Category Archives: Friends

Coming out of the Fog

As many of you know, on March 5, 2014 my wife of almost 12 years passed away, from liver failure.  I cannot describe the amount of love and support that my family has received.  This has been, by far, the most traumatic event to ever happen in my life.  Only because of my faith, family and friends have we been able to make it through this difficult time.  My heart goes to anyone that has had to endure times like these without the support that I have been blessed with.  There are so many people to thank that I cannot possibly list them all.  Jackies family: Joe and Linda, Marc and Odette,  Brian and Sarah,  Josh and Eve, Matt and Bridgette, Trevin and Abby,  Anna and of course, Jackie’s parents, Chuck and Char.  Thank you for always making me and my family feel like we have always been a family.  I know I don’t tell you enough, but I absolutely love being a part of your crazy family.  My family with a special shout out to my mom and my cousin/brother Tim Grant.  If I called them and said I needed them they would drop whatever they were doing and immediately be there for me.   I also had a group of teammates that were willing to do anything we needed.  The Brady’s, Morgans, Spiewaks, Birtles, Marks, Allswedes.   Each one of the families provided something that we needed and I can never repay you for it.   I also had a group that went

Andria Mitchell – has been our babysitter for almost 12 years.  She has had her own life issues to deal with but basically took over as being a mom to my kids while I was in the fog.  I could not have survived without her effort and support.

Trevin and Abby Thorn – yes they are family but they have done so much more I can’t list it.  Trevin, thanks for letting your wife also be a surrogate mom to my kids and Abby thanks for helping our family survive.

Kevin Hargis – one of my best friends but we lost touch for almost 10 years but he didn’t hesitate to pick right back up from where we were before.  So many times he would just hangout with me and help distract my brain.

Keisha O’Mara and Cameron Hummel- both have gone through a similar situation and their thoughts and insights helped me at some of my lowest moments.  They have been a strength emotionally because I knew they understood what I was feeling.

Kevin and Sharrah Hacket – Jackie’s best friend I would say.  Sharrah was in the Bahamas when this happened, and before I knew it she had moved into my house to help support us.  Both of your friendships have meant so much to me, but what Sharrah did for Jackie I can’t quantify.  I always knew when Jackie was talking to Sharrah because that’s when she looked the most happy.  Kevin for letting his wife leave with no time frame on when to come home.

Mark and Anna Huber – besides being the reason I was introduced to Life Leadership which is where I meet Jackie.  They also moved into the house and helped me with everything including all of the funeral arrangements.  As quoted in a movie, “I’ am forever your man!”

Mike and Vi Gowen – our kids became close friends years ago and we have been doing things together ever since.  Mike and Jackie had a special brother sister connection and she could tell him things no one else would dare.  They have been more then friends over the years; they have become a part of our family.

Orrin and Laurie woodward – What can I say about a couple that are the reason that I have the life I have.  All of my F’s are great because of Gods grace and this couple.  I will never be able to  fully show my thanks for your dedication and belief.

To all the people I missed and all the people that have sent cards, books, notes, and flowers, your support has been overwhelming.  You  are the true definition of what a community is suppose to be.  I love you and will do everything I can to help you feel the same support. Life leadership truly is doing something special.  Don’t you ever surrender to the naysayers because they will never experience a true community of people.

I decided to start back with this blog because my two oldest boys just completed something that is the essence of what my beautiful wife stood for.  Perserverence, Determination, Strength, Never quit, Be the best you can be – I miss her so much words cannot describe.  I would do anything for one more day together to hold her and tell her how great she is.   Jacob and Eli, your mom would be so proud of your accomplishment and I hope you adopt her strength.  I love you forever Jack ( my nickname that Chris Brady came up with) and a huge piece of my heart has been ripped out and will never be replaced.  Can’t wait to meet you again in glory.  Here’s your two boys finishing their commitment to you and receiving their black belts.

 

Forgiveness

Have you ever struggled with forgiveness?  If you are a human then you have struggled with it.  The main reason most of us struggle with it is because we are thinking of it in the wrong context.  My goal is to try to give you a different way of looking at forgiveness.  One of the worst outcomes of being unforgiving  is the effect it has on the person who is unwilling to forgive.    Forgiveness is an act of the will and if you understand it, you will be able to free yourself from the negative emotions of being unforgiving.  If you are of the Christian faith then it is as simple as Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  Well, since forgiving like the Lord is impossible let’s at least try our best.

Unforgiveness is like carrying a burlap bag on your back, and every time you don’t forgive someone you add a rock to your bag.  You can imagine over time how difficult it would be to move and how tiring life would become if you continued to carry all of those rocks.  When you forgive it is like taking one of the rocks out of the bag.   You can then move through life lighter, quicker, easier.  It is very refreshing to be around someone who isn’t weighed down by feelings or the guilt of being unforgiving.  As a human you cannot be totally in charge of forgiveness.  If you haven’t experienced the ultimate in forgiveness, then as a sinful human it is difficult to continuously forgive other sinful people, because we are seeing the world through a messed up lens.  Once you understand what Jesus has done for us then you at least have an absolute standard to compare to.

