders is when a teammate has a personal breakthrough. Perhaps he was struggling with his marriage, blaming his wife for the situation. However, through reading, listening and association, he realizes it wasn’t his wife, but his attitude that created the problem. Typically, truths are discovered in communities through comparing a person’s life to the examples around him, not being hit upside the head by his leader. Community building, done properly, provides a fun-loving tribe of purpose-driven encouragers for people to experience acceptance and belonging. Over time, the new community’s models of servant leadership give a person permission and the courage to confront and change himself. Essentially, compensated communities are a platform for people to have fun, make money, and make a difference. What a noble profession we belong to. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

24 Responses to “Compensated Communities”

  1. Orrin,

    The concept of producing a community of people that have fun, make money and make a difference in their lives and the lives of others will produce “Exponential” growth and have a powerful impact on our culture. I look forward to the journey.

  2. pappabiggs said

    Wow, what a great description of what we do. Thanks, Orrin! I had to email this to someone, immediately, after reading it.

  3. Chuck said

    I’ve been reading Orrin’s blog for a few months now, and have met twice recently with a Life rep (not sure what to call him – group leader? team leader?). I’ve listened to several CD’s and am excited/intrigued because everything strikes at the core of what I consider important. This post about growing personally and as a community as primary was a home run for me. As I read these blog posts I keep thinking “Is he [Orin] for real?” I sure hope so…

    • Chuck, I appreciate the comment. I am a normal human being who wakes up everyday determined to be better than I was the day before. When I make mistakes, I attempt to own them and get better. The goal is to create a million people with the same personal responsibility mindset. God Bless, Orrin

      • Sherrie Clark said

        You have the most amazing and humble attitude…and we will develop a million with the same outlook! God Bless, Sherrie

  4. Richard Kroll Jr. said

    Orrin, I think the concept of “compensated communities” is sheer GENIUS! Thank you for providing us the environment to learn and grow… and to have fun, make money, and make a DIFFERENCE all at the same time!!!

  5. John Hatchell said

    Thank you for this post. It is very encouraging on my path to excellence. I am currently surrounded by the Industrial age thinking and it weighs heavily. I am excited when me and my business partner show plans,build the business and our like minded communities. Keep us Fired up with knowledge that changes our thought process and allows us to reframe to WHAT IS REAL !! Luv ya Bro

  6. Peggi Kern said


    I really appreciate all the thought, time, heart and passion you put into this amazing “compensated community”. It has made a huge difference in my life and my family. We have so much fun as a community, while making money and sharing the difference with others! Perfect trio!


  7. Ken said

    We can only make a difference by sincerely putting others long term interest and well being first. Their success is our success.

  8. Robert Torres said

    Orrin, What a GREAT post. I can say that since we have been involved with the TEAM/LIFE compensated community we have not had fun, we have had a blast. We have made some of our best friends we have ever had in the short time being involved. We have made money and the best part we have made a difference in our own lives and also our friends lives. I have seen marriages repaired and on the right track just from the information provided and to my wife and I, that alone is worth it.

  9. bishop james miller said

    Orrin, This is the one of the greatest communities I have ever been a part of. The best part is not just monetary compensation, but the other rewards received are immeasurable when helping change lives.

  10. wildtarg said

    “…models of servant leadership give a person permission and … courage to confront and change himself.”

    Once again, you have hit the nail squarely on the head, Orrin. I am convinced that the most important function of community in human civilization is not to help people become comfortable and ‘happy’, but to empower the individual, by investing courage, faith, love, and trust, to become a better human being.

    Keep going, we’re with you…

  11. Pam Eppinette said


    Being part of this compensated community is not only fun, but we get to rub shoulders with top leaders in the world and hang out with great people like you and Laurie and experience your lifestyle for a short time to feed our elephants. We get paid to attend seminars we are going to attend anyway and we get to bring our friends with us everywhere we go.

    We have been under your leadership since 2007 and it has made such a difference in our lives. The most valuable part of being in this community is having leaders that never give up on you and knowing when we are willing to change enough we will be on the LIFE stage with you and the LIFE leadership.

    Thanks to the LIFE business we are building relationships across the U.S. that will last a lifetime!

    Keep charging… we are with TEAM Rhino!

  12. Dave Nelson said

    Hi Orrin,
    You have caused me to examine all the other tribes I am in with respect to the Gary Collins Hedgehog of Passion, progress, and profit. Did you ever get into a tribe that had progress and passion but not much profit? And you didn’t want to leave because you liked the people. So many tribes have 2 out of three. Compensated community has all 3 and it can be so good as you and the leaders are proving every day.
    I drool when you talk about shark fishing.
    I knew I was different and then Chris Brady wrote his Rascal book and it was an “ahh-ha” moment.
    It’s GOD thing…TEAM Rascal.

