Priorities or Obligations?

I became excited about 10 years ago when I was first introduced to a principle that others had adapted of living a life where my priorities would come first and obligations would be handled after the priorities were satisfied. This seemed like a wonderful way to live and at the same time a very daunting principle to establish and live by. Yet successful people I was studying and associating with were doing just that and wanted to teach me and my family how to do just that!!

The first step to implementing this lifestyle is to clearly define what my priorities are and ask the hard questions of what obligations stood in the way. The tools we used to start came from our LIFE business education system. A key component to begin is to create a mission statement for you and your family and clearly define what is important to you. I found the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey, instrumental for us to begin to clearly define our priorities. Covey walks through a life changing process that will help change your thinking. One thing I have learned beyond a reasonable doubt is that all change and true success begins with a change in our thinking. You see my wife and I had been raised or programmed to believe that to chase the “American Dream” of material wealth and power was where true happiness or joy would be for us. That could not have been further from the truth!! It seemed every time we got that next thing or the next income increase we became further indebted to others and the short term excitement wore off quickly and created a void which we then wanted to fill with the next material upgrade. Basically, I felt as though I had “sold my soul to the company store” and created a bondage to the bank which forced me to spend my time doing work more than any other activity. It is interesting that as we sat down to clearly define our priorities in life, that work ended up on the bottom of the list. We found that what we truly valued the most were centered around God and family, not work and wealth.

The real eye-opener for us was when we said okay these are our real priorities, how much time do we spend doing and/or living them on a daily basis? What I found for me was that my life was consumed in chasing the dollar to the point where somewhere between 70-90 physical hrs per week were spent on the job and another 10-20 mental hrs were consumed in running my construction business. Well assuming a 16 hr day, when not sleeping, I was spending about 100 of 112 available hours to the job and only 12 to my God and family! The LIFE business and TEAM leadership has taught me how to reverse those numbers and we feel so blessed to have experienced this change in our lifestyle.

The bottom line on learning new habits and changing our lifestyle to live out priorities instead of our obligations is learning to take a stand and lead. My mentor George Guzzardo, posted on 4/12/2013, in his blog article, “A call to stand up and Lead” , We see the philosophy of relativism becoming prevalent in our world. Cinematic, political, and journalistic influences distract us by redefining traditional values.  The classical theory of truth was held by virtually everyone until the nineteenth century. Today, post modernism and relativism rejects the theory of truth.

These influences have over time harnessed us and confused us and have tore away at the true core values that I believe most people have yet feel unable to really live. Today, I say to you take the time to evaluate the truth in your  life and stand up and lead your family to what you value as a priority for your future! Come join us in Madison WI, on April 16th, from 8-10pm, at the Alliant Energy Center to hear ORRIN WOODWARD teach us how to do just that! God Bless, Bob

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Get Your Shine On

As I was visiting my daughter this last week, we were listening to a popular country song together entitiled, Get Your Shine On.  As we were listening,  it occurred to me, that becoming your best is going through three basic components of personal growth.  In the song, they speak of putting your best foot forward if you will, and we have discovered that through the life business, that there are basically three components to personal growth that are non-negotiable.  Every successful person we have ever studied, through their books and training, we have found three areas that all, without exception, have done.  The areas are:  reading, listening to audios, and associating.

When I look at the value of reading, in our personal growth and that of successful people, I believe it is a priceless activity.  Reading is a catalyst to knowledge or life experiences that would be impossible on a timeline of normal existence to experience.  My good friend, George Guzzardo, states in his latest blog article, A Literary Culture,  that  “Throughout all of history we can find a literary culture behind most great developments in a civilization“.   So, history has also stated that reading is a most valuable resource for change, and has been proven over and over again.  I often chuckle at my own closed mindedness when I was first exposed to the value of reading. I felt it had no value.  Even though I was a college graduate, I had never been exposed to the concept of standing on the shoulders of giants.  What that means to me is that in a few hours, I can read a book from one of the most successful individuals on the planet, and capture, own, and/or implement their proven success in to my own life, from learning their experiences in a four to five hour read.  It’s literally possible to capture the whole of their life experiences by studying what they are teaching in their books.   We noticed huge changes in our family as we began to read and learn, and I have found that reading has made it possible for me to confidently “put my shine on” in social and/or business interactions that I never thought possible before reading and gathering information.  Reading gives you a broad spectrum to drawn on if you read in all areas and it enables you to relate to people in many, many areas.  I don’t think I could put a value on the learning that takes place from reading great books.  I implore you to read at every opportunity, if you are on a quest for personal growth.