What forgiveness is not

1. Forgiveness is not a natural response but rather super natural.  If you don’t have the example of what God has done for us, then you won’t have the strength to forgive everyone who does something wrong to you.  It is very hard to say “I can’t forgive them” when we violate God’s laws everyday.  Not only does He forgive us but He sent His only Son to die for us.

2.  Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.  Forgiveness is a one way street and reconciliation is a two-way street.  Forgiveness is a choice by you and reconciliation is something you work on with the other person.  Reconciliation is a change in the offenders behavior.

3.  Forgiveness is not a feeling.  Forgiving is a choice.  We can forgive even if we don’t feel like it because ultimately they are a sinful person and SO ARE WE.  Do you expect humans to be perfect or know better?  If we do, then why don’t you do it.

4.  Forgiveness is not excusing the wrong or letting the guilty get away with it. If someone wrongs you it’s not that they are getting  away with it because you forgave them.  Every day parents forgive their children, but they also let them know that what happened is not okay.

5.  Forgiveness is not letting the guilty off the hook.  WE are selfish so we naturally only look at what the offense has done to us.  We don’t see how it affected them or other people involved.  The other angle is we are moving the guilt from our hook to Gods hook.

6.  Forgiveness is not being a doormat or a weak martyr.  Actually, being able to forgive is strength not weakness.  There is a saying that you can tell the size of the person by the size of the things that make them upset.  I don’t think of God as being weak or feeble, which is what He would be if forgiveness were weakness.

7. Forgiveness has nothing to do with fairness.  My kids say it everyday,” That’s not fair!” and I respond everyday,”That’s right and life never will be.”  I am not sure where this concept came from but most of us know that life will never be fair.  It’s not fair that God had to send His Son to earth to die for us.

I hope you see how without God as the absolute example, that the subject of forgiveness would be hard.  What would be the standard?  What your neighbor thinks?  What your cousin thinks?   No, everyone would have a different standard and then any of the excuses  listed would be valid.  Most of the time someone didn’t even mean to offend us, yet we carry the offense around with us.  “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Joyce Meyer.  Drop the stones in your bag and experience the freedom of forgiveness.

Bill Lewis

 

