Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with L3 Founder, Doug Smith and Greg Weimer. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos.
Doug Smith: 00:00 We have this motto with our mastermind groups. We want everyone that’s in a mastermind group to be fully known, fully loved, and fully challenged. This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 234.
Doug Smith: 00:24 Hey everyone and welcome to another episode of the L3 Leadership podcast where we are obsessed with helping you grow to your maximum potential and to maximize the impact of your leadership. My name is Doug Smith and I am your host. And today’s episode you’ll hear me being interviewed by my friend Greg Weimer, who’s a partner at Confluence Financial Partners. Greg’s a legendary leader in our city and he’s making a huge impact with his life and through his organization. In fact, I admire Greg so much, I’ve asked him to speak at our next L3 One Day conference, which is coming up in March, and he has agreed so he’s going to be one of our speakers for the day and I cannot wait to hear what he has to say that day. But I was absolutely humbled that Greg asked to interview me for his podcast and even more grateful that he’s allowing me to share that interview with you here today and in the interview you’ll hear us talk about all kinds of things.
Doug Smith: 01:12 We talk about living with purpose. We talk about goal setting, life planning, mastermind groups, L3 Leadership, what I’ve learned in my role at Light of Life Rescue Mission and so much more. I believe there’s so much you’re going to get out of this and so it’s going to add massive value to your life. So get ready. But before we dive into that, just a few announcements. First, as I mentioned, we have our second annual L3 One Day Conference, which is going to be on Friday, March 13th, 2020 and Greg, who you’re going to hear from in this episode will be one of our speakers. We almost have our entire speaker lineup booked and as soon as we do, we’ll have registration up. But you can learn more about the conference at L3Oneday.com for now, just please save the date, plan on attending and plan on bringing your team.
Doug Smith: 01:55 You will not regret it. I want to thank our two sponsors. First 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 would love to have an opportunity to connect with you. If you want to learn more about Alex, go to Pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com and I also want to thank our other sponsor, Henne Jewelers. They’re a jeweler owned by my friend and mentor, John Henne. Not only do they have great jewelry, but they also invest in people. In fact, they give every couple that gets engaged, a book to help them prepare for marriage and we just love that. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler, check out Hennejewelers.com with that being said, let’s dive right into the interview and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements.
Greg Weimer: 02:41 A pleasure to have Doug Smith with us today. Doug is the director of development for Light of Life. He is also the founder of L3 Leadership. The reason we’ve invited Doug today is because Doug is a master at helping people live a life that is intentional and really helping people think and visualize what they want their legacy to be. One of the things at Confluence Financial Partners we are focused on is making sure that our client’s financial plans are absolutely designed around maximizing their life and maximizing their legacy. Doug is going to help us make sure we do things on a daily basis to accomplish both. So, Doug, I think you do such a great job of living your life based on purpose and I just think of you have always trying to improve and improving on a daily basis. And if you could explain to the audience the things you think about, and if you could explain to the audience, I should listen to the next whatever it is, 30 minutes or 20 minutes because of what, what is your purpose? How do you think about that?
Doug Smith: 03:54 Yeah, I mean, I view my purpose as very simple. I just want to wake up every day and add value to people and help them grow and develop and, and pursue their, their vision for their life and help them get better. I’m obsessed with personal growth and development and obsessed with helping people accomplish their dreams. So anything I can do to be a part of that is why I wake up every day.
Greg Weimer: 04:11 Yeah, that’s why I thought it’d be that there would be so much synergy because, you know, at our firm, we talk so much about helping people maximize their life and maximize their legacy. And not everybody’s built that way. And do you think that it’s either that you can develop it? When did it start for you?
Doug Smith: 04:25 Yeah, I mean, my story is a little interesting, so,
Greg Weimer: So it’s a lot of interesting.
Doug Smith: Yeah, yeah.
Greg Weimer: Yeah.
Doug Smith: So my, my story, if you look at my life now, you would have never imagined the life I had growing up. But I grew up in, in middle school, two things happened. My mom got sick with a rare nerve disease in her legs and ended up in bed all the time. My dad had to work two jobs. And so as a result, I went from having a pretty normal family life to no family life, no boundaries. I was able to do whatever I wanted, no curfew, which is a middle school kid is awesome. But it’s not great in setting you up for life. And I determined my eighth-grade year that I would never amount to anything. So I stopped trying in school, started getting into drugs with the wrong crowd, became a drug dealer in our high school and just lived it up in high school and decide, Hey, my dad’s a bus driver.
Doug Smith: 05:10 I’ll just follow in his footsteps and become a bus driver. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with being a bus driver, but that’s all I thought I would do with my life. And so I was okay with that. I had to go to summer school each year just to get to the next grade. And my senior year of high school, two things happened. One is my mom ended up passing away, October of my senior year and when she passed away, it was obviously devastating in my life and I’m a person who face and through a certain experience. After that, I ended up going to a meeting with where I met my wife and they knew I lost my mom.
