It’s almost a principle of success:
when you take a stand to make the world a better place, you are bound to attract a bunch of negative gossip and criticism. If someone isn’t attracting criticism, they may not yet be making big enough waves to change the world for the better. After a few rounds of success, your skin had better be thick, because it’s certainly going to be splattered with tomatoes!
What’s a tomato? In this context, it is negative, unfounded and irrational criticism thrown by non-achievers at people of excellence and high achievement. These proverbial tomatoes are a little bit like mushrooms: they grow in the dark (they are anonymous) and require a lot of “doo-doo” (irrational cynicism and victim-thinking) to help them get really big a juicy before they get thrown! “Tomatoes” are the weapons of choice for do-nothing cowards.
Because of the internet today, throwing anonymous “tomatoes” has almost become a full-time career for some people. Claude Hamilton and Dan Hawkins both did a great job this week on their blogs setting the record straight about some of the Amway drones who have unfortunately mastered the negative art of “complaining, criticizing and condemning”. It’s pretty sad to think that any person’s full-time purpose in life is to spread negative gossip and slanderous comments online, particularly about my great friend and mentor, Orrin Woodward. Thanks to the leadership wisdom and personal mentoring from the Woodward’s, Amy and I have been job-optional, living a dream lifestyle since 2002. So, in the spirit of balancing silly nonsense with the facts, let’s do a quick refresher on just a few of Orrin’s impressive list of accomplishments:
- Orrin Woodward is the co-author of the New York Times, BusinessWeek, and USA Today best-selling book, Launching a Leadership Revolution
- He is an honored alumni of the esteemed Kettering University for his incredible entrepreneurial achievements
- He was ranked #6 in 2011 on the Top-30 Leadership Guru list, alongside other world-class authors and thought leaders such as Stephen Covey and John Maxwell
- He was ranked #1 in 2011 on the International Association of Business listing of Top 10 Leadership experts, again placed amongst noted leadership experts like Covey and Maxwell!
There have been thousands of books published by the leaders in other networks, but how many have made the NY Time best-seller list? Less than can be counted on one hand! Since the tomato-throwers can’t knock that Orrin actually made the NY Times best-sellers list, they focus their attack instead on his other accolades such as his leadership award with the IAB. Again, the Amway drones can’t deny that Orrin won the IAB award; so, instead, they attempt to knock the IAB itself. I’m amazed anyone would be confused on the IAB’s history or credibility. Here’s a blast of truth: the IAB is such a respected organization that in 2002 it was honored by the Vice President of the United States for 20 years of outstanding service to its massive business membership base.
So, the tomato-throwers can’t knock the fact Orrin is a best-selling author… they can’t knock the fact he is ranked as a top leadership guru in several different lists… now, some of the Amway drones are chirping that Orrin had some sort of involvement in winning his IAB award this last year, outside of simply his performance and merit. As Orrin shared with me, he didn’t even realize that he was in the running for the award, and was as surprised as anyone when they contacted him to tell him that he had been selected as the winner out of the final ten contenders.
Next on their hit list, the Amway drones knock the selection process of the Top 25 and Top 30 Leadership Guru lists. This is a well-researched list put together by other leadership experts, but the critics are up in arms because they say other leaders were involved in selecting the list! Shouldn’t that be expected and preferred? You wouldn’t want non-experts putting the list together, would you?! That would be like taking a survey of atheists and asking them to rank the best Christian leader… they’d have no idea! By the illogical reasoning of the critics, this would make John Maxwell a fraud because he is #1 on BOTH lists!
The IAB Leadership awards use several criteria to determine the winners, including:
- Originality of ideas
- Practicality of ideas
- Presentation style
- Impact of ideas
- Quality of web content, publications and writings
- Ranking of website in America
… and I can promise you that if Orrin was trying to win the award, he would have called me and asked me to help him drum up whatever support was required in order to achieve this tremendous goal. In reality, Orrin has never approached me to do anything to support him winning this award, or any other. The fact is Orrin Woodward simply has enough results, credibility and impact as a leadership expert that he is receiving these well-deserved accolades. As great as those accolades are, I’ve been blessed to work with and be mentored directly by Orrin, (a rare privilege considering the size of his organization) and can say from first-hand experience his leadership results speak for themselves. What other leadership expert has built his own leadership community that packs out stadiums around the country? Also, Orrin is not just a “best-selling” author with a couple of copies of his books sold… the books that bear his name have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and very shortly Orrin’s books will have sold a combined total of over ONE MILLION COPIES.
In one of the silliest blog postings I’ve ever read about Orrin, someone in public relations from a multi-billion dollar company (Amway Global) actually had the gall to call Orrin a “MIS-Leader”, despite the fact that over 40,000 people followed him out of Amway’s former sister corporation Quixtar. Have you ever heard of a billion dollar plus company singling out an individual to throw tomatoes at before? I certainly haven’t. In my mind, above anything else, this confirms Orrin must be a top leader because one of his billion dollar competitors fears him enough to write an entire blog post in a futile attempt to defame his leadership and character. Perhaps this is the real motivation for the Amway drones continued attempts to knock Orrin – they must be feeling pretty embarrassed, having misjudged the character and resolve of Orrin Woodward. Each time he receives another leadership award or accolade these guys are probably reaching for the towel to wipe the egg off of their faces. Orrin, the so called “MIS-leader” just won one of the most prestigious leadership awards in the country in direct competition with Jack Welch, Tony Robbins, and Jim Collins to name just a few of his peers. Ouch… that one had to hurt.
I shake my head when I think of the courage it takes for a leader like Orrin in an industry filled with hype to actually say on our LIFE introductory videos, “We don’t promise easy, but we do promise worth it!” He is the most transparent and service-oriented leader I’ve ever known.
I suppose I may have MIS-understood the meaning of the Amway drone’s blogs… perhaps we might put some thought into what those “MIS” letters could stand for. Maybe this “MIS” acronym means:
- “Massively Inspirational Servant”
- “Mogul of Information Systems”
- “Master of Informative Speeches”
… I’ll bet if we all thought about it, we could come up with a dozen meanings for how Orrin Woodward is an amazing “MIS-Leader!”
With that said, the Amway drones seem to have forgotten the war is over. They remind me of the Japanese soldiers stranded on Pacific islands at the end of WWII… cut off from the real world, they were either never told the war was over or refused to believe it. In the same way, the Amway drones continue to anonymously fight a verbal war that has been settled, hiding behind their online alias. (After all, a drone is secretly controlled from a remote location by someone too cowardly to reveal their identity or get into the fight themselves.) C’mon out of the jungle, drones, and do something productive with your life! TEAM and LIFE have moved on and I would suggest the critics do the same.
Imagine how great community building would be if all competitors agreed to utilize the free enterprise system to serve our customers and make a difference in people lives. Personally I wish all our competitors well who desire to serve communities and provide workable solutions to the challenges in the people’s lives. LIFE and TEAM intend to do the same through the Mental Fitness Challenge.
In closing, it’s no surprise that a leader of Orrin’s caliber attracts his share of cowardly critics, but what is impressive is his response. Orrin has learned and taught the power of turning lemons into lemonade in a person’s life. For if you are going to be an achiever and try to change the world, then you better get your armor on and toughen up your skin, because some non-achiever will throw “tomatoes” your way!