Tag Archives: Orrin Woodward

Viking Leadership

Now if you have read my book, Voyage of a Viking, then you already know that there was more to these Norse warriors than the looting and pillaging helmeted guys we so often see in the movies. In fact, while there definitely were plenty of coastal raids, there were a lot more things that the Vikings did well – things modern leaders can learn from.

The more I looked over these “Viking Laws” the more I liked them, and I started thinking of some of the principles that great leaders employ as they seek to grow their businesses and endeavors.

Let’s take a few minutes to learn something from our Viking brothers

The Viking Laws

1. Be Brave and Aggressive: Be direct, Grab all opportunities – In other words, don’t be afraid to take chances. You do have to do the work to gain success, it doesn’t come to those who just sit around. What are you waiting for? The perfect time never comes.  So don’t be a whiner – instead take the Viking way, get out there and do something! It might get hard along the way (in fact, it probably will) but as the great leader Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through Hell, keep moving!”

2. Be Prepared: Keep your weapons in good condition, Keep in shape, Choose good battle comrades – Of course, if you are going to get out there and do something you ought to be prepared. Have your weapons (products, information, tools, business cards) ready. Keep in shape mentally through reading great books and taking time to focus on personal growth.  Find people like that to be your “battle comrades” as you continue along your success journey.

3. Be a Good Merchant: Find out what the market needs, Don’t make promises you can’t keep – A great leader is out to meet needs and shows integrity and character in what he or she does. John Wooden, an amazing leader on and off the basketball court, taught his players a lot more than the game. He underscored three basic life rules – never lie, never cheat, and never steal. Living by these three simple things will assure that you are a leader people can trust.

4. Keep the Camp Tidy – This is where I have to break from my Viking comrades and say, “Nope, make a mess!”  Sometimes leadership is messy business, and to get things done you have to wade in and get your hands dirty (see Law 1). If you try to put together the perfect, tidy conditions before you get going, you will never go anywhere. Don’t fear the mess and don’t wimp out.

Now, I’m not saying just charge in a without any care, shattering anything and anyone in your way. Instead, be honest and work on yourself rather than looking around and trying to figure out what is wrong with the world, and encourage your battle comrades to do the same. That’s the only way you will grow (and the camp will stay relatively tidy).

For all that might be said about the Vikings, they certainly knew how to get things done. So grab up your own ax and helmet and start to put these laws into practice in your business. You might be surprised what successes await when you begin leading the Viking way.

Have you applied any of the Viking Laws to your business or other endeavors?

God Bless, Tim Marks

DO THIS! – Important Tools for Your Success Journey

A few weeks ago I pointed out some things I’ve learned to avoid along the road to success. Through mentoring with my good friend, Orrin Woodward, I’ve learned to define and believe in my dreams, get rid of negative expectations and negative beliefs, pursue character and get out of my comfort zone. Of course, those aren’t the only keys to navigating the journey of success, so here are a few more tools for the road.

Get Rid of a Wrong View of Success

What good is trying to move on along the road to success if you don’t even know what success really is? Most people assume success can be measured by something you accomplish or own, but they would be wrong. Success, real success, doesn’t come from the outside, it comes from the inside.

This is where it’s important to apply the Define, Learn, Do principle. That starts with thinking about what you truly want when it comes to success, and asking yourself what it will give you that you wouldn’t otherwise have. Keep asking that question so you can keep finding answers that move you along the road.

The truth of the matter is that we all ultimately want to feel good about ourselves, and we don’t have to get stuff or accomplish things to do so. True success always comes from the inside.

Don’t settle for Mediocrity

If real success comes from the inside, then you can change whenever you want through working on your personal mental fitness. Success isn’t what you thought it was, so don’t settle for “good enough.” Working on inward success doesn’t have to be a drag, it can be fun and enjoyable.

Build Trust (in yourself and the process toward success)

It’s essential that you trust the process.  Once you’ve started along the road to real success, you don’t have to know exactly how it’s all going to work out. In fact, it’s impossible to know all the ins and outs of the success journey.

Have Passion

What you do need to know is what you are passionate about. Follow your highest excitement, seek some counsel and have some trust in yourself, because ultimately you are the only one who can discover the passions that will spur you along the road to success.

The most successful people are those who are passionate about what they do. Now, there are people out there that don’t love what they do and are successful financially but dying on the inside. That’s because money doesn’t make you happy.

Being successful is not about making a lot of money, it’s about doing what you love, what you are passionate about, and doing what God has called you to do. The funny thing is that when you do something you love and get really good at it, the money tends to follow.

As you consider the road to real success, trusting yourself and following your passions may seem a overwhelming, even scary. That’s the time to take action – it’s the best way to conquer fear and build confidence. As soon as you do, you’ll begin accumulating experience and knowledge and soon find yourself moving on along your success journey.

