L3 Leadership Transcriptions: Level Up Your Leadership Interview with Doug Smith | Make Chic Happen Podcast

By July 1, 2019Transcripts

Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with L3 Founder, Doug Smith. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos.

Doug Smith: 00:00 We’re going to come to you because you’re the leader and when they come to you with a problem with another person, you can do one of two things. You can embrace that and encourage it or you can actually help them grow by telling them to have a hard conversation and the most loving thing you can do for them and their leadership is challenge them to have it.

Doug Smith: 00:16 This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 227.

Doug Smith: 00:34 What’s up 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. In today’s episode, you’ll hear me being interviewed. That’s right. I switched seats. I’m normally the one interviewing others and I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by my friends, Melanie Mitro and Katy Ursta for their podcast, the Make Chic Happen Podcast and Melanie and Katy have become great friends and they’ve been on this podcast several times. And so I encourage you to go check out those episodes and it was just an honor to jump on their brand new podcast, which is called Make Chic Happen. And we talked about leadership and they’re allowing me to use the audio from that for this episode. And it was just a blast. Again, as someone who is used to interviewing others all the time, I actually enjoyed being interviewed and in the interview you’ll hear me share my story.

Doug Smith: 01:21 You’ll hear me share some thoughts on what leadership is and how you can grow in your leadership. I share my step by step process for getting a mentor and continuing and cultivating that relationship. I share my approach to having hard conversations and a few other things that I know add value to your life. So I really think that this will challenge and inspire you. I’m excited for you to dive in, but before we do just a few announcements. I want to let you know that all of the talks and breakout sessions from our first L3 One-Day conference this year are now live. And on our website, they are accessible but for members only. And so you’ll need a member to view them. But if you’re a member, I encourage you to go check them out and watch them again, watch these toxins and listen to them with your team.

Doug Smith: 02:01 Take notes and have a discussion around it. Grow together. There’s so much valuable content on there and if you’re not a member and you would like access to the L3 One-Day content, you could become a member today by signing up at L3leadership.org/membership. And we recently just started planning for L3 One-Day, 2020 and we are so excited for year two. It’s going to, we’re just going to take it to the next level and hopefully, we’ll do that year after year after year after year. But stay tuned for details on that. I also want to thank our sponsor, Alex Tulandin. Alex is a full-time realtor with Keller Williams Realty and if you’re 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 he would love to have an opportunity to connect with you. You can learn more about alex at pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com with that being said, let’s dive right into the interview. Enjoy it and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements.

Melanie Mitro: 02:52 Well hello guys. All right. It is the Make Chic Happen Podcast and we have a really special guest with us today. So Katy and I were sitting here before we introduce Doug, right? So we were reviewing our notes this morning after our crazy morning, you know, first week that the kids are off of school and we’re trying to get our bearings together and we’re sitting down and we’re like, okay, let’s prepare for this podcast episode, this interview with Doug. And I was like, I don’t remember when I met Doug,

Katy Ursta: Same thing and we were both sitting here going, well I met him through this and then I knew this and we just found it crazy that we couldn’t pinpoint an actual like first time meeting. But we can pinpoint various ways that we know you through like community and like through church. Through so many different outlets. 

Melanie Mitro: Yeah. So I think it was actually Beach Body. I think that you sent me a Facebook message way back in the day, right? Like eight years ago, probably, you know, eight years ago. And we lived in the same neighborhood and you were kind of connecting about Beach Body stuff and then you would run in the neighborhood. I’m like, there’s that guy, you know?

Doug Smith: 04:07 That’s hilarious.

Melanie Mitro: And then I would like church stuff, you know? And so it’s really cool to watch your evolution. And I remember when you first started out and what you had this vision for and it’s really cool to see how your visions are really coming to light and they’re happening. So we’re, we are honored that you are here with us today, Doug.

Doug Smith: 04:30 Oh, I would say the same thing. It’s an honor to be here. And actually, so again, I, I heard about you guys, you were legendary in our area and people said if you’re following leadership, you have to see Katy and Melanie. And so I just remember following you guys online from a distance and just thinking, wow, if I could ever spend time learning from them, that would be great. And actually, Melanie, I think the first time we met, I had you speak at an L3 breakfast. Just you were one of the, I think you were our second speaker ever.

Melanie Mitro: 04:58 Was that? Okay, yeah, I remember doing that. Did we ever see each other at a Beachbody event or no? 

Doug Smith: I don’t think so. 

Melanie Mitro: No. Okay. All right. It was so long ago, you know, but yeah.

Doug Smith: 05:11 Either way, I’m so glad we’re all connected now. It’s an honor to know you both.

Doug Smith: 05:14 Yes, absolutely. Likewise. So let’s dive into today’s episode. It’s all about, it’s about leadership, which I think is a word a lot of people are afraid of. And so we’re going to really, we’re going to unpack that. We’re going to just give our listeners some great tips and we feel like you’re the best person to do it. Right. 

