There are many moments in life where you feel like the rug was pulled from under you, or when someone shares a ground-breaking perspective on life that you’ve never considered. These moments come from the people around us, but also from within. A lot of the time, doing your own personal reflection can also help reshape the way you see the world and how you want to show up by asking yourself the tough questions. For Dean Smith, his tough questions were “What can I create, how can I create it, and how will it serve others?”
Dean is our newest Man Of The Week and boy does he an incredible and powerful story. A man who believes in being of service to others, showing love and support for those around you, and forgiveness being critical to his success. A man who’s weathered his fare share of life’s storms, from having his mother murdered to rekindling his love and bond with his wife Molly, Dean personifies what it means to love and connect with people regardless of their performance. Today he is a speaker, coach and the Director of Executive Coaching for the Og Mandino Leadership Institute. Check out the rest of his story below!
Age: 42 years old
What do you do? (Work)
Keynote Speaker / High-Performance Coach / Minister
Why do you do it?
There’s nothing more fulfilling than helping someone discover a new possibility for their life. For many years I lived “survival focused.” I internally asked, “why me?” My life changed course when I began asking, “What can I create, how can I create it, and how will it serve others?” My purpose, passion, and fulfillment is found in utilizing all my life’s experiences, challenges, and successes to serve others.
How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
I’m grateful to be the Director of Executive Coaching for the Og Mandino Leadership Institute. This fancy title means I get to assist successful professional’s overcome challenges and reach consistently high levels of personal and business performance.
What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– In sixth grade, the day my mom was murdered was a day that changed my life forever. That day birthed my biggest life challenge, but it also was the beginning of the revelation to the deep truth that all things can work together for good.
– 2004 The day that I decided in the inner-most part of my heart that divorce with my wife, Molly would not ever be an option again. I had considered it many times over the first two years of marriage and at one point decided I didn’t love her AT ALL anymore. After taking the divorce option off the table, I was forced to find solutions. I can honestly report that it was the beginning of an intense relational healing process and we’ve never been happier as a couple. We have two beautiful children that are a constant reminder of the rewards of fighting through the tough times in marriage.
– 2009, I stood on a stage in front of hundreds of people, talking about my forgiveness journey. Toward the end of my talk, I invited the man who murdered my mother up on stage (it should be noted that he’d already paid for his crimes with 12 years in prison). That was the day my sister forgave him too. My journey to forgive, reconcile with and help save the life of the man that murdered my mom was made into an award-winning, internationally distributed documentary entitled, ‘Live To Forgive’.
What is your life purpose?
To help other’s know Truth, optimize attitudes, and live in the fullness of their God-given potential.
How did you tap into it?
My journey was founded on a relationship with God.
1) Prayer 2) Listening 3) Make lots of mistakes 4) Repeat steps 1-3
Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
Pastor Rex Bell. He is my fifth and final dad since age 12. He adopted me after my mom’s death. He mentored me, verbally encouraged me, and helped me to learn about loving people and God. Rex was a very busy pastor but he spent quality time with me daily, imparting wisdom and listening. His love and guidance helped build my character and confidence.
Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
Start my day with lots of intentionally-edifying thoughts, verbal affirmations, prayer, and inspiring music. When I look over all my specific responsibilities, meetings, and to-do’s for the day, I say aloud, “I want to, I get to, and I choose to” rather than “I have to, I should, and I must.” This framing helps keep me inspired and passionate that I am engaging in tasks that are ultimately helping me achieve my goals and live a life of purpose.
When do you know your work/life balance is off?
When my wife looks at me with weary kaleidoscope eyes I know it’s time to refocus from work mode to family mode. I’ve made that mistake so many times that now my inner compass is a bit more developed than a decade ago. For my wife’s sake, I’m always striving to be the “Anti-Kaleidoscope Man.” I’ve interviewed dozens of world-changers and when I ask them what would you do different, a majority expresses regret about not spending more time with family.
Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
I left a successful sales career to pursue an entrepreneurial dream and after 3 years discovered that I had unintentionally left my wife (Molly) behind (figuratively speaking) and our financial situation became dire. Molly was embittered and our marriage was struggling. To remedy the situation and bring healing to our relationship, I went back to corporate America (which was initially humiliating and humbling) to provide financial stability. Also, I re-prioritized my marriage. Interestingly, I now help other’s avoid this same pitfall during my keynotes and one-on-coaching clients. It was hard to believe I’d made so many unwise choices while trying so hard to do the right thing. In time, I realized that only productive questions would serve my purpose.
What did you learn from it?
If you’re not in unity with your wife, the foundation of personal and business success will be unstable
If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
Look into your life and discover where you are making the same mistakes repeatedly, find the source of sabotaging thoughts that are keeping you in bondage. Learn to transform/change them to work for you.
Forgive and love when the other person clearly doesn’t deserve it. It may be one of the most manly things you ever do.
How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
Consciously live in/with Agape love (a heightened sense of awareness). This means I choose to love regardless of performance. I simply love her because I love her. Forgiveness, grace, verbal affirmations are as normal and natural as breathing. It creates an atmosphere of safety and security (for her) and respect (for me).
Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
I’m the founder/director of ‘Live To Forgive Ministries’ which helps people unshackle from bitterness, anger, and resentment and experience freedom in their minds and relationships. This freedom usually leads to business breakthrough, too.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
The Word by The Beatles
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
Spending lots of quality time with my wife and kids—oh and speaking internationally as a Transformational Speaker. Also, making Forgiveness University the premier online resource for all things forgiveness.
What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
I’ve attended several funerals lately of dear friends and family. As I intently listened to the eulogies, I received a deep impression that the greatest and most influential legacy we can leave is a legacy of love. I want to be remembered as someone who loved hard and helped others experience the freedom and fulfillment of doing the same.
What One book would you recommend for any Man?
‘The Greatest Salesman in the World’ by Og Mandino
Who is one Man you think our readers would love to read about in future ‘Man Of The Week’ features?
DAVE ROWE: who listened and reacted to the messages received during a Near Death Experience and now strives to help men make changes in their lives to be the best version of their authentic selves without needing to come so close to death.