Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with our founder, Doug Smith. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos. For ways to connect with Doug, the notes, and for links to everything discussed, check out our show notes.
Doug Smith: 00:00 The only reason and I will tell you this, the only reason you should want to become a leader is to better the lives of others. And if you want to be a leader for any other reason than that then do not get the leadership, you will literally, the world does not need another leader like that. This is the L3 Leadership Podcast Episode number 210.
Doug Smith: 00:30 Hey everyone and welcome to another episode of the L3 Leadership podcast. My name is Doug Smith and I am your host. I hope you’re doing well. I know I’m just settling down from a crazy month. So it’s great to get back into a routine and be back on the podcast. In today’s episode, you’ll hear talk that I gave it the Pi Sigma Epsilon regional conferences.
Doug Smith: 00:47 If you’re unfamiliar with Pi Sigma Alpha Epsilon they are a professional fraternity for students and industry professionals in marketing and sales management. They were founded in 1952 at Georgia State University and as I mentioned I had the privilege of speaking in all three of the regional conferences in Atlanta and Pittsburgh and Milwaukee and I had an absolute blast. What I loved most was actually meeting the students. This thing was very clear was that these kids that I met are our future leaders. What I love about them is they chose to be there. They invested in themselves and their growth and development on purpose and so they were there because they wanted to be not because they had to be. And I was beyond impressed with every single student that I met and interacted with. And I also loved hearing just how much Pi Sigma Epsilon has actually transformed their lives and their college experience.
Doug Smith: 01:31 So again I can’t speak highly enough of this organization with such an honor to partner with them. So the talk that I gave and that you’re about to listen to answers the question what I would tell myself if I could have coffee with my 20-year-old self. I get asked to coffee a lot with a lot of young leaders and they essentially ask that question and say hey what lessons do I need to learn while I’m in my 20s. And so this lesson is a response to that question but I don’t think it will just add value to you if you’re in your 20s. I really believe these are foundational lessons that you have to get about in life in order to be successful. So I really hope that the talk adds value to you before we dive in just a quick announcement. I am so excited to let you know that we are hosting our first annual L3 one-day Leadership Conference on Friday, March 15th, 2019 at the Marrot in Cranberry Township just 30 minutes away from downtown Pittsburgh.
Doug Smith: 02:17 And we have a killer lineup of speakers for you. So far we have Matt Keller who’s the pastor of Next Level church down in Fort Myers, Florida. We have Laura Ellsworth who’s been at L3 before. One of the best speakers I’ve ever heard she gave one of the best stocks in an L3 event, literally unbelievable leader. And Saleem Ghubirl who is the executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise, also a phenomenal communicator. Listen, I’m just so excited about this. This conference is going to add so much value to your life as a leader. And I can’t encourage you enough to bring your team as well. Your team will benefit. And we’re just so excited because I hope to have 300 leaders in the room. And just add massive value to each and every one of them and so you can learn more about the conference and register yourself and your team at L3oneday.com.
Doug Smith: 02:58 Again that’s L3oneday.com. And again just plan on attending and bring your team Friday, March 15th, 2019 you will not regret it. I want to thank our other sponsor Alex Tulandin. Alex is a full-time realtor with Keller Williams Realty and if you are looking to buy or sell a house in the Pittsburgh market Alex is your guy. He’s a member and a supporter of L3 Leadership and would love to have an opportunity to connect with you. You can learn more about Alex at Pittsburgh propertyshowcase.com. With that being said let’s dive right into the lesson and I will be back at the end with a few announcements.
Doug Smith: 03:29 I just want to say it’s an honor to be here so I had the pleasure of being asked to speak at all the regional conferences all three of them.
Doug Smith: 03:35 I guess there’s more than that but so I was in Atlanta last weekend. So how many of you are from down south that you made it all the way to Pittsburgh. I know there’s a few thank you guys for making the trip but I love being with the students last week and what I really love about you guys is that you’re not here because you have to be here because you want to be and you’re making an investment in yourself this weekend. And I speak to a lot of audiences and I would rather speak to a roomful of three leaders that want to be there and they’re not intentional with their lives than in a stadium full 30,000 people. So I just want to say it’s an honor to be here today. And I really hope that I add value to your life. A brief introduction just to give you an overview. I am married to my high school sweetheart. Now you can say aw.
Doug Smith: 04:18 So the girls are saying aw the guys are saying how the heck did that happen. How how did you get her?
Doug Smith: 04:24 And you guys I just want to tell you there’s hope for you right. There’s hope. Right. The best advice I ever got when I was single was it only takes one. Thank God. Right. So that’s my beautiful wife. You’ll hear a little bit about our journey in a minute. That’s my two and a half-year-old daughter Olivia. She’s the best and that’s our baby 6-month-old daughter named Sophia. So I’m from Pittsburgh so I was with them this morning right before I came here we were watching Daniel Tiger. That’s how I get motivated to speak. Actually, Daniel Tiger has some great lessons. You should just watch the show but vocationally I work here for a non-profit that’s been on the north side of Pittsburgh since 1952 it’s called Light of Life Rescue Mission. So we’re a nonprofit that helps the homeless men women and children of Pittsburgh.
Doug Smith: 05:08 We do everything from overnight shelter to meals it’s a long-term recovery programs, education and employment. Pretty much the whole gamut. If you are out in need. And so I’ve been there for eight years. I’m the director of development there which means I’m in charge of all the sales and marketing in the nonprofit world which is really fundraising. Right at sales without commission anyway. Anyone want to go into non-profit fundraising. No. A couple of people so I accidentally became a fundraiser. I accidentally ended up at this nonprofit I won’t go into this but they said Wow you’re really good with people. You should try fundraising. They threw me in and now I’ve been there for eight years and absolutely love it. We have an 8 million dollar budget and I oversee all the marketing PR and fundraising. I also developed an organization. You’ll hear why I developed it in my story called L3 Leadership.