Lessons from Basketball

2013 basketballMy mentor Orrin Woodward was home for the summer and he sent me a text asking if I wanted to play basketball.  As some of you who follow my blog know,  I had given up playing because I can’t stand to be bad at something and when I am bad I will want to practice a lot and, aint nobody got time for that!   Needless to say, if your mentor wants to play basketball then basketball it is.  Now I used to play a lo,t but as I said I had stopped playing but it sounded like a good workout if nothing else.  My thoughts were,  I will die on the court if we play one on one or even two on two, so I tried to find four other guys who would be willing to come and torture themselves for a few days before Orrin heads back to Florida.  Through building their Life Leadership Business’s we happen to have a lot of people who are free from their jobs that could play.  FYI:  I highly recommend getting yourself free so you can really enjoy life and all the beautiful days of summer in Michigan.  I rounded up Steve Morgan, Kirk Birtles, Holger Spiewak, and Aron Radosa.  Now Orrin,Steve,Kirk and myself used to play but Aron and Holger have not played much, so we decided to have the Policy Council,  me, Orrin, and Holger, who are also the three oldest players on the court, versus the Band of Brothers, Steve, Kirk, and Aron.  For people who don’t get sarcasm that would be a friendly jab at our competitors :).  We were older but we also had a little bit of a height advantage,  with me obviously bringing down our average height. IMG_1182          IMG_1183 So the stage was set for what might be some of the ugliest basketball you could watch, but you never know what’s going to happen when a group of people who love to win and hate to lose play each other.  The first game was on Thursday morning and it was supposed to be just a fun pick up game.  The PC team came out well and won all three games.  We would then go sit with Orrin for a while to get some good nuggets to help build our business.  That was the main reason we were there anyways.  If you ever have a chance to hang out with someone who has more success then you,  it’s a good idea to take advantage of that.  We did get our good nuggets but we didn’t know what was about to happen.  We asked the guys if they wanted to switch up teams for our Thursday contest but they said,”No way!”  That was when I knew this might become a war.  Sure enough on Thursday the BoB came out in force.  They had come up with a great PDCA and won two of the three games that day.  Well, as you know the PC does not like losing either, and we had two days to come up with our next PDCA.  The funny part about this, we had a very important business meeting Tuesday, after this last defeat, and as soon as I walked in the room Orrin said, “You know what we need to do…..” My response was, “That is exactly what I was thinking and what if we did…..”  Neither one of us was talking about this huge business roll out that we were about to explain.  The next match we won two straight and the match after that they won two consecutive games.  It was interesting that the team that lost would make the PDCA’s and then go on to win the next round.  The stage was set, the PC had a three to two series lead and we could close the door or the BoB would force a seventh day match.  The BoB came out on fire, intense, and determined.  They won the first game 11-2.  We couldn’t wait until the day after to make a PDCA, so we made some adjustments right on the spot.   Our main adjustment was our focus and intensity and that allowed us to win the next game 11-2.  That last game was the best of all the games we played.  The BoB pulled out into an early lead but the PC ( old guys ) came back to within one point of victory.  At that moment Kirk’s calf muscle totally gave out, and he couldn’t even walk.  Needless to say we had to stop the match and wait until next summer.         See Orrin Woodward’s blog for more detail on what happened in the matches. This may have been one of the funnest sporting events I have been involved in.  So many lessons and so much fun is to be had when you associate with champions.  Let me give you a few of the key things I noticed and how you can apply them to life.   1.  PDCA -It was awesome to see this process unfold and how effective it can be.  We all have done it before even if it was unconsciously, but we need to learn how to force it into our business thoughts.  I think that is the main issue with PDCA, not that people don’t know how but they don’t take the time to stop and think.  We are so programmed to be in motion instead of effective motion.  Abraham Lincoln said he would spend more time sharpening the axe and then get to work so he would be more effective.   2.  How winners respond – Neither team ever came across like they just stunk, they couldn’t win, or be mad at the other team.  They were upset at the loss, but they didn’t take it personal.  They just thought through what they needed to do to adjust.  So many people don’t move forward because they compare their loss to someone else who just PDCA’d and had a victory.  Are you whining or winning?  Winners may feel down but they don’t stay down.  The saying is you can’t drown in one foot of water unless you stay face down in it.  3.  Importance of associating with champions – I have had a good amount of success, success training, and get to associate with some top notch winners, but being part of these matches has made me feel better and want to go win in other areas also.  If it can make me feel that way, what can it do for you?  Any time you have a chance to associate with someone who is farther in life then you, don’t just say yes; be the first one there and the last one to leave.  Orrin said it best today, “Most success nuggets are caught not taught.”  That means you will always learn something when you are associating with winners.  4. The score board never lies – If we lost a match it didn’t matter how well we thought we played.  The score said we lost and that means we need to adjust something.  In sports we are forced to recognize the score board, but in life it is easy to not pay attention to it.  Figure out a way to measure what you want to improve and then fight to make those improvements.   I want to end by saying thank you to Orrin and how blessed I am to be associated with all the winners that I had a chance to experience this with.  You all will go down as some of the best leaders in the history of business.  Life Leadership is going to impact society. Bill Lewis

 

How to regain Credibility

Despite your best intentions, despite your quest for excellence, despite being a person of character there are going to be times where things don’t go as you planned.  Things change unexpectedly, people you are counting on don’t do what they said they would do,  or it just plain gets messed up.  It is going to happen to every one of us.  The question is what do we do when it happens?  How we respond is more important then what happened.  Many times we choose to respond with blame,  denial, avoidance ( also called head in sand ).  Why do we do that?  Our society has created a culture of being scared to make mistakes.  In some of us that fear is deep rooted that we won’t even take enough action to make a mistake.  Its amazing to watch children trying new things.  They have no thoughts about making mistakes accept, “Hey mom, did you see that?”  But it doesn’t take long for them to start picking up the fear of mistakes.  Thank goodness people like Thomas Edison didn’t feel that way.  Many sources quote different numbers, but let’s just say it took him 1,000 attempts to create the lightbulb.  If he hadn’t persisted I would be doing this blog with smoke signals.  Failure is always part of the process of success but we should learn from Edison when he said, “I have not failed.  I have just found 999 ways that won’t work.”  Luckily, most of us have a mentor, which means we don’t have to learn from trial and error, like Edison.  We can learn from other peoples experience.  With all that said, what I want to focus on is, what we do when we make a mistake that affects others.

The most important thought to begin with is you can actually gain credibility by making and owning up to a mistake.  Its amazing how counterintuitive, in todays culture,  it seems to own up to a mistake.  The book “Credibility” gives a real world example.

