Yours Mine Or Ours (The Encroaching of Collectivism)

How do we define where our rights as individuals end and our responsibilities as members of collective society begin? Is it fair to define what is mine without society telling me what I can or cannot do with it within the confines of reasonable laws and sensibilities?

I recently came across an article online that got me thinking about this question. It also got me thinking about something that came up about 6 months ago along the same lines. I’ll get back to that in a bit.

The article was about some people vacationing in Europe and having dinner at a restaurant. The group ordered their food, and received more than they could eat, leaving about 1/3 of it behind. Others got upset with them, and called local officials, who fined them 50 Euros for wasting food. The article, from, went on to say the following:


A senior police officer of the Hamburg police ...

The tourists were sympathetic to the officer’s position, and the blog went on to condemn the Western attitude of being able to order and eat as we please, perhaps wasting some in the process. While I cannot condone the greed and gluttony which prompted ordering and wasting of large amounts of food, the attitude of the officer and the reaction of the tourists disturbs me. Greed and gluttony are two of the Seven Deadly Sins, the others being wrathslothpridelust and envy. However, society has had a history of failing to successfully legislate and enforce legislation against any of these human ills. This is because morality is an issue of the heart, and not of just behavior.
English: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four La...

The Seven Deadly Sins

The other side of it, the one from 6 months ago, was a report of an MSNBC network news reporter stating children belong to the community at large, and not their parents. (

Melissa Harris-Perry recorded a commercial for the network in which she stated that children do not belong to their parents, but are instead the responsibility of the members of their community.

“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children,” she says in a spot for the network’s “Lean Forward” campaign. “So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

Melissa Harris Perry

Ms Harris-Perry faced a firestorm of criticism from pro-family, religious and politically conservative groups for her statements. Many considered her comments to stem from elitist thinking, while there were those who supported it. To declare parents are not the primary responsibility for their own children, as they have been since parents started having children, was radical at best and polarizing to say the least.

In both cases, there is an allegation being made that the rights of the collective societal community are greater than the rights of the individuals within it. It is asserted the state is a tribe, collective or hive, protecting the resources for the good of all within it to distribute as it sees fit. It is this collective mentality I seek to address.

The U.S. was founded on the principles of human freedom, dignity and individual rights over the rights of a collective state society. The founding documents are clear in these areas. It is only when the rights of the individual overstep and move into the rights of another that the state has a right to step in and declare the boundaries have been violated. To put it in more simplistic terms, as I learned it as a child, my rights end where yours begin, and it is the state’s job to make sure those lines remain clear. And the state’s job ends where my rights, and yours, begin.

In this individualized paradigm, for the most part, the needs of the few outweigh the needs



of the many. The few or one are given as great a weight in considering decisions as are the many. Individual rights are more difficult to trample, as are the rights of minorities. When everyone has rights and they are all honored and respected, it becomes easier to accord rights to others, and the society as a whole benefits. In such a society, leaders come from within, rising as defenders of rights of individuals and minorities. Leadership becomes something possible for the many, not the few.

The U.S., Austrailia and Canada have been good examples of this individual societal paradigm. Founded on the beliefs the rights of individuals are paramount, these states have enjoyed social and economic freedom envied around the globe. Historical examples can also be found in Greece and pre-Empire Rome.

bee hive

bee hive

The attitude I see in both stories is the rights of the hive or collective or tribe is greater than the individuals within it. When a tribe is given the rights of the resources, whether these be food, shelter, clothing or children, the tribe becomes more important than the individuals within it. The needs of the many in this case therefore outweigh the needs and rights of the few or the one. Only the needs of the society as a whole are considered.

When no one has rights to be respected, it is rule by majority, with individual and minority rights being lost in the mob. In this society, leaders are those with best access to resources, or who are given power by those who already have it. Leadership becomes something impossible for the many, but not for the few.

Examples of the collective societal paradigm can be studied in the communist societies such as pre-Glasnost Russia, East Germany, North Korea and Cuba, to name but a few. It’s not a paradigm that’s not been wanting and not tried. It’s been repeatedly tried and found consistently wanting.

Best-selling author, blogger, leadership expert and business leader Orrin Woodward said

Orrin Woodward

Orrin Woodward

the other day on Twitter,

Societies, Civilizations & Corporations all decay from within before they are overcome from without.

Any attempt to move the U.S. from its fundamental principles of individual human freedoms as clearly outlined in its founding documents is decay in its society. I’ll say that again: Any attempt to move the U.S. from its fundamental principles of individual human freedoms as clearly outlined in its founding documents is decay in its society. Attempts such as these examples, and others like them we see on an alarmingly almost daily basis, are to be resisted.