Greg Weimer: Wait, how old were you at this time?
Doug Smith: I was 17, 17. So I, me and my wife, we’re at this small group with around 150 high school kids.
Doug Smith: 05:48 Her mom led the group. And what I didn’t know happen, I thought she was cute. So I decided I’m going to this group every week. And when I left, she told her mom, that’s one of the most influential kids in our high school. And if he actually ever lives on purpose and uses his influence for good, I think he could change the world. And for whatever reason, her mom felt compelled and started inviting me over for family dinners. Her dad is the director of admission at Carnegie Mellon, and he started meeting with me and said, you’re gonna do something great with your life. And started giving me vision of you’re going to go to college and graduate, you know, all these things that I’d never thought of before. And so for the first time in my life, I actually opened up my eyes to the possibility that, that I could live for something beyond anything I could ever imagine.
Doug Smith: 06:28 And then shortly after that, just the power of if you’re listening to this and you’re a teacher have influenced over anyone’s life. I got in trouble, my senior, I forget what I did in senior class but me and a buddy, had to go to the principal’s office, and this principal looked at us and basically said, guys, you’re in here all the time. I want you to know that you’re leaders and people follow you, and you can use that influence for good or for bad. And right now you’re using it all for bad. Why don’t you do something with the influence you have. And you know, we walked away at the time laughing and saying, can you believe he thought we are leaders. But I’ll never forget that he was the first person ever told me that I had leadership potential. And I actually had the opportunity 10 years later to go back and speak at a graduating class and thank him for that.
Greg Weimer: Wow.
Doug Smith: 07:07 But that was really the start of me living intentionally. I ended up being very close with my wife and her family. They brought me around another mentor who poured resources into me. And ultimately fast forward, I started out through leadership and my purpose really just came as a result of me wanting to do for others what I had mentors do for me.
Greg Weimer: Yeah. So how, so how, when did you start L3 Leadership from like 17 high school? Like if you had no Doug Smith today and some of you do, like that story is almost impossible to even imagine.
Doug Smith: Right.
Greg Weimer: How long did it take you and what steps did you take to start L3 Leadership?
Doug Smith: Yeah. So on the leadership side, I decided that I’ll never forget. I had a mentor and is still a mentor in my life. Larry Bettencourt, I was 17 so I started interning at an organization and he handed me a John Maxwell personal development lesson.
Doug Smith: 07:55 I didn’t know there were such, you’re still a raving fan of maximal, I thought from your quotes and he’s right heroes, heroes. I mean he’s the ultimate bucket list interview for my podcast. So he handed me the CD, I put it in the CD player and I was blown away. I actually transcribed the entire lesson hand for hand. If you’ve seen the matrix. I felt like Neo and I said, I called him, I said, give me everything you want. I want to learn everything. He gave me binders full of Maxwell CDs and literally for five years, two or three hours at night, I would listen to personal development, not now. I got very excited about that, but I also used to have parties in my house all the time and kids would get drunk and high in my house. So one night, all my buddies come over looking for a good time.
Doug Smith: 08:32 And I said, guys, listen, I know we usually party but I have something even better tonight. You know, they all started getting exciting and they said, well, what do you have? And I said, we’re going to watch the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership on DVD. And I had, I printed out notes, read one and no one bought into it. They all left in their thing. But that was the start of my development journey. That same mentor would bring in leaders like yourself, into our organization and they would share leadership lessons and he would always encourage us, Hey, if I have Greg Weimer come in and you connect with him, ask Greg out to coffee, tell him you’ll send them a list of questions and be intentional with your time with them to learn from them. And I promise you that you’ll end up with more mentors than you could imagine.
Doug Smith: 09:12 So every month, I don’t know if I was the only one that acted on that, but I started inviting these leaders to coffee. So for 10 years I was interviewing leaders without having a podcast. And then all of a sudden the momentum of that peer started saying, wow, you get to spend time with Greg Weimer, this leader, that leader. I wish I could. And I just thought, well, have you ever asked? But anyway, I started doing that and I saw it as an opportunity and that’s really what started my podcast in 2012 and that was the start of L3 Leadership was just the podcast. And so now 226 interviews later, here we are. So that was, that was really kind of the journey. It was a 10-year journey. So it took me a long time to grow up.
Greg Weimer: 09:47 Here you are in high school making some poor decisions and you turn it around, right? So I guess one of the lessons, and you can help me with discovering the other ones, but one of the lessons where you are today does not need to be where you are in five years. And every conversation, your teacher, every conversation can literally change someone’s life. And then you said something else, just ask, right? You said, you said just ask. So what other lessons can you think that you’ve learned along the way?