Katy Ursta: So I would love for our listeners to hear a little bit of your story you created and founded L3 Leadership here in Pittsburgh, but can you tell our listeners a little about yourself and really what was the driving force behind L3?

Doug Smith: 05:49 Yeah, so if you were to look at my life now, I do several things. I’m the founder of L3 Leadership and I’m sure we’ll talk about that, but we’re the development organization that is extremely passionate about developing and connecting leaders here in our city. And so we’ve been doing that for several years now and we have monthly leadership breakfasts and mastermind groups that meet throughout the city. And so we love that. I’m also the Director of development at a nonprofit here in Pittsburgh called Light of Life Rescue Mission. And we serve the homeless and I’ve been here for eight years. And so I’m in charge of fundraising for that. And then I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Laura. We’ve been married for, it’ll be eight years in August, I think, or seven years in August. There we go. Seven years in August. And then we have two beautiful baby girls.

Doug Smith: 06:34 We have a three-year-old named Olivia and a one year or name, Sophia, but that’s my life right now. But I think you’d be shocked if you knew where I was when I was a teenager. And so you asked what was the driving force behind L3 and really, you know, leadership was never on my radar my entire life. In eighth grade determined that my life would never amount to anything. My Dad’s a bus driver and there’s certainly nothing wrong with being a bus driver, but I thought, hey, that’s just what I’ll be. So I quit trying and school never thought I would go to college. I had to go to summer school every single year just to get to the next grade. My mom was sick throughout most of my life and she ended up having pills that I found out I could sell at school.

Doug Smith: 07:14 So I became a drug dealer in our high school and really just lived a party and thought I was living the dream. And, two things happened my senior year that I thought were interesting. One was me and a buddy got in trouble. I don’t even remember for why, but we had to go to the principal’s office. And I remember our principal sitting us down, he looked us both in the eyes and he said, guys, you are leaders. You are leaders and people follow you and you have a decision to make. You either gonna use that influence for good or you’re going to use it for bad. What are you gonna do with it? And I remember the two of us walked out of the office that day and we just laughed. We looked at each other and were like, leaders like us?

Doug Smith: 07:52 Like, yeah, right. So we just laughed at him. But that was the first time that anyone had ever told me that leadership potential. Before that, it was a lot of voices just telling me that I’m never going to amount to anything, that I’m worthless. I’m gonna work at a gas station for the rest of my life, et cetera. And then the second thing that happened that was significant was my senior of high school, my mother passed away and when my mom passed away, and I’m a person of faith, but I wasn’t at the time. But when she passed away, I didn’t know she had a relationship with Christ. And I didn’t know why that bothered me because I didn’t care about a relationship with Christ at all at the time. But every night I would get high drunk at parties, but that question would keep haunting me.

Doug Smith: 08:31 You’re never going to know. Well, out of nowhere, three months after my mom died, I got a phone call from a distant relative who said, Doug, I know you don’t really know me, but I felt like God put you on my heart and wanted me to let you know that I was a nurse in the hospital with your mom. And I ended up leading your mom into a relationship with Christ. And I think God wants you to know that. And I just remember hitting my knees and crying and just saying, God, whatever you want for the rest of my life, I’m yours. And two weeks later, out of nowhere, I got invited by another girl at school to go to a Bible study. And I had been invited before. I’m like, I’m not going to a stupid Bible study. But because of that phone call, I decided to go.

Doug Smith: 09:08 And I walked downstairs and I see this beautiful girl sitting on the couch. And I’m like, man, I’m going to Bible study every week. This is awesome. And so, I did, but that wife or that girl ended up being my wife. But what I didn’t know was when I left the Bible study that night, Laura, the girl I’m talking about, her mom had the Bible study and 150 kids would go to this Bible study every week. And she met with her mom and she said, mom, that’s one of the most influential kids in our high school. He’s a leader, but he uses all of his influence of drugs and alcohol if he ever gets ahold of God, he could change the world. And for whatever reason, her mom started investing in me. They started bringing me over for family dinners. Her Dad’s the director of admission at Carnegie Mellon, and he all of a sudden started investing in me and they started showing me a different side of life.

Doug Smith: 09:55 And he’s like, you’re going to go to college. You’re a leader. You can dream big and go for it. And so he started mentoring me and they brought me to the church, I ended up on staff at where I met a youth pastor there who started putting leadership into me. And he gave me a John Maxwell CD. And I’d never heard of John Maxwell before. I didn’t know there was such thing as personal development, but I listened to this and I literally felt like Neo in the Matrix and, and I called him and I’m like, Hey, I don’t know what this was, but give me everything you’ve got. I transcribed the entire thing. And so for two or three years, he gave me binders full of John Maxwell CDs, and I would spend two or three hours a night listening to personal development. CDs when I was in my twenties.