Doug Smith: 05:55 So we have multiple things. And on your tables, there are there’s a place where you guys can take notes and connect cards. So if you connect with me this morning and you’re saying how would love to connect and learn more about what you’re doing your gift to me could be you filling out the connect cards there. My cell phone numbers on there my e-mail so if there’s anything I can do to add value to you let me know. But we have a podcast where I interview readers. Pretty much every week. I also do a personal leadership lesson once a month and then I actually record our talks from our events and put those on the podcast as well. We have over 200 episodes you can listen to we have month leadership events here in our city where I bring in the best leaders that I can to share their best leadership content and then our bread and butter as we have Mastermind groups that meet all throughout our city. And I’ll talk about those in a minute.
Doug Smith: 06:41 So this all may seem it may not seem impressive to offer to you but you might say while you’re doing a lot of things but I think you’ll be really really surprised if you rewound my life to when I was 17 years old and what my life looked like then because it certainly didn’t look like my trajectory was going to land me where I am today. So growing up just have a brief background when I was in middle school my mom got a rare nerve disease in her legs. If you’ve ever had your feet fall asleep and had pins and needles, that’s what my mom had 24 hours a day. That led to her being in a wheelchair and ultimately being in bed for most of her life. And so my life changed dramatically in middle school. My dad ended up having to work two jobs and to get our family by financially. So my dad was never home my mom was always in bed so I went from having a normal family life to no boundaries and I was able to do whatever I wanted which when you’re middle school is really cool but it’s not so cool when you make bad decisions.
Doug Smith: 07:33 And so I started getting into drugs my summer of eighth grade year of my eighth-grade year decided I would never amount to anything. My dad’s a bus driver and I just thought hey I’ll be a bus driver or a janitor, not there’s anything wrong with either of those things but that’s what I said. That’s as much as I’m gonna do in life. I’m going to just follow in the footsteps of my father. So I went to summer school every single year just to get to the next grade just partied and partied and partied.
Doug Smith: 07:57 Found out my mom had a drug that she took called OxyContin which is synthetic heroin.
Doug Smith: 08:03 I found out that people would pay a lot of money if I gave them the pills and so became a drug dealer and started selling synthetic heroin in high school. Did that all throughout high school,l never got caught. What’s up.
Doug Smith: 08:13 Anyway, I don’t know why I said that, I don’t have a filter all the time but partying all throughout high school. But again thought I was living the dream.
Doug Smith: 08:25 And then my senior year of high school October 2002 my mom ended up passing away and again for me. I just spent every night drinking and getting high to numb the pain. And literally as a result of that I would go deeper into the story. But I went to a group that was meeting at a house that was there was a group led by a mom there was 150 kids that would go to this meeting every week. And I walked down the stairs and I saw this smoking hot, I would say smoking hot- I try not to sit anymore. I saw this beautiful girl sitting on a couch and I said I’m going to this meeting every week. So I just started going there. I didn’t know it. And the girl my wife and just to let you know I went home from that meeting that night and told all my high school buddies and my guys I met my wife I’m going to marry the girl I met tonight. I just want to let you know I called my shot.
Doug Smith: 09:09 What’s up. So.
Doug Smith: 09:17 And I’m not recommending that you try to call your show that could end up really ugly. And anyways.
Doug Smith: 09:23 So that night that I went to that group my wife Laura who wasn’t my wife at the time told her mom she said that’s one of the most influential kids in our high school. If he ever does something with his life if he ever turns his life around he could change the world. And so for whatever reason, her mom decided to start having me over for family dinners. Her dad was a Carnegie Mellon University he’s the director of admission there. He became a father figure in my life and a mentor. And so he actually met with me and said Doug you’re going to go to college which I wasn’t planning on doing. He said you’re going to do something with your life. You’re a leader and you can do great things. And he became a mentor in my life. They brought me into an organization that developed another mentor and literally spent my entire 20s developing into who I am today. Just so you know you might say when you see my wife but it took me 10 years to become the man I needed to be to marry her. So right. And I’ll talk more about that later. It took us ten years because I had to grow up a lot. And you’ll hear about that. So what I want to share with you today is over the course of my 20s I really feel like I have I’ve built a solid foundation to build the rest of my life on.
Doug Smith: 10:29 And I get asked a coffee a lot by lot of young leaders and they want to they want me to teach them right? And so my goal today is just if I could sit down and have coffee with all of you and give you direction and give you guidance and teach you something about how you should build a foundation for your life in your 20s. This is what I would tell you today. The theme, oh we do a podcast. And the theme I’ll talk more about that but the theme of this whole conference is inspire right? And to be honest with you I love inspiration I wake up every day inspired. I wake up every day fired up. I love firing people up but inspiration enough is never enough. And I like being fired up. But if you’re fired up and have nothing practical to do then you’re going to go nowhere really fast.
Doug Smith: 11:11 So my goal today is to not only inspire you but I also want to give you practical tools that you can start executing today. Things you can actually do that will change your life and build a foundation and help you to be successful. So I hope you get inspired but more importantly I hope you find something that you can actually execute on. So if I could sit down and have coffee with you what would I tell you. Number one, I would tell you the first thing you need to do is you need to wake up to the reality that this life is the only life that you get. Wake up to the reality that this life is the only life that you get. Here’s a novel thought one day you’re going to die. And everyone knows that but nobody believes it. In fact, if you believe that you would live differently.
