Leadership expert Orrin Woodward recently posted on article on two of the LIFE business founders- Claude and Lana Hamilton. I loved it so much that I’m re-posting it here. Claude and Lana are a couple of the most inspiring leaders I’ve ever met. Every time I’ve had the privilege to be around them and learn from them, I have walked away better for the experience. And so now, without further adieu, I give you Orrin’s post.
Today’s featured Life Founders are Claude and Lana Hamilton. The Hamilton’s home is one of the largest in their Canadian province, which isn’t shocking to me since they have one of the largest dreams in the province also. Neither Claude nor Lana come from wealth, so how did this young couple achieve so much with so little? Simply put, they joined a leadership community, learned principles that allowed them to rise to their potential, and acted upon it.
Both of them started in the Canadian military. Lana in the Navy and Claude in the Great White North’s equivalent to the Navy Seal program. With little money, no connections, and no plans, the Hamilton’s joined networking where they promptly struggled for years. In fact, the miracle of their first five years in business is that they didn’t quit. With little outward success to show for years of relentless effort, only huge dreamers like the Hamilton’s would have continued to hold out hope. This hope, however, was the key to their future success and was not held onto in vane.
After missing numerous leadership conventions, since they were convened on the other side of Canada and the Hamilton’s had no money, Claude did the unthinkable. With Lana serving at sea, Claude, hungry to learn the proper leadership mindset, hitchhiked across Canada, attending his first-ever conference. This may sound crazy to some, but the Hamilton’s lifestyle today is also crazy. Great achievements come with great sacrifice, period! Indeed, the higher the mountain, the harder the climb. Claude and Lana vowed to climb to the top.
I met Claude when his organization joined forces with TEAM in 2006. He had already accomplished great successes in community building before I met him. In fact, his huge dreams, drive, and determination were evident to me immediately. Later, I would also witness first-hand his character, courage, and convictions. As Claude is a voracious student, we quickly teamed up and his business began to surge ahead even further.
In late 2007, when legal disputes arose with our former supplier, Claude and Lana displayed their true valor. With many choosing to hide out, fearful of drawing attention to themselves and falling into litigation, the Hamilton’s charged to the front, leading their teams to fast growth. Even when the TEAM income and numbers dropped precipitously in 2008, the Hamilton’s never wavered on their core belief in the community’s right to freedom.
In early 2009, the Hamilton’s defining moment arrived. The Hamilton’s were offered peace and an end to all litigation. However, they quickly refused the offer. Why do you ask? Because as part of the settlement offer, Claude and Lana would have to separate permanently from TEAM, choosing peace over their principles. This Faustian bargain was not even considered by the principle-centered couple. They knew that the best opportunity for their team to win involved staying with TEAM, even if it meant increased personal hardships and severed friendships. In other words, they kept themselves in harms way in order to ensure the best opportunity for their community. This type of sacrificial leadership is extremely rare today, making Claude and Lana Hamilton modern-day heroes and admired by all who know their story.
Thankfully, in late 2010, all legal disputes were settled and the TEAM finally was free to pursue its destiny. The Hamilton’s are Founders of LIFE because they are leaders of character who have proven their mettle on the front lines, not hiding out in the foxholes. Anyone can talk about character, but living it when it counts is what matters. Claude and Lana live their principles daily.
On another note, on top of leading one of the fastest growing teams with the TEAM, Claude also volunteered to be the PC leader over the TEAM events department. In this role, he has greatly improved the quality and profitability of the opens, seminars, and major functions. I cannot imagine the TEAM’s turnaround without the endless hours sacrificially invested by Claude for the benefit of us all.
Laurie and I want to personally thank our good friends and LIFE Founders Claude and Lana Hamilton. It’s because you are who you are that makes LIFE what it is and what it’s going to be. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward