Capping Off The Symphony of Success

Recently, I was thinking through the final resolution in Orrin Woodward’s book, Resolved. If you’re one of the many people who are taking the Mental Fitness Challenge, then you’ve probably spent the last several weeks reading through Resolved and maybe have even finished it – but just in case you haven’t here is what the final resolution says:

Resolved: To reverse the current decline in my field of mastery because I know that a true legacy leaves the world a better place than when I found it.

Orrin Woodward calls Legacy “capping off the symphony of success.” I think most of us would desire to live up to that resolution, but maybe don’t really know how to do it, or where to start.

You see, Legacy is not really about all the things we do, whether we build a successful business or work hard as an engineer or manager or anything else. That’s not necessarily a legacy, though it may be part of it. People will remember more about who we are and what we gave, what we left behind that benefits society; than about what work we did and what things we owned. Legacy is all about what you leave behind for others.

Legacy and LibertyRoman Ruins in the UK picture

Legacy should be the protector of liberty. In Resolved, Orrin writes about the three types of liberty we long for and still have in this country, at least to some degree:

1. Spiritual Liberty
2. Political Liberty
3. Economic Liberty

In the absence of these liberties, our country will continue in decline until – like the ancient Roman Empire – it collapses on itself. Legacy is a defense against that end.

So what can we do?

One place to start is in training up the next generation to be defenders of these three crucial liberties. Teach the kids in your life to thoughtfully invest themselves in God’s work, both locally and internationally. Encourage them to uphold the rule of law and work towards reform in areas where government is weak. Teach kids about money now so they don’t go broke later. Introduce them to English preacher John Wesley’s famous teaching on money, “Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.”

And of course, these aren’t just good lessons for kids. We all should be willing to evaluate our lives and ask the question, “What will I do to create and preserve my legacy and the legacy of my generation?”

The west has a great need for some folks that not only want to leave a legacy but that will WORK to leave a legacy.

I hope you join us.

What are you doing to leave a legacy?

God Bless, Tim Marks

AVOID THIS! – Tripping Points in Community Building

In the years that I’ve worked alongside and mentored with Orrin Woodward and the other LIFE founders, I’ve learned a lot about being a leader in the field of community building. Working with people and building communities is exciting – especially when you have a great tool like the Mental Fitness Challenge – and I love the many opportunities I have to sit down with others along this journey and share things I’ve learned along the way.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that there are many tripping points that a community builder has to watch out for. Even in one of the most exciting and fast growing industries, it doesn’t take much to get off track. So here are a few things I’ve picked up that a community builder should be on the lookout for.
Tripping Hazard

Lack of A Dream

(or of belief in it)

The number one thing that holds most people back is not having a dream. You have to get a clear image in your mind’s eye about what success means to you. I’m not talking about having tons of money, five cars, and a huge house somewhere expensive. I’m talking about the life that you truly want to live. How would you feel if you already had all of that? What would you want then? The answer to those questions will help to reveal your passion and dream for your life.

Negative Expectations

We’ve been conditioned to talk negatively to ourselves all day long. Some people just don’t believe in affirmations, and even go around telling themselves that they aren’t good enough, can’t accomplish anything, and that nothing is really worth doing anyway.

Try saying those things to yourself right now and see how you feel. Negative expectations drag you down, but positive expectations will make good things happen. After all, you don’t drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there…. and not knowing how to swim!!

Negative Beliefs

Negative expectations quickly lead into negative beliefs – and this is a universal problem. An even bigger issue is that most people like their negative beliefs, because they have benefits, they feel familiar and many people think they are “realistic”. These people haven’t realized that letting go of these negative beliefs is the only real way to move ahead. By continuing to accept the negative, many with great potential will find themselves trapped for years!

Everyone has their own set of negative beliefs. Figure out what yours are and start letting them go.

Waiting for Someone Else to Make It

There’s no one to wait on . You alone are responsible for not only the business success you have, but also how much you enjoy life right now. No one else can go after your goals for you. Develop an attitude that says:

“I will pursue and achieve my goals with or without my coach or mentor, my team, my spouse’s support, my friends, my family or anyone else.”

Of course, if all these folks support us it’s certainly easier! And I’m not saying we shouldn’t take advice and heed good counsel. But it’s time to stop hanging around waiting for someone else before we pursue our dreams.