Doug Smith: 11:52 And fortunately or unfortunately I had to learn this lesson at a young age. I was 17 when my mom passed away and she was 55 years old. What I didn’t mention was two years after I met my mother in law my wife’s mom she got diagnosed with cancer and ended up passing away. She was 47 years old. I’m currently 33 years old. If I only get as many years as my mother in law got I have 14 years left. Like 14 years like that that’s pretty scary. Now obviously I hope I live a long life. I’m going to take care of myself. All those things but none of us are promised tomorrow. But we all act as if we’re going to be here forever. So you need to wake up to the fact that one day you’re going to die. Someone said this and I see so many people living like this. Someone once said first I was dying to finish high school and start college. Just remember that and one of your senior year is like just get me out of here and then this may be some of you now I was dying to finish college and start working. Is anyone in that right now. Man Just get me out. And then I was dying to marry and have children and then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could go back to work.
Doug Smith: 12:59 And then I was dying to retire. And now I’m dying. And suddenly I realize I forgot to live. I forgot to live. Guys if I could challenge you with anything tonight. Today. Don’t forget to live. Mae West said this is one of my favorite quotes she said You only live once but if you do it right once is enough. You only live once but if you do it right once is enough.
Doug Smith: 13:24 So let’s get to the practical right. That’s enough to light a fire under you. But what does that actually look like? How can we live our lives in such a way that once is enough? A few things. The first thing I would tell you is just what my father in law told me. You need to dream big and go for it.
Doug Smith: 13:38 But I also add that this determined the price to pay. Dream big and go for it. But determine to pay the price.
Doug Smith: 13:48 I mixed my words. Dream big and go for it. But determine to pay the price. Something that changed my life so I’m a speaker. One of my heroes is a guy named John Maxwell. You may or may not heard of him. He’s a leadership guru and author, he’s written over 100 books literally speaks over the world as influencing nations. Pretty awesome. If I could be anyone but I don’t want to be him I want to be me. But if I could be anyone on the planet I would want to be John Maxwell and he said when he was in his 40s or 50s a young man came up to him spoke at a conference and he said John I want to do what you do and John said what do you mean. And he said well you have a pretty sweet gig. People paid X amount of dollars to be here.
Doug Smith: 14:26 You get to sit up on stage and talk to them and invest in their lives. And he always sucks on cough drops when he talks like he gets to suck on a cough drop like. That’s a pretty sweet gig. I want to do what you do. And John smiled and he said maybe it’s time for a teaching. He said I understand that you want to do what I do. Trust me I do it as a good life I enjoy my life. But the question isn’t do you want to do what I do. The question is do you want to do what I did so you can do what I do.
Doug Smith: 14:52 Do you want to do what I did so you can do what I do? See with every dream there is a price to pay right. I found small dreams have small prices but big dreams have big prices and some of you have small dreams, and some of you have big dreams. The size of your dream doesn’t matter but if you just have a dream that’s not enough right if you go to sleep you have a dream. Everybody has a dream. And so what’s my encouragement to you. This is the progression I see when it comes to having your dream. Number one you have the dream. Number two you have to figure out a price. The price of the dream. How do you do that?
Doug Smith: 15:25 Ask somebody who’s doing what you want to do. I’ve never had a chance to sit down with John actual but if I did the first question I would ask him is John tell me the price. What is the price that you’ve had to pray to pay this in the seat that you’re sitting in today? Whatever you want to go into I know a lot of you want to go into sales and marketing right. Find the gurus in your city and I’ll talk more about how to get meetings with them in a second but find them and say hey what is the price you pay to get there. And if you are me in my 20s what steps would you take, so I can sit in a seat similar to the one that you sit in today and then the last thing you need to do is determine whether or not you’re going to pay that price.
Doug Smith: 15:57 Some of you, you may hear what the price is and say that’s too high a price. I’m not willing to do that and that’s fine there’s nothing wrong with that and you’re just never going to achieve that dream. Some of you are going to take the courage and actually go after it and determine to pay the price. And that’s what I would encourage you to do. John Maxwell said this. I love this. Talking about someone I admire. He said people who idolize the privileges of leadership often fail to notice the sacrifice involved right. Everyone knows the perks of getting a corner office and a huge high rise downtown but no one sees the price that it took to get there.
Doug Smith: 16:28 Determined to pay the price while you’re young the next thing I would tell you if I could have coffee with you is it get on a personal growth plan. This is probably the thing I’m most passion about getting on a personal growth plan. I’ve heard it said that growth equals happiness growth equals happiness.
Doug Smith: 16:45 Think about it. Who are the happiest people on earth are the people that are growing. Because again it’s not getting to a destination it’s the journey that’s the fun. Right. And let me just tell you if you see a growing marriage I’ll show you a happy marriage if you show me a growing company. I’ll show you a happy company if you show me growing individuals. I will show you happy individuals. So you have to get on a plan for personal growth. I didn’t know you could grow personally. I mean again I hope that you have hope after looking at me right now right. But I didn’t know there is such thing as personal growth. I was 17 years old and a mentor came into my life that wasn’t my father in law and he handed me a CD that was by John Maxwell. I didn’t know there was personal growth CDs but I listened to it.
Doug Smith: 17:23 It was so good i literally transcribed the entire lesson by hand because I was so fired up. I didn’t know that it came with notes that would have been great right. But when I was done this lesson I called the guy that gave me the CD and I said I felt like. Has anyone seen The Matrix? I’m getting old Matrixx alright and some of you know I’m talking about but I felt like I was Neo in The Matrix learning Kung Fu. I called him and I’m like give me everything you’ve got. I went every leadership city every book everything. He gave me binders full of actual CDs. And for literally three years every single night every night I did not miss one night two or three hours I’d be listening to John Maxwell CDs over and over and over again. I got so excited about personal growth that I used to have parties at my house all the time to get kids drunk and high. I had all my friends over and I said guys tonight I have something better for you than drugs and alcohol like man get ready. That you know the thing you like what you got. I said Guys I have the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership on DVD and we’re going to sit here tonight and we’re going to watch it.