The second area for personal growth is listening to audios.  This is also a common theme to all those we have studied.  One of the biggest assets we have discovered from listening to great personal growth audios has been the ability to feed the correct information into our thinking, while blocking out the negative programming that is so prevalent in our society today.  What a huge difference in our positive world view, attitude, and belief, listening to audios has provided.  I recall that on a daily basis, as a contractor years ago, I was exposed to continual problems and negative input on an hourly, if not minute by minute, basis.  This created massive amounts of stress, self doubt, negative thinking, and made it very difficult to function on a day to day basis.  One of my favorite authors, Chuck Swindoll, (paraphrasing) states that “the quality of your life is determined by only 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you handle it”.  I believe one of the most important lessons I have learned from listening to the LIFE education materials on a daily basis, is basically, positive in – positive out.  The changes that have occurred in the quality of our life by listening to audios and have a positive world view, have been simply profound.  I personally don’t believe you can listen to enough of the LIFE material on a daily basis no matter where you are in your journey through life.  I am completely and profoundly impressed with the dramatic effects I see not only in myself, but thousands of people as they begin to adapt this personal growth habit.

The last required piece of “getting your shine on” aka personal growth, is associating with like minded people, successful people, motivated people, positive people, basically people who have the fruit on the tree that you would like to have in your life.  This piece is absolutely critical for continued progress on your personal growth journey.  Again, this was something that I resisted when I first began because I thought that I did not need advice, motivation, training, or socialization from other people.  My old thought process was “my way or the highway”, and “I can do this on my own”.  All that I can say is that it dramatically slowed my growth process because I was limiting this critical piece.  All I can recommend is, that anytime you get a chance to get around people who have what you would like in life, jump on it.  The other component of associating is getting belief in yourself as you watch and learn from others who are succeeding or have succeeded.  We have seen over and over, in our journey, people succeed and create a pathway for many others to follow, by riding on the belief that if one man can, any man can.  Associating is very visual and very stimulating to all of the senses, and of course, negative association can be more powerful than positive association.  So, we have chosen to work very hard at protecting our association and controlling the environment to a positive experience.  Again, the changes have been dramatic and something that we will do for the rest of our days.  I can’t think of a better association than the upcoming book signing/speaking engagement at the Alliant Energy Center on April 16th in Madison, Wisconsin, with our founder of LIFE, Mr. Orrin Woodward.   The evening will be powerful, life changing, and the beginning of a profound movement to provide much needed positive change for our country.  His latest book, Leadershift, will be unveiled and discussed, and I believe a catalyst for the movement.  Make sure you get yours pre-ordered today.  This book will be a best seller, if not already because of pre-orders, in a very short period of time.  What I like about the authors, is the ability to take a very complex subject of decline in our country and break it down throughout their massive study of history and success principles in to two basic areas, one being – defining very clearly, cause and effect principles, and the second being – stating very clearly, the steps needed to correct the decline based on historic success principles.  This will be a night that you tell your grandkids about.  See you all there – God Bless!  Bob

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What’s Your Motivation?