Doug Smith: 10:36 He would also bring in influential leaders in the community to share their best leadership content. And he would just say, hey guys, when I have someone come in and speak, you should ask them to mentor you or ask them out to coffee. So I started doing that for about 10 years and that’s ultimately how we started our podcast. And then, the other thing he would do is just connect us in community of leaders. And so, long story short, my life was transformed because of people seeing leadership potential in me that I didn’t see in myself and actually taking the time to invest in me and why I started L3 was I just simply wanted to do for other leaders who had what leaders in my life had done for me. So that’s kind of my life story and the journey of how we got to where we are today.

Melanie Mitro: 11:16 You know, I’ve heard that story quite a few times now and :it’s still gives me goosebumps. It still kind of moves me to tears, you know.

Katy Ursta:  And how important mentorship is. The idea of mentoring those younger than us or those who we see that potential and who just never know what they’re saying and themselves. So giving them those words of affirmation that you see in them. 

Melanie Mitro: Yeah. 

Katy Ursta: Gosh that, yeah, just, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. 

Melanie Mitro: No, you’re good. Yeah, it is. It’s great. That’s really great. And how you’ve used that leadership. So let’s kind of talk about that. You know, let’s a little bit about, you know, you serve this amazing community. We talked, we did tell us just a little more about l three and what you do with l three and then we’ll kind of talk about some of the business gaps.

Doug Smith: 12:06 Sure. So with L3 again, our tagline is learn, launch, lead. So we want all leaders and we believe that all leaders need to be in a constant cycle of learning. So growing to their maximum potential, launching the dreams and that are in their heart. Too often we find so many people have dreams, but they have, they lack the courage to do it. And so we see ourselves as people who can give courage and fire people up to go after their dreams. And then ultimately we want to teach people to lead. And one way we define leadership is leadership is losing the right to think about yourself. And so we want people’s leadership to reach beyond themselves where they start impacting their community, impacting others, and really making a difference in the lives of others. And we believe that’s a cycle that will never end. And so we, how we do that is we have events, we have speaker series where we have leaders like yourselves come in and share their content and give leaders an opportunity to connect. We have mastermind groups that meet throughout the city that are very intentional groups that meet twice a month and they challenge each other, they help resource use resource each other to go after their dreams. We have a One-Day leadership conference and we’re currently developing some leadership programming to actually equip people to, to be better leaders.

Melanie Mitro: 13:12 Oh, that’s wonderful. That is awesome. Okay. So what are some of the biggest gaps that you see in leadership with the community that you serve?

Doug Smith: 13:22 Yeah, so the things I see over and over again is, is number one, just a lack of authentic community. I feel like the more people grow, the more inclined they are to isolate themselves. And we believe too many leaders are doing life alone. In fact, one of our values is we don’t do life alone. And I think Henry Cloud did some research on this and he found that 80% of the executives that he works with just do not have a single person that they can actually trust and confide in. And you know, if we, and we wonder why there’s a leadership epidemic in the culture and the air that we live in. And so for us, we’re just really, really passionate about, you need to be in a mastermind group, who’s that core group of people that you do like with on a consistent basis?

Doug Smith: 14:02 And we find that if you don’t intentionally schedule something like that into your calendar more than just, hey, let’s have coffee? And you know, once every six months that you’re going to be isolated. And when you’re isolated, your mind can play all kinds of tricks with you, just tell you how worthless you are, and you can get into a really dark place really, really fast. And I think what’s interesting about community is when you start sharing your thoughts in those, those dark thoughts that come to you, you’re not alone. Everyone’s going through the same thing. Everyone’s experienced that same thing. And so when you have community that go through that with it’s, it’s vital. And then the second gap that, that I would mention is just a lack of patience.

Doug Smith: 14:39 I like to say that man, I think far too many people are focused on being discovered rather than being developed. And I just think that’s a fact in our culture. And I would just encourage leaders out there. And what we encouraged people to do is, hey, leadership is a journey. And so just get good. You know, something that encouraged me greatly as a young leader. I remember John Maxwell, saying that in the beginning you’re not as bad as people think. Right, at the beginning, like don’t you just want to tell people like, Hey, I know I’m bad but I’m not that bad. But then he said, but if you do things right in life and you develop yourself and the end, you’re not as good as people think. And somewhere in between those two is where you should live. And that, that thought alone has really shaped my heart when it comes to just being patient and work on development rather than being discovered. So those are two gaps.

Katy Ursta: 15:26 I love that. So one of the things that you were saying, Doug, that I very, very clearly remember connecting to is, I remember it was about two or three years ago when my business was just at this point where I felt like I was just churning, I was trying, I was working, I was hustling, I was burning out. And I remember calling Melanie one day and I just, I didn’t even know how to verbalize what was going on in my head, but I just broke down and I said, you know, leadership is just so long lady. And I remember she said, you know it is, but it doesn’t have to be and no, cause Melanie’s my mentor actually that’s how we got to know each other in our network marketing business. Melanie had mentored me, so I only always saw her as sort of one step above, like always just above instead of wait, we can do this thing together.