Pradeep Vaswani, project manager at Infosys Technologies, recalled a time when his team went off course and as a result would fail to deliver on time to the client.  His managers had advised him that he shouldn’t disclose this in advance to the client, but should merely work overtime to catch up.  However, Pradeep knew that keeping this secret would result in a breach of trust with his client if the matter went out of control.  Furthermore, he was unwilling to set such a poor example to his staff.  Consequently, Pradeep accepted the responsibility for informing the client about the projects status.  The client was upset, but Pradeep also told them how sorry and disappointed he and his team were about missing the deadline.  He had explained what had caused the delay and what the team would do.  He showed his commitment to the new deadline  by indicating what he would do himself to ensure the new deliverables were met.  The project was completed by the new deadline, and the amount of trust the client had for Pradeep actually increased tremendously.  At the same time, the respect his team members had for him was enhanced because he accepted responsibility and showed accountability for the team without pointing fingers.

I think the reason someone owning up to mistakes is such a big deal is because it so rarely happens.  The reason gold is so valuable is because it is so very rare.  The same is true with human emotions.  When we see someone display a trait that we rarely see, we naturally look at that person with more esteem.  Studies have shown that “admitting mistakes” ranks second to “tells the truth” when people were asked what behaviors best define an honest person.  So, here are the six A’s of accountability:

  1. Accept = come to recognize 
  2. Admit  = confess to be true or be the case
  3. Apologize = express regret for one has done wrong
  4. Act = take action
  5. Amend = make changes to make it correct
  6. Attend = be present, deal with it

 

“When” not “if ” you make a mistake, apply these six A’s and you will not only maintain your credibility but you will increase it.

 

Bill Lewis



A Culture of Serving

Story from the book “Credibility”

Once there was a village in Nigeria where the people made their living by farming.  The village lay in a large green valley that was lined with palm trees and bushes.  Surrounding the village were fields with crops of yams, corn and other vegetables.  Just beyond the fields was a deep river that the villagers called “Baba.”  In the rainy season, the river  overflowed and the people were fearful of its power.  So, at a place were the river wound beyond the fields, they built a strong dam to hold back the water.

There was a man in the village named Modupe, which means “I am grateful.”  Modupe was a shy, quiet man whose wife had died and whose children were all married, so he moved to the top of the mountain overlooking the valley and lived alone.  There he built a small hut and cleared a small piece of land to grow his vegetables.  The people rarely saw Modupe but they respected and loved him.

One year at harvest time, the rains were unusually heavy, but the crops had done well and there was much to do, so no one paid it any mind.  As Modupe stood by his house on the mountain, he noticed that the river, swollen from the rains, was straining the dam.  He knew that by the time he could run down to the village to warn the people of the flood, it would be too late and all would be lost.  Even as Modupe watched, the wall of the dam begun to break and water started to seep through.

Modupe thought of his friends in the village.  Their crops, their homes, and their very lives were in danger if he did not find a way to warn them.  Then an idea came to him: he rushed to his small hut and set it afire.  When the people of the valley saw Modupe’s house burning they said, “Our friend is in trouble.  Let’s sound the alarm and go up to help him.” Then, according to custom, men, women, and children ran up the mountain to see what they could do.  When the reached the top of the hill, they did not have time to ask what had happened – a loud crashing noise behind them made them turn and look down.  Their houses, their temple, and their crops were being destroyed by the river, which had broken the dam and was flooding the valley.

The people began to cry and moan at their loss, but Modupe comforted them.  “Don’t worry,” he said “My crops are still here.  We can share them while we build a new village.”  Then all the people began to sing and give thanks because they remembered that, in coming to help a friend, they saved themselves.

Not sure if the story is true or not but what a great example of serving your neighbor.  There are many lessons we can take from this example but I would like to focus on two:  helping friends in trouble and a culture of serving.

When Modupe saw that his friends were in trouble he didn’t think, “Man, that’s too bad, I hope they figure out something, I wish there was something I could do, what if I burn my house and they don’t come up to help?   He immediately thought I have to help my friends and then he thought of a plan.  In life we see so many people who just turn a blind eye.  We could do something or we have information that could help but we don’t.  We are afraid of what that person might think.  We are afraid of what other people will think.  We are afraid of sacrificing something of our own.   Ninety nine percent of the negative things we think could happen, usually never do.  What usually does happen is we end up making a big impact in someones life.  If you see someone that you think you can help, be the good Samaritan.

The second lesson was they had a culture of serving each other.  Modupe wasn’t worried that burning his own house wouldn’t work because Modupe’s community had a culture of serving each other.  He knew they would come to help him and by helping him they ended up helping themselves.  There is an old statement that says, “If you help enough people get what they want you will always get what you want.”  If your organization has a culture of serving the customer, you cannot lose.  Even though you may not see the return, in the immediate, you will always see it in the long term.  Set your goals around how many people you need to serve to accomplish your goal.  Doing this accomplishes two great things.  You get to your goal but more importantly you model the serving attitude.  The compounding affect of a serving organization creates amazing results.