The only way to remain a free society is to decide we want to be one, and then to take the necessary actions in the social media, the mainstream media, the voting booth and in legal protest to make sure our voices are heard and clearly understood. Sometimes, all it takes is someone standing up and saying, “NO!” Let’s all be that someone.




Applications Now Being Accepted

Every time we hunt for a job, we see it:

Applications now being accepted for the position of . . .

It doesn’t matter what the position is; while the wording may change, the intent remains. There is an open position for which qualified people may apply.

Life has open positions, too. Only life doesn’t advertise its positions. It simply has them open for anyone with the eyes to see and courage to accept what life has to offer. The position life most often offers, the one that most often goes wanting to be filled, is that of leader.

What is leadership? Entire libraries of books have been written on the topic!

Orrin Woodward

Orrin Woodward

I have read some of them, including the best-selling Launching A Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, as well as the latest best-seller, LeaderShift, by Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille.

Chris Brady

Chris Brady

In Launching A Leadership Revolution, a leader is characterized by being hungry, hone-able or teachable and honorable. The leader seeks mastery in their craft through the Trilateral Leadership Ledger of Character, Tasks and Relationships. In LeaderShift, a leader is further characterized by having a vision. The leader applies the vision to the Trilateral Leadership Ledger for the desired results. According to both Launching A Leadership Revolution and LeaderShift, a leader sees not just the problem at hand, but the root causes and the steps required for solving it. In LeaderShift, these root causes are reflected in the 5 Laws of Decline.

We live in a world of terrorist bombings, attempted poisonings of our public officials

Oliver DeMille

Oliver DeMille

through the mail, assassination attempts, slander, politics from both sides of the spectrum being malicious and dirty, free-falling economics, wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters, eroding relationships, emotional distancing, societal decay and family disintegration. We are attacked from without, and attack one another from within. Our world as we know it is in chaos.

It is into this chaos void leaders walk. Leaders bring solutions, not more problems. Often, the solutions may look like more problems, but they aren’t. These are challenges needed to solve the underlying difficulties causing the problems in the first place. These challenges are also hard because most people find change of any kind hard, and leaders are catalysts for change.

Launching A Leadership Revolution

Launching A Leadership Revolution

Leaders polarize people into groups for and against their leadership vision. That’s because as Orrin Woodward recently said on Twitter, “In leadership, the cause always comes before the applause.” Also on Twitter, Chris Brady said, quoting Mark Driscoll, “The more people you influence, the more people who hate you.” It is the actions and expected behaviors of leaders that polarize. As Orrin Woodward recently said on Twitter, “Some people say they have to see it to believe it, but leaders have to believe it to see it.” It is this belief in the vision which polarizes others.

I believe in the vision Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille set forth in LeaderShiftI am striving to be one of the leaders, one of the 10% who will step forward and change the world around me for the better. It’s a call open to anyone who will hear it and respond. Because if people don’t respond, things will get worse. The 5 Laws of Decline, as described in LeaderShift, clearly point that




So, if not now, then when? And if not us, then who?

Is Orrin Woodward REALLY All He’s Cracked Up To Be?

I am often asked, “Is Orrin Woodward REALLY all he’s cracked up to be??

Orrin Woodward

Orrin and Laurie Woodward

Please allow me answer that, once and for all, with the following (true) story,  names unchanged to protect neither the guilty, nor the innocent.

I will start by saying I got an iPhone late last summer. I read the manual and became rapidly proficient in its use. Or at least, I thought I was.

Recently, a group of ladies had the privilege to attend a retirement dinner to honor Pat Tefel, the delightful and grace-filled lady leader of our TEAM LIFE business team. It was a wonderful evening, highlighted by the presence of leader, blogger, home schooling mom and all-around lovely woman,

Chris and Terri Brady

Chris and Terri Brady

Terri Brady.

Terri’s husband Chris recently had a birthday, so when I briefly spoke to her at the start of the evening, she suggested I go on FaceBook and give greetings to his partner Orrin Woodward, since it was his birthday that day. After getting a photo with Terri and my husband, I went to my table and linked into the wifi where the event was being held. I found Orrin’s page on FaceBook, and thought I left him a message on his wall.

The next morning, on my break at work, I went on FaceBook to check up on things, and see if anyone had posted photos of the party. The first thing I found was a private message from Orrin Woodward!! I had posted my birthday wishes to him privately!!! Oh, my goodness!!!

Orrin’s was the message of a gracious gentleman, honorable and kind in all his dealings, as he said,

Thank YOU Cathy! I hope you are having a blessed day.