Doug Smith: 10:22 Yeah, I think one is um, you know, especially not that I had a, I wouldn’t say I was a troubled youth necessarily, but having a mom that was sick all the time and a dad that had to be at work and wasn’t as present. Oftentimes kids in those situations, the only way they get out of them is if they have someone else show them another way of life. And when I think back to the mentors I had, you know, my father in law and now and Larry who I mentioned earlier, they showed me another way. And even just little people. So I would just say, if you haven’t seen that modeled for you, do everything you can. Whether it’s joining a program where you get a mentor or intentionally pursuing mentors that we could talk about that if you want, but you have to find someone model a way for you that maybe you’ve never seen before. And that I don’t think that ever stops, right? They were the models I needed for that season. You know, fast forward 17 years later in the positions I’m in now, I need totally different models for different reasons. And so, you have to pursue mentorship. I can’t encourage you to do that enough. So that would be one.
Greg Weimer: 11:14 And so, and you continue to learn, right? So you used to take people out for coffee, now you do podcasts and you have business leaders and other types of leaders, coaches, et cetera, where you interview. I think the audience would be interested from two things. One, some of the people that you’ve actually interviewed, which is interesting. And then also, you know, I’ve done with you some of your Saturday morning breakfast so we can continue the mentorship with the next generation of leaders.
Doug Smith: 11:39 You know, when you look over all the interviews that I’ve done, I’ve had the honor and privilege of interviewing, you know, all three of the professional coaches here in Pittsburgh, some of the top business leaders in our city. And I think if you look at who I’m interviewing recently, you’d be pretty impressed, but I would just encourage people out. If you’re looking for a mentor, you have to start where you are. You know, if you look at my first 50 episodes of the podcast, I mean, I started, my first interview was my father-in-law. I didn’t have this huge network. I didn’t have access to a Mike Tomlin or a Clint Hurdle or Greg Weimer. And so I would just say one thing leads to another, and you need to be intentional and realize that people are just people, right? There’s no such thing as a special person. And I think that’s one of the things I’ve learned in the interviews. I used to be so intimidated sitting across from a Greg Weimer until I realized that you’re human just like I am. Right? And when you realize that it really, it rids you of the insecurity and the fear of spending time with great people and really enables you to actually learn from them and build a longterm relationship.
Greg Weimer: 12:31 Well, and you certainly made an impact on a lot of the people that you’ve interviewed. I will tell the story, which, you know, I, it was two years ago, my life, my wife and I were at a resort on vacation in the winter and our luggage was being delivered to our room. So we went and sat at the bar. We just got off the airplane we figured we’d just sit at the bar while our luggage has been delivered. And I’m sitting next to this gentleman drinking lemonade. He was drinking lemonade. I wasn’t and he was drinking lemonade and I knew I recognized his voice, but he was very friendly and I’m thinking why? He has a very familiar voice. And then it hit me. I said, are you Clinton Hurdle? And he said, yeah, I mean, so we started talking and I said, actually, a gentleman by the name of Doug Smith just interviewed me. I know he interviewed you also, you made such an impact on him. He said, do you know Doug Smith’s story? I said, I do not. I said, tell me. He said, I will not tell you when you get back to Pittsburgh call him and ask. And I did. That’s what I called and learned your story. And I was blown away by it. So I, congratulations not only on getting the interviews but on the impact of people you have interviewed.
Doug Smith: 13:37 And I’ll just add this for if you’re pursuing mentorship or, you know, one thing that I, I saw when I started out through leadership was this gap. I, I found that many of my peers in young leaders were yearning for, for Greg Weimers and Clint Hurdles to pour into them, but they just didn’t know how to connect. Then I would meet with the Greg Weimers and Clint Hurdles and they’re saying, you know, I’ve made my impact in life. Now I really want to raise up the next generation, but I don’t know how to do that or where to find them. And so, I viewed one of my missions is really trying to bridge that gap. And so if you’re young and listening to this lesson, senior leaders that you probably look up to and can’t even imagine them meeting with you are longing to pour into you. And if you’re a seasoned leader listening to this, I would just tell you that the young generation is yearning to learn from you. And so don’t be afraid to pursue that and pour into them because you could really make a huge impact.
Greg Weimer: 14:22 So here’s where I think some people may not be as effective as maybe you are [inaudible] living a purpose-driven life. I think you have a great vision, but then on a daily basis, you take the actions and do the activities to fulfill your purpose and fulfill your vision. How do you do that? Do you have a process that you go through on a daily basis?
Doug Smith: 14:45 Yeah, I think one reason people struggle with being consistent in discipline is they don’t have a vision and they don’t even know to start. And so a tool that we recommend that everyone goes through. A Michael Hyatt wrote a book called Living Forward and he has this process in there called creating a life plan. And so what you do is you do a one day or two-day retreat, however long you need and you know, you can even go into a cemetery if you need to, but really just you take every bucket of your life. So your relationships, your physical health, your marriage, your career, your finances, and you look over each of those areas and say, okay, at the end of my life, what do I want said of me and my funeral when people were talking about the way I stewarded my fan finances or the way that I handled my marriage or my kids.