Character

It doesn’t matter how much you say it, your team will know your little character flaws, even if you don’t. Do you say things like, “I’m moving on. I will be on time. I’ll call you back.” but don’t follow through with it?

Watch out! That’s a character problem and it will hurt your community.

Being Comfortable

Familiarity holds everyone back. Feeling like you’re safe and comfortable is nice, but it ultimately keeps you stuck. It’s nowhere near as nice as when you take action, face your fears, and build a life that you truly desire. Being uncomfortable when you do something new is a part of the game and is really just a sign that you’re changing and making progress.

When ancient Greek armies traveled across the sea to do battle, the first thing they would do after landing was to burn the boats, leaving them stranded. With no way to make it home but victory, the resolve of the soldiers was solid.

If you have a goal, but are afraid to commit, force yourself into action by burning the ships that keep you comfortable where you are. Define and believe in your dream, get rid of negative expectations and the negative beliefs they inspire, pursue consistent character and go at it! Avoiding these tripping points will speed you along your way to successful community building.

Have you encountered these tripping points? What strategies have you used to avoid and overcome them?

God Bless, Tim Marks

“Voyage of A Viking” Reveiw

Voyage of a Viking book coverMany thanks to Oliver DeMille for his kind review of my new book, Voyage of a Viking.

 

Years ago I gave a speech at a business convention. I’ve done a lot of these, so I don’t remember every detail or venue, but several really stand out as memorable. On this occasion, the big arena had many thousands of people, but due to construction there was only way to the stage and we had to get there early and sit on the wing of the temporary stadium stage with all the speakers for that session. A construction boss walked us all through together to ensure that we were safe and avoided the danger areas.

This turned out to be a real blessing to me, because the speaker who shared the session with me changed my life. He spoke just after me, and because of the special construction circumstances I had to stay after I spoke and listen to what he had to say. I think if I’d had been scheduled after him I would have been busy thinking about my own speech and not listened closely to his message. Thankfully, I was highly motivated after my speech, and I listened carefully to every word he said.

He started by saying that nearly all his important lessons in life had come from his struggles, failures, mistakes or losses. He was a fan of golf, and talked about how every golf mistake he made taught him how to be a better golfer. He related this to life and business losses, and discussed at length how he was taught in school to avoid mistakes and focus on the lessons of success—but how real life had taught him exactly the opposite.

It was a moving speech. He had us all pencil out our 5 biggest losses and mistakes in life, and then helped us brainstorm at least three major lessons we should have learned from each. That’s fifteen top lessons, and he assured us that these lessons were some of the things we most need to achieve our goals in life. I was mesmerized, instructed, and moved. The speaker was right: my fifteen lessons have been invaluable to me.
I went away deeply touched by this speech. I have seldom listened to a speech or read a book that was so genuine, so real, so deep, and so powerful. Until today.

Today I read a book that struck me the same way this speech did. Voyage of a Viking by Tim Marks is a must read for anyone who cares about success and leadership. It will apply to moms, dads, mentors, professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and everyone else. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I read the book straight through from the beginning to the end.

I was touched, moved, motivated, instructed. I cried. I read quotes to my wife, and later to two of my kids. I found myself taking notes about my own life, and making plans to be better. This book is incredibly real, genuine, and powerful.

Marks admits that not everything in Viking history should be emulated, but he emphasizes how much we can learn from the positive Viking traits, including such things as yearning for freedom, being courageous explorers and connecting communities. He teaches how the name for the modern Bluetooth comes from the Viking king “Bluetooth” Gormsson of AD 958, a great builder of bridges (literally and figuratively) between communities. This concept of bridge-building is still much needed in all facets of modern leadership.

Marks shows how another Viking trait worthy of emulation is bullheadedness, which combines initiative and innovation with tenacity and ingenuity. Together these form the base of the great entrepreneurial values—they are also the de facto values of the great free societies in history.

One of the most moving things in this book is Marks’ view of what it means to be an adult, a leader, and a man. In many ways this reminds me of one of my favorite authors—Louis L’Amour. Some prestigious universities were criticized a few years back when they began using L’Amour texts in great literature courses, but this didn’t surprise me. Some of his works are, in fact, truly great.

