Three For Thursday – Chris Smith

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Embrace Life On Every Level

When we moved in next door to Chris and his wife, Linda, many moons ago, I expressed dismay to my wife. She asked why I was upset, given that they were such lovely people. I said, “did you see their lawn? It’s immaculate! I can never hope to keep up with that!” Turns out that not only are Chris and Linda lovely people, they also didn’t give a hoot about our less-than-pristine lawn!  During our time as neighbors I always enjoyed spending time with Chris, discussing things large and small. Our discussions were always incredibly civil even when our viewpoints differed.  Plus, we share a love for our planet and a firm belief that we must all be responsible environmental stewards.

In the course of his career, Chris has collaborated with senior leaders to ensure that organizations possess and successfully blend the ingredients necessary to achieve their vision and mission.  As a strategy and leadership consultant, Chris helps a diverse range of organizations, including those involved in architecture, building performance, and regional transportation, along with non-profits, the Federal Government, and Federal contracting. Prior to founding his consulting firm, Chris served as Senior Vice President of Cadmus, a national energy and environmental consulting firm; Chief Operating Officer of U.S. Green Building Council; and Chief Operating Officer of a regional architecture firm and a regional commercial real estate services firm.

Chris’ Three For Thursday follow.

During the last seven years, in the context of my church-based men’s group, we’ve explored the challenges facing those entering the second half of life. I’ve discovered that, for me, it’s all about letting go.  So many people including myself have identities tied to ego, position, possessions and family. When careers wind down, the kids become independent, and the body starts to wear out, what’s left? What matters?  I believe what matters can be broken down into the physical, the psychological and the spiritual.

Physical
Every day, I do something physically active. I go to the gym, take a long walk, work in the yard, wash the cars, play golf, or ride my bike. The one constant is that, every day, I am using my body and engaging with life physically, which also settles me.

Psychological
I periodically examine my frame of mind. How am I feeling today? What do I need to do to be in a good place with my wife, with my kids, and my friends?

Spiritual
Okay, I’m taking a bit of liberty here because for me, Spiritual has three subsets: mindfulness, connectedness, and gratefulness.

  • Mindfulness – When I first go outside, I look up and around, engaging my senses. I listen to the birds, feel the wind and scan the sky.  In short, I make certain to appreciate life moment to moment, remembering that tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.
  • Connectedness – I enjoy people and have a diverse group of friends. I’m social and I like to stay in touch with others.  I’m the kind of person who strikes up a conversation with the checkout person or other shoppers in the line. By sharing positive energy, I receive even more in return.
  • Gratefulness – Every day I pray, giving thanks for the day and remembering those special to me and/or in need.  It’s so important to appreciate how much we’ve got.  I truly understand how lucky I am. As a kid, I wondered why I had been fortunate enough to be born and raised in the U.S., in a comfortable, safe environment, knowing that millions of kids lived in poverty and peril. Then, I went through a long stretch where I wasn’t so appreciative, followed not coincidentally by considerable adversity. That ended over 20 years ago when, providentially, I experienced a “road to Damascus” awakening that turned my life around. Since then, I’ve been on a rewarding spiritual journey that keeps me grounded and grateful.

One For The Road
Embrace life and count your blessings.

How About You?
What are your Three For Thursday? I’m looking for people who are willing to share their life wisdom.  Please email me at bob@epi.coach if you’d like to be interviewed for a future Three For Thursday blog.

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