Doug Smith: 15:24 And then all of a sudden you started getting vision thinking, well this is what I want to be said and say. So then all of a sudden you have vision for what you want the end to be. So then you just start breaking that down and say, okay, if I want to have been married to my wife for 50 plus years and raise a great family, then what do I need to start doing today to make sure that the end, I actually get to that fulfilled vision. And so then you break it down. So I take my life plan and I review that every year and then I just break that down into smaller chunks. And so I take each of those areas of life and say, okay, what steps am I going to take this year? And those become towards those goals and those become my annual goals for the year.
Doug Smith: 15:58 And then I just break those down quarterly and then I broke break those down daily. But if you don’t have vision for the long term, you’re not going to be disciplined in the short term. And as far as just staying disciplined daily, I think if you have the vision, I would just say recognize, the importance of consistency. For me personally, when people compliment me the compliment that I appreciate getting most is that I’m just consistent day in, day out, day in, day out. Every morning I’m up reading every day. I try to work out every day I try to do these things. And consistency can be boring, but consistency compounds, right.
Greg Weimer: 16:34 You’re consistent at a high level, I mean it’s, it, it’s, it’s an eight out of 10, like daily. I think probably people can’t maintain a 10. But when you are with Doug Smith, you know, you’re with Doug Smith, you, you show up every day and are very, very consistent. It’s interesting when we also look at a lot of goal setting and vision. I couldn’t agree more with vision. I have found that most people overestimate what they can do in one year.
Doug Smith: Yeah.
Greg Weimer: But underestimate what they can do in 10. So actually just two weeks ago or three weeks ago, I read dead my 20-year plan and I’ll, I’ll show it, you actually have to go after the pocket. And so I have it. So I have a 20-year plan and then we take it down to, okay, so what is the five year? What is the one year? And then in our firm, we’re really big on quarters. So cause that feels like the right amount of time that can, people can really focus, right? So we do core, we do five critical goals and then we take that down to daily activities. But goals are powerful. And it is fascinating how many people don’t have a big enough vision and then more specific goals.
Doug Smith: 17:43 Yeah. And I would just say on the, again, maintaining that consistency. And again, unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson, but it could also be fortunate is you’re going to die one day. Like you’re going to die. And unfortunately, you know, I lost my mom, I was 17 years old, she was 55 when she passed away two years later. And I talked about my wife and her mom leading that group. She ended up getting cancer and passed away, a year later. She was 47 I’m 34 years old. You know, if I only got as many days as my mother-in-law, I have, you know what, 13 more years. My mom, a few more. So for me, and my wife would say the same thing because her mom, she was 17 when her mom passed. You know, when you realize how short life is, it’s really easy to stay motivated, stay on purpose. Where does you think, Hey, I’m going to be here forever and I have all the time in the world. You know, what motives do you have to go after your goal? So I would just realize you’re going to die and it’s going to go really fast.
Greg Weimer: 18:31 I think Doug Smith will live a really long time, but using your number of 13 years, which, which is highly unlikely, but if it’s 13 it makes you intentional when you realize you only have 13 more Christmases with those two little girls. And when you realize that it helps you get in the moment for those Christmases in our planning, we try to do that. So if you think you have 15 more years and you may only have 15 more opportunities to have your entire family together somewhere special, I guess no matter where you are, whenever you’ll family together, it’s special. But when you realize how many, how few times and what how limited the opportunities are, it makes you maximize and be consistent on a daily basis. And it’s interesting you say that because that thought process is what helps us think about, and that’s what created us saying we want to help people maximize their lives when they put money, people maximize their lives because life is so short. We want to make sure we have a plan to help you maximize those moments.
Doug Smith: 19:33 Yeah, that’s powerful. And how awesome is it to show up for work every day and get to help people do that? It’s amazing.
Greg Weimer: 19:38 It really is. And we want to all be able to get to the point that when we look back, we do it with a smile because we really, we really live the life that we wanted instead of it just happening to us.
Doug Smith: So good. So good.
Greg Weimer: Yeah. So we are fortunate to be able to do that. And you did talk a little bit about how you, how you get leaders together and how you do, how you get, like-minded people together and how working together actually helps you achieve those goals.
Doug Smith: 20:04 Yeah, so we do this in L3 Leadership. We’re really big on mastermind groups. We believe everyone needs to be in a mastermind group. And one reason we started L3 Leadership is cause I would join all these groups and I’d sit there and be like, yep, this isn’t helping me. And so we wanted to create a group that we would want to go to and people always ask about mastermind groups if you’re unfamiliar with the concept. As far as I know that originated in Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich and Andrew Carnegie hired him to study the top 50 most influential in affluent leaders of that day and find out what made them successful. And one of the qualities that he talked about was being in a mastermind group or he called it a mastermind alliance. And all it is, is a small group of like-minded leaders who meet on a regular basis.
