Shifting Lanes in Life

In their book, Launching a Leadership Revolution, Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady write, “The right lane is never crowded. There always seems to be a shortage of leaders, but a plethora of people heading the other way.”

Which way to go photoBut why are all these guys going the wrong way? I believe it’s because they don’t know where they are going, don’t know when they’ll arrive and they don’t care or don’t have the courage to change directions. Many of them might be just like I was, driven by pride and a sense of self-preservation that closes the mind.

Shifting to the right lane isn’t always easy. I know, when I first heard about Orrin and the LIFE Leadership business, I wanted nothing to do with it. A couple of friends tried to show me the plan and I said, “Get that thing out of here.” Literally, I hit the paper.

“No, it’s stupid. It won’t work.”

Still to date I don’t think I have met anyone who is as close-minded as I was when I was exposed to this industry. Probably the biggest thing that changed from that first day was that I opened my mind.

When I saw the network marketing industry, my only thought was to defend my position and I had no interest at all in seeking the truth. Ultimately what was driving this was my pride and self-preservation because of all the work that I had put into becoming an engineer. I didn’t want to admit that it might not take me where I wanted to go because I did work so hard at it.

That is natural. I still see people today who do the exact same thing. They are willing to sacrifice success on the alter of pride because they don’t want to let go and consider that what they are doing might not get them where they want to go. Most people have bought into this typical way of thinking.

“Hey if I just go get a degree then I will be successful.” If that were true, then ninety-five percent of the people wouldn’t be broke out there.

Now I am one hundred percent for education. When I was exposed to LIFE Leadership, I was only for college education, and I thought that was the road to get me where I wanted to go. Then I read a book called The Magic of Thinking Big. It does exactly that, it gets you to think big, and I really fell in love with the process of education. I wasn’t just educating myself out of duty, which is what I think a lot of people do, but I developed a hunger for truth.

That has effected so many areas of my life – in my business life, my marriage life, my faith life.  A hunger to know the truth keeps me pointed in the right direction.

So if you find yourself traveling down the wrong lane, open your mind. After all, a mind is like a parachute – it’s not worth much if it’s not open. Fall in love with learning, hunger for the truth and seek it. It could turn your life around.

God Bless, Tim Marks

Resolved to Lead

I love what the movie Courageous teaches about resolutions fathers should make in leading their families. Working with Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, I’ve learned that many of the same principles apply to leading a team. Within families and all other areas of LIFE,  John Christian Bovee has it right when he says, “Example has more followers than reason. We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and approximate to the characters we most admire.”

High-performing teams tend to start with high-performing leaders. If a leader is a bump-on-a-log, leading through position or intimidation, any high-performers on their team are probably looking past them with an eye towards gaining the respect and attention of a better qualified leader higher up on the ladder.

If we are ever dissatisfied with how our team is performing, whether it is our team at work, at church, on the sports field or even our family ‘team’, we should never point the finger at the other people involved. We should always have a conversation with the leader in the mirror and ask “What more could I have done, and what more can I do now?”

Bill Hybels says “Speed of the leader, speed of the team.” He’s right. If we cannot say ‘Follow me,’ to our followers – and mean it – then we’ve got a problem, a big one. A great leader has to be able to say, “Follow my values. Follow my integrity. Follow my work ethic, my commitment, and my communication patterns. Fight as I fight. Focus as I focus. Sacrifice as I sacrifice. Love as I love. Repent as I repent. Admit wrong as I admit wrong.”

But it’s not enough for leaders just to say they are going to do these things, leaders worth following must be Resolved to live this way. This is what I love about Courageous. It calls fathers (or anyone for that matter) to live according to certain principles.

    I WILL confront evil, pursue justice and love mercy.
    I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect and compassion.
    I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
    I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins and walk with integrity as a man [or a woman] answerable to God.

These and other statements like them should form our resolve as we lead out in our homes, our churches and all other areas of LIFE. When LIFE Leadership launches on 11-1-11, it will bring with it great opportunity to put these principles of leadership in to practice and change the community building industry for the better forever!


Commitment. We all struggle with it in some way shape or form – we just have to be aware of it. Zig Zigler says “Most people are about as committed as a kamikaze pilot on his seventh mission.”

That is kind of funny if you understand what a kamikaze pilot is.

Think about marriage or college. Only about 50% of people who go to college actually finish. I’m told that only half of those who do graduate college actually work in the field that they studied. Gym memberships are another one that comes to mind. Each January, thousands of people in every state make a commitment. “Hey I’m going to work out. I’m going to get in shape.”

Now I know there are some people who enjoy working out, but even they probably like the end result more. The reason that people go to the gym is because they want the end result. They want to lose weight. They want to feel better about themselves. The minute they take their eyes off that they won’t go do the action because they have not committed to it.

We have to commit. There is a reason that gyms have unlimited memberships but limited equipment. Why are there a limited number of machines in there? Because the gym owners realize that people do not keep their commitments.

Another quote I love is “Good sailors are not made on calm seas.”