Vince (2)

“OK, Lord, I think I finally get the picture about being motivated and being a motivator!”  It’s funny how God plants an illustration right in front of us to learn from when we so very need it, whether we think we do or not.  Yes, I do believe God has quite the sense of humor.  I don’t always feel that way during the trial, but usually the lesson often brings a smile ….. eventually 🙂

Pictured above, is one of our horses, Vince, who at the time was getting a lesson in motivation as well as was I.   Vince is the youngest of our furry friends and is going through his terrible two’s.  Just this past week, he once again got into mischief, trying to get those last few morsels of hay in the middle of the hay feeder.  That last morsel was positioned so that in order to get his lips on it, he had to carefully step over the front of the feeder with his two front legs.  Little did he know, until later,  the dilemma he had placed himself in.  As I observed him for some time after he got himself in there, I noticed he wasn’t particularly upset about the whole thing.  The other horses had wandered away from the feeder and were just hanging out after snacking on what was left, probably grabbing a few afternoon zzzz’s.  I was not particularly happy with this young big fella at this point, because I had been down this trail before and it wasn’t full of joy and happiness.  Knowing that we had places to be later that day, I decided I best get at busting him out of there.  I tried a number of coaxing attempts, trying not to do anything too drastic that would scare him and possibly get him hurt.  He wasn’t budging.  He just wasn’t motivated enough to get himself out – it just wasn’t that uncomfortable – yet.   I tried leading him out, shooing him out, many various failed attempts.  Grain didn’t even work which I know he is infatuated with!  Noticing how late it was getting – I decided to at least get the rest of the chores done and put the other horses in their stalls, giving them their nightly grain.  The picture suddenly changed!  Now, apparently, in Vince’s eyes, this was a whole new situation and he was verbally letting me know as you can see by his picture.   His peers were getting their grain.  He wasn’t!  Suddenly, this external motivation lit up Vince’s internal motivation, and he decided he was coming out and getting his grain.  What was apparently comfortable earlier, was now unbearable, because he could see the results the others were getting.  Putting trust in his mentor, which was myself, I was now able to help him maneuver his back legs in between the bars and lead him through the panels I had unbolted.  He came flying out of the feeder unharmed and couldn’t get to his stall fast enough for his reward.

I couldn’t help but relate this incident to George Guzzardo’s recent post, Motivation of a Leader I absolutely love George’s post because it really made me think about the trickle down effect of motivation.  We often hear that motivation is an inside job, and that it’s not some else’s job to motivate you.  It is – and it’s not some one else’s job.  However, it is so difficult to watch people that we work with who want different results, but just can’t seem to get motivated enough to capture them.  We try to encourage them the best we can, lead them to what I feel is the best self directed education out there with the LIFE materials, promote dream building, and even take time to PDCA (plan, do check, and adjust) with them just like I tried to motivate Vince out of the feeder.  Without that driving desire to achieve something different, mediocrity traps us without us even realizing it.

But what about US!?!  Is our own motivation or lack there of if we are comfortable where we are at, keeping others from stretching out of their comfort zone?   Do yourself a favor and PDCA your own motivation by reading George Guzzardo’s Motivation of a Leader.  I love the results the LIFE founders have such as George and Jill Guzzardo.  So what is MY motivation to get those results?  Am I leading by example?  I now have my homework.  How about you?  As George so heartfully wrote, “A leader accepts responsibility for determining their motivation in the present. Motivating yourself can inspire many others to be motivated as well. By mastering the principles of motivation from your past you won’t have any problem being motivated when you live in your future”.

Thanks to George and Jill, Orrin and Laurie Woodward, and the rest of the Policy Council for always leading from the front, motivating us all to become better people!

God’s Blessings,

Tina Raz

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Dream Big!!