Are you serving your God, wife, kids, business partners?  If so are you serving them the way they want to be served or the way you like to be served?  What ways can you improve your service to your team? Can you be more patient, understanding, goal focused, give time, explain thought process, help overcome obstacles, give ideas or just listen.  Whatever it is, if you model the behavior I can guarantee that others will follow your lead.

Bill Lewis

The Life Business by Orrin Woodward

Had to repost this article.  Orrin does a great job of giving you insight into The Life Business.  I know what he is saying is true because I have witnessed most of this journey.  If it wasn’t for Orrin and Laurie and what they have done, my family would not be able to live the life we always wanted.  I cannot thank them enough for what they have done except to continue to pay it forward.

Bill lewis

The Story of the LIFE Business

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 17, 2013

LIFE Business Story

The LIFE Business is an ongoing story. Each person who joins the LIFE community chooses which part, whether large or small, he or she will play. What happens when a world-renowned best-selling author is introduced to LIFE and begins studying the history of this movement? The short answer is a compelling story of hopes, dreams, struggles, failures, perseverance, and finally victory. Thankfully, he has decided to write up the story of LIFE. In my opinion, it is great timing because never before has a LeaderShift been more needed than now. Indeed, this is exactly what the LIFE community intends to do – create a leadershift! Here is a portion of the introduction in his upcoming book about LIFE. What part will you play in the story?

Sincerely

Orrin Woodward

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LIFE Business Major Convention

 

LIFE Business Introduction

The fate of free enterprise is very much in doubt. By the first decade of the 21st Century, critics of free enterprise and modern democratic freedom had convinced many people that free enterprise is an outdated system, one that cares more about corporate profits than economic opportunity for everyone.

This problem was the result of a split between two approaches to free enterprise, the traditional type of freedom based on the cooperation of idealists and realists to share profits so everyone has the chance to succeed financially, versus a more cutthroat corporatist emphasis on what we might call “Skeptical Pragmatism,” or doing whatever is deemed most profitable regardless of who it hurts, and keeping most of the profits for a few elites.

In the midst of this growing divide, it was perhaps inevitable that new companies would arise to challenge the shift toward corporatism, and to once again champion traditional free enterprise. It is against this backdrop that the story of the LIFE business began.

It is a story set in a business world created by the likes of Jack Welch, Sam Walton, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I will state my almost preposterous thesis here and now, as controversial as it may seem: Had history developed just slightly differently, the other names on this list would be those who created and expanded network marketing.

Indeed, network marketing should have been as big as WalMart. It would have been, except too many people at the top asked themselves, “Why would we only take a 10% profit when we could take 30%?”

The story of the LIFE business is the exact opposite. The top leaders asked, “Why would we take 30% of the profit when we could earn 10% and pass the rest to others in the business?”

Why would anyone do this? Did they miss the memo? Did they skip the unofficial lessons of many prestigious business schools?

Did they misunderstand capitalism? Or were they just less experienced, ambitious or visionary than their competitors on Wall Street?

This is the story of a company that dared to do it differently, to apply Sam Walton-like thinking to network marketing. Moreover, instead of soap, health drinks or other typical network marketing products, this is the story of a company that chose to build its central product line around the most American of exports—leadership.

This is not a story of perfect men or women, or a feel-good tale of continual success without major difficulties. Far from it. This is a story of men and women, ordinary individuals who faced extraordinary challenges with hard work, resilience, and, above all, persistence.

It is a story of people who believed in an idea, and who refused to let it go—even when it almost cost them everything. It is a story of a few men and women who would not bend to the “normal” business trends that created elitism and corporatism in the modern economy. Some may say it is a story of courage, while others might argue that more “sophisticated” businessmen wouldn’t have so stubbornly held to their ideals and risked it all.

But whatever else it is, this is a story about families, friendships, and principles. In a way, it would more naturally fit into the storylines of past centuries, where leaders were expected to stand up, stand out, take on the establishment and blaze new trails based on firmly-held beliefs. In our modern world of political correctness, group therapy, management by committee, and the drive to “fit in” and pursue popularity at all costs, the concept of standing up against the system because “it’s the right thing to do” may seem amusingly archaic to some people.

Yet that is exactly how LIFE came about. This is the story of a leader, indeed of a team of leaders, who set out to build a widespread community of leaders. And while such a story may feel anachronistic in the 21st Century, it may just be the type of story that will redeem this generation.

Could it be that the “success bias” of our modern world is desperately in need of what Stephen Covey called “the character ethic?” Do we live in a world where the most important leadership principle is a desperately-needed acknowledgement that character counts? If so, the story of the LIFE business is a story for our times.

It is a story unfinished, however. The more time I spent interviewing the main characters, researching and studying the events, documents and details of this story, the more I felt that writing this story was like writing about Sam Walton in the 1960s, before WalMart was a worldwide phenomenon. While the future of LIFE remains to be seen, the unique beginning of this business is a story worth telling in its own right. To paraphrase Santayana, the future remains in the future, and the best we can do is learn (hopefully) from the past.

