Earl R. Smith II. PhD

(Read More From My Blog)

One of the real joys of mentoring comes when someone I’ve been working with has an epiphany. Most of the time, it comes on suddenly. But there are those times when I sense it building like a tsunami. Either way, the shared joy of accomplishment brings on a celebration.

Recently, someone that I have been mentoring for a relatively short time reached one of these breakthroughs. Hers centered on the realization that her network of friends and acquaintances was far richer and more willing to be supportive then she had thought.

“I have been taking these people for granted,” was the way she started. “I never really stopped to look at them carefully. To ask why they were my friends. To think about how they might help me in my journey. To think about how I might help them. You have brought me to a place where those questions are now center stage. And I can’t believe the abundance in my life. But, more than that, I can’t believe that it was there all the time and I missed it.”

There is a fundamental truth in this experience. I very seldom encounter a person who is completely aware of the abundance in their life. Most often, they think of themselves as impoverished. The discovery that they have had it wrong all along generally brings on a combination of elation and shame.

Mentoring is hard work and getting a person to realize the abundance in their life tends to be heavy lifting both on my part and the person I’m working with. It’s not logical that that should be the case. But I have found it to be true. My theory is that it is the echo of Puritanism - the suspicion of self-bad-faith that dominates Western culture. The underlying belief seems to be, “I am not worthy of such abundance.”

One of my favorite Zen Proverbs go something like this: “If you understand, things are just as they are. If you don’t understand, things are just as they are.” The message there is clear. Things are just as they are whether you understand or not. In your life, abundance is there whether you recognize it or not. And if you don’t recognize it?

Ask yourself the following question, “Why is a Zen monk always smiling?”

© Earl R. Smith II, PhD

It's the most amazing experience I have ever had. I needed to find a new path. A friend recommended Dr. Smith. From the first, it was clear that he and I were going to get along. What was most amazing was the wisdom and perception that he brought. New vistas have opened up and, as a result, a new chapter in my life. There's no way that I could put a value on what he has contributed to my life.

Mentoring Client, CEO and Serial Entrepreneur

Chief - That is how Dr.Smith was introduced to me and, based on our work together, I have come to understand why he was called so. He helped me focus on the possibilities that I had been missing in my life. He guided through developing a new vision for my life. Truly he would be my "Chief" anytime and I will always value his guidance and wisdom. My life is richer because of working with him.

Mentoring Client, NPI Team Lead

Earl is a very wise individual with a lot of experience. He truly understands business and professional development. Earl has a great way of explaining things and getting you to look at things from another perspective. Earl is a tough mentor, but if you can learn just some of what he knows you will come out ahead.

Mentoring Client, Deloitte

“Dr. Smith is a very different kind of mentor. If you’re looking for a warm and fuzzy adviser, this is the wrong guy for you. But if you are dedicated to change and want to be challenged by a very experienced mentor Earl may be just what you are looking for.”

CEO of Croix Connect and Host of ABC Radio’s ‘Taking Care of Business’

“I consider Dr. Smith to be a truly revolutionary thinker and leader. His mentorship has been of great value and inspiration to my own personal and professional development. I was at a point in my life where I felt the need to take a new direction. He helped my sort out the possibilities and showed my ones that I never considered. Working with him has been a truly life-changing experience.”

Partner, IT & Telecom, Defense Solutions

“Dr. Earl Smith is a very gifted and talented thought leader and strategist. I had an opportunity to work with him on various occasions, and found his analytical thought process to be the most creative and illustrative in the industry. He is a great asset in developing business solutions from complex problems and chaos in the every day world.” Executive Director, Global Innovation Summit,