Make Today One of Intense Purpose and Lasting Influence

What Will Your Legacy Be?

It’s graduation time. As students receive their diplomas, they look forward to the next milestone, the next development, the next opportunity. As they walk across the stage, I bet most of them don’t think about how many days they have been on Earth and how many days they have left.

My friend, Robert D Smith, affectionately known as “the Robert D” reminds me of the gift of time. His book 20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now is one I give away to graduates. He shares practical reminders of how to master your life and succeed.20K Simple Truths 3D Left

Understanding your purpose, living each day to its fullest, becoming as productive as possible, and mastering your life are critical to a successful life and yet most of us are so busy with today’s tasks we don’t stop and reflect.

In 20,000 Days, you will find a compelling reminder of the value of time. It’s not a long book, and the message is simple, but profound. A few of the lessons I took away:

  • Eat dessert first.
  • Think of today as your last day and also your first day.
  • Do the thing you’ve been putting off.
  • Invite a close friend to dinner.
  • Go outside and breathe deeply.
  • Read the book you’ve been meaning to pick up.
  • Create a life statement.



And some of my favorite quotes:


“Winning is defined by the legacy you create.” @TheRobertD


“My motivating force: I know I will die, but I do not know how long I will live.” @TheRobertD


“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” –Golda Meir


“No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.” –William Borden

The Only Question that Matters in Personal Branding

Managing A Personal Brand

My friend Robert D. Smith is a master of branding and a creative force. For decades, he has managed the career of best-selling author and speaker Andy Andrews.  In addition to his work with Andy, he is regularly sought after by some of the biggest names for his expert advice, creativity, and innovative approaches.


“Whether you think it or not, you are a brand.” @TheRobertD


Recently, I spent some time visiting with him in his home and office in Tennessee.  Most people know Robert as THE Robert D.  His energy is so intense that, to prepare, I downed a double espresso before our interview.  I shouldn’t have bothered because just talking with him is like plugging into an unending energy source.

In our video interview, you will hear THE Robert D’s advice on building a personal brand.

What’s the number one question that THE Robert D asks himself to know whether a person will succeed?  Drum roll….

Are you coachable?

Interestingly, when I hire an executive, that is also my number one question. Because if you are not teachable, it usually means you are arrogant. If you aspire to serve others, you are always trying to remain coachable.


“Winning is defined by the legacy you create.” @TheRobertD


Here are a few highlights from our discussion:

  • Anyone can have a personal brand. “Whether you think it or not, you are a brand.” How you look, dress, talk is part of your brand.

Leadership Lessons from Over 200 Thought Leaders


Voices of Influence

A few years ago, I launched this blog with the idea of sharing insights, ideas, and inspiration.  It is my hope that the lessons and ideas shared here help you in some way whether that is fast-tracking your career or overcoming procrastination.

When I started, I thought it was worth it if I made a real difference to just one person.

I’m happy to report that at least one person has found it life-changing.  That person is me.  I learn far more by sharing these ideas than you can imagine.  What an incredible experience to have the opportunity to learn from so many people.

Thank you for reading, for commenting, and for sharing these posts.  I appreciate all of you and look forward to getting to know you better in the coming months.

Below are some of the leadership interviews and posts with thought leaders from a variety of fields on numerous topics.  I hope you find one you missed and that it positively influences your year ahead.


“The book you don’t read won’t help.” –Jim Rohn



Leadership, Management & Execution


“You will be the same person in 5 years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” -Charlie Jones


Leadership Communication

The Power of a Mentor


I’ve met people who seem to be waiting for something.  They aren’t getting started on their dreams because they think someone is going to show up and change everything.  For most, that never happens.  For Andy Andrews, it did.  One person showed up and changed the direction of his life.

Let me explain.  Today the world knows the name Andy Andrews as a best-selling author.  Others know him as that hilarious speaker who showed up at a convention, had you in hysterics, and before you even realized it…he had changed your thinking.

But, long before Andy’s success, he was broke, homeless, and sleeping under a pier on the Gulf coast.

And then, a man by the name of Jones showed up, and his life literally changed.


A good mentor knows how to share the truth with love. -Andy Andrews


Andy, you first told the world about your story and about this incredible teacher in your book, The Noticer.  You have just released a new book, The Noticer Returns.

There are so many avenues we could explore, but I want to focus on something key to your success and this new book.  And that is a “mentoring” relationship.  When Jones appeared in your life, you were ready and willing to listen.  Somehow he got through to you. 

Why was Jones able to reach into your world and change it?

It’s funny that you say I was “ready and willing to listen,” because in many ways I actually wasn’t! Jones was the only person who was willing to tell me the truth about myself and, at first, I didn’t like what he was saying one bit. Fortunately, he had a way of bringing people around to the right perspective, which he eventually did for me.

When do you know you are ready for a mentor?

The number one key thing you need to have in order to be ready for a mentor is a spirit of openness. You have to be open to the possibility that you don’t know anything or that some of what you DO know might be incorrect. You have to accept that there may be things wrong with your thinking.

Make Your Days Count

Mastering Your Life Right Now (and a book giveaway)

For over thirty years (10,950 days), Robert D Smith has worked behind the scenes as Andy Andrews’ manager and as a consultant to numerous best-selling authors and speakers.  Most know him as THE Robert D, and his infectious energy and enthusiasm for life radiates into a room even before he steps into it.


We gave away some free AUTOGRAPHED copies of 20,000 Days and Counting.

Winners have been selected and notified.

To qualify for the random drawing:

  1. Leave a comment below. Why would this book be helpful to you?
  2. Send out this post. You can use Twitter, Facebook or Google+. You could also use a pigeon, but you’d likely miss the contest end date.


When I read THE Robert D’s book, I realized it was the perfect way to start a new year.  It’s packed with practical steps to make the most of your days.  It’s a fast read, but one that will linger with you as you contemplate your life.

Let’s start with the title.  20,000 Days and Counting.  That grabbed my attention as I wondered about the significance of 20,000 days.  Turns out that you realized in 2009 that you had been alive for almost 20,000 days.  That realization had a big impact on you, didn’t it?

I would say the impact was huge. When you see your number, it really gives you a sense of urgency and intensity.

2.  I love to invent reasons to celebrate.  My wife and I celebrate more dates than anyone, and I even invent anniversaries and holidays just so we can celebrate something.  So, I was thrilled to see you talking about celebrating in this book.  Why is celebrating so important?  How do you make it a part of your daily life?

20000daysCelebrating is critical because it’s the only way to withstand living a life of intensity and purpose. If you’re living each and every day with meaning and intentional action to fulfill your purpose, you’re going to be drained from time to time. Allowing yourself time to celebrate the little accomplishments along the way will keep you focused and help you avoid burnout.

3.  From what I read, you seem to love the word “no.”  Why is “no” such a power word?