To understand the importance of this exchange, think about having the CEO of a multi-national corporation, who has thousands of people who look to him for leadership, combined with the public acclaim of a best-selling author like Steven King, all rolled into one incredible package, on your FaceBook friend list. You are a tiny, insignificant speck in his radar, and are pleased just being acknowledged as his friend, and with a blanket group thanks to everyone who wished him birthday greetings on his wall. That is how big a deal it is to me!

When I realized the size of my blunder, and the graciousness of Orrin’s response, I posted the following, being very careful to do it to his wall:

Thank you so much for your gracious and lovely response to my accidental private message birthday greetings last night! I meant to post that on your wall!! Clearly I have more to learn about FaceBook for iPhone . . . (Color me red-faced.)

That evening at the party, I had told Terri I was a high-end tech user, and promptly proved it. I even had the boldness to call myself “the app queen!” Horrors!! In my bragging, I totally forgot Proverbs 16:18, which says

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

I fell, alright! The Law of Unintended Consequences (and Murphy’s Law) were very busy with me that night. It is only the kindness, graciousness, humility, character and gentle spirit of Orrin Woodward that saved me from total embarrassment and utter shame.

I am telling you this (and making public my foolishness) for one reason: We all look for leaders to follow, to emulate, to seek to become what they represent. Leaders who show such humility and character as Orrin Woodward did with me are worth following anywhere, and for any reason.

All I Learned About Friendship . . .

How is friendship defined?  What qualities constitute friendship?  Why are there so many books on people skills, and so few on friendship and how to be a good friend?

The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has a long and involved definition, getting into the psychological and sociological aspects.  The “Anne” books by Lucy Maud Montgomery define friendship in several ways, the most telling and descriptive being “kindred spirits.”  Going back farther, the ancient Greeks used the word “philia,” from which we get Philadelphia, to describe friendships.

Orrin Woodward

In the recent book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, leadership guru Orrin Woodward has an entire chapter on the subject.  In it he says,

I have identified eight essential principles for building and maintaining long-term philia-friendships.

  1. True friends form around a shared insight, interest, or taste, enjoying the common bond uniting them.
  2. True friends accept one another, loving each other despite our human imperfections.
  3. True friends approve of one another, protecting each others’ weaknesses while enhancing each others’ strengths.
  4. True friends appreciate one another, encouraging, serving, and believing in one another’s gifts and talents.
  5. True friends listen with empathy, learning the hopes, dreams, fears and struggles of one another.
  6. True friends celebrate one another’s success, being proud of each other’s accomplishments without a hint of envy.
  7. True friends are trustworthy, maintaining all confidences shared with unimpeachable honor and self-respect, knowing that  gossip separates the best of friends.
  8. True friends are loyal, respecting and defending one another’s character, reputation, and motives, as far as truth allows, while addressing any issues or concerns between them promptly and privately, ensuring misunderstandings never fester.

Like many of us, I first learned about friendship at home, surrounded by both older and younger siblings.  I learned to share, to not hit people and not to say mean things to them.  These early lessons were reinforced in my early school years.

I will admit, however, I learned as much in school from the bad examples of my peers as I did from their good ones.  Unpopular for reasons I could never (and still don’t) fathom, I learned the painful lessons of how not to treat people, quickly realizing the treatment I did not like receiving was the opposite of what I wanted and needed.  I further discerned if I wanted and needed those things, other people must also need and want them.  As I practiced these lessons on my friends, I learned to tailor what I did for each individual’s personality and style.

I learned more about friendships from the books I read.  I learned of John and Abigail Adams, how they sought to be friends first, making their relationship in marriage a true partnership.  They began and ended their letters to one another recalling this aspect of their relationship, and were often heard in public addressing one another as their dearest friend.

What have you learned about friendship?  How did you learn it?  If one of our shared goals in human relationships is to be and have good friends, what can we do to improve our abilities in this area?  I have some thoughts.  I welcome yours.

Success or Learned Helplessness? Whose Choice?

Why do some people sail along in life from success to success, while others careen along from failure to failure?

Perhaps it is because of something called Learned Helplessness.  In a recent article on the subject called  Leaders Break the Cycle of Learned Helplessness, leadership guru Orrin Woodward talked in depth about it .

Orrin Woodward

Scientist have discovered that cats, fish, dogs, rats, cockroaches, mice, and people all are capable of acquiring this trait. Learned helplessness is simply internalizing the belief that what you do does not matter, sapping one’s sense of control.” When a person believes that he cannot change his situation, he won’t even try, becoming hopeless because he believes he is helpless. On the other hand, people can change nearly anything with the right knowledge applied consistently and persistently. Learned helplessness, because it destroys this hope for change, must be exposed for the lie that it is, teaching one’s self and others that change is possible only when a person believes that he can change. Indeed, leaders must rid themselves and their teams from Learned Helplessness as its acid is fatal to all personal growth.