About 10 short years ago, I was introduced to a concept called the “dream”, and began listening to people who were teaching me that I should dream big, because the mind can achieve anything it chooses to believe. Now I don’t know about you guys, but this course of thinking was not taught to me as I was growing up.  Yeah, my dad was a dreamer, and he raised me to think outside the box of possibilities, but I never understood the power of visualization, and the power of belief – neither did he.  We had no clue that the subconscious mind is so extremely powerful, and the conscious mind is very limited.  What we have come to learn, is that visualizing a desired result or outcome or behavior, can literally be programmed in to our mind with mental pictures.  The mind will then go to work, helping us problem solve to achieve the desired end.  Our life is made of experiences, and as I have found through the LIFE business education system and what it teaches, we can experience good, great, bad, or ugly, depending on how we think.  I love this quote from George Guzzardo from one of his recent articles, A View From Life Island, and his experience in learning to dream big.  George says, “ The picture in my mind from that early experience made me believe that some day I would come back. Little did I know it would come true when I was with my friend and mentor Orrin Woodward. From that experience I learned that images are the most powerful thing we can use to harness the energy that resides within us”. 

One of our first tools to understanding dreaming big was exposed to me in a book called The Magic of Thinking Big, by David J Schwarz, Ph. D.  This was the beginning to my change in thinking.  The first concept that jumped out at me big time was the fact that our mind is a mental thought factory.  He goes on to explain how that factory is run by two different foreman – one called Mr. Defeat and the other called Mr. Triumph.  As I became aware of this process, it was an awakening to being able to empower positive worldview, dreaming big, and actually believing in our future.  You see, we have a choice, as every thought enters our brain, to either bring Mr. Defeat to the factory floor, who seems all powerful or Mr. Triumph, who unfortunately has taken a back seat most of the time due to our society’s programming.  We now understand that once we have determined a dream or a goal we would like to achieve, it is up to us to choose which foreman will run our factory.  I often smile as I think about the beginnings of this process with my own family.  When my children were 6 and 8 years old, my wife and I started incorporating this in to our family interactions.  I remember vividly, and still hear to this day at times, “I know Dad – is that Mr. Defeat or Mr. Triumph speaking right now?”  But even my young children started to understand that you get what you picture, and that you do have a choice to picture what you want.  Today, both of them are living and walking their dream.  I attribute that greatly to the thought process described in this book, and their ability to run their thought factory with Mr. Triumph.

There is so much information available about dreaming big in our LIFE business education system, that it would take you years of study to review it all.  I recommend as a starting point, The Magic of Thinking Big, and another short read called The Ant and the Elephant, by Vince Poscente , which are both available from our personal website.  I urge you to start to believe and visualize what your future can be for you and your family.  David Schwartz says, “When you believe something is impossible, your mind goes to work for you to prove why.  But, when you believe, really believe, something can be done, your mind goes to work for you and finds way to help you do it.”  So your dream needs to be courted, as a discipline, everyday.  You need to visualize and bring it to the center of attention to create pictures for your subconscious mind to latch on to and really believe.  The power of mental images, as George Guzzardo stated from his experiences, cannot be stopped.  We have been fortunate enough to associate with leaders in the LIFE business who have literally captured the majority of their dreams through this process and are teaching hundreds and thousands of people, the magic of dreaming big.  We have found this to be one of the most rewarding, fulfilling, and just plain fun ways to view life that we have ever possibly imagined.  We thank God every day for bringing the wisdom of the Team leadership into our lives, to help us dream big.

I challenge you today to start thinking and dreaming from Mr. Triumph’s point of view, and start creating clear pictures for your future – for your family’s future.  Let your subconscious mind bring it to your conscious mind and into fruition.  As the old saying goes – you are who you associate with.  I choose to associate with world class dreamers and embrace the journey to become one myself.  Will you?  God Bless, Bob

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“How to Mentor”

The question of how we learn to mentor and be mentored is is really a double edged sword. Today I want to explore some  principles necessary to become a protege and be mentored. Being mentored starts with three foundational qualities that must be present in the protege.  First, we must have a hunger to learn, to obtain a goal or to change. Hunger is broken down into three areas of motivation by best selling authors, ORRIN WOODWARD and CHRIS BRADY in their book “Launching a Leadership Revolution”. One is material success, another is recognition and respect and the last one is about leaving a legacy. My 17 year old daughter is pursuing a dream of owning a horse training ranch and becoming a very skilled competitor/trainer. She also has voiced a goal to change the quarter horse industry in some areas and to offer the horse experience at her ranch for the disadvantaged. Her hunger for these goals has made her an exceptional student of her mentors. She is currently working and riding daily at a world class facility, in the barn early and late, with a 100% focus of learning and becoming the best. We know this kind of hunger is not optional for success. She has been pursuing these goals for several years now and made the decision to go after this life with everything she has since last October, moving to her mentors ranch and pursuing it 24/7!

