I’ll always remember the first time an employee told me that I could be “intimidating.” He was a project manager. He told me that other employees had mentioned it too. I was shocked. I thought I was a nice boss! I’m very even keeled with my emotions. I don’t lose my temper and I don’t yell. I consider myself to be kind to others.

Hearing that not just one, but several employees considered me intimidating was a bit surprising and hard to take.

In the six years or so since this conversation, I’ve sold my businesses and become a coach…


Donald Trump won’t need to build a physical wall or deport a single person. The system will depend upon small business, not federal agents. Because the wall cannot be seen, it will be nearly impossible to stop or protest.

US businesses are already one of the main enforcers of immigration policy in the United States. Every business is required to verify the immigration status of all employees using form I-9 and E-verify. Individual states have additional verification and reporting requirements. The penalties for hiring an undocumented worker range from $375 to $21,563. Those are big penalties, particularly for small businesses.


Since George Washington was first elected in 1789, US presidents have served four-year terms. The speed of change in our world has increased, but the presidential term has remained the same four years. Because of this, whoever we elect in November will be responsible for leading us through more change than any president to date. What is at stake and how do we choose?

Sound bytes, memes, editorials, pundits: politics are increasingly dominating the 5.6 hours of digital media Americans consume daily. The news stories are episodic. The editorials are high-browed rants. Facebook and Twitter feeds are ephemeral reflections of…


Are you frustrated that you haven’t found a spark that lights your passion and reveals your purpose? Here’s what I tell my clients: a spark is useless unless you’re prepared to use it.

Focus on fuel to make the most of a spark

If you want to build a fire, stop worrying about the spark. You must first prepare the fuel.

Building a fire takes planning and preparation. Long before you have the spark or flame, you must first gather tinder.

Tinder is small, dry grass, shredded paper, or thin wood shavings. Tinder lights with ease, but burns out quickly.

This is why you must also gather kindling. Kindling is…


Whenever a real-world tragedy occurs, it seems the only appropriate response in the modern world is to let the world know how reasonable and compassionate you are by the content of your online posts.

Logging into Facebook three weeks ago, I was inundated with Eiffel Tower peace signs and French flag profile pictures. Facebook even offered to update my profile photo with a “temporary” French flag. I was elated that I could display such compassion with just a click. I don’t even need to exhaust my precious brain power to write an emotional or witty post. I wouldn’t need to…


Tired of self-loathing? Sick of beating yourself up for not being good enough? So was my client. He was unhappy with his life. He felt he had painted himself into a corner. He had done what he was “supposed” to do, but he felt like a failure. He was tired of beating himself up, tired of feeling like he wasn’t good enough, but he didn’t know how to stop. This is the thought process that led him to stop feeling like a failure and love life.

What follows is a series of emails from a client. It’s a bit voyeuristic.

This client is an entrepreneur going through a transition in his life. He recently…


Earlier this month, Annette and I visited Guatemala. We made the trip to observe the schools we funded through Pencils of Promise and take part in the construction of one of them. The schools are located in villages in the extreme rural areas of Guatemala. Many of the inhabitants of these towns don’t speak Spanish, instead speaking Mayan dialects. Despite the lack of a language shared with the outside world, these people make a living for themselves. Many of the people in these villages never venture more than ten miles from the place where they were born. …


For the first time, I have purchased a car with a pleather interior.

Sitting on fake leather, in a car that I own, I had a revelation.

My parents never intended to teach me the “right” and “wrong” of car interiors. Over the course of my childhood, however, I learned what defined a “good” car. I spent countless hours in the back seat of a car, listening to my parents discuss purchasing a new vehicle. I watched my parents buy new cars, slowly upgrading. There was a couple of Chrysler minivans. Then there were Suburbans, always with leather interiors. There…

S. Brian Smith

Serial entrepreneur. Business Strategist. Founder Coach. Adventurer. Philosopher. www.sbriansmith.com

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