Tag Archives: Orrin Woodward

Embrace the Struggle

“When I look back over my life, the times I’ve struggled have not been fun. But they appear in broad relief, now, as the greatest moments of change and personal growth. I would not be who I am today without those trials and struggles that made me stronger and better. ” – Chris Brady

Most everyone has heard the phrase, “Dream, Struggle, Victory.” And it seems that there is a lot of literature out there addressing the first and the last of those three terms. But is it not interesting how little coverage is given to the struggle part?

Obviously, if we undertake some great endeavor we are going to struggle to accomplish it. What most people might not realize, however, is that the struggle is probably the most important part. It is the struggle that makes us grow. It is the struggle that reveals the character we have deep inside for continuing onward in the face of adversity. And it is the struggle that makes for any good movie or story of achievement.

One author I have read actually referred to it as the “gift of struggle.” Perhaps some would think it was going too far to call struggle a gift, but I believe it to be one. If you stop and think about it, the struggle is the only place in which we grow. It is the struggle that makes us stronger. No bodybuilder would be able to build muscle mass without weight or resistance. The pushing against or raising of the weight strains and pulls at the muscle fibers, which then need to repair themselves. Only in this repair process are the muscles made a little stronger than they were before. More lifting causes the cycle to start over again, until the muscles are bigger and stronger than ever before – all because of the “damage” of the struggle and the repair that was necessary afterward. Struggles in our lives works the same way. Just like lifting weights, they do not necessarily feel good. And they can and often do cause pain. But how we handle those struggles, and what we do to overcome them and “repair” our commitment to the dream, will build us stronger than we were before the struggle occurred.

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In Launching a Leadership Revolution, co-author Orrin Woodward and I even give special consideration to the topic of struggle in the section on mentorship. A good mentor knows that his protégé must struggle to become great, to grow, and to maximize, so he allows the struggles while teaching the protégé how to handle them, overcome them, and learn from them. Some might call this callous or cold; some might call it lack of caring on the part of the mentor. After all, who would let someone struggle? Why would one not want to swoop in and eliminate the struggle for the protégé and make his or her way easier? It is the same as teaching our child to walk. If every time she started to bobble we grabbed her and kept her from falling, we would appear to be helping her. We would appear to be caring. But actually, we would be hurting our child by trying to help her too much. One of the greatest things my parents and mentors have done for me is to give me the encouragement to try, and then allowed me to make my own mistakes and learn from them. By creating my own messes, and knowing full well that I had the responsibility alone for my actions and cleaning them up, so to speak, I was allowed to struggle and grow through those adversities. When I look back over my life, the times I’ve struggled have not been fun. But they appear in broad relief, now, as the greatest moments of change and personal growth. I would not be who I am today without those trials and struggles that made me stronger and better.

So embrace the struggle. It is not a bad word. Is is not to be avoided. And when you see it in the life of those you love and mentor, of course, do what you can to keep them from actual harm. But in the course of events, allow them to take responsibility for their own lives, allow them to struggle against the resistance, and therefore build their mental muscles stronger. For out of the greatest adversity comes the greatest opportunity, and in those moments the greatest leaders are made.

Ships may be safe at harbor, but they were not made for the harbor, they were made for the dangerous high seas. And leaders may be safe on the couch, but they were not born for the couch, they were born for the tumultuous waters of engagement.

Have a dream. Embrace the struggle. Capture the victory!

For more “tidbits” of wisdom like this, pick up a copy of Leadership: Tidbits and Treasures, written by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, article written by Chris Brady)

 

What is Leadership?

The following excerpt was taking from Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady’s New York Times best-selling book, Launching a Leadership Revolution

What is Leadership?

The concept of “leadership” is a complex one. Most everybody has a feel for what the term means, at least in a general sense, but generalizations about leadership don’t help us very much. In order to understand how to lead and why to lead and what it even means to lead, we’d better get clear on what comprises this complex idea embodied in this simple little English word.