Katy Ursta: 16:17 So I think it was a defining moment too for us to say maybe it’s more about collaboration and competition and that’s really what the Chic Model is, is all about. So I have to, I have to kind of just take a minute and ask the question of, you know, it’s, it’s just the word leadership is a word that scares a lot of people, especially if they feel like they haven’t yet arrived as a leader. So I think it would help if maybe we just redefined the word leadership. What do you feel is the definition of a leader?

Doug Smith: 16:53 Yeah, so I would say John Maxwell has been the biggest influencer in my life in this space. And from, from the time I was 17 and listened to that first CD I talked about, my definition has always been leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. And so in some ways everyone can be a leader, right? You may not have influence over a company of, you know, 5,000 employees, but you’ve been influence over your family. If you have a family, you’ve influenced some of your friends. So in some ways, I believe everyone has leadership ability within them. But here’s what I would just say, that you have to start where you are in your leadership. I don’t think there’s ever a day where you’re going to feel like, I can be a leader now. Like I’m going to go out and do it. Or Hey, I’ve arrived, I’m a leader.

Doug Smith: 17:33 To be honest with you, I’ve been studying leadership for I guess 17 years and I just, I started a new role last July and I’m like, well, I thought I knew something about leadership, but now I’m going into an entirely new level. And, I’m like, I don’t know if I’m a leader at all. I don’t think I knew about this leadership. And so I don’t think there’s ever going to be this point where you’re like, today’s the day I feel like I’m going to be a leader. I was listening to Craig Groeschel recently and he said, uh, you know, often when you’re in your 20s, you’re like, I’m a young leader. I’m a young leader. I’m a young leader. And he’s like, I can’t really define when I became an actual leader, like I said, at 34 years old, at day three, I became, you know, a seasoned leader.

Doug Smith: 18:10 So I think it’s just paying attention to the journey and just starting where you are. I like to say, if you don’t start where you are, you’ll stay where you are. And so just start, just say, you know what? I don’t know anything about leadership and I’m gonna be, I’m gonna commit to being a leader because I want to influence and make a difference in the lives of others. And so I’m going to start learning everything that I can today. And so I think that’s really important. And then the other definition I mentioned already, but, but I really do believe that that leadership is losing the right to think about yourself. The one thing if you’re getting into leadership because you want to be in the spotlight because you want to write a book because you want large audiences, you know those things can come with it. But far too often people look at that and they think that’s leadership. But you have no idea the sacrifices and the self-discipline and all of those things that are involved. And if you’re getting into leadership or any other reason other than the serve other people don’t get into leadership. But if it’s all about you, I’m just telling you the world doesn’t need any more selfish leaders. And I’m telling you if you’re vision isn’t to help other people, you won’t make it in leadership for the longterm.

Melanie Mitro: 19:12 That it’s so powerful because it’s such an evolution. Like I think about what we thought leadership was five years ago. It looks nothing like it actually is, you know, so many. And also there’s this misconception of when I’m a leader, I’ve arrived in life is now easy and my bank account is full and I’ve got this great team and it’s just smooth sailing and I don’t have to work hard at it anymore. And that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Katy Ursta: No. In fact I feel like we do work harder, but I will say as I’ve developed as a leader, I feel more peace with business and the things that are in my control. Whereas a few years ago when I was just a belt upping these skills and running my business, I felt like I was always hustling, always moving, always having to go, always having to control, always having to, you know, put fires out.

Melanie Mitro: Or have it all together. Like I shouldn’t be like I should never show my emotion and I should be the strong leader. Do you remember I used to do that a lot. You know, I never could let anybody in and it was dough and it’s been that evolution of just be who you are, you know, kind of lead from the front, you know? 

Katy Ursta: And there is that piece with it. Yeah. And just knowing that this is there is something really good coming from this. It’s just I’ve had to develop myself as a leader to lead others. Well, yeah, it has been. And you know, one of our favorites, you, John Maxwell’s one of your favorites, one of our favorites is Brene Brown. 

Doug Smith: For sure. Yeah. 

Katy Ursta: I feel like the biggest life lessons in leadership have come from the way she has spoken to me through the books that she’s written so okay.

Doug Smith: 21:02 Yeah, her book, Courage to Lead is her lastest one. That was unbelievable.

Katy Ursta: 21:05 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Have you watched her Netflix special yet?

Doug Smith: 21:09 I haven’t. I saw the preview on Netflix. Is it good?

Katy Ursta: 21:12 We haven’t watched it yet because we have this girls’ night that we’re going to do with our other friend and not the three of us can’t get our schedules together.  So it’s been two months and

Melanie Mitro: We’ve been waiting patiently to watch it together. Yes.