Another compromise that leads to failure and despair is an improper response to the pain inherent in the process of growth.  There are actually two types of pain: one comes from the inside due to the change process; the other comes from the outside due to criticism from those unwilling to make the same changes. Hope is the only fuel capable of burning through both types of pain.  Without hope, either of the pain versions will trump one’s willingness to endure, instead choosing to stop the pain by quitting the journey.  Author Robert Grudin writes, “One might reply that most people who surrender simply lack the ability to get very far.  But it is more accurate to say that ability and intelligence, rightly understood, include a readiness to face pain, while those characteristics which we loosely term ‘inadequacy’ and ‘ignorance’ are typically associated with the avoidance of pain.” When the pain reaches a certain threshold, everything inside of a person screams for relief, but champions, people with high AQ, persevere. Pain is overcome through the continuous focus on one’s purpose. Moreover, achieving greatness will require a faith that can move mountains, an AQ to endure the rising pain in the process, eventually reaching levels of success that more timid souls refuse to believe possible.

Wow, what awesome stuff, if you can get your mind around it!  When I read it, I was

Orrin Woodward

reminded of one of Orrin‘s favorite sayings. “When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing, you will change!

Our challenge lies in realizing the pain is not what is to be avoided.  To surmount adversity and succeed, we need to understand pain is part of the process, accept it in that role and seek to find the lessons it is teaching us, so we can grow beyond it.  Welcome to the journey called success!


Exploring TEAM LIFE’s 8 F’s — Finances

What do the wealthy know that average  people do not?  What can average people learn to become unaverage in their financial results in life?

Orrin Woodward

In the article Ben Franklin’s Passive Income Stream TEAM LIFE co-founder and leadership guru Orrin Woodward explored Franklin’s road to wealth.

Franklin could afford his early retirement because he had conceived of an ingenious plan to aid journeyman printers, helping them to own their own businesses.  In a true spirit of win-win, the 26 year old Franklin, in 1731, was offered the position of South Carolina’s official printer for its public records, an opportunity that he declined because he didn’t wish to leave Philadelphia.  But, instead of rejecting the offer outright, Franklin suggested an alternative plan, proposing to the Charleston officials that they hire one of his journeyman, Thomas Whitmarsh.  Franklin would sponsor the project, helping the journeyman with the press equipment, fonts, funds, not to mention mentorship, while Whitmarsh would run the day to day operations in Charleston.  All parties profited by this unique arrangement.  South Carolina received a top notch journeyman, trained under the tutelage of Franklin; Whitmarsh received capital and mentorship, both factors in short supply in the colonies, allowing him the opportunity to own a business; lastly, Franklin, received one third of the profits for six years, after which, Whitmarsh could either buy out Franklin’s ownership interest or continue with his current financial arrangement. Since Franklin had capital, but little time, while the journeymen had time, but little capital, this arrangement benefitted both sides of the partnership, providing to each other, what each on their own lacked, a true example of a win-win trade. Franklin’s

Jean-Baptiste Greuze portrait of Benjamin Fran...

franchise marketing program expanded across the colonial cities, he looked for hungry, sober, hard working journeyman to be his long distant proxies, helping to build many sister newspapers, that dotted the colonial landscape, following the leadership of his Pennsylvania Gazette masthead.  Over time, Franklin’s expansive printing empire reached all the way from Hartford in the north, and as far south as Antigua, with Lancaster, New York, and New Haven, too mention just a few, in between the two poles of influence, an impressive accomplishment in this largely agrarian society.  In fact, by 1755, eight of the fifteen newspapers printed in colonial America were part of Franklin’s powerful conglomerate.  Although not all his partnerships made money, most of them prospered under his leadership. 

English: I took photo with Canon camera of Ben...

Franklin forged partnerships for over fifty years, creating a residual income stream that left him free to pursue his purpose, no longer enslaved to monetary want.

An entrepreneur himself, Benjamin Franklin partnered with other aspiring entrepreneurs in relationships that benefited all concerned, for the most part.  His positive and profitable partnerships gave him the passive income stream to allow him to retire at a young age, to pursue the life of a scholar, inventor, diplomat and eventually statesman.  Benjamin Franklin’s example is a model that would be wise for any aspiring person to follow.


American Politics – A Sane Solution

Why are American Politics so divisive?  What can we do about it?