Whatever your business or career, your level of education or status in society, the story of the LIFE business is a case study of what can happen when an ancient set of leadership principles (based on idealism, frugality, hard work and integrity) are applied in a modern business environment dominated by pragmatism. Every modern leader struggles with this very challenge, and this story is therefore deeply relevant for today’s leaders in every sector and field.

Orrin Woodward – The Life Business

The LIfe Business – Chris Brady

Well this article is just to good to not post.  It is so good I wanted to repost the entire article.  Chris does a fantastic job of explaining what the Life business is and the mindset behind how it is set up.  Chris is more then qualified to explain this because he is the mastermind behind many of the ideas.  Chris is extremely talented but his most impressive talent is to think through decisions and come with a solution that is based on, what is the right thing to do.    I hope this gives you a better understanding of why Life is different.

What I Hate About Networking (And What We at the LIFE Business Sought to Fix)

LIFE

LIFE

The Impetus Behind the Life Business

There is something really right about a business that allows people to get started for a relatively small amount of money, work at their own pace, be their own boss, experience the responsibilities of business ownership in an actual business endeavor without huge downside risks, have the potential for high upsides, and get the tax advantages that come with business enterprise. These attributes (and others) are what originally attracted me to the profession of networking. However, as I experienced more and more of what goes on in certain parts of this industry, I quickly realized there were several things I hated about it!

I was not alone. Along with my friends Orrin WoodwardTim MarksBill Lewis,George GuzzardoClaude Hamilton, and Dan Hawkins, we founded the LIFEcompany in an attempt to build a business to not only be the model of what couldbe in this profession, but what should be, as well. In other words, we launchedLIFE to fix what we didn’t like about the industry while preserving the parts we felt were right about it.

What the Life Business is Doing 

Below is a list of my beefs with the industry, and what we are doing at LIFE to make it right.

1. No True Customer Focus – Our fix: at LIFE, we not only have a customer focus but a customer requirement. If a LIFE member does not develop at least 50PV in monthly customer flow after a brief apprenticeship period, he or she will not be paid any bonus on group volume. Also, we have the 3 for FREE customer acquisition program, in which any LIFE member, and even any customer, who gets three customers subscribing to the same or higher value package gets his/her products the next month for free! Also we have sales competitions with bonuses for the top finishers, as well as special bonus incentives on sales of particular products. We are also about to announce a sales bonus chart designed to give the smallest participants in the LIFE business a huge sales margin on products sold to help them begin earning more money sooner!

2. Gaudy Lifestyle Representations and Outrageous Income Claims – Our fix: in our business presentations we give only basic scenario-based income representations (as in, “if  you build a business that looks like this, the way the pay plan works, it would result in X amount of pay for that month”), with the largest scenario depicting approximately $9,000 per month in income. (See ourCompensation Plan brochure for this). We don’t show cheesy lifestyle pictures or videos, bikini-clad girls on yachts, or shiny bling to try and attract people to a false expectation. Our presentation focuses upon things such as obtaining more free time, better financial security, more focus upon family, travel, church and charity, etc. (We don’t go as far as talking about more time with in-laws, however!) Also, being a new company, we’ve just now completed our first full calendar year in business (year 2012), and therefore can now release an Income Disclosure Statement to inform prospective participants and properly manage their expectations (look for this in the coming weeks).

3. The Host Company Keeps Too Much of the Money – and as a result, the people in the field get to fight over the scraps. Our fix: our pay plan is currently putting approximately 70% of gross product volume (PV) into the field in the various forms of compensation. The company was not just founded by people who had come from the field, but from people who have determined to stay in the field.

4. High Sign Up Costs: We have heard of companies charging hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to join. Our fix: keep it low! Our recommended sign up cost, including sample products (three CDs, a hard cover book, a sticker, access to the LIFE business management website, and two tickets to a LIFE Live event) is just $89.99, in which the products are optional. Our goal is to keep it “less than the cost of a tank of gas!”

5. Poor Guarantees: some are confusing, very limited, or difficult to enact. Our fix: simple and straight forward, a 30 day no-questions-asked money back guarantee for all our products, including the sign up cost.

6. Trips for Top Performers: While there is nothing wrong with this, we wanted to do something a little different. Our fix: we put two very exciting trips into the compensation program for people with relatively early progress up the performance bonus chart. One is at the 6,000 pv per month level, the other is at the 15,000 pv per month level. Also, these are not business trips in disguise, but legitimate vacations. The recipient selects the trip of his/her choice from the list of available options, and takes the trip when he or she chooses. (See Incentive Trips for more information).