Doug Smith: 20:45 For us, it’s every two weeks. And they challenge each other, to be accountable for their goals. They go through life together, they build relationships. And I’ve been in my mastermind group now for five years and I can say that I’ve grown more as a result of being in my mastermind group than anything else in my leadership journey. And so, I just think they’re extremely important. I think too many leaders today, especially young leaders, are doing life alone. You know, in your early twenties, it’s easy not to do life alone. Everyone’s you know, everyone’s single trying to meet their spouse, but when you start having little kids, life gets busy. If you’re not careful, you can become isolated so quickly. And all of a sudden, 10, 15 years go by and you’ve done nothing intentional to connect with people and you can be pretty lonely midlife. Anyway. So I think Henry Cloud did a study and he found that 80% of leaders and executives that he met with could not name a single person that they could confide in or do life with and be honest with. And for us, that’s part of our mission that will never happen to the leaders that we influence. So we tried to get mastermind groups meeting all throughout our city so people don’t do life.
Greg Weimer: 21:47 So is that, is it the advantage of, like I heard you say accountability. Do you think if you’re going to put together a group, is it, it’s that the accountability is that that you have a safe place to share your goals and share your concerns and fears? Is it because the group may add something to help you think bigger or differently about something or is it all that?
Doug Smith: 22:06 Yeah, I think when I started it and a lot of times why people join mastermind groups is I want to reach all my goals, I want to achieve them and this group is going to help me achieve my goals. What I’ve found though over five years of doing this is that people just want people to do life with. And when you do life with the right people, your goals naturally become achieved and it becomes less about achieving your goals and more about the impact you can make, more about how you treat your family. And so for me, we have this motto with our mastermind groups. We want everyone that’s in a mastermind group to be fully known, fully loved and fully challenged so they can be themselves, they can share anything that’s going on in their life and they won’t be judged that will go through life with them.
Doug Smith: 22:43 We want them to be fully loved that hey, if they’re going through a hard time, if they’re going through a hard time at home, we’re going to walk through them with that. But then fully challenged to, you know, I just, I was on the hot seat of my mastermind group last week and it’s been a really challenging year for me on the personal growth side. And I, to be honest, I was having a pity party with my group. And I was hoping they’d all, you know, caught on me. In fact, that’s everyday Doug and, and one of the guys looked at me and he said, you know, it’s not our responsibility that makes you feel good, Doug, like you have to do as your responsibility. And you know, I wanted to punch him, but, but he was right. Right. He was right. And it was like, okay Doug, stop it. Yup. I got it. And so that’s the power of mastermind groups. Fully known, fully live, fully challenged,
Greg Weimer: 23:20 Sort of feels like family. If you would think more families, and I’m sure many do would function in a similar way. Correct. Like you would hope but it’s hard, but it’s hard.
Doug Smith: Yeah.
Greg Weimer: And so we’re, you know, but with us being in the investment business and you know, we try to get families together to talk about their goals of their finances and how they want their legacy and their families to be. And when they can do it, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s really good, but communication isn’t always that strong amount around families. And, and I think that’s what you’re saying is also it’s around business leaders the same, the same thing as true.
Doug Smith: 24:00 Yeah, and it just goes back to intentionality. You know, I have to be just as intentional with my wife and my marriage and our family as I do our mastermind group and so again, anything you don’t do intentionally is not going to end up
Doug Smith: 24:10 the way you want.
Greg Weimer: Intentionalities interesting. Everybody taught well, I don’t know that everybody even talks about it. The being intentional of what you’re doing on a daily basis is powerful. I’m going to pull something up. This is one of our younger associates. Zack sent me something which you may, you may appreciate on intentionality. I read it at our, at our a firm meeting yesterday morning. Intentionality is the opposite of reaction. In the end. We have greater control of our actions than we do our outcomes. Ultimately, our results are created by our actions. When you are intentional with your time, you know which activities to engage with and which ones to pass on. You are aware when you are procrastinating or engaged in low-level activity to avoid a high payoff activity that is uncomfortable. When you are intentional, you are much more conscious of the actions you engage.
Greg Weimer: 25:09 You willingly employ a discipline and rigor to how you organize and structure your day and week. Your activity is driven by your goals and plan. In the end, you work your plan instead of the day working you. Intentionality is your secret weapon in the war on mediocrity.
Doug Smith: That’s so good.
Greg Weimer: Have you heard that before? No, but it is true, right? It’s just about on a daily basis. If you really believe in 80 20 20% of your activities generate 80% of your results. It’s the key is to how do you focus on that 20 cause sometimes the 80 is a little easier, right?
Doug Smith: And much easier.
Greg Weimer: You know, my guess is when you have, these mastermind groups, it helps you focus on the 80 quickly. Yup. And there’s a lot of those types of groups out there and I know some people have created them on their own. Yeah. So you’re doing a lot with leaders, the next generation of leaders, you’re certainly live in a purpose-driven life on your podcasts or are wonderful. You’re making an impact with that. Why don’t you talk a little bit of how Light of Life, cause you’re also doing great work as the director of development of light of life. So is homelessness improving in Pittsburgh? Is that is, where are we in that cycle?