Back in the time of the sailing ships they didn’t have access to instant weather and GPS. You couldn’t call a phone number and check the weather or get on the internet and look up the weather report. Good sailors are never made on calm seas, they are made on rough seas. These sailing ships would go out, and when you are fifty, eighty, a hundred miles off the coast and a storm comes, you’re going to learn to be a good sailor. You’re pretty much committed. You will become a good sailor.

That level of commitment does not exist in so many of our lives because we just don’t need to be that committed. For whatever reason our country has become incredibly noncommittal. We think commitment is only for the speKayaking photocial or the strong.

I remember seeing a poster about commitment once. It had a picture of a guy in a kayak and he was going over this waterfall that looked to be about fifty or sixty feet tall. Once you get over the precipice of that waterfall you are fully committed. You are going, no matter what you want to do. I am pretty sure there is no reverse on a kayak. There was a cute saying and it was a very inspirational thing to look at, but it raises a crucial question.

We have to ask ourselves, like the guy in the kayak, are we committed to anything? Are we that committed to anything? What is it in your LIFE, that you need to commit to today?

God Bless, Tim Marks

Follow a Great Leader

There is no substitute for following a great leader who has vision, results, and humility. My mentor, Orrin Woodward, is a great example of this.

As you are growing in life, you want to learn from those who have developed a huge vision and are working to make it happen, because a leader has got to have vision and he has got to be taking people with him. One of the biggest things that I see in Orrin Woodward is just that – he is vision driven. The great leader focused on vision is the person to learn from.

But how do you find somebody like that? That’s where it can become very difficult. Try to learn from a leader who has what you want in most areas of their life. You might find someone who has great results in one area, and think, “Man, this guy has great leadership qualities, he can inspire people. People want to follow him.”

When you look again though, you might notice that he’s been divorced forty-seven times and he doesn’t treat his kids very nicely.

Now, I’m using an extreme example, but the point is that I want to follow people who have success in most of the areas that I value in life because I believe that when you live your life by principles it will carry over into all areas of life.

That’s why I choose to follow a leader like Orrin. When the whole industry was going backwards I watched him grow. That in itself is a rare thing. I watched him build a community of people who were willing to follow him through tough times. But not only that, I’ve watched him work hard to be a a better father, to be a better husband. He reads books and the results show up in his life. Orrin is not ashamed to grow in any area, even as he mentors others.

Which brings me to the last thing to look for in a leader worth following – humility. A great leader isn’t caught up in his own success, but is focused on continuing to get better. I’ve seen so many leaders who have had marginal successes, read their own press clippings, and stop growing. Look for the opposite in a great leadership.

Orrin Woodward get more humble as the years go by. The more success he has in leadership, the less he reads his own press clippings. He’s always hungry for more growth and an eager student in all areas of LIFE.

If you are looking for a leader to follow, keep your eye out for vision, results and humility. Where you find them, you find a great leader.

God Bless, Tim Marks

What’s Your Passion?

Here’s a question every leader should ask, “What am I passionate about in life? How much can I focus on my passion? What do I really like to do?”

When I was going through engineering school, I have to be honest, the thing that I was most passionate about was spending time with my wife, Amy, and only son (at that time), Cam. I didn’t get to do that very much, so that passion became dull. I worked hard, but I lost track of that passion.

What's your passion?My mentor, Orrin Woodward, is the co-author of the bestselling book, Launching a Leadership Revolution. He and fellow author, Chris Brady, teach in their book that to truly have success in life and be happy, follow three simple steps.

Step One: Define what it is you want out of life.

Step Two: Learn from someone who has what you want.

Step Three: Go out and Do what that person did.

That sounds so simple, but very few people do it. I did the “Define, Learn, Do” process backwards. I did what I had to do to pay the bills – I went out and got a job. There is nothing wrong with that, it is certainly respectable to have a job. Then, I went to work and learned from a bunch of people who had the same kind of lifestyle that I had or even worse. The things I learned defined my lifestyle. If I had done it the other way, I would’ve asked myself, “Tim, what are you passionate about?”

We often ask children, “What are you going to be?” or “What are you going to do?”

Well, what about you? What do you want to be? What do you want to do? What’s your passion? What’s driving you? Where do you see yourself going?

My son, Nash, is nine years old and he wants to be an NFL football player. I totally support him in that. I am not going to tell him, “Hey Nash, you know, only so many people make it into the NFL and you are homeschooled, so you are really going to have a little bit of a tougher time. You’ve got to have skills and you’ve got to have certain kind of talent. I don’t want to see you get your feelings hurt.”

That’s a line of garbage that we would never tell our children. So why would we ever tell ourselves that? I think the answer is that we aren’t passionate. We have lost our passion about whatever it is that’s important to us. Everyone ought to get a grip on something they are passionate about. Maybe you want to go do missionary work. Maybe you want to be a builder. Maybe you want to be an engineer. Maybe you want to start your own business. Maybe you want to be a plant manager and make a difference.

Figure out what it is that you are passionate about and follow that three step process. Define, Learn, Do.

God Bless, Tim Marks

Leadership thoughts and perspective