Brady and WoodwardWe’ve tried this exercise of defining leadership with audiences large and small, and invariably the same thing happens. We begin getting word phrases that all sound pretty good, phrases like “taking responsibility” and “getting results,” or one-word descriptors such as “commitment,” “perseverance,” “charisma,” and “integrity.” These are all true in a sense, but somehow they don’t go far enough. So then we switch to attempting definitions by combining all these phrases, but it creates so much mumbo jumbo, like one big buzzword soup from a corporate boardroom. Somehow the words meant something to us individually when thinking about leadership, but when fused together, the life went right out of them.

At this point, it may be helpful to turn to some experts on the subject. Surely they can bring some congruity. The list that follows is just a short offering:

  1. James C. Hunter: “We define leadership . . . as a skill of influencing people to work enthusiastically toward goals identified as being for the common good.”
  2. Al Kaltman: “The successful leader gets superior performance from ordinary people.”
  3. Bill George: “The leader’s job is to provide an empowering environment that enables employees to serve their customers and provides them the training, education, and support they need.”
  4. Andy Stanley: “Leaders provide a mental picture of a preferred future and then ask people to follow them there.”
  5. Vance Packard: “Leadership is getting others to want to do something that you are convinced should be done.”
  6. Garry Wills: “Leadership is mobilizing others toward a goal shared by the leader and followers.”
  7. Alan Keith: “Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.”
  8. George Barna: “A leader is one who mobilizes; one whose focus is influencing people; a person who is goal driven; someone who has an orientation in common with those who rely upon him for leadership; and someone who has people willing to follow them,” and “Leadership is the process of motivating, mobilizing, resourcing, and directing people to passionately and strategically pursue a vision from God that a group jointly embraces.”
  9. Kenneth O. Gangel: “I consider leadership to be the exercise of one’s special gifts under the call of God to serve a certain group of people in achieving the goals God has given them toward the end of glorifying Christ.”
  10. Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

These insights and definitions are good and helpful, and some we like particularly, but John Maxwell gives an exemplary definition, quoted here at length from his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership:

Leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less. People have so many misconceptions about leadership. When they hear that someone has an impressive title or an assigned leadership position, they assume that he is a leader. Sometimes that’s true. But titles don’t have much value when it comes to leading. True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that can’t be mandated. It must be earned.

What, then, is influence? Our favorite explanation of influence comes to us from nineteenth-century preacher and author Albert Barnes: “Influence is that in a man’s known talents, learning, character, experience, and position, on which a presumption is based that what he holds is true; that what he proposes is wise.”

George Barna tells us, “To be effective, a leader must have influence. But influence is a product of great leadership; it is not synonymous with it. You can have influence in a person’s life without leading him anywhere.”

Perhaps there will never be a short, cute definition for leadership. We are certain there will never be one upon which all “experts” agree. This very difficulty in arriving at a concise explanation for the concept illustrates the enormity of the subject at hand. But all of the above definitions hit near the same mark. Any attempts to be more concise or specific are like trying to grab smoke. For the purpose of this study, then, we will fuse the above commentary into the following:

Leadership is the influence of others in a productive, vision-driven direction
and is done through the example, conviction, and character of the leader.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

Hunger as a Discipline

The following excerpt was taking from Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward’s New York Times Best-seller, Launching a Leadership Revolution

Those who take active responsibility to foster their motivation on a regular basis will outperform those who do not. It is the responsibility of the leader to keep him or herself hungry on a regular basis. Napoleon Hill, author of the world-famous book Think and Grow Rich, said, “One must realize that all who have accumulated great fortunes first did a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, desiring, and planning before they acquired money.”

All of leadership starts with hunger. At any point in time when the leader is not hungry, the leader is not functioning as a leader. This may sound radical, but it is true. Remember, a leader takes people somewhere. The moment the leader is not moving, the leader is not leading. And it takes ambition to keep the leader moving.

Picture success as a road that leads to your dreams:

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Along each side of the road are shoulders. Often the shoulders of roads are comprised of gravel. If a driver inadvertently runs onto the gravel, the sound serves as a warning that a course correction is required to resume traveling safely on the road. Conversely, sometimes that same gravel can grip the wheels of the vehicle and pull it from the road into the ditch.