The second foundational quality needed in learning the “how to” of being mentored is called being ” hone-able”. What we are speaking of here is being teachable. A good rule of thumb is to remember that the mentor can always find a hungry student. Often times, people think they know more than the mentor, kind of an arrogant ignorance if you will. Sometimes they come to the table with cynicism, disinterest, wrong assumptions, bad habits or, even worse, a bad attitude. This kind of thinking will kill the relationship before it begins and obviously the mentor will not be willing to invest in you. To be “hone-able” we need to set our ego aside and become a humble, wide-eyed student again. We have to understand that we don’t know what we don’t know or we would already have obtained the goal. Socrates said it best stating, “the more I come to know, the more I know I don’t know”. My daughter pursued her mentors for a couple of years because they are arguably the best in the business and have the results she is looking for. She has committed to them to do her best and is making excellent progress because she has put her trust in them to help her make a plan and provide a path for her to travel. As my mentor, friend and business colleague GEORGE GUZZARDO, said in one of his recent blog articles,  “It helps to work with a mentor to set a game plan. A mentor can help make adjustments. A mentor can help you overcome roadblocks or obstacles. A mentor can help make that canvas you are painting a work of art.”

The last foundational quality of learning how to be mentored is to be “honorable”. We are speaking of having character and integrity and honesty in all things we do and particularly with your mentor to develop trust in the relationship.” Brutal  honesty ” is a prerequisite for growth or change and both the mentor and protege have to feel free to express themselves openly in the relationship. Winston Churchill said (paraphrasing) ” character is the most important of qualities, without it nothing else matters”. The bottom-line here is that if my daughter or myself are not completely honorable with our mentors we are sabotaging the relationship and derailing any chance of benefiting from their guidance. So the questions to ask yourself as you seek a mentor are; am I a hungry student? Am I willing to be humble and teachable? Am I willing to be open and honest even if it is uncomfortable? If you can say yes to all three you may be ready to be mentored. I can’t think of a better place to find a mentor than the community that is involved in the LIFE BUSINESS and the leaders available there!! God Bless You, Bob

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Back in the Saddle

Hello All!  I apologize that it has been a long time since my last post.  I thought it would be great to start getting back in the saddle and was moved by this post from Orrin Woodward.  So often I see people in “positional” type leadership roles out there in the world, and I wonder how great it would be if they could be exposed to this kind of information, which is true foundational principles of leadership.  I thought I would start with re blogging this fantastic article and I will continue to post Orrin’s studies, because I believe he is the best out there in “real” leadership.  That comment is backed up by how many people are following him.  Enjoy!  God Bless you all!  Bob

 

The Soft Skills of Leadership

by Orrin Woodward

Jean Leslie, a senior fellow with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), identified 10 soft skills for successful business leadership. Each one of these 10 skills is taught in the LIFE Business. In fact, I believe the soft skills are the difference makers in a leaders success. Performers can get themselves to do the necessary task, but a leader must develop the soft skills to develop the culture of success in an organization. Over the next several weeks, I will be diving into these 10 skills to identify how to improve in each one. I have had a front row seat in encouraging and mentoring many top leaders today who worked on their soft skills. LIFE is life training for everyone to grow and become the leader he or she was called to be. Here are the 10 soft skills.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

1. Self-awareness: Leaders must have an accurate picture of their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Learning agility: This is an individual’s readiness, willingness and ability to learn from experience.

3. Emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence is a constellation of abilities that help leaders deal with their emotions and the emotions of others.