Doug Smith: 21:27 I love her focuson authenticity. I remember Henry Cloud’s sharing a story that he got all these high-level executive leaders away at a retreat and he was like, guys, let’s just be real. What are you going through? And all of a sudden these 12, I actually, there was 12 in the room, 11 of them shared, you know, the hardships that they were going through and they get to the last guy and he was a young guy. He probably shouldn’t have been in the room, but you know, had great leadership. And they said, well, what’s going on? You’re like, what do you need? He goes, I don’t need anything anymore. I mean, I just heard my heroes go and heard everything that they’re going through and found out that they’re just as messed up as I am. Like I’m good. And again, I think what you said, it just goes back to like, are you connecting with people? Are you being real and authentic about your leadership journey? Because if not, you’ll burn out.

Melanie Mitro: 22:09 So powerful, so powerful. So, all right, so let’s ask you another question. So when it comes to growing the leadership mindset, those leadership skills, you know, what do you feel is some of the most important practices people can implement to really begin to strengthen that muscle of leadership?

Doug Smith: 22:31 Yeah, I would just say fundamental. So these are, these may sound very basic, but I would just ask people, are you doing them? Number one is personal growth. I mean, if you follow youtube, you’re obsessed with personal growth. And so, I would say the only guarantee of tomorrow being better is growing today. And so personal growth is an absolute must. So what podcasts are you listening to on a regular basis? What books are you reading? What conferences are you going to, what courses are you taking to, to better your craft? If you’re not growing daily, you’re gonna get surpassed and then not make it in leadership. The second thing which I’ve talked about is you need to be in a mastermind group. I’ve been intentional about personal growth for 17 years, but being in a mastermind group for the last, I guess four years has been the biggest source of growth in my life.

Doug Smith: 23:15 You know, having a group of me, in my case, other men that I can go to their experience in business and I can say, guys, here’s what I’m struggling with in my leadership. Here’s where I’m struggling and management, here’s what I’m struggling with my business. And for them to give me real feedback of tangible things or having their resources available, saying, Hey, I may not have an answer for you, but I can connect you with the leader. that does has been invaluable. So everyone I believe needs to be in a mastermind group. And then lastly, as you need a mentor, and there’s no such thing as a Yoda Mentor, there’s one mentor that’s going to change your life forever. You need a handful of mentors and you need different mentors and different seasons. But my question to you is, do you have mentors in your life right now?

Doug Smith: 23:55 And I have a whole process for getting meetings with leaders and mentors and you go over that in another time or if you want to I can. But I would just encourage you, if you get a mentor, and I know you two are passionate about this, make sure that you provide a return on investment for your mentor. One of my mentors is personally mentored by John Maxwell and John Actually told him, he said, if you invest in someone and they don’t show you a return on investment in six months, you’ve invested in the wrong person. And as a mentee, that’s really scary, right? It’s like, man, I better provide a return of someone’s willing to invest in me, but also as a mentor, I think that’s important to realize that some people just aren’t going to take the journey with you or it’s not their season to grow. And so sometimes we invest in people and you really have to make the decision, you know, are they gonna come with me or not? But those are the three things. So personal growth, get in a mastermind group and make sure you have mentors in every season.

Melanie Mitro: 24:46 I, I kind of do want you just to do like the short version of how somebody would find a mentor because I feel like that people are gonna ask that. So we should definitely answer that for them.

Doug Smith: 24:56 Yep. So I still actually have an ebook on this if people were interested so I can send that to you guys to make available. But my process is very, very simple. I try to make it concise. One is create a bucket list of people that you would like to mentor you. And I would just dream big. I was showing it to a thing anyway. I won’t go to that. I won’t get off topic. Create a bucket list of mentors, ask them, ask for the meeting. People were like, Doug, you get to spend time with all these great people and get mentored by them. I wish I could. And I’m like, you can have you asked them 90% of the time if you ask it, it’ll be great. With the ask, if you can add, find some way to add value to get an initial introduction, it will be huge for me.

Doug Smith: 25:33 This wasn’t intentional, but the podcast has opened up doors for me that I could never open up. When I say if I was meeting with the two of you and said I wanted a meeting with you, it’s one thing to say, hey, Melanie and Katy, can I grab coffee with you because I want to learn from you. It’s another thing to say, hey, can I meet with you? And not only do I want to learn from you, but I also want to record our conversation together. So it will add value to me and listeners that’ll open up way more doors than, than the person that I mentioned. Simple things, once you get the meeting, be on time, send them a list of questions in advance. So you should have a skeleton list of questions that you ask any mentor. But then when you get a meeting with a specific mentor, study them and do a specific, uh, research and find specific questions for them and then take notes while they’re teaching you.