Doug Smith: 18:25 It’s going to change your life. You thought you got high on drugs. Wait till you watch this. Right. You guys or anyone feeling my excitement. Oh they thought I was joking at first and I literally put it in gave everyone notes to fill in and they all were laughing and went got drunk and high.
Doug Smith: 18:39 But ten years later I bet they wish they would have done what I asked them to do. But that’s a whole other story. But develop a plan for personal growth. There’s no reason you can’t grow personally in today’s world especially. So my questions for you are what podcasts are you listening to? After today you should all subscribe to the L3 Leadership podcast. Anyway, that’s another story but what podcast you listen to seriously if you want to go to sales and marketing what business and leadership Howcast are you listening to what books are you reading.
Doug Smith: 19:03 Well conferences like this are you going to what leaders are you spending time with who is sharpening to you sharpening you. Because here’s what I know about growth,
Doug Smith: 19:13 you don’t always see yourself growing right. You might listen to podcasts every day and read books go to conferences. But it’s so hard to see yourself rose almost like getting your haircut right. You don’t see your hair growing every month or every week every day. But all of a sudden I need a haircut. I remember a leader I admire. I sat with and I was actually an intern at his organization. I was scared of him right? Because he was this big allstar our leader and I was just a lowly intern. But I got to sit next to him and our intern celebration. And I was nervous I was shaking right next to this great leader. And just so you know here’s how deep my questions were when I was when I was an intern. This is the greatest question I could think of.
Doug Smith: 19:48 I looked at him I’m just like John how you’re so awesome? Ha. That’s as deep as it goes. How are you so awesome. Fortunately, he understood what I meant and he said Doug over the past year of your life while you intern here did you grow a line. Well I’ve grown leaps and bounds I can’t believe how much I’ve grown he said. I’ve just been doing the same thing for 25 years. Just keep growing and I would tell you the exact same thing. Just keep growing. You don’t realize the compound effect of growth in your life if you’re intentional with it. My high school football coach use to say this is my favorite quote of all time actually.
Doug Smith: 20:20 He used to say day to day intensity week to week consistency build Champions Day to Day intensity week to week consistency builds champions. Just keep showing up every day. Determine to have a plan for growth.
Doug Smith: 20:38 The next thing I would tell you if we could have coffee is to develop a network of mentors by adding value. And I’ll explain in a second but I’ll just preface it with this. This specific lesson has the biggest potential for an ORI in your life right. Like if you execute on this nothing will give you a higher or higher ORI and I can’t encourage you enough to do this but develop a network of mentors.
Doug Smith: 21:02 Here’s what I believe and I tell people all the time your one relationship away from changing your destiny. You are literally one relationship away from changing your destiny. You never know what that one relationship will be. So you often have to meet as many people as possible get as many mentors as possible. So here’s how I learned how to do this and I’ll give you my process for meeting with leaders. But that same leader that gave me a John Maxwell CD used to bring in leaders like just like this in settings like this from the community and they would speak to us.
Doug Smith: 21:30 He said if you’re smart as interns you’ll ask that person out to coffee and you’ll be intentional with that relationship and ask them to mentor you and send them lots of questions and he gave us this whole process. So I started doing that anyone he had speak and anyone I saw in the organization that I admired, I would ask out to coffee and ask them to mentor me. I did that for about ten years right. Every single month I’d be meeting with leaders and after 10 years my peers all started saying while Doug it’s really cool that you get to spend time with this leader and that leader how I wish I could and I said. Have you ever asked. There’s a novel thought in 99 percent of them they’ve never asked. And so that’s when I actually saw an opportunity to start the podcast.
Doug Smith: 22:07 I thought what if this was in 2012 I thought what if I just record my conversations with leaders. And then that way not only adds value to me but to add value to the people that listen to it. And so that’s literally the only reason I started the podcast with the help people. So let me give you my process for meeting with people. If you write nothing else down write this down. Number one create an ongoing bucket list of the business leaders you’d like to connect with. Or just leaders in general really create a bucket list of leaders and don’t leave anyone off. I don’t teach it. But if you know who Tim Ferris is, he occasionally teaches at Stanford and he actually gives the students a challenge a three-day challenge to get in touch with the most high profile that they can write.
Doug Smith: 22:46 Mark Zuckerberg et cetera. Eric Schmidt at Google and he said 50 percent of class doesn’t even try because they don’t think it’s possible. A few people try and actually two or three out of every class usually ends up getting an e-mail in or back from one of those leaders. Pretty impressive but never. You’re literally one person away from pretty much anyone in the world. You’d be surprised how you could get in contact with so create a bucket list and then just start asking them right. Obviously, it helps if you know the person but find their contact information looked on LinkedIn. See if you know someone that knows them and asks for an introduction but actually ask them for 15 to 30 minutes of their time. I used to ask for an hour and some a lot of times they’ll give you an hour.
Doug Smith: 23:25 But if you ask for an hour you won’t get it. So ask were 15 to 30 minutes depending on the position depending on who the person is. Let them know this in The Ask let them know that you will actually send them a list of questions in advance of your meetings so that they can be prepared for it and they’ll know that you’re not going to waste their time. Right. And again I’ll forget. But if you e-mail me on the connect cards I’ll send you my list of questions. But I have a basic skeleton list of questions asked leaders and then once I find out who I’m meeting with I’ll do a half an hour of research on that person and then develop specific questions based on their journey. But they’re already going to see that you’re intentional. And then I put create a unique business proposition create a unique business proposition.
Doug Smith: 24:07 I wouldn’t call it that but for me, it was the podcast interview and I literally did this by accident. But it’s one thing if I ask right. I’m in fund-raising when I was 27 I was the director of development. I was just entry level fund-raising position if I asked an executive and to one of the towers downtown for a meeting the likelihood of him saying no is probably ninety-nine point nine but if I come from a different angle and I say hey leader so-and-so I like to get a meeting with you I’ll actually send you a list of questions in advance. I won’t waste your time. I will respect it and not only will you be adding value to me. I’ll also be recording our conversation and I’m going to put it on a podcast so that everyone who listens to the interview on the podcast you also add value to them.