4. Resiliency: Bouncing back from adversity.

5. Building relationships at all levels: Being able to show compassion, sensitivity and have a sense of humor with others — above and below in organizational structure — and being able to cultivate these relationships toward positive business performance.

6. Political savvy: The ability to influence people to obtain goals. The heart of being politically savvy, according to CCL, is networking, reading situations and thinking before speaking. Not every leader likes politics, but it’s present in every organization.

7. Motivating and engaging others: How many leaders have been successful when they cannot motivate their teams?

8. Building and leading effective teams: This is one of the top challenges CEOs report, according to CCL. Building trust, setting strategic direction and breaking down silos are some of the micro skills needed.

9. Creating a culture of trust and respect: This has become a big challenge since the rise of virtual communication, yet trust and respect among team members — and chiefly among leaders — is paramount.

10. Communication: Voicing goals and inspiring others is vital — but so is listening.

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How High is Your AQ?

As I watched my daughter enter the arena I could not help but think of ORRIN WOODWARD’S latest book “Resolved” in our LIFE business education system. In chapter 12 he covers a term called Adversity Quotient and I was watching it play out before my very eyes.

Basically Adversity Quotient (AQ) is a combination of mental and emotional intelligence which provides a mental toughness or the ability to endure through the challenges of life. So here was my daughter facing fear of injury, humiliation and failure with courage and her AQ was working overtime. She was participating in a high level competition at a horse show and wanted a victory badly, yet her home trained horse who is generally a very docile animal was not anywhere close to being on the same page. Jessie has put in thousands of hours with just this horse alone and today this gentle creatures AQ had left the building. I watched in admiration and pride as Jessie gathered control of her mind, heart and will and faced enormous fear helping this animal by gently working him through the class and past his fear to complete the class without being thrown from the horse as she nearly was earlier. This has really been a focus area for her career in horsemanship this year as it is very easy to have low AQ in these kinds of situations and of course this enables people to fail by not accepting responsibility for our role in the problem. We have been teaching Jessie all year the thinking that must accompany a high AQ and some skills to help facilitate her growth in this area. To watch her exhibit a high AQ brought tears of joy and gratitude to my heart. You see I know your success in life is largely determined by your AQ. I know now that she is recognizing its power for her future and figuring out how to use it. AQ is just plain cool, it is poise and confidence on the ballfield or on the stage or in any competitive arena. It is the ability to say no to wrong and yes to the right and take a stand regardless of what happens to you. It is the ability to step back and reason through your feelings to respond correctly instead of just reacting emotionally. It is in my opinion the most valuable mindset every human being on this planet needs to cultivate. Have you ever noticed the popularity, success and wisdom that people exude when they have mastered self? The formula goes like this; AQ= IQxEQxWQ. Study the book and figure out where you are in these three areas. IQ is intelligence, the good news for me is you don’t have to be brilliant but you do need to know where the information needed can be found. Socrates said it best ” the more I come to know, the more I know I don’t know”. EQ is your emotional intelligence, this means the size of the man is directly corresponding to the size of the problems that upset him! Its the ability to not let your feelings rule your actions but rather a logical reasoning on the matter at hand. WQ is the ability to get going and keep going when the going gets tough. Roll this together as your ability to master your mind, heart and will and you will have a very high AQ. AQ ultimately gives you the ability to persevere through anything which is a cornerstone of a meaningful, high quality life.

I feel the need to ask you, what do you see when you look out into society in general? Do you see this being taught to our children? Do you see parents modeling this behavior? Do you think our country, community and family would be better off if they at least were aware of this type of thinking so they could choose how they might live? I think author Chuck Swindoll says it best, “I am convinced that the quality of my life is determined only by about 10% of what happens to me, and 90% of how I choose to handle it”. I thank ORRIN WOODWARD, the LIFE self-directed education system and all the members of the TEAM for bringing these kinds of choices to my family. Will you choose to check us out for yours?  God Bless You, Bob

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