Doug Smith: 26:18 It drives me nuts when people don’t take notes in meetings, but it shows people that you value what they’re saying. You guys are awesome. You’re taking notes. I love it and here’s the bonus and I know I’ll end up, I’ll land the plane with this, but find them something that they love this, this will set you apart and get you another meeting. But there the woman that created the Aflac duck, she had a meeting with Warren Buffett. Most people get 10 to 15 minutes with Warren Buffett. She did research on him and found out that he loves diet cherry coke. So before the interview, she goes to the convenience store and buys a diet cherry coke ice cold brings into the interview, says Mr Buffett. I thought we’d start the interview with something you love, here’s the diet cherry coke. Warren Buffet looks at her and says, young lady,

Doug Smith: 27:03 in all my years of doing interviews, no one’s ever brought me a dietary coke. You can have as much time as you want. Yeah, she got in an hour and a half with Warren Buffett. When most people get 10 to 15 minutes, all because she spent a dollar 50 on a dietary coke. So just think about, again, sometimes you’re going to people who are unaccessible, but if you do little things like that or really set you apart. And then last thing after the meeting, make sure you pull up with a thank you note, telling them what you’ve learned from them, bullet points, hey, here are the key takeaways. And then don’t ask them for another meeting until you do what they said to do. This is the ROI part. So Melanie and Katy say, Hey, do this, this and this. I’m going to email him three months later and say, Hey Katy, Melanie, you told me to do this. Here’s what I did with what you told me. Can we meet again? And if you haven’t done that, don’t expect anyone to meet with you twice or to mentor you. There. There’s my process.

Melanie Mitro: 27:51 That was like mic drop, that was so good. 

Katy Ursta: Oh boy, we got to do some work. That’s great. Love it. I like next time we’ll have to ask you what your favorite drink is so we can just Starbucks take you to Starbucks. Yep. So let me, so earlier this year you held an amazing in that the one day of that in Pittsburgh and one of the main topics of conversation that are really captured my attention was when you talked about communication and having hard conversations and as the leaders, one of the toughest things to do is have those hard conversations with our organization, with our employees. So what is a tip that you have for our listeners about how you get over the fear of having those tough conversations?

Doug Smith: 28:42 Yep. So I had to learn this the hard way and I would say, I don’t know that you ever get over the fear. Do I have time to share a brief story? This was the worst. So I’m a people pleaser by nature, I never want to offend anyone. I’ll never be, I actually had a mentor tell me, Doug, your, you will lie to people because you’re such a people pleaser and you don’t mean to, but you’ll tell people what they want to hear and say what they need to. So for years, I was so passive aggressive, with leaders in my life. And I remember even in my prior boss and at this organization, I would gossip about her all the time. People would come to me and I loved being the person that would come and gossip about them, right? Because I felt like empowering.

Doug Smith: 29:20 And so I actually had the opportunity, our executive director said, hey, we’re going to do a 360 on your boss. And I thought, this is it. I’m going to get her fired. I’m going to be real. And so I filled out this 360 degree review and I was horrible in it. And I’m like, but this is going to get her fired. Well, I thought it was anonymous. He ends handing it to her, right? All the three sixties now. They didn’t have their names on it, but she actually in our, in our meeting, read them all out loud, our responses and said, what are we going to do about this? And for the first time in my life I thought, man, I’m going to have to come, get real. And so I said, I will own everything that I said, but I avoided having a conversation with her and I was meeting a mentor and telling them the situation.

Doug Smith: 30:05 He goes, well, when are you going to talk to her? I’m like, sometime like this week. And he goes, no, like, when are you going to talk to them? Like I hopefully sometime. And he said, call her right now and schedule the appointment. And I was like, right now. And he’s like, yeah, right now. But I’m like, I’m sitting in your office. He goes, I know, call her right now. And so like I’m shaking and I call her and I scheduled the appointment and it was the first time I actually had to have a hard conversation in my life and I was scared to death and I ended up, and this is what I would encourage people to do if you have a hard time with hard conversations. I wrote out the entire conversation in my journal and I met with her and I just said, hey listen, this is going to be terrible.

Doug Smith: 30:43 I’m really, really nervous but I’m gonna just share what’s on my heart and the conversation I need to have with you. If you can just listen to me and not interrupt me cause I know you may want to. And then after I share, I would like you to repeat to me what you heard and then let’s have a conversation after that. And that process it we both cried, it was horrible on the front end. But we ended up having a wonderful conversation and we ended up, we didn’t have a great relationship before that ended up having a great relationship on the back end. And so I say that because now, I feel like I’m great at having hard conversations cause I realized that you need to have them. And so one I would say you’re never going to get over that fear to is having a hard conversation. Just do it, schedule it, call the person you need to have our conversation with now. And then actually write out your conversation in a journal that was extremely meaningful. And so I hopefully that’s helpful. But hard conversations are necessary, but you’re not good at ’em the scariest thing in the world.