On the left shoulder is comfort. Comfort is fine in small doses and in certain areas of life, but, like gravel, it can also serve as a warning. Remember, ambition flourishes in discontent with the status quo. Discontent and comfort cannot coexist. If a leader becomes too comfortable, ambition will die, and the soft gravel of comfort can pull him or her down into the Ditch of Complacency. Complacency is defined by Webster as “self satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” Complacency pulls a leader from the road of success and halts all travel toward his or her dreams, as when a car is stuck in a ditch.

There is another danger in traveling too close to the Shoulder of Comfort: opposing traffic. Most people in life are looking for the easy road. They want comfort and will pay the price of mediocrity to get it, so they rush toward it like cows to the barn at feeding time. If a leader attempts to lead from a position of comfort, he or she will run smack into that mass of traffic heading in the other direction away from dreams and toward mediocrity.

Leaders, however, shun comfort and seek excellence instead. They subscribe to the theory held by author Al Kaltman: “Without meaningful work, life stinks.” They travel down the right lane in the diagram and away from oncoming traffic. The right lane is never crowded. There always seems to be a shortage of leaders but a plethora of people heading the other way. This is one thing that makes a leader so special. Also notice that being a leader means traveling close to the Shoulder of Frustration. In fact, this is the mark of any true leader. Being a leader is a study in managed frustration. How can one have ambition for a brighter tomorrow without being frustrated at the current set of realities? How can a leader be at war with the status quo and not be frustrated at the same time? The answer, of course, is that no leader can. Any real leader traveling the Road of Success toward his or her dreams will encounter frustration along the journey. Frustration can be healthy, but just like the shoulder on the other side of the road, this gravel of frustration presents a trap. Too much frustration can be a warning to the leader that his or her attitude is dipping and could pull the leader down into the Ditch of Discouragement. Discouragement is a showstopper because it robs the leader of hope. Without hope, the leader is trapped in the Ditch of Discouragement and makes no further progress toward his or her dreams.

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The only way to stay away from oncoming traffic, the Shoulder of Comfort, and the Ditch of Complacency—and the only way to travel near the Shoulder of Frustration but clear of the Ditch of Discouragement—is to focus straight ahead on the dreams in front of you. Having a dream focus keeps a leader safely on the Road to Success. The best way to stay focused is to manage that hunger.

So staying hungry is actually a discipline. Webster defines discipline as “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties.” Hunger is certainly a mental faculty; notice that it needs training, molding, and perfecting. True leaders understand this and take the necessary steps on a regular basis to provide their hunger with the proper care and feeding. Many times, leaders don’t need to know more about what is to be done; they just need to find more leverage for themselves to do what they already know how to do.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

How to Become a Mentor of Mentors

In their book Launching a Leadership Revolution, authors Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward wrote about the five levels of influence, teaching that understanding each is an important skill for great leaders. These levels include:

1. Learning
2. Performing
3. Leading
4. Developing leaders
5. Developing leaders who develop leaders

Great mentoring is all about levels four and five. Brady and Woodward said, “When we wrote the book, we didn’t know it would become a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller. We didn’t know that many thousands of people would embrace it and use it to build companies that build leaders. But we did know that leadership is only level 3, and that even more important than leadership is developing leaders.”

CB and OW quoteIn short, the greatest mentors don’t mentor only those they work with directly. Rather, they think of the people their mentees will mentor and even those who will be mentored
four or five generations ahead, and they help their mentees become the type of mentors who can become great mentors of mentors.

For example, consider how this works in a family setting. Some people focus on their career as the center point of life. Ask most people what they do in life, and they’ll say they’re a doctor, attorney, accountant, businessperson, engineer, or some other profession.

Sometimes, in contrast, we meet people who answer the same question by saying, “I’m a dad,” “I’m a father to three great children,” or “I’m a wife and mother.” While this cheeky answer frequently indicates that the person has given a lot of thought to his or her life purpose and priorities, the truth is that there is an even better way.

