The Federal Circle

Feb 012014
 

Dr. Earl R. Smith II

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It was during one of the first mentoring sessions with a new client that the following exchange occurred: Continue reading »

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Jan 122014
 

Dr Earl R. Smith II
Mentor and Adviser
DrSmith@Dr-Smith.com
www.Dr-Smith.com

How often has that question occurred to you? And what did it mean when it did? Occasionally perhaps it appeared as “how long is this going to go on?” A variation could have been “how long do I have to endure this?” Although there are plenty of other meanings that might occur, that’s the one that I intend to focus on but perhaps not in the way you might expect. Continue reading »

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Jan 122014
 

Dr Earl R. Smith II
Mentor and Adviser
DrSmith@Dr-Smith.com
www.Dr-Smith.com

If you’ve been following me so far, it will not surprise you that I see the title of this chapter as something much more complex than it appears on the surface. The core question is, of course, who’s doing what to whom. The simple formulation “I envy him” has a seductive symmetry about it. But when it’s deconstructed and the pieces examined carefully, things become far from simple. Continue reading »

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Jan 092014
 

Dr Earl R. Smith II
Mentor and Adviser
DrSmith@Dr-Smith.com
www.Dr-Smith.com

As we begin, let me set the stage. It’s our first session. We’ve dispensed with the preliminaries and I’ve decided to take you on as a mentoring client. You’ve thought through things on your end and decided that working with me is a good way to begin to change the direction of your life. We are ready to take the first step on your transformational journey. Continue reading »

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Jan 092014
 

Dr Earl R. Smith II
Mentor and Adviser
DrSmith@Dr-Smith.com
www.Dr-Smith.com

Like most such observations, the title of this chapter is subject to misunderstanding. I suppose it is inevitable that some readers might take the easy way out and prefer the simpler interpretation. But I’m not writing for those people. The idea in this chapter is both subtle and complex. Continue reading »

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Jan 032014
 

Dr Earl R. Smith II
Mentor and Adviser
DrSmith@Dr-Smith.com
www.Dr-Smith.com

In the early stages of mentoring – during those first crucial sessions – there are a number of ideas that I introduce. One of the most difficult to comprehend is a suggestion that a person should not spend their life trying to live up to performance expectations. Most of us grow up thinking that, without goals, life would be reduced to a random meandering and the idea of progress would dissolve into meaninglessness. Continue reading »

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Jan 032014
 

Rudyard Kipling

When the flush of a new-born sun fell first on Eden’s green and gold,
Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mould;
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves, “It’s pretty, but is it Art?”

Wherefore he called to his wife, and fled to fashion his work anew —
The first of his race who cared a fig for the first, most dread review;
And he left his lore to the use of his sons — and that was a glorious gain
When the Devil chuckled “Is it Art?” in the ear of the branded Cain.

They fought and they talked in the North and the South,
they talked and they fought in the West,
Till the waters rose on the pitiful land, and the poor Red Clay had rest —
Had rest till that dank blank-canvas dawn when the dove was preened to start,
And the Devil bubbled below the keel: “It’s human, but is it Art?”

They builded a tower to shiver the sky and wrench the stars apart,
Till the Devil grunted behind the bricks: “It’s striking, but is it Art?”
The stone was dropped at the quarry-side and the idle derrick swung,
While each man talked of the aims of Art, and each in an alien tongue.

The tale is as old as the Eden Tree — and new as the new-cut tooth —
For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is master of Art and Truth;
And each man hears as the twilight nears, to the beat of his dying heart,
The Devil drum on the darkened pane: “You did it, but was it Art?”

We have learned to whittle the Eden Tree to the shape of a surplice-peg,
We have learned to bottle our parents twain in the yelk of an addled egg,
We know that the tail must wag the dog, for the horse is drawn by the cart;
But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: “It’s clever, but is it Art?”

When the flicker of London sun falls faint on the Club-room’s green and gold,
The sons of Adam sit them down and scratch with their pens in the mould —
They scratch with their pens in the mould of their graves,
and the ink and the anguish start,
For the Devil mutters behind the leaves: “It’s pretty, but is it Art?”

Now, if we could win to the Eden Tree where the Four Great Rivers flow,
And the Wreath of Eve is red on the turf as she left it long ago,
And if we could come when the sentry slept and softly scurry through,
By the favour of God we might know as much — as our father Adam knew!

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Green_Vest__1.jpgI provide mentoring to those who have both the courage and determination to make a truly transformational journey. My approach is heavily influenced by core principles of Zen Buddhism. I don’t offer quick fixes or follow the latest fads. If you are willing to make the long journey – if it’s time for you to come to know the person you really are and the path you should be following – if you want to start living life you were truly meant to live – then perhaps we should talk. Send me an e-mail and we can arrange a time to chat.

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Jan 032014
 

Dr. Earl R Smith II, Mentor & Adviser
DrSmith@Dr-Smith.com

Much of my mentoring work begins with a fairly standard initial session. Perhaps someone who has talked to a friend of mine and or past client (for the most part, they tend to be the same) has expressed dissatisfaction with the way their life is turning out. Or maybe they have visited my website (www.dr-smith.com) and watched the hamster on the wheel. After a while, they get the feeling that they are experiencing the same thing in their own life. But, no matter how they come to me, one of the first questions that I often ask is “why are you spending so much energy trying to be someone you’re not when the person you are is so wonderful?” Continue reading »

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Dec 052013
 

Dr. Earl R. Smith II
Managing Partner, Growthers
DrSmith@Dr-Smith.com
Dr-Smith.com

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Change is one of those altars that is well worshiped at – not one of those forgotten gods whose supplicants infrequently visit their shrine. But wanting is not the same as having – it is sometimes not logical – but I have found it to be true.

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One of the inevitable results of growth is change. This maxim is as true for organizations as it is for individuals. When ‘what has been’ morphs into ‘what is new’, opportunities proliferate but dislocations occur that affect every part of a company. I recently helped one navigate these perilous waters. The experience brought several important lessons into focus. Continue reading »

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Dec 012013
 

Dr. Earl R. Smith II
Managing Partner, Growthers
DrSmith@Dr-Smith.com
Dr-Smith.com

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Self-knowledge is the crucial component of self-improvement. How can you improve what you don’t understand? Of course, the other side of that coin is ‘what you don’t understand can cause you great harm.

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The Perfectionist: During a recent coaching engagement, I came to realize that a CEO I was working with had a tendency to accentuate the negative. She was heavily committed to building her first successful business – driven to the point of almost maniacal focus on correcting the mistakes of her team. Her behavior was corroding the enthusiasm of her team. I decided to arrange a one-on-one session focused on her management style. Continue reading »

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Nov 242013
 

Dr. Earl R. Smith II
Managing Partner, Growthers
Dr-Smith.com

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Sometimes management teams lose focus on the fact that the principal goal of business involves producing increasing revenues. Sometimes they get caught in the trap of incessantly talking about increasing revenue.

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I recently facilitated an all-hands session for a company. We were focusing on the results of an extended process of reorganization and re-resourcing. Both of the efforts had been very successful and the company was poised to move forward. However, as the meeting got under way, I sensed a general reluctance to moving on to the next phase – implementation. Continue reading »

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