Doug Smith: 24:48 That’s a way better ask than Hey can I meet with you. I’m excited. I want to grow. Right? And if you try to do that and don’t show up with questions it’s the last meeting you’re ever going to get. But again find out some unique way to add value to them. If you get the interview I’d mention this but study them then create your questions, be early for the meeting. You should always be early a mentor taught me when I was very young to be early as to be on time to be on time to be late to be late just to be left, right? The leader actually it wasn’t me. But there was another intern literally were going away on a retreat and the we were pulling out of the organization that in turn was pouring in. And he just waved at them and made them drive literally hours to the retreat because he was late.
Doug Smith: 25:29 Awesome lesson. Anyway to be latest to be left early for your meeting greet them shake their hand and say hi ask them for what I call an upfront contract so hey you said you were good till eleven thirty. Is that still good? Right? Because then they know you’re spending your time. Here’s a bonus that I love. Bring them something they love. Bring them something they love. I learned this from the woman accreted that Aflac duck. I don’t remember her name but this story changed my life. It was awesome but she got an interview with Warren Buffett. She asked I think she was getting ten minutes with Warren Buffett. So she in her preparation for the interview finds out Warren Buffett loves diet cherry Coke. So what does she do before her interview she buys a Smokler brings a cooler puts ice in it goes and buys a glass bottle of diet cherry Coke walks in the interview with Warren Buffet says hi so-and-so.
Doug Smith: 26:17 Just greeting and then says Mr. Buffett I know you love diet cherry coke so I just want to start this interview with something you love. No joke. Warren Buffett looked at her and he said young lady and all my lives and all my time doing interviews. No one’s ever brought me a Diet Cherry Coke you can have as much time as you want, he gave her an hour and a half years of his time as a lot more valuable than anything else in his life than his money etc.. And she got an hour and a half with him because she spent a $1.30. Right? On an ice cold diet cherry coke. Bring them something they love what I usually do is I’ll ask their asssiatant and ask is there anything that they absolutely love that I can buy them a gift card a restaurant et cetera and they will usually be able to tell you.
Doug Smith: 26:54 So find something they love and give it to them. Bring a notebook and take notes. Just so you know in my heart I am I am experiencing great joy for all of you I do see taking notes but take notes why cause one. It’s a great way to remember and review what you learned in a meeting but two it shows the person that you value their time and their importance. If I meet with someone then the ranks of doubt it drives me nuts just to be honest with you and I can tell you that leaders feel the exact same way when you take notes it shows that you’re valuing them and they’ll get excited because just when I know they’ve made all the money they have the position they’ve made it in life. What leaders of that level want most is the pour into the next generation.
Doug Smith: 27:32 Right. But they weren’t important people actually give them an ROI their time. John Maxwell actually, I have a mentor in my life that gets mentored by John and he said he told him he said if you invest in someone and they don’t show a return on your investment in six months you’ve invested in the wrong person. These people don’t have all the time in the world and if they’re willing to spend time with you. The worst thing you could do is take notes. Then at the end of the interview, this questions open up more doors for me than any other question but who do you know that I should know? Who are two or three other leaders that I should interview for the podcast? You’d be shocked at how many doors that is open. Always ask. At the end of a question then to follow up send them a thank you note with the lessons learned don’t say thanks for your time.
Doug Smith: 28:13 Hey thanks for your time here with my key takeaways. 1 2 3 4 5. Thank you so much. Send them a thank you note and then afterwards determine if you want to meet again. If you do want to meet again I would encourage you to check in with them. Not every day don’t be annoying but maybe 6 months later. Send them an email and say hey here’s what you taught me. Here’s what I am doing currently with what you taught me. And if you want to meet again can we meet again. If you do that then 99 percent of people are going to have another meeting with you because nobody does that nobody does that. Everyone just wants to be with someone so they can say why is this cool or not cool. It’s like no you’re not and execute on it anyway. You’re cool but you get it and then ask for the meeting. If you guys do that it’ll change your life it will change of course in all kinds of doors open. Next.
Doug Smith: 28:59 Be willing to do what others won’t do. Be willing to do what others won’t do. There is this is all about setting yourself apart there is a sign on a grocery store once that I just love this. It said the 57 rules of success. Number one, deliver the goods. Number two the other 56 don’t matter.
Doug Smith: 29:23 Deliver the goods deliver the goods. The first way you can set yourself apart and being willing to do what others won’t do is actually do your job well. It out of the park deliver the goods. If you don’t deliver the goods you’re never going to set yourself apart.
Doug Smith: 29:36 Leaders will recognize people who do their part and some so one deliver the goods. The second thing this is great advice but there is a leader who once was me with the young leader just starting their first job.
Doug Smith: 29:48 And the young leader said hey how do I set myself apart he said. Well, when does everyone else go into work at 8:00. And he said well that’s not when you’re going to start you’re going to start at 7:30 you’re going to show up at some 30 half hour before everyone else. And he said tell me when does everyone else leave. He said we 5/5:30, well not for you-you’re going to stay till 6 and you’re not going to make a big deal out of it you can make a ruckus you’re just going to work harder than everyone else and you’ll start to set yourself apart he said. The second thing I would encourage you to do which I would encourage all of you to do is get a meeting with the president or the CEO or is high position as you can in the organization and walk into the room and say hey Mr. Mrs. So-and-so I know you don’t know me.
Doug Smith: 30:25 I’m literally an entry-level employee. I’m just starting out but I want you to know I know I’m not very valuable to you or the company right now because I have no experience and I’m just getting started. But I want you to know here’s my card here’s my personal cell phone number. There’s nothing and no time that you can’t call me and ask me to do something that I won’t do for you. And right now the most valuable way that I can add value to you maybe be to take your dry cleaner dry cleaner or get your car washed. But I want you to know that if you ever need anything in this organization done I’m your guy. And then execute on that and start serving them ask them Hey how can I serve you ask your supervisor.