On one level, we can focus on our work life as the center of our purpose.

At a higher level, we can make our marriage and parental relationships the top priority.

At an even better level, we can be the kind of parents who wisely and consciously raise our grandkids—even when our own kids are just little. This means thinking through what we’re really doing as parents. Are we just career people who happen to have kids? Hopefully not.

Likewise, are we spouses and parents raising kids to be confident, contributing adults? This is a good step.

Or are we, above all, future grandparents who are raising our kids to be fantastic parents who themselves will raise their children in a way that positively influences several generations to come? Those who see their role in such far-reaching generational terms will approach their marriage and parenting in a purposeful way.

The same applies to business mentoring. If we mentor only the people with whom we work directly, we won’t be as helpful to them as if we see our role as one of mentoring them to be great mentors of mentors.

(This excerpt was taken from the Life Essentials Series book, Mentoring Matters. Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

What Greatness Requires

“Everyone wants to be great, until it’s time to do what greatness requires.” – Joshua Metcalf

According to Chris Brady, there is a process and a path to greatness. In this article, Brady uncovers the secrets to skillful living and how to achieve a great life.

What Greatness Requires – by Chris Brady

If you’re going to do what greatness requires, you’re going to have to become great in order to EARN what greatness delivers. For example: if you are going to do great financially, you probably have to be great as a man first. True greatness requires greatness.

The problem is that most people’s lives are a mess. There is something called skillful living and in Life, we teach about skillful living through our products. Think about it, how many people do you see that you can honestly say are living skillfully?

Skillful living requires consistent, productive, daily habits, and greatness requires skillful living. To break it down even further, daily habits require two components:

  1. The right inputs
  2. Time

By applying the right inputs over time, you will be able to manufacture an awesome life!

It all seems so obvious, yet so few people actually do it. Why? Because most people underestimate the power of positive habits multiplied by time, and conversely, most people also underestimate the destructive power of negative habits over time. 

The inputs:

  1. Read– What do you read on a daily basis that’s designed to make you better?
    • There’s positive stuff that you should be reading on a consistent daily basis to the point where you have to fall in love with it. Then there’s stuff you should stop reading that doesn’t help you at all.
    • Tune down the negative and tone up the positive.
  2. Listen – What do you listen to on a daily basis?
  3. Associate – Who do you hang around with?
    • It may take you hanging out with better crowds in order to put you in a better position in your life.
  4. Self-talk – what do you tell yourself?
    • You should have an affirmation statement that you can run through your mind all the time.
  5. What do you watch?
    • On TV, social media, or You Tube- It may not be negative, but it may not be positive either.
    • Just because technology can make something easy to watch, doesn’t mean you should watch it.
    • Do you actively block stuff out and refuse to let it come through your eyes?
  6. What do you visualize?
    • What kind of future do you run in front of your mind?
    • What is the vision that you see- the picture in your mind’s eye of what your life will be like one day?
    • What kind of person do you want to become?

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Once you’ve changed and identified your inputs, multiply them by time and you will achieve a great life. Remember, time is a currency. You should spend it carefully and intentionally.

“When you begin to take your life seriously, you will also start taking time seriously. Those who don’t take time seriously aren’t very serious about their lives.”

Skillful living depends on the wise deployment of time, and time can also be helpful in choosing the right inputs. Stop reading for a moment and grab a piece of paper and a pen and answer this question in 7 categories of your life:

20 years from now, what will you wish you had done today?

In your health…

In your family…

In your soul/spirit…

In your finances…

Personally…

Professionally…

For others…

Create a picture of the best you. The things 20 years from now you will wish you had done today will represent the best you. You can’t stop bad choices and habits; you can only replace them with productive choices and habits. So, replace destructive stuff with productive stuff.

“You will always be thankful for the gifts your present self sends forward through time to your future self. And you will always be sick with regret when you don’t.”

If you want the life that greatness brings, you have to be willing to do the things that greatness requires. Greatness requires skillful living; skillful living requires consistently, productive, daily habits; and consistently, productive, daily habits require the right inputs, consistently applied over time.