Here is the entire recent article by leadership guru and TEAM LIFE co-founder Orrin Woodward on the subject.

Orrin Woodward

In one corner we have the Right. They claim that America needs a huge military/industrial complex to protect our country. Strangely, in order to do so, it is claimed that it requires military personnel in a hundred plus countries and military bases in 63 of them! Isn’t this a costly endeavor when a nation is going broke? In addition, the military complex provides gun-boat diplomacy (open your markets or else) for large corporations to sell merchandise protected by the military paid for by the shrinking middle class.

In the other corner is the Left. They claim that America needs a bigger government to regulate those greedy capitalist who are exploiting the people. Although I agree with the assessment, the answer – more government power – only allows the greedy business people to buy the greedy government, thus the power to control their markets. Plus the bigger government requires even more tax dollars (similar to the Right and military complex), leaving the citizens reduced to mere serfs at the beck and call of numerous regulations.

What if both the Right and Left were a Hegelian maneuver of thesis, anti-thesis, leading to the inevitable synthesis of larger State power and control, regardless of which side wins an election? What if, in other words, the Right/Left dichotomy isn’t even the real battleground? America was founded on limited government bound by the Constitution to ensure the beast never escapes it clearly delineated powers. Oh how far we have traveled from this ideal.

Today, whether one votes Right or votes Left, what a person actually votes for is less freedom and more Government/Big Business/Banker control. Until the citizens change the framework of the debate for Right/Left to Freedom/Tyranny, nothing will change. Asking money-hungry Government (it takes money to get elected) to regulate money-hungry Big Business is like asking Al Capone to regulate prohibition. History has provided endless examples of the illicit partnering of Big Business and Big Government to feather their nest at the expense of the citizen’s freedoms and pocketbooks – Federal Reserve, Income Tax, Railroads, Savings & Loans, etc.

Let’s change the debate this electoral season. Let’s start asking our candidates how they intend to reduce Big Government. By reducing Big Government, it will automatically reduce the ability of Big Business to buy the power needed to set up monopolies, thus ensuring true free enterprise for the benefit of all citizens. Free enterprise is the only system where the consumer has the choice to vote with his money and support or withhold these if not happy.

Why give government this control when they have proven repeatedly they are incapable of withstanding the bribery of Big Business? Let’s put the power back in the citizens hands where it belongs. Idealist? Maybe, but what is the point of getting involved unless we have ideals to shoot for? Time is short, America cannot continue on its present path of fiscal insanity, power lust, and ethical wasteland forever.  What part will you play in the restoration of the American Dream?

As of today, I am officially no longer a Republican or a Democrat. I am now going under the long forgotten term called American. I refuse to allow our political pundits to divide us any longer. Americans must unite around freedom not fight around force. In my opinion, each citizen has a moral responsibility to stop dividing between the false dichotomy of Right/Left and start uniting around the true division of Freedom or Tyranny. I choose Freedom, how about you?

The Search for a Leader

Why are leaders so hard to find in our world?  Who are our leaders, and what makes them what they are?

In the recent post The Leadership Search, leadership guru Orrin Woodward spoke

Orrin Woodward

poetically about his own search for leadership in his life.

I searched for him half my life,
named with an uncommon sound.


I looked for him around the world,
but this person refused to be found.


Thankfully, I discovered him,
the good news is, you can too.


However, it won’t be easy,
as he reveals himself to just a few.


You can search our government assemblies,
and only hear legends from his past.


You can search our halls of learning,
reading quaint histories fading fast.


You can search our industrial complexes,
viewing his old portraits in the aisles.


You can search our sports arenas,
reading banners going out of style.


Everyone seems to know this person,
but most refuse his name.


I ceased my fruitless search,
hanging my head in shame.


In desperation, I searched within,
realizing his presence all along.


Since no one else will be him,
I can and will, to become strong.


I am now called responsible,
I am the man with the uncommon name.


My friend, you too have this choice,
for you can be called the same.


The search has ended.
The journey is done.


Who is responsible?
I am; You are; Everybody and everyone.

We all have the choice to be leaders in our own lives.  No matter what our various roles are, whether we be spouses, parents, employees or whatever, we all have a choice to lead.  We lead by what we choose to say, and when we make a choice to keep silent.  We lead by our actions and the times when we chose inaction.  We lead by the strength of our character and convictions, or sadly, by their lack.

Our culture teaches us leaders are people who take charge, who are out in front, bossing everyone else around.  Our culture teaches us leadership is for the chosen few.  But as Orrin points out, anyone can lead.  It is not an issue of personality or style.  It is an issue of the heart.  Let’s all work to grow leader’s hearts.