Monday, 15 June 2009

Interview with Lamar Smith

There aren't many people with a career that includes Air Force Special Forces attack pilot (decorated), successful CEO and published Author. Lamar Smith can claim all three!

Lamar has very kindly answered a few questions for us here on work/life fusion about his newly published book, There's More to Life than the Corner Office. So without any further delay, it's over to Lamar himself...

1. What was your intention behind writing this book?

Motives in approximate order of priority:
I want to leave a legacy that I was here and may have paid attention to life and the dynamics that drive us all.
I want to offer “service” to others. We need to learn from each other. If I can shorten my learning curve by paying attention to the offerings of others, I want to “pay back” by offering some things I have learned in return.
I love people, God’s highest creation. He constructed each uniquely and for greatness. I wish to encourage others to claim as much of each as possible.
I love America, the land of the people. The power of America is the collective power of the residents and citizens. I want to have positive effect on individual power and see America benefit.
I have written much, but not fiction and not commercially. I wanted to see if I could meet the challenge.

2. What kind of people do you expect to read it?

Any one who wants to engage in personal development. “Fellow travelers” in life who want more…more hope, joy, significance, purpose, connection, clarity and effectiveness. Additionally, those who have much to offer others can benefit from reading the book and seeing how the mentoring process can be used to pass on benefit to others. The skillful mentor mostly asks questions.

3. What would you like your readers to say about this book?

For a tiny investment of dollars and time, the “pay off” in life change was HUGE. And I want readers to tell others about it IF they find it beneficial.

4. Was there an Al Crafton figure in your early career? (Al Crafton has a coaching/mentoring role in the book)

Not one in a ‘bright and shining’ category by himself. David Swartz, PhD, author of The Magic of Thinking Big and a college professor of mine was first, then George Talley CEO of First Command 7 years while I served him as President came along. There were others on the list for sure in early career as was the audio programs of Zig Ziglar. Later, a friend named Bill K came along and really added great mentoring value, which continues to this day.

5. To what do you attribute your own success?

All involved in an enterprise, effort and/or transaction must win. Attention must be paid to that basic fact. I spent much time analyzing each party’s likely perspective and I asked many questions to try to understand. I was slow to move until I had a pretty clear path/picture to follow that I had confidence would deliver success to all. Hard work is key too. Successful people show up, apply themselves, and take responsibility. Success is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration.

6. Do you expect the book to have a lasting effect on people and their careers?

The lessons and principals presented in the little story will have a transforming effect on the people who apply them consistently and use the book as a starting point (or booster) to a personal development commitment.

7. Patrick's journey in the book relies heavily on regular meetings with Al Crafton to keep him moving forward. What support are you offering to readers once the book has got them asking fundamental work/life questions?

Some supporting material is available on my website and I expect to add to it as this experience continues to unfold. Keep in mind that major themes of the book are the uniqueness of each of us and the joy of taking personal responsibility. “Empower yourself” is the message. Those who really engage this message will not want a confining, step-by-step formula, but will enjoy the self-discovery of defining their own specific path.

Lamar Smith, on behalf of the work/life fusion and our readers, Thank You for answering these questions and good luck with the new book!

For more information about Lamar and his new book visit:

Best Regards for now,



  1. Interesting interview, Paul! I have to laugh because my life path has been almost the opposite of Lamar Smith's. Lamar says "I was slow to move until I had a pretty clear path/picture to follow that I had confidence would deliver success to all." I so often leapt after some thought, but mostly with a clear picture of myself succeeding. Of course, thankfully, I was never an attack pilot. ;-)

    Lamar also tells us, as so many have, "Successful people show up, apply themselves, and take responsibility. Success is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration." For me, of that 95%, at least 50% is actually showing up. So many don't. Not really. I think once we dare to do that, curtains open and bells go off!


    Ronnie Ann

  2. Hi Ronnie Ann,

    Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment too!

    My experience has more similarities to yours than Lamar's as well. In hindsight it is easier to view a decision we have made as well researched and clearly thought out. Especially if it leads to the outcomes someone like Lamar can point to.

    I completely agree with your other point too. If we really are 'present' at work, opportunities will present themselves too. When we go through the motions we are far less likely to take our chances when they come our way.

    Incidentally, replying to your comment has made me think about the way opportunity and chance are inter-connected. Do you believe in taking your chances or are you someone who prefers not to take too much of a chance?

    Still not 100% sure where I sit on that question myself! :)

    All my best for now,