The way to do that is to have a longer view: Look backwards from 20 years at you today and picture that 20 year (plus) you cheering you on. What would that guy say if he could come back right now? Would he come back and smack you? Or come back and thank you?

Lastly, it ultimately comes down to hunger. Most of the habits are not hard to do; they’re just easier not to do. Greatness requires hunger; and if you’ve got hunger, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

How to Master the Skill of Not Quitting

chris-brady-quoteChris Brady gave a talk recently that laid the foundation for a basic skill that all leaders must learn if they wish to succeed at anything; it’s the skill of Not Quitting.

Brady states, “If a person can master the skill of not quitting, they will ‘make it’ in any endeavor they pursue in life.”

Orrin Woodward has a similar mantra to define this concept: Start Starting and Quit Quitting! Woodward states: “The biggest breakthroughs occur when a person refuses to quit notwithstanding the present dismal results. Persistence in a just cause through numerous failures builds character and determines whether a person joins the ranks of perpetual winners or perpetual quitters in life.”

To further this discussion, I am going to borrow a parable taken directly from Chris Brady’s leadership blog, which is a perfect parallel to introduce the subject: How to Master the Skill of Not Quitting.

There is an old story about a fisherman who believes he has died and gone to Heaven as he catches one perfect 2 lb trout after another.  As he sets his fly and hooks into yet one more, he can’t fathom his good fortune.  The sky is blue, the weather ideal, the fish biting like he’s never before experienced, and everything is absolutely perfect.  It is not long, however, before the realization dawns on him that he is not in Heaven at all.  Instead, as the boredom and the pointlessness settle in on him, he realizes he’s actually in Hell.

It’s hard to describe just how hard this little parable hit me the first time I heard it.  In one moment it erased all my whiny complaints about how difficult and elusive success seems to be.  The trout fisherman in Hell story is so extreme, so seemingly ridiculous, that we are confronted with a strange and brutal fact: we may hate opposition and struggle, but it is critical for our mental health.  Without the struggle, we would feel no joy in victory.

To transcribe and somewhat summarize Brady’s words, here is the basic premise, taken directly from his talk:

The truth is, we think we want everything to be roses and sunshine all of the time; we think that we want to cast our line and catch a trophy trout every single time; we think we want our life to be smooth and easy. And we try to do all of these things to eliminate obstacles and pain from our lives. We recoil from stress and calamity, thinking that somehow we should avoid it. However, what we think we want and what we actually need are two very different things. What we actually need is resistance, obstacles, and challenges, in order to appreciate the triumph.

“Adversity is the canvas upon which you paint your greatness.” – Chris Brady

Not quitting in the face of adversity is actually a skill; the ability to persevere against all odds is a skill; and quitting is a natural temptation for any worthwhile endeavor you’ll ever pursue. You’ll be tempted to quit any business you ever start and any relationship you ever find yourself in. So how do we protect ourselves from the temptation to quit? First, it’s important to define the different types of quits in order to develop awareness for ourselves.

Here are the 3 different types of quits to be mindful of:i-quit

  • The temper tantrum quit
    • The dramatic: “That’s it; I’ve had it; I’m done!!”
  • The slow fade quit
    • You slowly let your light go down to a dim and you just back off slowly.
    • You don’t admit to yourself that you’re quitting, but you’re backing off.
    • You start to make little compromises that start to stack up.
  • The just for now quit
    • Just until the kids get done with hockey season…
    • Just until after the holidays…

So now that we’ve identified the different types of quits, on a deeper level it’s even more important to be cognizant of the reasons that make you feel like quitting. Here are just a few:

  • You get to a point where you feel like you can’t do it anymore.
  • Someone else quit and it influences your decision.
    • Don’t let their decision undo your decision when your decision to start didn’t even involve them.
  • Justification (I gave it my best shot)
  • I’m not as successful as I thought I’d be by now.
    • You may have started with an unrealistic expectation of what you could do and/or an over-confident expectation of what you were capable of in the beginning.
  • I’ve invested so much already.
  • It’s harder than I thought.
    • It may be because you don’t come from a language of excellence. Excellence is always harder than you thought!
  • Criticism (Someone made fun of me)
  • Someone hurt my feelings OR I’ve been wronged.
    • These are usually little tiny rubs that start to stack up in your head about people. Somehow your rights are being violated and you get offended and your feelings get hurt (different than criticism).
  • I came across some negative and now I have doubts.

