Earl R. Smith II, PhD

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Many of my mentoring engagements begin with a focus on the kinds of questions that a person has been asking themselves. It may seem strange at first to suggest that it is the questions rather than the answers which are important; but that is the case more often than not. The seminal indicator that this is the case is the ‘why’ question.

  • Why is this happening to me?
  • Why am I so unlucky?
  • Why does everybody treat me this way?
  • Why can’t I live a life that I enjoy?
  • Why can’t I find my true calling?

It takes a lot of heavy lifting to get a person to see that their questions are really the first challenge that we have to attack. We have to replace all those questions with ‘how’ questions.

  • How can I change what is happening to me?
  • How can I become luckier?
  • How can I get everybody to treat me with respect and kindness?
  • How can I live a life that I will enjoy?
  • How can I find my true calling?

The simple change from why to how brings a fundamental shift in the way each person sees themselves. The 'why' questions are for victims while the 'how' questions are for people who are pro-active in molding their life. When you begin to figure out 'how' to make your life better, you have taken a major step forward. Once you give up the status of victim and become the author of your own life, you begin to create that life rather than having others create it for you.

This simple change can bring a major shift in a person’s self-image. It can also radically change their behavior. I sometimes feel as if I have turned a precocious two-year-old loose in the world. But now, instead of 'why', the persistent question is 'how'? One person rushed up to me in a restaurant and said, “My life has completely changed. Now every experience becomes a 'how' question. I'm always looking for ways to make my life better. I always am asking myself, 'how' I can make it better.”

Always take care of your life, never let it become an accident already happening.

© Earl R. Smith II, PhD

I look back on the first three months of my work with Dr. Smith with wonder. My journal reflects a journey of self-discovery so vast that I hardly recognize the person who wrote the first entries. It's been a year now and I am happier now than I have ever been.

PJ, Mentoring Client

"It's the most amazing experience I have ever had. I needed to find a new path. A friend recommended Dr. Smith. 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's how Dr.Smith was introduced to me and, based on our work together, I have come to understand why - helped me focus on the possibilities that I had been missing in my life. He guided through developing a new vision for my life. My life is richer because of working with him."

Mentoring Client

"Earl is a wise mentor with lots of experience. He has a great way of explaining things and getting you to look at them from another perspective. Dr. Smith is a tough mentor, but, if you can learn just some of what he knows, your life will change forever."

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’

“Dr. Smith's mentorship has been of great value and inspiration to my personal and professional development. I felt the need to take a new direction. He helped me sort out the possibilities and showed me ones that I never considered. Working with him has been a truly life-changing experience.”

Partner, IT & Telecom, Defense Solutions