Friday, February 15, 2008

TEAM: Historical Reminscences & A Vision for the Future - Part I

Original Source

Historical Reminscences & A Vision for the Future - Part I
by Orrin Woodward on Fri 15 Feb 2008 08:46 AM EST

In order to do this announcement of my future intentions, I must give you the background history of my experiences in the MLM/Networking industry. I share the history portion to inform the incredible readers of the critical choices that need to be made to take the MLM/Networking industry to the next level. Please bear with me as I provide the perspective lens that I view the MLM/Networking world through in multiple posts. No portion of this history is meant to be critical of any specific company or individuals. I have nothing but thankfulness in my heart that God led me to this marketing field. The relationships I have been blessed with have been worth any struggles or setbacks endured. My life’s mission is to “Lead myself and others to truth.” The only way I can do this is to be associated with people and companies who are constantly learning, growing and changing. I respect everyone’s right to not grow, but I believe they miss out on some of the greatest joys of life by not living a journey of self-discovery. The Japanese call it Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) and I experience the most frustration in life when I am involved with companies or individuals who do not wish to grow and change.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones states, “You are a product of the books you read and the people you associate with.” My life significantly changed when I was introduced to the Yager Internet training organization back in mid-1993. I had met a window salesman named Dave who attempted to sell Laurie and me new windows for our 1958 house with the original Andersen windows still in place. The lowest cost windows were way over our budget so I was walking him to the door. He kept saying, “No problem, I have other businesses I am involved with.” At the time, I was half way through the University of Michigan MBA program and a full time 7th level engineer. I had recently turned 26 and we were broke with our first child on the way. I asked him what the businesses were and he told me he sold sports cards. I was excited because I had over 50,000 baseball and football cards in my basement. I told him to stay and brought up the cards. After reviewing the cards he agreed to help me sell them for a commission. The first night I met the guy he walked out of my house with over 5,000 cards valued at over $10,000! I was excited until my buddy Gary told me that Dave would probably never return my phone calls. Gary said I was silly for giving someone I did not know that many cards.

Needless to say, when he contacted me for his third business I was all ears. It was the only way to ensure I got my cards back! Dave told me he was involved in Interactive Television and in the future we would all be buying from our TV sets. Laurie and I were both serious TV watchers at the time and we thought making money while watching TV was the perfect business for us! When I found out that it was Amway, I was not too happy since I had seen the Amway plan a couple of years earlier. What made me keep listening though; was a fear that if I rejected the business opportunity, I would lose my baseball cards. Laurie was not excited at all, but I agreed to sign up if he would give me back all of my sports cards. When Dave brought over the Amway kit, I did not have the cash to sign up. He had to use our credit card and order another kit to his house for us to get started. Dave brought back all the cards and I thought this was the end of the story. Only one thin thread changed our destiny and brought me to where I am today—writing on this blog for tens of thousands of people.

Dave had suggested that I meet with a couple named Larry and Marsie VanBuskirk. Dave told me that he ran a couple of by referral financial planning offices and was involved in multiple other business ventures. My personal desire has always been to run my own company someday and Larry’s background intrigued me. I agreed to have them come over the house, but forgot to tell Laurie they were coming. Laurie and I were finishing supper one night when I received a phone call from Larry stating he was minutes away. Laurie was not too happy with me to say the least! Laurie was looking for her car keys to leave the house vowing not to return until after those “Amway people” were gone! Luckily for me, she could not find her keys. Larry and Marsie changed our lives that night. They did not talk about Amway or products, but they did talk about self-improvement, leadership, seminars, and tapes. Larry told me that the greatest business owners were the best at self-improvement. If you wanted to succeed in life that you needed many experiences and you could not possibly live long enough to have all the experiences necessary. The only way to close the gap was through reading and listening. To say that I was blown away would be an understatement!

Dave had left a shoe box full of tapes when he had signed us up, but it had been over a month and I had listened to none of them. The problem was—I did not have a tape player in my truck. I couldn’t afford one and only had an AM radio. Providentially, GM had offered to give me access to their company cars to drive to Ann Arbor for school at night. As I was shaving one morning, I remembered the company cars had tape players. I went to the shoe box and searched for the two selections, since I knew it was over an hour to Ann Arbor for school. I can see God’s hand all over the two tapes that I picked that morning. I searched for two tapes that would interest me and came up with two: Tim Foley, a former all pro football player and Paul Pilzer, an adjunct professor and economist. There were over 100 tapes in that box and there is no way I could have picked the perfect two except by God’s plan. I carried those two Internet Services tapes in my front shirt pocket all day long. Typically, I would listen to Nirvana or some other hard rock band on the way to Ann Arbor. But on this night, I popped out Nirvana and put in Economic Paradigms by Paul Pilzer. I had watched the video by Joel Barker on Paradigms so the title had aroused my curiosity.

Within ten minutes, I was hooked! I was stunned by the level of information being provided in the tape. I had been looking for an opportunity to provide for my family and Paul Pilzer had stated that Amway was cutting edge and reaching critical mass! I was not interested in a door to door business, but if Amway was expanding into interactive TV, had leadership training like I was listening to, and reaching critical mass—I was in for the long haul! I can not remember anything that happened in class that night and couldn’t wait to get in the car and listen to the next tape. Tim Foley delivered an inspiring talk about taking charge of your finances and being the leader you were called to be. I am so thankful to the Internet Training tapes that I listened to the first 5 years in my own business. They absolutely changed my life forever. Dexter Yager and Bill Britt are two under-appreciated business men who revolutionized an industry. In my opinion, these two men played a major role in the Amway phenomenon and I must give credit where credit is due. I listened to literally hundreds of tapes from both of these leaders and learned incredible nuggets of courage and convictions. I wanted to follow in their footstep and help change the country like they were focused on doing.

Notice a key point—I did not buy in because I believed the Amway products were the absolute best on the market. I wasn’t against the products, but they were not the main focus. Many of the tapes stated, “People move products, products do not move people.” I bought in to changing the country and helping others do something meaningful with their life! The training systems created the most loyal and disciplined group of people that I was proud to be associated with. If buying products from Amway was necessary to be associated with this group of world changers, then so be it. I shut off my rational critical thinking when it came to the product side, because I knew it was bigger than just products. I read Rich Devos’s and Jay VanAndel’s books and believed 100% in their vision of free enterprise and personal responsibility. Both of these great men have made a huge difference in my life. Even with all the current challenges, I am still thankful for the teaching and entrepreneurial spirit that Rich and Jay taught me. Rich, Jay, Dexter, and Bill were all ahead of their time. Rich and Jay focused on earth friendly products at a time when practically no one else did. Dexter and Bill were created the model for today’s learning organizations and revolutionized the entire MLM/Networking field. To have cut my teeth under such incredible visionaries was and still is a blessing for Laurie and me.

I will end here for Part I and will continue in another post later today. God Bless, Orrin Woodward

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