Doug Smith: 26:28 Yeah, in Allegheny County, they say that there are around 1500 homeless people and then experts will tell you whatever that number is, you should double it or triple it. Cause again, they do that based on a count, in the city once a year. So they can account for the people living with friends, living in and buildings, et cetera. I mean my personal opinion is I’ve been around, this is the that homelessness, the homeless are for a large part a pretty transient population. Most people are homeless anywhere from three to four times in their lifetime and anywhere on average from three to nine months. Now, there are certainly people who are homeless longer and are more, we would say that they’re chronically homeless, but for the most part, that’s who we’re reaching. And so for us, part of what we hope to do is that when people hit that point in their lives, we hope that we can be the step that helps them get back on their feet again.
Doug Smith: 27:16 So they don’t continue down that path. And so, you know, a Light of Life, we’ve been serving the homeless on the Northside of Pittsburgh since 1952, so 67 years serving them. We have everything from a street outreach team where we actually go to the street tamps uh, all throughout Pittsburgh and build relationships since dressing. It may take a year or two just to building relationships with someone on the street for them to take a next step. I’ve often been surprised at how many people don’t want to come in for a meal or shelter,
Greg Weimer: Why is that?
Doug Smith: They just want to do their own, we, there was a guy, my favorite example, there was a guy, a, there was a homeless camp and he was actually titled the mayor of this homeless camp on the street for 17 years, never wanted help.
Doug Smith: 27:58 They had their own systems for getting what they wanted, all these different things. But for whatever reason, after 17 years, one day he said, I’m ready. I’m ready. And they were able to help him get into housing. And so again, we don’t know when that, uh, imagine that moment will happen. Imagine that, that they’ll actually want help or they’ll take a next step. But we want to be there and have the relationship we need to help them take that. So, we have the street outreach team. We have a meal ministry. Last year we provided just under 250,000 meals to those in need. We have emergency shelter, we have two long-term recovery programs. So, it’s exciting work that we get to show up and, and be a part of those people’s lives every day.
Greg Weimer: I know with the opioid crisis, I know we went
Greg Weimer: 28:36 to the gala, I think it was at Heinz film. Is that right? Yeah and just a quick update for the listeners on the opioid crisis and how
Greg Weimer: 28:47 that affects homelessness.
Doug Smith: Yeah, this was brutal. And so, so actually, I won’t go too much into my personal story, but I actually have a family member who, who has been impacted by this and has been actually in and out of our programs. And we are seeing, a much younger demographic, a much more suburban demographic because of the opioid epidemic walk through our doors. And so, I mean, it’s just, it’s a tough battle. I mean, my family member has been up and down. She’s had some good seasons and bad seasons. And so I would just say, again, we’re there, we’re gonna walk people through their recovery journey, helped them where, you know, with their family, if they’ve made decisions that have disqualified them from being with their kids and just do everything, we can help. But it’s everywhere. Heroin is cheap, it’s easy to access and highly, highly addictive as people are starting to find out.
Doug Smith: 29:32 And so we’re committed to fighting that battle to, to helping families, not just those who suffer with addiction, but we also are finding that we are able to support those who have family members in addiction. You know, when, when I found out that I had a family member addiction, I had no idea what to do. And so our women’s or our program director at Light of Life to this day has walked me in my family through that. And you know, how do you not enable, when do you kick someone out versus let them stay with you? All these different decisions. So we’re actually not just resourcing those that come through our doors, but those who are impacted by those, by as family members of those who walked through our doors.
Greg Weimer: 30:05 And we all know family members that have someone they either know or in their family suffering with that addiction. Yeah. So it’s great to have a resource like Light of Life. I was also involved in, I know you’re aware of the city mission in Washington, great organization, great organization. And I think the biggest aha moment for me is somehow you think that it doesn’t touch everyone. And I live in Peters township and through my association with the city mission, I was stunned to find out that the some of the residents at the City Mission were family members of the families. I knew that I never knew they were suffering from this tragedy. So it’s literally affecting everybody. So it’s great that you’re taking your passion and your consistency and your purpose and actually making a difference in the, in the homelessness in our city.
Doug Smith: 30:58 Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, to that point, I like to tell people, you know, we’re all one or two decisions away from being the exact same place. You know, I think about my path in life had my father in law and in my wife’s family and I’ll come into my life. It’s very likely that I could be walking through the doors of the light of life, not as an employee, but as a client or a resident.
Greg Weimer: 31:16 Watching your demeanor, it’s changed. Like it just watching you, you have the exact same passion. You’re still on eight to 10 out of the, out of the, out of the, as you always are, you’re always coming and strong. But you could tell this is, you’re just very, very passionate, not only about the leadership and helping people have vision, but also on the other end of the spectrum, giving people at a boost up and helping them find their way out of their current state. And I would think based on your story, that you could be really helpful and can relate to those people.