Doug Smith: 30:57 That’ll set you apart. It will absolutely set you apart. And then act as if you own the company.
Doug Smith: 31:04 Guys when I was young I was so lazy literally my mentality was. Others are responsible, so I don’t have to be right. And unfortunately, a lot of our culture thinks like that today. But that’s another story. But anyway. But man, develop an owner’s mentality developing odors mentality. Right. Don’t. Don’t be silent and say this isn’t my job or this isn’t my team or this isn’t our department. Like, think if you were the CEO because here’s what I know there’s a weight that comes with being a CEO or a leader that you’ll never know. But you can start to put that on yourself and sort of think if I were sitting in that seat what would I see if you see a piece of trash on the ground pick it up. Right. Simple things like that. But think about long-term decisions that are being made and just act as if you own the place and add value from that perspective if you think like that. I promise you will set yourself apart because no one else does that.
Doug Smith: 31:55 The next thing I would tell you to do is to get get in a mastermind group as you’ve heard.
Doug Smith: 31:59 I’ve been growing intentionally every day for the past 15 or 16 years and I’ve been in a mastermind group for the past three years. Nothing has helped me grow more than being a mastermind group. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept there’s a book called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s an old book but Napoleon who was a man hired by Andrew Carnegie to study the top 50 most influential business leaders of that era for 25 years. Like that’s a long time to study people. And then he wrote this book of what made those people successful. And one of them was one common trait was they were all in what he called mastermind alliances and all that means is a group of two more people that meet on a consistent basis that help each other grow and develop and hold each other accountable to their dreams and goals.
Doug Smith: 32:40 You need a group like this. So this is why we created mastermind groups and L3 Leadership. So the way we run them. And again I encourage you these are everywhere. Or you can start one I can help you start one. It doesn’t matter what you need to be when all they are is our groups me twice a month. They meet for an hour and a half. They’re anywhere from 6 to 12 people. We have coed groups we have groups of men and women right they serve different purposes but they meet for an entire year in the beginning of the year. Everyone shares their top 10 or three to 10 goals for the year. Hey guys here’s what I’m shooting at. Then every quarter you do a goal review and update people on your progress and in the meetings in between. It’s very very simple format.
Doug Smith: 33:17 Everyone just goes around shares their wins and what we call a soul check or a gut check. So winds are just hey in the past two weeks will progress have you made. What can we celebrate? A gut check is just how are you doing on a scale of one to 10 and why. Right. I’ve actually every. Every organization I’m a part of. I’ve made people tell me how they’re doing on a scale of one to 10 why because most people to say like I’m good. Right. Tell me how you actually are. Give me a number. Different people have different numbers but find how people were actually doing and then people were two people were in the hot seat every meeting when you’re in the hot seat. It’s very simple you could say hey hey guys I want to start a company. But here’s the problem.
Doug Smith: 33:52 I have no idea how to start. I don’t know anything about legal. I don’t know anything about accounting. I just have a vision. And then all of a sudden you have the experience connections and relationships with 12 other people who say hey I know an attorney I’ve been through this process let me tell you what to do. And all of a sudden after 15 minutes you have a game plan to execute for whatever your goal your trouble shooting and that’s it. And then we read sometimes. We are we’re always either reading a book or going through a podcast we discuss it and literally, that practice alone has changed my life. So get in a mastermind group or start your own. Oh I didn’t share this in Atlanta but I love this story. So I watched the documentary and Steven Spielberg anyone know who that is.
Doug Smith: 34:31 Right. So like in the 80s they didn’t call it a mastermind group but he was actually in a group of directors with George Lucas the director of Star Wars they met every week and they met every week to challenge each other to hold each other accountable to review each other’s work. And I didn’t realize it but before the first Star Wars movie came out in 1977 George Lucas played it for his mastermind group and one of the members of the mastermind group said George this is great going into the movie like I have no context for what’s happening. Like what is going on. And he said you should start something kind of you should put some kind of text up that gives people context for what’s happening in the movie. What happened then. Right. Right. That whole text thing came out of a mastermind group. Man mastermind groups can change your life.
Doug Smith: 35:18 Next develop your character. This is a personal belief but I truly believe that the best development is character development. Nothing’s more important especially in today’s culture than developing your character. I mean you guys are seeing in our culture men leaders are falling left and right because of poor character. You need to develop your character and here’s what I want you to know in life and life period and in business, you will attract who you are not what you want. In life, you will attract who you are not what you want.
Doug Smith: 35:52 Right. I wanted this girl named was a really really bad right. I wanted to marry her from day one but who I was was not capable of marrying her. Right. It took me 10 years to grow into the man I need to be, I mean again we didn’t things like that but to be able to be the man that kid that she could see leading her for the rest of her life and be with her and raising her kids. It took a lot of character development in me right. You could want this part you could want to marry this person or that person. But if you aren’t that you aren’t going to get that right. It’s the same thing in business. You could want that job. But if you aren’t that if you don’t have the character if you don’t have the integrity the experience you’re not going to get that position.
Doug Smith: 36:29 It’s very simple. So you need to develop your character. How do you do that? A few thoughts. Number one is let others speak into you. Let others speak into your life. Here’s a great question you should ask for the rest of your life. Who in my life can tell me no, that I’ll actually listen to who in my life can tell me no that I actually listen to my father in law had literally like my father in law for years had invested my life, we almost got into fistfights on his deck etc. But why.