As a youth, one of my favorite pastimes was reading L’Amour. My dad was a school teacher by trade, and my mom was an English teacher for both high school and college, but our family ran a farm with croplands as well as cattle, sheep, horses and other animals, and a lot of my non-school time was spent working with my dad and brothers on the farm.

In later years, after I became an author, my brothers made it a standing joke to laugh about how often they’d be in the middle of a farm project (hauling hay, moving wheat into bins, building fences, shearing sheep, exercising the horses, etc.) only to notice that somehow I’d slipped away from the work and was nowhere to be found—I was nearly always high on haystack in one of the barns reading books by L’Amour or some other author. Marks’ Voyage of a Viking book would have fit right in.

This is a book about life, what it means to live a good one, and how all of us have to overcome our challenges if we want to make a positive difference in the world. In my book The Student Whisperer, which I wrote with Tiffany Earl, I wrote about the “desert” or “wilderness” that all leaders must pass through on the path to any success, but I have never seen it more effectively described than in Voyage of a Viking. This alone is worth the price of the book.

But there is so much more. Marks’ thesis sums up what this book, and in fact all success in life, is all about: “Define what you want, learn from someone who has gone before you, and then do it for the glory of God.” Right on. It is full of profound gems. For example: “Being humble doesn’t mean you think less of yourself—it means you think of yourself less,” and “We can judge how good we are as students by how fast we implement our mentor’s advice.”

Perhaps the most powerful thing about this excellent book, as I mentioned earlier, is that it is one of those rare contributions to success literature that shows how our losses, struggles, setbacks, mistakes, and challenges are some of our most important teachers and mentors. A lot of books tell us to make lemonade out of lemons or see the silver lining in things, but this book shows us how this works—in real life, in the face of real obstacles, in our own experiences. As such, it is literally a must read.

Leadership is about wisdom, and Voyage of a Viking is a profoundly wise book. There a few wisdom books every leader simply must read, like Corrie Ten Boom’s Tramp for the Lord, Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, or L’Amour’s The Last of the Breed. And, of course, there are a few truly wise business books, such as The Radical Leap by Steve Farber, Good to Great by Jim Collins, Organizing Genius by Warren Bennis, Johnson’s and Blanchard’s Who Moved My Cheese?, among others. And who can forget Goleman’s Primal Leadership, or The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey? Tim Marks’ Voyage of a Viking fits right in to this list.

As Marks himself says about this book: “This is a no-holds-barred discussion on the speed of the leader determining the speed of the group.” This book is fun. It is about finding yourself as a leader by dedicating your life to serving others, and it is about the adage, as articulated in the foreword by Orrin Woodward, that example in leadership isn’t the main thing, it’s everything.

I’m still applying those 15 lessons I penciled out years ago as I listened just off stage, and I know that many years in the future I’ll still be re-reading and applying the things I learned today in Voyage of a Viking. It’s a truly great book. So do yourself a favor and don’t miss out on this great contribution to leadership!

Oliver DeMille is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education, Leadership Education, The Student Whisperer, The Coming Aristocracy, Freedom Shift, and other books on freedom and leadership.

 

To read DeMille’s review of Viking on Amazon.com and to add your own, click here.

God Bless, Tim Marks

Lessons off the Basketball Court – Part 2

For most college basketball fans tonight is the greatest game of the season. At the end of the night a new national champion will be crowned. Legendary coach John Wooden celebrated a record 16 such victories with his UCLA Bruins. But before any buzzer sounded or a ball was tipped to begin the game, Wooden taught his players something infinitely more important than the skills that would lead them to championships time and time again. He introduced them to the code his father had passed on to him, a simple Seven Point Creed to live by.

Here it is…Lessons off the basketball court picture

Be true to your self.
Make each day your masterpiece.
Help others.
Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
Make friendship a fine art.
Build a shelter against a rainy day.
Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

I’ve already shared some thoughts on that first one, Be true to yourself, so let’s take a look at a couple more.

Make each day your masterpiece.

In other words, how would you spend today if your entire life would be judged by this one day? If you knew that tonight at  twelve o’clock you were going to have a heart attack and die, how would you live? What would you do?

For most of us, just the idea of our last day brings up other questions – What would I do? Who would I spend time with? What would I appreciate the most? How would I treat people? How would I plan my day?