7. High Priced Products – our experience is that many networking companies charge super high prices for their products and then give some of this back to the field and claim that this is their “profit margin,” when in fact, the products are so overpriced no one could ever sell them for that price to begin with. Our fix: keep the prices low! For the type of informational products that LIFE specializes in producing, our competition is almost always 20 to 200% higher. For instance, our CDs sell for just $10, while most on the market in each of our “8F” categories (Faith, family, fitness, finances, friendship, freedom, following, and fun) can be found for sale from $12 to $67! Also, in our subscription packages that include books, we almost always sell the book in that month’s subscription for ten to twenty five percent below list price, as it is just rolled into a standard subscription price that doesn’t fluctuate based upon that months’ book price.

8. Inferior Products – what does this mean? It means that specific products that can easily be commoditized (produced by someone else at a cheaper price or better value, over time) stay in the company’s portfolio long after they are no longer competitive in the marketplace. This leaves those in the field leveraging their personal reputation to sell a product that is no longer the best on the market. Our fix: Informational products such as those LIFE produces cannot become commoditized because they are unique – meaning, by specific authors and speakers whose communication styles, delivery, humor, entertainment value, etc. are not duplicate-able. While the information can perhaps be mimicked by another, the brand cannot be copied.

9. Products that Don’t Matter: The other part about representing commodity products is that they really have no ability to make someone’s life better. Why spend your valuable time and energy working at something that doesn’t do any good? As my friend Tim Marks said, “I don’t want to waste my life selling tube socks and lawn chairs!” My favorite quote is attributed to D.L. Moody: “Our greatest fear should not be that we won’t succeed, but that we’ll succeed at something that doesn’t matter.” As for me, although it’s possible to make money selling commodities, I want what I do to count in the lives of people (and  yes, I understand that we all need commodities to survive, but you get what I’m saying).  I want to make a positive difference in the world.  So our fix: sharinginformation such as LIFE produces has helped people get out of debt, repair broken relationships, grow personally, break addictions, grow spiritually, and, as the tag line says, “live the life they’ve always wanted.”  To me, THAT’s something that matters.

BUT THE LIFE BUSINESS ISN’T PERFECT

Now don’t get me wrong. We don’t have the LIFE business perfected yet, as that would be impossible. But we are working daily to make it better and better, in an attempt to deliver exactly what people want and expect in an informational product company, and for a potential business enterprise for many. Also, while we believe that our products are for everybody, we DON’T think the business building aspect of LIFE is for everybody. It is only for those who are prepared to work hard, who are looking for something more in life than they can currently accomplish, who enjoy working with and helping other people, and who have a long-term vision and can stay the course.

Thanks for reading!

Chris Brady

How we use Words

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.  ( proverbs 18:21 )  For something that we do so often it is quit amazing how good we can be at times and how bad we can be at times.  We naturally lean to the negative side of using words and that is why it is so important to be working at the skill of words.  Yes, to a certain extent it is skill but it goes much deeper then just a skill and hopefully I can shed a little light on such a complicated subject.

Author Paul David Tripp says in War of Words,” Adam and Eve ‘s ability to communicate in words made them unique in all of creation.  They could take their thoughts, desires, and emotions and share them with each other.  They were like God; they could talk!  By giving them this ability, God was setting the shape of their lives.”

God has given us such a great gift and yet most of the time are words are more hurtful or self-fulfilling then they are helpful.  Why is that?  Have you ever made some of these statements and wondered why?

You make me so angry!

If you hadn’t ______ then I wouldn’t have _______

When ever you do that I just can’t control myself        ( blame )

I wasnt like this before I had children                      ( regret )

If it’s the last thing I do I’ll get you to respect me  ( threat )

After everything we have done for you ….             ( guilt )

Remember that thing you wanted if you do …. I’ll think about it            ( manipulation )

Our communication struggles are not primarily a struggle of technique but a struggle of the heart.  Our war of words is not with other people ; it is a battle within.   Have you ever been around someone who reads books and listen to personnel growth cd’s but there still seems to be something harsh about them.  It is because they have learned techniques and can say the right things but the music that their words make sound like an instrument that is out of tune.   If we are going to understand our trouble with words, we must begin with our  heart.  Our tongues are a restless evil because the ” heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?”  ( Jer. 17:9 )  Word problems reveal heart problems.  The people and situations around us do not make us say what we say; they are only the occasion for our hearts to reveal themselves in words.

If we want to get better with people we need to address the issues of our heart first.  That starts with the desires of our heart.   The desire for success at work becomes a demand of appreciation from the boss.  The desire to have enough money to pay the bills morphs into a lust for affluence.  The desire to be a good parent becomes a desire to have children who enhance my reputation.  We become motivated for the things that bring us pleasure and are angry at any one that stands in our way.

So techniques are important to learn but if you want your instrument to make beautiful sound then you must address the issues in your heart.  This is not an easy task because we are sometimes blind to the events that have caused us scares or we are blind to the issue that the scare has left behind.  Good luck on the journey through your heart.