    Dave Nelson

  13. Lindsey said

    I have just signed on with this LIFE program, I certainly hope its going to bring in a great profit for us as we are struggling with loads of medical bills from a history of issues with myself and my son. Still learning and trying to figure out what this is all about, and trying to stay positive for the journey.

    • Cindie Zietlow said

      Hi Lindsay,

      I am just learning about this Tribes opportunity. Did you have a good experience? With medical bills and the stress of physical illness, the group needs to be for real to really help you.

      Hope to hear from you soon.

      In faith,

      Cindie Zietlow

      • Orrin Woodward said

        Cindie, I don’t post people’s phone numbers for safety reason’s online as anyone can read a post from anywhere in the world. thanks, Orrin

  14. Jerry Thomas said

    Orin, I attended my first major in Milwaukee and left fired up! The idea of a compensated community of like minded people dedicated to helping others become the best they can be really appealed to me. Having been involved with other MLM companies in the past it was refreshing to finally be introduced to one that money wasn’t the all consuming drive of the company. The system you developed is pure genius and yet you humbly give credit where credit is due, to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God bless you and all of the founding members for what you have done and continue to do. I look forward to meeting you one day and shaking your hand.

  15. Thank you for helping me gain knowledge and finding TRUTH,with the tools i have lernd from you i no nothing can stop me.JESUS is my friend and LORD,and i am thankfull for HIM sending me to you for help.Its sure not like it yous to bee but its not about the past,I have been going strong and i have met some grate people,i am going to do what ever it takes to build a grate comunity to reach my dreams and help my brothers and sisters to reach thares,if you ever need someone to help you with anything,i will bee out giveing back LIFE to so many that has lost hope,thanks to you Sir. I am abel to do that,and i will be full throtle untell the day i die.My wife Tracy and children Molly & Cody thank you as well,i no you have a grate comunity of large numbers,but if you for some reason need help and no ones around i will bee thare,thank you for saveing my life.GOD BLESS YOU,SO MOTE IT BEE. ALAN GOLDEN

  16. Steve Kendrick said

    As I read Orrin’s words in the early hours of the morning (quiet time reading), I find myself deciding to dig in deeper and commit all the more to a life pursuing excellence. There’s so much to unpack and put into practice! That’s the direction I want to go… following these leaders – thanks Orrin! PS Orrin’s speaking in St. Louis Jan 28 @ the Tuesday Open meeting – how awesome is that?

  17. Hello, my name is Sanja Thomas owner of I.Q. Business Academy, Inc… I am interested in working with your company and marketing, teaching your products to the communities, collaborations and students I serve. Thank You

  18. Bob Bare said

    I had an epiphany on compensated communities triggered by listening to Venkat Varada speaking in Waxahatchie, Texas on November 8th. In the context of prospecting and contacting, Venkat talked about “there are people that God is preparing to be a part of your business. That is why you should constantly be meeting people and building relationships, to find those people who are being trained and prepared in order to receive what you will offer them”. (This is a paraphrase, based on my memory 🙂

    The point is, it removes some of the hesitancy and adds joy and expectation to meeting new people and building relationships. I now feel like I am on a treasure hunt, looking for the perfect people you I am meant to meet and connect with. This is how building a business should be, a venture of positive forward growth. Thank you Venkat, and thank you Orrin Woodward!

  19. Melinda Shaum said

    Every time I read your blog, attend a seminar with amazing speakers (like this past Saturday evening in Ashland, Ohio), attend a Tuesday Open, listen to a CD or read one of the Life Leadership books, I get more energized to show and share the plan and build relationships. My husband and I are committed to our dream and before LIFE we didn’t have a dream. We are moving toward debit free and financial freedom and we didn’t know how to move forward before LIFE. We are now Club 180 Go Getter every month and know if we follow the system it will happen. Thank you for providing quality merchandise that has changed how we look at debt (how I look at debt because my husband already understood). Thank you for the opportunity to have dreams that we believe will happen.

  20. Marko Pejcov said

    Compensated Community is One Of A Kind. The Heart touched Soul Felt Community where all people become one in Unity. Its experience you have to live in order to fully understand. The innovation and the growth of one individual one family is unexplainable. It’s a rollercoaster ride you never know what your going to get unless you get on the ride and try it out.

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