These are all questions to ask if you want to make each day a masterpiece, especially that last one – How do I plan my day? The reality is that most people don’t plan their day. In fact, most folks in North America spend more time planning their wedding than they do planning to work on their marriage every day.

Zig Zigler has a great quote: “Live your day by the clock and your life with a vision.

Live your day by the clock – be on time for things, respect others time and your own.
Live your live with a vision – go after a vision of what you want your life to be like. What do you want to do? What do you want to be?

Plan your day and plan to make each day your masterpiece.

Help others. This was John Wooden’s dad’s third point.

To really help others we need to learn to love others. To learn to love others we need to learn about people. There is a great book called Encouragement, The Key to Caring by Lawrence Crabb. If you’ve not read it I highly recommend that you do.

Now, I have a reputation of being a Viking, though I’m not really that way anymore. I try to show my family especially that I’m not the way that I used to be. One way to do this is by modeling for my children a willingness to help other people. Whether that’s stopping to help out the guy who’s tire blew out on the side of the road or serving in our church, it’s important for me to set the example for my family.

Helping others doesn’t stop with strangers, though. Help those that are close to you. So many husbands neglect their families for the sake of work, not realizing that their wives and kids are starving for love at home. So many wives run from meetings to sports events to church functions, so caught up with being busy with the kids that they neglect their husbands. Help the strangers stranded on the side of the road, but don’t forget to help those closest to you too.

God Bless, Tim Marks

Lessons off the Basketball Court – John Wooden’s Seven Point Creed

This time of year, many people are filling out tournament brackets and focusing on the game of basketball as the NCAA March Madness tournament continues. Each year there are wonderful players and coaches showcased as their teams battle for a spot in the Elite Eight or Final Four.

John Wooden photoThere is a lot to be learned from sports figures, particularly coaches.

Wooden is one of my favorite leaders of all time, but the qualities that made him so were developed well before the UCLA Bruins won their first National Title.  He began working on his mental fitness at a young age. When John Wooden graduated from grammar school, his dad, Joshua Wooden, gave him the Seven Point Creed. And from what I’ve read and heard, he passed this creed along to all his students and players.

Be true to yourself
Make each day your masterpiece.
Help others.
Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
Make friendship a fine art.
Build a shelter against a rainy day.
Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

Let’s unpack these a bit.

Be true to yourself

According to Wikipedia, to be true to yourself means to act in accordance with who you are and what you believe. That’s pretty accurate, but it forces us to ask the questions, “Who am I?” and “What do I believe?” Many people can’t even begin to be true to themselves because they don’t know the answers to those questions.

This leads to an even more basic question, “What is truth?” Of course, answering it isn’t so simple. Some might offer a definition like this one: Truth is that which conforms to reality, fact, or your actuality. But this definition doesn’t really define truth at all.

It is a dangerous thing to just say, “I can be true to myself” while thinking, “I can change my definition of truth if I don’t like it.” I’ve watched people try to do that, and it has damaged their lives. Many however, still hold to the belief that truth is changeable.

A recent Barna Research Group survey asked the question, “Is there absolute Truth?” Sixty-six percent of adults responded that they believe that “there is no such thing as absolute truth; different people can define truth in conflicting ways and still be correct.” This might sound good until it’s applied to an example. What about murder? If my truth is that it’s okay to kill others, but you think killing is wrong, you don’t want to be around when my truth collides with yours.

Now you might be thinking, “Tim, that’s not a good example. Nobody really believes that killing people is okay.” But more than four thousand times a day in our country, someone acts on that very belief.

“Truth is whatever you believe.”

“There is no absolute truth.”

“If there were such a thing as absolute truth, how could we know what it is?”

“People who believe in absolute truth are dangerous.”

As you can see from the above statements, the fact is that most people are confused about truth. And how can you be true to yourself, if you don’t understand what truth is? Of course, the standard that I look to for absolute unchanging truth is the Bible. Throughout history, even those who have not embraced the message of the Bible have recognized the importance of the moral truths found in the Ten Commandments. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not lie. Our laws are based on these truths.

Coach Wooden recognized the need for a standard as well, and set up certain principles for his players. These principles were not changeable no matter what the situation. When one of his top players showed up with facial hair (which Wooden didn’t allow) and refused to shave, Wooden responded, “We are going to miss you.”