Doug Smith: 31:45 Yeah, and I would just challenge people, you know, something that I’ve learned is how do you treat people who can do nothing in return for you? You know, people always think about serving in missions. And again, I’m not saying this is wrong, but a lot of people come down, they want to pat themselves on the back and say, I serve the homeless. But I think when you really get involved with their lives, it can be very frustrating, right? The decisions they make over and over again relapse. It is a messy, messy business. But, and again, this is more from a stance of being a person of faith, but I think there’s something that God wants to teach us in treating those who can do nothing in return for us, that you can’t, you can’t teach without experiencing,
Greg Weimer: 32:21 So, so how, how would you suggest someone’s walking down the street? They see someone that’s homeless. Someone told me that’s involved in this with the City Mission. They said giving them money or giving them isn’t helpful. Right? Is that true?
Doug Smith: 32:38 Yeah, we recommend that. So
Doug Smith: 32:40 I was on the street homeless issue. I always tell people, one, if someone is asking for money, even if they’re gonna use it for the wrong thing, your heart should break. If your heart doesn’t break, that someone’s in a position in life that they’re willing to stand on the side of a street, holding a sign, begging for money. You need to check your heart. I would, we encourage people, you know, Hey, buy a box of Kind bars. Carry them in your, carry them in your car. We don’t recommend gift cards. People can take gift cards and sell them for cash value and get drugs from them. And I always use the example cause some people just say, why can’t just not give them something? We had a man in our longterm program I was in a small group with and he ended up relapsing and he was on the street.
Greg Weimer: 33:16 And you know, it’s different when you actually know the person standing there and knowing like, okay, I know what he’s gonna use that for. So he ended up, unfortunately, he was an alcoholic. He was coming to our shelter every night for food. He went out one-night drinking, someone gave him money, obviously. Actually. So one of the clients told me that was on the street, they said that they average $250 to $400 a day, which isn’t bad for just standing there asking for money. But this guy ends up drinking, passing out an alleyway and a cold winter night ended up freezing to death. And in my mind, I’m thinking, you know, someone patted themselves on the back thinking I did a good deed not knowing that they paid for his last drink. And so I’m not trying to condemn people or judge them, people who are goodhearted, they just don’t know.
Greg Weimer: 33:53 In full disclosure, that’s how we, we used to do that. So on Christmas Eve, I remember the year that our children opened up all their gifts, they were young. And then we just sat there wrapping paper everywhere, guests everywhere. And we, our family sort of thought like, well this is crazy. There are people homeless. We’re seven o’clock went to mass opened our gifts and like we’re all sitting here. So what we did was we went and, and, and now not knowing it was wrong, we went and got cash.
Doug Smith: Yeah.
Greg Weimer: And went through McDonald’s and bought like a bunch of food there. Again, we, when we loaded up the suburban and we went and got like all of our old coats and stuff like that and went down into the city of Pittsburgh and, and handed just stuff out, you know what? And on Christmas Eve went to hand stuff out and learned then and that it’s great to help, but that wasn’t the most helpful thing we could have done, which then caused us to get involved in the City Mission.
Doug Smith: 34:48 And so many people get involved with missions like that. It’s interesting. And so we encourage, Hey, build relationships or talk to a local mission. You know, when I, when I think about what we’re doing in the Northside, the Northside, homeless collaborators, we have relationships with people on the street. And so we’d love for you to come volunteer. There are opportunities where you can go out. And so yeah, that’s the best as you can, if you can partner with organizations that are serving those in need, that’s how you can make a difference.
Greg Weimer: 35:08 So you’re fascinating because you’ve made a huge impact on leaders. You’re, you’re helping hopefully bend the curve on the homeless new, if not bend the curves. You’re certainly changing some of the lives of the people that are homeless. So I’m not keeping score, but I was just writing down some things as we’re talking, like aha moments for me and your story of where you were at 17 and if you don’t mind me asking, how old are you today?
Doug Smith: 34.
Greg Weimer: 34, so you doubled. So from your first half versus your second half was very different. Yeah. And so I guess the lesson there if I’m listening, your current state is not your permanent state. And I guess it also is consistent with what we said with what you can create in 10 years. You went from having parties at your house, maybe getting kicked out to interviewing all three of the local coaches in Pittsburgh and them talking about you at a resort in a faraway place, which is commendable. Your vision is incredible. I’d be curious, what is your vision for the next 10 years? If you could do one thing, what is it?
Doug Smith: 36:11 Yeah, yeah, I saw it. I saw this question. So the boring answer is I just want to grow every day and see where I end up with something else, a tactical things that you want. So I want to be a published author. So I do want to write many books and publish them throughout the year. So I want that to have happened in 10 years. I when my wife and I had to be financially free, where we’re not dependent on anything we can give, you know, 90% our ultimate goal, and again, this is a big, we’d love to live off 10% of our income. We give away 90 one day. I just want to continue to be an inconsistent shape, right?