Doug Smith: 37:00 Because he was constantly trying to shape me into the man worthy of being his son in law and I had to get to a point where I didn’t let pride hold me back. But to say you know what you’re right and if I’m going to man up if I’m going to be the man you need me to be for your daughter. You are right I need to learn how to handle responsibility better. I need to learn how to love selflessly in all these different things but I to let multiple people speak in my life and I can tell you all kinds of stories like that but get used to feedback be teachable be teachable. I interviewed the manager of the pirates, Clint Hurdle, it’s one of my favorite interviews and he said that he said you know as a coach all I do is get feedback right.
Doug Smith: 37:35 The players that are all stars now after getting their face and say listen you’re not the best player in baseball yet-yet, but if you want to get there here are some things that you could work on for the minor leaguers all trying to come up he said. I have to tell them you’re not ready for the major leagues-yet. That’s not the best news in the world to receive. And that’s going to happen to you in your career. You’re going to get news like that. The question is What do you do with that feedback. OK, what do I need to work on to get there? And then here’s the thought Clint said.
Doug Smith: 38:02 Once they come up from the minors then the conversation is hey the great news is you made it. You’re here. The bad news is you’ve got to do good enough to stay here. It’s the same thing in leadership. You may get the position but then you have to stay in the position you have to grow into the position.
Doug Smith: 38:18 Let others speak in your life and be honest with you. I put the higher you go the more coaches you need to have. And then I just put have standards that are above others. Here’s what I know if you if you aspire to be a leader which we’ve never needed leaders more in our culture. But if you aspire to be a leader you’re an example whether or not you want to be an example whether or not you want to be and people were watching your life whether you know it or not. In fact long before people actually follow you they’re watching you to seeing if you’re a leader worth following. And as a leader, you never get the start a sentence with I want one of my favorite quotes is leadership is losing the right to think about yourself as a leader. You know Wong you get to think about how your decisions are only going impact you because they don’t they impact a whole lot of other people. And if you aspire to be a leader you have to let go of yourself selfishness and realize that the only reason and I will tell you that’s the only reason you should want to become a leader is to better the lives of others. And if you want to be a leader for any other reason then that then do not in the leadership you will literally the world does not need another leader like that. Lose the right to think about yourself put others ahead of yourself and set your standards higher than anyone else.
Doug Smith: 39:33 I’ll try to wrap up in five minutes and then give you guys some Q and A time. So if you have a question you’d like to ask probably about 10 minutes for that. So just to throw that out you can be thinking about that. The next thing I would tell you to own is handle failure well handle failure well the question isn’t are you going to fail. Let me tell you’re going to fail a bazillion times throughout your career whether you’re an entrepreneur whether you’re an employee whether you’re a leader you’re going to fail multiple times the question isn’t will you fail the question is what are you going to do with your failure. Here’s a simple process that I would encourage you to use when it comes that number one don’t find your identity in the failure don’t find your identity in a failure. You may have done what someone told said you did but that doesn’t mean that’s who you are.
Doug Smith: 40:15 Don’t put your identity in something that you did learn from it. But I see that leaders all the time they fail once and it may have been a big failure but they let that define them for the rest of their lives and they never get out of that mess and it tortures them for the rest of their lives and they stay stuck. Never identify with your failure. Instead, the attitude you need to develop is sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. All right sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. Winning is great but it isn’t sometimes you win sometimes you fail. Failure is simply an opportunity to learn and get better next time. If you view it that way it might go for all of you is that you would develop a pattern and a consistency in who you are that you handle failure well. In fact, if you develop that your leaders will love you. If you’re a leader the handles failure and walk through some of the steps I’m sharing with you. Lesson You could have major mess ups but your leader let you go because they know you’re going to recover from it and learn from it. Number two is evaluate the failure. This is very simple. But determine why you failed and what you’re going to do differently next time. Next is take a 100 percent ownership.
Doug Smith: 41:21 There’s a great book out today it’s very popular called Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willich, guys a beast. Just go watch him on YouTube. I go to watch them I’m working now because I’m like man. Anyway, people put together motivational. I’ve met them to anyway. Super cool guy but extreme ownership. Take ownership. Own it. I like to say this never ruin an apology with an excuse. Just own it. You failed. Hey, I failed. I totally dropped the ball on this. I’m sorry. It’s 100 percent my fault. As a leader it is right. It may have been someone else’s fault but that’s not the time to blame and point fingers. You’re the leader. Leaders own things right. So hey it was my fault. I’m sorry. Here’s what I’m going to do better next time.
Doug Smith: 42:00 Don’t sit there and give them a thousand reasons and excuses and blame etc. Have a plan for what you’re going to do and then execute on it and then again just do that over and over and over again and you’ll start to build that, that consistency and character that leaders want to see last 3 for you get your finances under control and anyone going to have student loans when they’re done here?
Doug Smith: 42:22 Anybody anybody anybody let me introduce to you like one of my favorite people on earth. Dave Ramsey. Has anyone heard of Dave Ramsey. If you haven’t you need to again I’m not I’m not a finance guy but I’m with Dave Ramsey guy. And listen a lot of some of you are actually a lot of you are going to make a lot of money and write his basic principles eventually you’ll be beyond his baby steps. But for I want to say 80 percent of America his baby steps are pretty good. So is a seven-step formula again just running through the steps really really quick. But I would really encourage you. He has a program called Financial Peace University. It’s 100 bucks. Probably the best I did when I was 18 probably the best investment ever. And thankfully my father in law paid for it right. He was shaping me into the man I needed to be.
Doug Smith: 43:01 But Financial Peace University. But here’s the baby steps number one. Get a thousand dollar emergency fund. Put a thousand dollars in a bank account that serves as your emergency account. Number two is get debt free completely debt free and determine that you’ll never go into debt again. You won’t use credit cards. You’re not going to finance anything outside of your mortgage. Just make that decision. I’m telling you the world would be a better place if we all did that. Number three is three to six months savings in an emergency fund. So whatever you need to live for six months. Put that in a savings account. Number four is to put 15 percent of your retirement of your money that you make into retirement. Number five is fund your kids 529 plan. Whenever you have kids that number six is pay off your mortgage. I mean guys if we all did those six steps life would be pretty good.