Before you can be true to yourself, you have to know who you are. Before you can know who you are, you must understand what truth is. What is the standard? What is it that you believe? Most people will never dare to ask these questions, but those who rise to the challenge will begin to develop the mental fitness and character that Coach Wooden exhibited.

Know what you believe and know why you believe it. Let truth determine the moral standards of your life. Then hold yourself to the standard and be true to yourself.

God Bless, Tim Marks

Live on Results Food

Voya of a Viking bookHard work and consistent effort are important parts of success, but they are nothing without results. At some point a winner has to stop being satisfied with “activity food” and start craving “results food.” I examine with this idea in my new book, “The Voyage of a Viking,” due out in April. I hope you enjoy this excerpt.

God Bless, Tim Marks

At the heart of winning comes a hunger to succeed. Something inside us craves a big victory. There has to be a gnawing, aching feeling in your gut that things must be made right for us to feel content, and that we’ll get out there and “do what it takes”. This is a pretty noble feeling and I applaud people with the guts to try. But trying is not enough.

 

I once heard about a motivational speaker who invited an audience member up onto the stage to help him demonstrate a point. On the stage was a fold-up chair. The motivational speaker pointed to it and asked the volunteer to “try to pick up the chair.” The man looked puzzled at the request, because this seemed like a pretty easy request! The man reached over and picked up the chair.

 

The motivational speaker said “No, no, no, I’d like you to try to pick up the chair. Don’t pick it up; I want you to only try to pick it up.”
Confused, the man picked up the chair again, and once again the speaker said, laughing, “No! Don’t pick up the chair; just try to pick up the chair. You keep doing it wrong! You keep picking it up! I want you to just try to pick it up!”

 

This went back and forth a few more times with the volunteer getting increasingly confused and frustrated. Finally, the motivational speaker said: “To quote Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, ‘Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.’”

 

Missing a goal hurts inside. If someone has a gnawing aching feeling in their gut that demands that they succeed, the pain is too great to ignore. We must feast on some sort of food to try to get rid of that pain. But the type of food that satisfies us is a big key to what happens next. You see, if we just simply “try hard” to reach our goal, if we feel ok about running around, only being busy, then we are attempting to satisfy ourselves with what I call “activity food.”

 

A winner eventually loses his appetite for mere “activity food.” There comes a point when people who become successful find that “activity food” starts to taste pretty bland; it lacks any nutritional value in the diet of achievement. We have to reach a point where we get sick and tired of simply working hard, and getting nothing to show for our effort. We are on the path to success when we are no longer satisfied with “activity food”; but instead we crave “results food.”

 

Robert Fritz said, “All too often people fail to focus their choices upon results and therefore their choices are ineffective. If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.” These are great words of wisdom. We have to decide to be satisfied, not just with effort, but with results.

Are You REALLY Willing to Win?

LIFE event at Visalia Convention CenterThis weekend, Amy and I had the privilege of joining Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and the other members of LIFE Leadership in Visalia, California and Columbus, Ohio for our annual Winter Leadership Conventions. One thing I tried to emphasize as I spoke to groups of people who are committed to becoming leaders was the importance of the will to win.

The will to win says, “I will do it, no matter what.”  Of course, “no matter what” involves a lot of hard work. In fact, it’s critical to winning that you be willing to work – and usually, that work begins with working on you! The will to win comes from looking honestly at where you are and deciding where it is you want to go.

I suggested seven questions that a leader should ask of himself, to evaluate where he is and how much he really wants to win.

1. Do I blame others for my lack of success? Every leader will find some kind of failure in victory. Do you blame yourself or others when things go wrong?

2. Do I have to be continually motivated or fired up? There is nothing wrong with being encouraged, but  leaders don’t require others to build them up before they get into action.

3. Am I driven more by looking good and recognition than I am by doing good and being good? Growth in integrity is more important than growth in business, or being recognized for an accomplishment.

4. How do I spend my discretionary time?

5. How do I spend my discretionary money? Where you invest your time and money exposes what things are most important to you.

6. Who are my heroes? Who do you look up to and why do you look up to them? Watch what is going into your mind, because that’s where your heroes come from.

7. When I am alone, what do I dream about? If you dream about the things you claim are valuable, then that will shape your actions. These thoughts will help you become the leader you want to be and develop your will to win.