Greg Weimer: That’s more of the daily 10% let’s invest 20 and then let’s give away 70. How about that?
Doug Smith: Done. I’ll write that down after I listened to this.
Doug Smith: 36:45 Again, a fair, I want my family to love and respect me most and not outside admiration. And these are may seem cliche, but I see young people, especially my age, man, they lose their family. How does it go? Your reputation is what other people think of you, your character to who you actually are. Yeah. It’s character. I want my biggest fans to be my girls and my wife in 10 years from now. And I want to be making a bigger difference. Right? These are all cliche answers. I’ve, I found a long time ago that, right. If you would’ve told me 10 years ago that I was going to be in fundraising, I would have laughed at you. But I’ve been surprised and delighted on the path that I’ve gone. And so instead of just spending, I have to be here by the time I’m 44, I’m just like, Hey, if I just go every day, I’ll end up where I’m supposed to and just see where do you want to see on what you can imagine, right. You said
Greg Weimer: 37:33 earlier. So, yes. So current state, not the permanent state, you know, you clearly have a vision and a passion for, for, for the future. I love how you went when we were talking earlier about intentionality, right? Just being intentional about the things you do. You said find a mentor. I do think about like some of my mentors, they’ve been life-changing. I’ve been so fortunate to have great mentors. I and so find a mentor and just ask some of the people that are a little older that are perceived to be successful. They love when people ask for help. So just ask, find a group who you associate with, you will become, is that true? I find that if you’re around people that are always working on improving it, you tend to end up in a much better, bigger plays, better place and then, make a difference. You obviously care about changing homelessness in Pittsburgh and you’re making a difference there. So make a difference. What would you like to leave the listeners with?
Doug Smith: 38:46 Yeah, as I thought about this one, I would just say that if you’re listening to this, you matter. So many people don’t think they matter today. I would tell you that you’re doing better than you think you are. One of the most encouraging things that I continue to go back to in my journey is actually something John Maxwell, he said, he said, you know, in the beginning of your journey you’re, you’re not that bad. Like you, you’re not as bad as people think you are. And aren’t there times where you just want to look at people and say like, listen, I know I’m bad but I’m not that bad. Right? But he said, if you do things right in life, if you’re intentional, what we talked about here all day, and at the end you’re not as good as people think. And somewhere in between those two is where you should live. And so you’re not doing as bad as you think you are keeping intentional every day and you’ll be shocked at where you end up 10, 15, 17, 20 years from now.
Greg Weimer: So, so my experience with L3 Leadership is not only the podcast, but it’s the Saturday morning breakfast, it’s the mastermind groups. How would you suggest someone get in touch with you guys and what type of resources do you have for people
Greg Weimer: 39:42 that want to be a better leader and live an intentional life?
Doug Smith: Yeah, we’re trying to create programming for any leader no matter where they are on their leadership journey. So on the most basic level, if you just want to get updates on what we’re doing, you can just sign up for an email list at L3leadership.org I encourage you to subscribe to the podcast if you like. Great content. Again, tons of leadership content, interviews, talks. I do a bunch of personal lessons as well. So if you enjoyed this, a mastermind group so you can hop in a mastermind group. We have events and again all this is on our website. We just launched this year L3 One Day Leadership Conference, which is great. So that’ll be an annual retreat for leaders that we’re excited about and we’re in the midst of developing some leadership programming as well. So just go down through the leadership.org
Greg Weimer: 40:23 Doug Smith, Thank you.
Doug Smith: We appreciate your coming and well Hey everyone, thank you so much for listening to my interview with Greg Weimer of confluence financial. I hope it added value to your life. You can find links to everything that we discussed in the show notes at L3leadership.org/episode234 and also as I’ve mentioned throughout the episode, Greg is going to be one of our speakers at our L3 One Day Leadership Conference in March. So make sure you don’t miss that and if you want to stay up to date with everything we’re doing here at L three leadership, you can sign up for our email list at L3leadership.org and you’ll get a free copy of my ebook making the most of mentoring, which is my step by step process for getting meetings with leaders and cultivating those relationships. I know it’ll help you so make sure you get a copy of that and as always, thank you for being a subscriber and it would mean the world to me if you haven’t already subscribed to hit the subscribe button wherever you listen to podcasts.
Doug Smith: 41:14 And also if you’d be willing to leave a rating and review, share this on social media, share what your key takeaways were that helps us grow our audience organically, and thank you for everyone who does that. As always, I like to end with a quote, and I’ll quote inky Johnson today. Inky Johnson said this, “Your expectations should never be higher than your work ethic.” “Your expectations should never be higher than your work ethic.” So good. Hey, thanks for listening and being a part of L3 Leadership. My wife Laura, and I appreciate you so much and we will talk to you next episode.