Doug Smith: 43:44 Right. Paid off mortgage retirements going OK. So what did you make this a priority. Now don’t wait till you’re 30 and your life’s a mess and you’re even more in debt like he has a podcast with three episodes every day. If you want to be inspired to get your financial life in control listen to that. There’s people calling that are literally they got a social work degree for two hundred thousand dollars and now they’re going into a nonprofit making ten dollars an hour like have fun with that. Right. But man get your finances under control. It will impact your marriage will impact your personal life. Just do it. Next. Very similar but make your health and fitness a priority make your health and fitness a priority. I showed this last week but I was actually a really heavy kid growing up 250 pounds of my max when I was in fifth grade.
Doug Smith: 44:29 So I never want to take my shirt off at the pool because of how I looked to see that and I finally got the courage to because I was with all my boys and we were at a swimming pool. And so I walked out with my shirt off and I had a crush on this girl in fifth grade named Abby Griffith. And Abby Griffith. I didn’t know she was at the pool which he was soon as I walk out of the locker room just like she doesn’t look like a hippo but like how a hippo comes out of water with like just the eyes like her head popped up out of water and she literally screamed.
Doug Smith: 44:57 He has a bigger chest than I do except she didn’t say chest and I was in fifth grade.
Doug Smith: 45:03 All the guys are laughing all the girls are saying aw. But I went in the shower and cried for two hours. I say I just want to get empathy anyway.
Doug Smith: 45:12 But I cried for two hours but always struggled with my weight.
Doug Smith: 45:16 Fast forward to 2008 I found this program called P90X any P90X fans?. Tony Horden my man. So I did. I did it for like six months. I was dating Laura thought I was in the best shape of my life thought at the time. I had a six-pack. Went to the pool with her was before you’re were getting married. I took off my shirt. I’m like her and my father Mark and like dang you did good like you’ve grown so much. But they didn’t say anything. And the next day we went to the Grove City outlet shopping him my father in law was our shop owner and my father in law his armpits were sweaty. He was like nervous. What’s wrong man he was. We got to talk. And one area he was mentoring me and was boundaries and he said Man you have boundaries and one area you don’t have boundaries in is what you need.
Doug Smith: 45:59 He goes because if you think you look like Tony Horton like you have another thing coming and you look horrible. And then he took me to a vitamin store and like all these vitamins was that was kind of weird but. But. Right. So I home and I’m like wait a minute like I think it comes with a nutrition guy right. Like here’s a novel thought like maybe they do that for a reason. And so I started get my nutrition under control and what I learned was 70 to 80 percent of staying in shape is really what you eat. Not working out. But man get this under control. Right if you want to live a long life get your health and fitness under control. Right. I view fitness as being able to do what you want to do. I don’t know about you but I love hiking. I love national parks. I want to be able to do that with my girls right I when they’re teenagers and when they’re in their 20s I want to be in my 60s and 70s hiking. So what I’m disciplining myself now daily so I can set myself up to do that.
Doug Smith: 46:47 And health is just Hey I don’t want to die when I’m 40 or I want to be here see my grandma I just died she was 92. She got to meet her great-great grandchildren. That’s a way to go woohoo. Let’s get out here-but her take care of yourself. Last two just quick. Lead to serve others I talked about this Zig Ziglar said it best he said you can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want. Live your life for others. My mother in law you said all the time she said the secret to life is to give your life away the only reason you should become a leader is to serve. And then lastly just don’t quit.
Doug Smith: 47:21 Don’t quit. Way too many people overestimate what they can do in a year but they underestimate what they can do in a decade. Right. A lot of you are going to get out and say why aren’t I a CEO I’m 25. Why aren’t I the next Mark Zuckerberg. And sure there’s anomalies like that but that’s rare but just never quit never never never never give up right. I did podcast for 5 years before probably anyone really listened to. People listen but not significantly. Right. But what if I would have never continued. Right. You don’t know what is on the other side of you of not quitting so I just want to know if you want to give up in life don’t. If you want to give up on your job don’t. If you want to give up when you’re a option or don’t and there’s times where you have to end things but just go to the next thing just determine in life the never never never give up and things will turn out right for you. So that’s all I have for you today. As I said open up for and a for 5 minutes or not an of time but again as we part today. If you want to stay connected with L3 and me and what we’re doing you can just fill this out that could be your gift to us and love to stay in touch. I love people so that’s it. Does anyone have questions?
Doug Smith: 48:29 Everyone thank you so much for listening to the talk. I hope that you enjoyed it and that it added value to your life. You can find the notes ways to connect with me and links to everything that we discussed in the show notes that L3 Leadership.org/episode210. I want to thank our sponsor Henne Jeweler’s their jeweler and by my friend and mentor John Henne and my wife Laura and I got our engagement and wedding rings through Henne Jewelers and we just think they’re an incredible organization. Not only do they have great jewelry but they also invest in people. In fact, they give every engaged couple a book to help them prepare for their marriage. And we just love that. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler check out Hennejewelers.com. As always you can stay up to date with everything we’re doing here at L3 Leadership by signing up for our e-mail list on our website.
Doug Smith: 49:09 And when you sign up you actually get a free copy of my ebook making the most of mentoring which is my step by step guide for getting a meeting with anyone and actually cultivating that relationship into a mentoring relationship so you’ll get that for free for signing up and we encourage you to do that. And as always I’d like to end with a quote and I’ll quote Martin Luther King Jr. today he said this he said all labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. I love that. Thank you so much for listening and being a part of L3 Leadership. I hope that you have a great day and learn and I appreciate you so much and we will talk to you next episode.