Katy Ursta: 31:39 Yeah they are. But I find that the more I sort of know that everyone is just doing their best and no one is ill intent, it’s just that most people just don’t understand the intention. Yeah. And you actually talked about one thing that you say is the story I am telling myself. And so this, it’s a Brene Brown thing. Just kind of create this story in your head. And once you have that conversation, you can also hear the story that the other person is telling themselves and I can guarantee it’s not the same story. Yeah. Perspective matters. It’s just different. We all come from different backgrounds and we’ve had different experiences that mold the stories that we tell ourselves. So I love that. 

Melanie Mitro: I do too. And that is the hardest part about leadership is having a different, and it’s easier to hide and I’m sure that everybody probably can think of one conversation they need to have. You need to schedule and I would encourage you know people to do it because I’ve had the same experience as you. Every single time I’ve had the difficult conversation and I’ve said, this is the story that I’m playing in my mind. Most nine times out of 10 people are like, well that’s not even close to what’s going on. Let me tell you, you know, so absolutely.

Doug Smith: 32:58 And can, can I share one more thing for leadership? Because probably as a leader, the greatest thing I learned from that is Dave Ramsey has what he calls the no gossip rule, right? If you gossip twice in his organization, you’re fired. And so I would just say as a leader, someone with influence, people are going to come to you because you’re the leader. And when they come to you with a problem with another person, you can do one of two things. You can embrace that and encourage it. Or you can actually help them grow by telling them to have a hard conversation and the most loving thing you can do for them and their leadership is challenged them to have it. And so I would just tell leaders out there listening, evaluate yourself. Are you someone that is passive aggressive and allows gossip to flow through you? Or do you actually help others grow in this area by making them have hard conversations?

Melanie Mitro: 33:42 That’s a great tip. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you. Alright, so we’ll, we’re going to rapid fire through our last couple of questions. I think we could sit here and talk to you all day. But as, as the host of the L3 podcast, you’ve got to interview some really incredible people because you have asked them, right? You’ve gone out there and you develop that relationship. I mean, Chris Hogan, Mike Tomlin, Ken Coleman, Rachel Cruz. So I, we’re curious, what are some of the most memorable leadership lessons or principles you’ve learned from those interviews?

Doug Smith: 34:15 Uh, oh Geez. I would just say, yeah, the best lessons I, so for me, one just overall is I think the people that you just mentioned, again, they’re big names, but people are just people right? They’re just people. And that took me a long time to learn. I think. So I would just say that the second thing is just legacy. You know, at the end of the day, all leaders care about is making a difference. And I think when you realize that it changes everything, it’s like what is your life? What do you want your life to count for and what are you going to give it away? And oftentimes it’s the simple things. It’s not the platform, it’s not how many followers you have. Oftentimes it’s my legacy is going to be my kids and what my kids do with what we empowered them to do. Or hey, I transformed this many people’s lives. So again, it’s very, very simple and just stick to the fundamentals. But yeah.

Melanie Mitro: 35:05 that’s great. People are just people at the end. Yeah, they are just humans. Yes.

Doug Smith: 35:11 So I actually, this is odd, but like when I’m meeting with a leader, I’m nervous without, I usually just picture them. Usually a guy, I’m like, they probably chase their kids around the house in their underwear, right. Like going crazy and I’m like, they’re just people anyway.

Melanie Mitro: 35:24 People yes. So that’s a really, that’s good. That is really good. 

Katy Ursta: And Doug, we won’t lie. Before we actually started this podcast, I said to my children because school’s out, you know, I said, and we told her, listen, you need to be quiet for 40 minutes. All I need, I should’ve had that part in the back yard. It’s true. I work all just doing our best. But let me ask you another question that I know we’re going to get asked. What are you reading right now? I know you really speak about personal development, so I know you are always reading something. What is on your audible right now or your playlist or podcast list or just in your hands, a book?

Doug Smith: 36:04 Yeah, I would, I’m an intense season of growth right now. Like it is not been a fun year in leadership. I’m going to go into a whole another level and I feel like oftentimes certain books and resources are for a certain season. And I just wrote, I, I’ll just mention one book. I just finished a book by a guy named Sam Chan. It’s called Leadership Pain, Leadership Pain. And the whole premise of the book is that you’ll only grow to the level and your ability to handle pain. And so all leaders have to grow through it and go through that. And so, it’s really, really encouraging cause one, again, it focuses on a lot of church leaders, so it’s in the faith space, but it has a lot of stories of leaders sharing their stories. And when you hear what people had to go through and realize that you’re not alone, it’s very, very encouraging. But just knowing the reality that leadership isn’t all fun and exciting, there’s painful season of painful growth for me. I need that encouragement in the season cause there’s part of me, it’s like, can I make this jump? Can I make it? I know I’ll make it, but without that encouragement, I don’t think I would. 

Melanie Mitro: 37:05 Thank you. Thank you. Actually, share it. And now that I’m thinking about it, you shared a post and this is months ago, that, a man, and I’m going to mess up his last name, but his first name’s Carey Nieuwhof?