How do you measure up when you go through these questions? Are you willing to work, and to win?

God Bless, Tim Marks

If We Aren’t Humble, We Will Be Humbled

My mentor, Orrin Woodward, says leaders should value excellence over ego. I couldn’t agree more – in fact, I’m convinced that humility is an essential quality of a great leader.  I included a section on humility in my upcoming book, The Voyage of a Viking. I hope you enjoy this excerpt.

God Bless, Tim Marks

 

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke, 14:11, ESV

 

Defeat can be a blessing.  Many times it is.  Defeat forces us to face reality and admit our weaknesses.  If we are in the process of becoming a leader, defeat is used to prepare us for that responsibility.  It’s better to make a mistake leading a small group of people and improve yourself then, rather than NOT learn the lesson and make that same mistake when you are leading a large group of people.

 

Maybe we are harsh with people, as I was and sometimes still have to be on guard against. Maybe we are disorganized. Maybe we are moody, or unpleasant to be around. Maybe we are negative. Whatever we need to improve, defeat usually has a way of pointing out our “area of opportunity.” As Tommy Newbury says, “We often don’t realize it, but we frequently come face to face with the exact obstacle we need at just the right time to sharpen us where we need it the most.” Hopefully, we can swallow our pride, admit we need to grow in a certain area, and say, “I need to overcome this weakness.”

 

One area of character that defeat really helps us manage is arrogance and pride. If we aren’t humble, we will be humbled – count on it! I know when I started having fast success in building my leadership business I made the mistake of “reading my own press clippings.” I listened to those who were praising me and cheering for me, and I started to get a big puffed up chest, thinking I was “all that and a bag of chips.”  Well, God corrected me on that one pretty quickly by causing my business to slow down until I faced my arrogance. In fact, any time my pride has gotten out of hand, He sends me a gentle little reminder to knock me back into place.

 

I’m amazed at how we struggle with arrogance and pride, because a lot of the time we look pretty goofy to the people around us. It might do us some good to stop trying to look good all the time and just come down to earth. C.J. Mahaney, author of Humility: True Greatness, suggests one way to manage pride. He says, “First, play golf as much as possible.  Yep, golf. In my athletic experience, I don’t think there’s a more difficult or humbling sport. Rather, humiliating – because if you play at all, you know all about those shots that result in laughter from you partners and humiliation for you. No one escapes them.” I think we could all benefit by loosening up and allowing ourselves to look silly more often.

“Viking” Sets Sail in Early 2012

Viking ShipJust a few days ago, my mentor and friend, Orrin Woodward, posted an announcement on his leadership blog about a soon-to-be-released book.  I’m also excited to add my confirmation that The Voyage of a Viking, which chronicles my own journey in leadership and many of the things I’ve learned along the way, is due out early next year. Orrin graciously agreed to write the forward, which you can read here.  I have posted the article in its entirety below.

God Bless, Tim Marks

_______________________________________________________

Tim Mark’s new book The Voyage of a Viking, is to be released early next year. I had the honor to read a galley copy and write the foreword. Although expecting excellence, since Tim accepts nothing less from himself, this book surpassed my highest standards. I found myself laughing then crying, inspired emotionally, and finally, thankful that I know such a man and leader. Chris Brady and I routinely remark at Tim’s ability to constantly improve himself and he has done it again! Here is the foreword that I wrote for his upcoming book. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

In today’s age, many people blame others for their non-productive lives, proclaiming themselves victims of society’s mistreatment. Tim Mark’s early life had all the signs of qualifying for victimhood, with one extremely important difference, he refused to go along with society’s labels. Tim’s near legendary success today – tens of thousands of people within his leadership community; keynote speaker in front of tens of thousands of people, loving husband to his beautiful wife Amy and father of four wonderful children – can easily overshadow his humble beginnings; which is why Tim’s new book, The Voyage of a Viking, is part autobiography, personal development, and leadership, all married into one.

In the book, Tim first shared his life story. I found myself pulling for young Tim as he explained some of his struggles with schooling, parent’s divorce, and latch-key childhood. Tim’s inspiring stories of dreams, struggles and victories will move millions of others to action who started out on the “wrong-side of the tracks.”  It’s so easy to see the finished product, but not realize the arduous journey taken in order to achieve it. Few people have overcome as many obstacles in so short a time. So many lessons are taught through his stories that I found myself in awe of Tim’s overcoming spirit and God’s redeeming grace.