How have you learned to define real success? Has discovering your passions been an important tool on your personal success journey?

God Bless, Tim Marks

Develop Mental Toughness

Whether you are an athlete on the gridiron or in the boardroom, a certain quality is always found in the guys who remain standing when the storm winds blow.  When rejection hits these guys it bounces off them like spitballs off of a battleship.  They chuckle at groundless criticism.  They bounce back quickly from setbacks.  They feel energized to try even harder after a defeat.  That special quality these warriors are showing is something called “mental toughness”.  Wikipedia defines this as “a term commonly used by coaches, sport psychologists, sport commentators, and business leaders – generally describes a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.” (Emphasis added.)

Each of us will receive a gut shot at some point in our lives that knocks the wind right out of us.  It’s not a matter of whether you will be struck by disaster, but when.  In my first book, Voyage of a Viking, I describe in detail many of the challenges I faced through my life.  I’ve faced my storms and I know that I have more storms awaiting me.  I also know that you do as well.  Rather than sitting around moaning and complaining when we are being pelted by chunks of hail the size of golf balls, we can put on a suit of armor to deflect whatever life throws at us.  That suit of armor is your mental toughness.

You can’t measure mental toughness; you measure its effect.  You can’t measure what’s going on inside a leaders head, but you sure can measure their behavior!  You see it when they lose their biggest customer one month, and it ticks them off just enough to go smash a sales record the next month.    You can see mental toughness when someone is running a marathon and they are gasping for breath, and the only thing keeping them putting one painful footstep in front of the next is their strength of will.  You see it when someone is totally exhausted, yet they keep throwing hundreds of shots into the basketball hoop to perfect their free throw (like my awesome daughter Mya!).  In fact, Mya had to make 1000 free throws; in order to reach that goal, she had to shoot a couple of thousand.   She wanted to quit many times during that experience, but she had committed to a number of people that she would reach her goal.  It’s amazing how a twelve year old girl will follow through on her committment more effectively than most adults.  Mental toughness is courage in action.  When you’ve got it, you cope better than your opponents with the demands you face.

How do we develop mental toughness?  Here are a few principles to get you started:

Principle #1: Realize Mental Toughness Can Be Developed.

Some people might be born with a certain personality, like a “Choleric” or “D” personality type, and maybe this personality type handles adversity a little more effectively than others.  But that’s not always the case, and either way, anyone can develop this side of their personality.  Don’t cop out on yourself by selling yourself any victim thinking, like “That’s just the way I am.”  Brothers and sisters, you can CHANGE.  How do you build mental toughness?  The same way you build muscles in the gym: by pushing yourself to new limits and increasing the pressure or resistance you are pushing against.

Principle #2: Mental Toughness in the Gym Correlates to Mental Toughness in life.

The gym is the ultimate proving ground for “tough guys” and “tough gals”.  You really find out what you’re made of when you’re doing hack squats or leg extensions.  Most people get into the gym, start doing bicep curls, and as soon as it starts to get uncomfortable, they say, “Okay, I’ve done enough for now,” and they stop exercising.  This is actually the exact wrong thing to do, if your goal is to develop your muscles.  You see, when it starts to hurt, that’s the lactic acid burn in your muscles screaming, “Great job! Keep going!  You’re making progress!”  But when most people start to feel discomfort they choose to ease off.

You don’t become successful at anything by letting your foot off of the gas pedal when the going gets tough.  This includes the gym, your marriage, and your business.  When it hurts to do even one more rep of an exercise, that’s when the real muscle development starts!  (By the way, I’m not talking about pushing through pain when you are actually injured; I’m referring to the normal discomfort we feel when we are tearing down our muscles during a workout.)  If you throw in the towel on the bench press, you train your brain to quit when things get tough.  When you force yourself to keep pushing the weight even when you want to give up, you are training your brain to keep pushing.

Principle #3: Champions Fall in Love with Discomfort

Winners know that the path to success is steep and rocky, and the path to defeat is like a sign pointing at a waterslide that says, “Slippery, Fun and Easy to Reach the Bottom in a Jiffy!”  Bad habits are easy to slip into, like a warm bed when you’re exhausted.  Good habits are pretty much guaranteed to feel tough for most people because you end up denying yourself luxuries and pleasures. You must learn to do what is uncomfortable for you. To develop the psychological edge, you must have extreme discipline to give up the comfort zone that you train and live in. Delaying immediate satisfaction is the ultimate sacrifice that all warriors must choose.

 Become a champion and develop mental toughness in your business, your health, your relationships and in life!

God Bless, Tim Marks

 

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

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?

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!

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