Archive for June, 2017

June 4, 2017

Why I write….

by Rod Smith

I am sometimes asked why I write about 200 words a day for a growing audience both in hard-copy newspapers and on the web.I will tell you 5 reasons:

Reason # 1. I get a high, a thrill, call it what you will, when I know someone has read my column and made the decision to live more meaningfully, more determinedly, more powerfully. I know things often work in tandem, and sometimes the column is a necessary catalyst to get someone out of a pointless orbit and into something more rewarding and purposeful. The fact that I hardly ever know the person (sometimes I do) or even what country he or she is in makes it even more rewarding for me.

Reason # 2. It’s a little tiresome for me to hear strong talk about sin as smoking or drinking or sex before marriage (I’ve worked in church circles a lot) – when the real sin, in my mind (without appearing to endorse any “traditional” sin) is the failure to fully live, to fully use ones skills and talents, to live at half or even quarter potential. If a handful of readers move towards greater effectiveness as a direct or indirect result of anything I have written I will count the daily joy worth every minute. (Reason 2 sounds a lot like Reason 1 — aah, a theme!)

Reason # 3. I grew up reading The Mercury – a South African morning newspaper – and my favorite section was The Idler. It captured my boyhood imagination that one person could “talk” to so many people every day for years and I wanted to do the same. After a brief visit in 2000 with the then editor, Dennis Pather, I was in. “You and Me” has been published every weekday since, usually in the top right-hand corner of the op-ed page and on opposite ends of spread where The Idler still appears.

Reason # 4. I LOVE Family Systems Theory and know that its application to any issue, in any culture, will bring desired reasonable change directly proportional to the willingness of the person or family to “stay” with the change they wish to see occur.

Reason # 5. I have and have always had an almost insatiable desire to communicate. Even if I am in an airport terminal (or on a bus or in a waiting room) I want to call a meeting. I want to challenge people to get to know each other, I want to get people motivated to “do” something. The web, a column, and an audience is perfect for me to express my inner desire to reach out and communicate. It’s not about money or reward – it’s about the desire to influence and to be connected.

June 3, 2017

Buck-stop analysis 

by Rod Smith

The Mercury / Monday (getting it in early….!)

Buck-stop analysis – note to self and any who are willing to grow (up)…..

• I am the one common factor in all of my relationships be they personal, intimate, professional, or casual. If things are not proceeding as planned or desired I will take a good hard look at my role in whatever is happening.

• I cannot afford to be a by-stander when it comes to my own life. If I am passive and adopt a whatever-will-be-will-be attitude to others and to circumstances I cannot legitimately complain if I feel like a victim and others treat me as one.

• How I respond to what happens to me is often vastly more important than what happens to me. While I will count my losses and grieve when necessary, I will re-assess, learn from my errors and from others, and move on as efficiently as possible. Scar-counting and bruise-nursing and poor-me droning has a limited shelf-life and is exhausting to endure and for others to witness.

• Reinvention is possible. Many have achieved it in the past and many will do it in the future. If I am so-called “stuck” a little courage, sufficient desire, and enough clean pain, will probably be enough to launch a few healthy and new beginnings.

• If my gains (financial, status, or whatever) diminish or demean others I must desist and repent. 

[On a personal note: I will be in Lausanne this week….if you’re around, drop in.]

June 2, 2017

New Leaders

by Rod Smith

Things new and authentic leaders are really good at: 

• Joining a community. Taking time to listen to what the community is and is not saying before acting. This can take weeks or months or even years – especially in churches or schools.

• Holding onto his self or her self (I have used two separate words intentionally) when there exists the potential or the presence for unexpected challenge or conflict. Every community will test a new leader in a manner similar to how children will test a new teacher.

• Apologizing when it is necessary and doing so as close to the event as possible and in the presence of the group or the team the precipitating event or problem occurred.

• Refusing to be delayed, derailed, or debilitated by innocent errors.

• Visiting the research or looking for the principles or outlining the standards or the expectations as a base for taking action or determining policy or making or acting on decisions. The authentic leader finds what’s already written rather than acts on a whim or gut response.

• Collaboration with a variety of necessary key players in order to have the organization be community-driven or led rather than driven by select personalities.

• Separating anxious personalities or issues from the humans who are playing temporary hosts.