Second, Tim shares the key principles of personal development which helped him in his journey from viking to victory. I have had the honor of mentoring hundreds of leaders over the last eighteen years, working with Tim for the last twelve years. No one that I personally mentored moves from problem identified to problem solved as quickly as Tim Marks! In fact, Tim’s ability to confront issues and change is directly related to his humility. Instead of defending his ego and sacrificing excellence, Tim chooses to defend excellence through sacrificing his ego. The lessons he teaches on his viking journey will enhance everyone’s life.

Lastly, Tim captures the essence of leadership – example. Tim lives the 13 principles that I share in my book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE. Remember, example is everything in leadership, it’s the only thing. Tim leads by example in everything that he does, whether it’s through encouraging the downhearted, loving the unloveable, courageously confronting, or celebrating others victories. Tim started out as a student of  leadership but has now graduated as one of the best teachers and examples of leadership in America today. Moreover, I find I learn just as much from Tim as I teach because of the man of grace he has become. Not to mention that he has become one of my best friends and a person whom I trust unconditionally.

Tim and Amy Marks story should be shared around the world. At a time when heroes are nearly an extinct species, their story displays that with courage and the right principles, heroic lives are still possible. Don’t just read this book. Devour it. Choose to live and lead with the principles in this book, becoming another example of what God’s grace can do in a person’s life. What are you waiting for? Isn’t it time to start you start your learning voyage through the Viking’s life and leadership?

Great Goals Only Come Out Of Great Dreams

One thing my mentor, Orrin Woodward, has helped me develop is the habit of setting goals. G-O-A-L-S, goals. Goal setting not only helps me structure where I want to go in LIFE, but it gives me a way to keep score.

Great goals only come out of great dreams, but once you have a big dream you’ll be more apt to get some goals together. Of course, there is more to goal setting then just sitting down and thinking them up. There is a little bit of strategy to it. Really great goals need to be three things: written, specific, and scheduled.

 

  • Written – In Launching a Leadership Revolution, Orrin and his co-author, Chris Brady, underscore the need to have written goals. If they’re not written down we’re tempted to think that our goals are not important or we might even forget what they are. Write your goals down – that’s step one.
  • Specific – Be specific about your goals, because when you focus on specific goals you tell yourself, “I am going to keep score.” When your goals are specific then you know exactly what you’re aiming for. This works for me and I’m sure it will work for anyone else. I perform differently when I am keeping score. Make your specific goals aggressive yet realistic. This is where a mentor can be a big help. Just like Orrin and I work together on goal setting, get with someone who can help you come up with some specific, realistic goals.
  • Scheduled – Great goals are set on a time-line. There needs to be an end date set for getting things done, and it should be something that is sooner than 3012. Having a time-line in mind will get you moving rather than spending all your time planning. This makes all the difference in the world. As Stephen Covey says, “A mediocre strategy well executed is infinitely better than a well executed strategy that sits on the shelf.”

Now some people look at goals and say, “I don’t want to have a goal because what if I miss it and then I won’t feel good?”

If you have a big enough dream, then your goal is going to be something that will fire you up, even if you miss it. I don’t hit that many of my goals the first time I set them. I  still rarely hit them the first time. I think I’ve only hit one or two in their original time frame. That does makes me mad! But if I don’t hit it, I just say, “Here’s an opportunity for me to get better.”

You are going to miss goals along the way, but I can tell you this, if you have an expectation that you’ll hit a goal, then your mind will find a way to make it happen. So get with a mentor and set some written, specific, and scheduled goals – then get out there and execute them!

God Bless, Tim Marks

Ready to Launch – LIFE Leadership!

StaLIFE Leadership begins 11-1-11 photorting this evening, Orrin Woodward and the leaders of LIFE Leadership will gather in Columbus, Ohio to prepare for the launch of something that will change the face of our business for the better forever. LIFE Leadership is a merger of four difference industries. It’s community building meets self improvement, and  life coaching meets network marketing – all combined in a way that will bless and change the lives of those involved.

It’s history in the making this weekend in Columbus. Are you ready? Here we go!

God Bless, Tim Marks

Leadership thoughts and perspective