The Mental Fitness Challenge

I wanted to wait at least a week until I blogged about the new mental fitness challenge that   the -team.biz chairman, Orrin Woodward, and the rest of the policy counsel recently released.  The MFC, as we call it, is the latest improvement that has been made to the-life-business.com.    To say that this has created some excitement would be an understatement.  The results of the launch have been amazing, click on this link to get some of the statistics.

The challenge is a process of helping us to improve ourselves from the mental side of things.  Orrin has studied the lives of three historical, great, Americans, and each one of them had resolutions that they worked on implementing into their life.  Orrin and Chris Brady decided that they should put together a system that helps people systematically walk themselves through that same successful process.

The challenge is great because it provides one of the most important item of success.  It tells you were you are at.  As the saying goes if you don’t where you are starting, it’s going to be really hard to get your destination.   You could be heading down a path that you don’t need to be heading down, just because you lacked the information of what path you are already on.  The test gives you a pretty accurate assessment of the things you need to improve on and the correct paths to get you there.

The other benefit of the test is it helps you focus.  You can walk outside and enjoy the sunlight but you can also take that same sunlight and shine it through a magnifying glass and light things on fire.  The same is true with our personnel growth.  We can just enjoy the fact that we are alive or we can light ourselves on fire.  We tend to naturally work on the things that we are strong at and avoid the things we are weak at.  After you take the challenge you will have a clear understanding of the areas you need to grow in and therefore keep you focused on the next thing you need to do to become better.

The challenge then gives you another very important step.  It gives you a way to improve in those areas.  Many test or self assessment items I have seen before just tell you whats wrong or do not have a very detailed way to help you improve.  This challenge is a very regimented systematic way to help you grow.  You have accountability partners and reminders on what you are supposed to be doing.  Most humans will experience a moment of motivation but when the feeling goes away we start to slip backwards.  The challenge is set up to keep you from slipping backwards and continuing to move forward.

Overall I know if people attack this mental fitness challenge and use it the way it was intended there is no way that they will not grow and become better.  This is not just my opinion I have seen this process done by the two people who put it together.  Orrin WoodwardChris Brady exemplify what this challenge is all about and are a living examples of what you can do when you focus your efforts.  Hope you enjoy the mental fitness challenge video.

God Bless

Bill Lewis

Visualize the Change you Want

Reading Orrin Woodward’s latest book Resolved gave me a new insight into visualization and a different angle on how to use it to effectively change.  We have all heard of the power of visualization.  In Orrin’s book he goes deep into the power of not just visualization but connecting your ant ( conscience ) and your elephant ( sub – conscience ).  If you can figure out how to harness this power you can really accomplish anything.

Author Vince Poscente in The Ant and The Elephant, describes the difference between the conscious and the sub-conscious mind, teaching that the conscious mind in one second of thinking stimulates 2,000 neurons, while the sub-conscious mind in a second imaging stimulates four billion neurons.  That’s 4,000,000,000 neurons to 2,000 neurons ; literally two million times more neurons are stimulated in the sub-conscious than the conscious mind in a second of mental activity.  This is why you will hear every performer at the top of their game talking about using visualization as a powerful weapon to their success.  In “Resolved” Orrin gives 2 examples of this, olympic athletes and Will Smith, and how they used the power of it.

Most of us think about this elephant and mental picturing only from one angle.  That angle is to picture what we want.  Weather that is a material reward, helping some cause, paying off debt or eliminating a job.  I never thought about using this tool to change myself.  To change my attitude, how I react, what I say, or even how I think.  I was trying to do those things but I was using the ant method instead of the elephant method.  I would write down 3 things that I wanted to work on and change about myself.  I would put them on my mirror in my bathroom and my steering wheel so I could see them and read them regularly.  This process did work and it still works but now I have realized that using elephant method is a much more effective way of making the changes that I want to make.

I have tried my new technique and was shocked at how fast the change happened.  What I do now is write down what I want to change but I write down to visualize the change.  This is what I mean.  My first list of items I wanted to change was  smile, book a follow-up meeting, and don’t get defensive when I got questioned about my business.  Now what I would do is write a note to remind myself to visualize me smiling, visualize me booking the follow-up meeting and visualize how I would respond if someone did question me about my business.  Doing this is using the four billion instead of the two thousand and obviously would cause change quicker.

I have recently tried this on a new list of items I am working on and I have seen the change almost immediately! I didn’t believe it so I told my wife and she tried it on something she was working on.  She had the exact same result! Now this doesn’t mean that it is permanently programmed into our brain but the change happened that much faster.  Now we just have to continue doing the visualization to make the movie that we play, in our sub conscious mind,  a permanent movie. Hope this help

God Bless