Doug Smith: 37:17 Oh this is hilarious cause you guys, I think you did a video recommending box and you said Carey Neowolf and I like fell on the ground laughed.

Melanie Mitro: 37:25 It’s not, isn’t it?

Doug Smith: 37:26 It’s a Nieuwhof.

Katy Ursta: 37:28 Oh my gosh. I had no idea. I have to tell you, he did this great post about leadership. And he recommended I think it was a blog post that he wrote and you talked about it in a post that you did about how leadership is so important. But if you aren’t guarding your heart, you aren’t always going to stay humble. And that’s when you really open yourself up to the downfall and you gave the book recommendation. I actually have it. It’s Didn’t See it Coming. The book did see it coming and it’s a phenomenal book about all of the things that as you’re growing a business or as you’re meeting, you know, an organization or the church or whatever that you almost have to guard yourself from. And that’s just through faith and their prayer and it was an amazing read. So you’re going to have to say the last name one more time.

Doug Smith: 38:16 Yeah. Carey Neiuwhof, Didn’t See it Coming. He’s phenomenal, he read his blog, his books. Excellent. He has a podcast. That’s great. 

Melanie Mitro: Very good. Wonderful.

Melanie Mitro: 38:26 I love it. So tell like takeaways, what can we call to our listeners? Let me say that again. How can we call our listeners to act? What can we say? All right. From today’s, these are things, if you want to develop your leadership skills, you must do asap.

Doug Smith: 38:43 Yeah, you need to, you, like I said, you need that to be on a personal growth plan. But more importantly, if you could do nothing else, connect with a community and I can’t think of a better community connect with, then Chic influencer. Right? I said, speaking of saying things wrong, I call it a chick at our conference in front of all these people. So, so we’re even Katy where even, but it’s a big deal to be honest. I followed Katy and Melanie for probably the past seven or eight years. And to watch you guys grow as leaders, I can’t think of better too better leaders to point people to, to be under and be in community with, um, to learn, grow and develop. I think the mentors that you pack in the community you choose is so important. AndI can just tell you from watching these guys’ journey and knowing them a little bit, that there are two liters worth falling and so you need to connect with them. I know I follow everything they do. You guys are heroes of mine and so connect with the Chic influencer community.

Melanie Mitro: 39:33 Well, thank you. And likewise. So where can our listeners connect with you? Because we respect you. I listen, I read all of your posts that you do with things that you put out there, so where can people connect with you? And definitely the podcast too.

Doug Smith: 39:47 Yup. L3leadership.org. We also have a podcast L3 Leadership podcast so you can connect there. But again, more importantly, if you’re listening to this, don’t connect with all three, connect with Chic influencer and if you want to check out stuff, we do supplemental growth, that’s great. But these two are the ones who need to connect with.

Melanie Mitro: 40:04 Oh, well thank you so much for your time today. It is so appreciated that you took time out of your, your job in your busy schedule to chat with us this conversation.

Doug Smith: 40:15 Well, I’m humbled and honored as well, you two are heroes. 

Katy Ursta: Thank you.

Doug Smith: 40:17 Thank you.

Doug Smith: 40:20 Hey everyone. Thank you so much for listening to my interview with my friends, Melanie Mitro and Katy Ursta. As I mentioned in the interview, I really want to encourage you to check out to them and their tribe chic influencer. They’re incredible and the Make Chic Happen podcasts and I’ll include links to that in the show notes and you can find links to everything that we discussed at L3leadership.org/episode227 I also want to encourage you while you’re on the website to sign up for our email list. It’s the best way to stay up to date with everything we’re doing here at l three and when you do, you’ll get a free copy of my ebook Making the Most of Mentoring, which is my step by step process for getting mentors and building those relationships, which I shared a little bit about that, in this interview.

Doug Smith: 41:01 And so I know that’ll add value to make sure you go get a copy of that today. I want to thank our sponsor, Henne Jewelers. They’re jeweler, owned by my friend and mentor, John Henne, my wife Laura and I got our engagement and wedding rings through Henne Jewelers and they are awesome. Not only do they have great jewelry, but they also invest in people. In fact, they give every couple of book to help them prepare for marriage when they’re getting engaged. And we just love that. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler, check out Hennejewelers.com as always, if this podcast added value to your life, I encourage you to help us spread the word. Share this on social media and Instagram stories or on Instagram. Let people know what you learned and what you loved about it and help us get the word out so we can add value to more leaders.

Doug Smith: 41:37 And thank you so much for being a listener. We don’t take any of you for granted, so thank you. And as always, I like to end with a quote and I called Gerald Brooks all the time because he just, he tweets gold. If you’re not following Gerald Brooks, make sure you check him out. But he said this, he said “The most difficult thing about life is that it’s daily discipline does not get a day off.” That is so good. Discipline does not get a day off. Hey, thank you so much for listening and being a part of all L3 Leadership, Laura, and I appreciate you so much and we will talk to you next episode.