Have you ever succumbed to one of these reasons for quitting? I know I have. So we dig deeper…

Brady identifies three phases of mastery: ignorance, immersion, and intelligence. To paraphrase, he says that in order to protect yourself from the temptation to quit in the face of adversity, you have to learn how to personally manage yourself in the immersion phase.

Think about it, once you get immersed in something, that’s when you start to get hit with reality. He shares the example of marriage; in the ignorance phase you are excited and everything is bliss. You don’t see all of the potential calamities that are about to arise. But, immersion is different. It can be overwhelming; it can become unsettling and complex. And it’s how you manage yourself in the complexity and pressure that will determine how far you make it. Further, he says that the secret to maximizing your success in the immersion stage is to stay in touch with the wonder of your discovery.

Unfortunately, the direct result of what happens when you don’t have proper personal management is……….quitting. And it’s a travesty.

The travesty of quitting:

  • You pull yourself out of the immersion stage and you put yourself back into some new ignorant stage, thereby surrendering any of the value, progress, and distance you made through the previous immersion stage. Essentially, you have to start over new somewhere else.
  • Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
  • Quitting starts a pattern in your life that gets hard to stop. Naturally, people follow down the same path with the same patterns in everything they start to do. The loss of time after quitting in the immersion step is never redeemable. You can’t get that time back. When you quit something, you’ve lost your investment.

“The key to long term success is to cultivate and keep alive that sense of wonder at the immersion step. If you can master that, you can master your craft.” – Chris Brady

Here are 9 practical steps Brady gives that you can do to prevent yourself from quitting (or to quit quitting, as Orrin Woodward describes):

  1. When you’re feeling down, when your tank is low, take positive action immediately!
  2. Listen to informational reinforcements (audios)
  3. Refresh the “deep” dreams (cause, purpose, and legacy)
  4. Envision your future – you only get what you picture.
  5. Don’t fall for the false illusion of unknown alternatives.
  6. Get around other leaders.
    • You don’t just need informational reinforcements, you need relational reinforcements!
  7. Focus only upon what you can control and disregard all the rest.
  8. Know how to repair yourself.
    • In times of being down, sometimes you need to get around people because people charge you up, others of you may need to get away from people because people drain you. You need to know which one you are.
  9. When you need to repair yourself, postpone all decisions. Allow yourself to not make decisions when you’re tired, sick, hungry, or frustrated, no matter how impending the decision is or what the deadline is. Don’t make any decisions until you’ve resurfaced as yourself once again.

There you have it. Learn to develop the skill of Not Quitting by applying some of Brady’s advice and you will be on your way to achieving success in every venture that you ever pursue.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

Life Leadership Reviews

The Top 10 Reasons Not to Join Life Leadership

One thing I learned a long time ago was that we should never take ourselves too seriously.  I love the Life Leadership business, and I love building it.  I also enjoy working with the many fine people who make up Life Leadership around the world.  In a busy season, with lots going on, it’s good to remember to enjoy the journey, too.

As usual, when Orrin Woodward and I get together, no matter how busy we are or how many issues are pressing, we always seem to have some good old fashioned fun.  At a recent Policy Council meeting in Florida, we took a little time to shoot a fairly spontaneous video.  This was (obviously) a one take wonder.  It was inspired by some research I had read in a book by Adam Grant discussing the idea of “front running one’s weaknesses.”  I won’t play spoiler here, and will instead let the video speak for itself, but these really are legitimate reasons someone should consider before getting involved selling our products.  We think what we do is great, but of course, it’s not for everyone!

I hope you enjoy it.  I think it embodies our slogan of Have Fun, Make Money, and Make a Difference!  Thanks for watching.

Sincerely,

Chris Brady