The Pursuit of Authenticity: Dr. James Smith Jr., Keynote Speaker, Coach, Author, and Educator

For over 20 years, hundreds of thousands of people, both national and international audiences of all sizes, have experienced the passion, creativity, storytelling, unshakeable positivity and mind-shifting power of Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP.

After 14 years in corporate America, and four years working with several training and development and diversity and inclusion consulting firms, Dr. James formed his own company help others remove self-created and/or organizational barriers to jump into their BIGNESS.

A personal-power expert, educator, speaker and coach, Dr. James has taken his message to over 25 countries and has achieved the National Speakers Association Certified Speaking Professional designation – a designation that only about 17 percent of NSA members worldwide have earned. Dr. James has authored three books with The No Excuse Guide to Success: No Matter What Your Boss or Life Throws at You book earning an NAACP Image Award nomination. His most recent book (a co-authored book project), A Collective Breath: Stories of Being Black in America and Visions of Change, was recently released.

In this interview, James and Cindra discuss:

  • The true meaning of authenticity
  • Why it is more important than ever before for leaders to be their authentic best
  • His life-changing decision to pursue his own authenticity more often
  • What hinders authentic expression
  • And 3 ways to pursue authenticity more in your life






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“When we are young we look a lot like our parents, when we get older we look a lot like our choices.” – Dr. James Smith Jr @Mentally_Strong
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“Authenticity is a matter of self-knowledge and self-regulation” – Dr. James Smith Jr @Mentally_Strong
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Cindra Kamphoff: Thank you so much for being here, Dr James Smith Jr CSP welcome to the high-performance mindset.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Honored, Honored.

Cindra Kamphoff: we’re so grateful that you’re here today, I heard you speak at the national speaker’s association influence.

Cindra Kamphoff: Last summer, and then I saw you at the winter conference this year and I was just so excited and delighted to share with the high-performance mindset Community a little bit more about your message and I can’t wait to dive in so welcome.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Thank you Sandra did oh I’m honored to be here I’m looking forward to our discussion let’s play let’s get messy let’s have a good time.

Cindra Kamphoff: Awesome well let’s start with tell us a little bit about your passion and what you do right now.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: One of my passions is the Philadelphia eagles but let me stop or I’ll talk.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: passionate about autism research and support I have two children; two sons and a bonus son I don’t say steps on my bonus on my biological son are both on the autistic spectrum they both are non-verbal, and I want to make sure that they have a fabulous life when my wife and I aren’t here, we want them to get the same type of love so I’m doing research and making connections to make sure their world today in their role tomorrow will still be fantastic or it’s as fantastic as it can be and I’m also passionate about speaking and helping people get out of their own way.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: No more excuses, no more self-created barriers move the pessimists that the victim, the negative person out the way and step forward with a powerful passionate purposeful individual so that’s Those are two things I’m most passionate about.

Cindra Kamphoff: I appreciate that you answered that question with both family and professionally so thank you so much, so tell us a bit about you know your speaker and a coach and educator just tell us a bit about your journey to.

Cindra Kamphoff: Well, I think about the biggest honor in speaking in my opinion, is to grace, the main stage at the national speaker’s association so tell us about how you got there.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: My journey to the main stage well started a long time ago, when I was a member of the Jackson six people thought there were five of us.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Michael, Marlon, Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, but James I was the one that never made the pictures, but I was part of the group, I would be in my living room at home, I would get a brush to be the microphone I would get a broom to be the guitar and I’ll put my toys stuffed animals on the couch and I would perform and sing in front of my audience ABC the love you See I want you back from there, I guess fell in love with entertaining with speaking with having fun. In grade school my teachers would always say my work was excellent, but my work habits were not the best because I wouldn’t stop talking what am I know better, my mouth and now.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: All these years later I’m 61 years old and I get paid to run my mouth. For 14 years and, while I was in corporate still a lot of vendors coming in to do professional development workshop presentation skills diversity, career development, you name it, and so I was checking them out because I loved what they were doing somewhere good somewhere not so good and right about that time I posted for my marketing positions I didn’t like it anymore, and I ended up in human resources, training and development so that’s where I began to cut my teeth.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Okay, well, did I ended up working 14 years corporate another four years for consulting firms, but during one of those years in corporate one of those vendors took me out to lunch, I told him what I wanted to do, and he said, have you ever thought about being a subcontractor? what’s that?

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: He explained it to me he hired me once my boss gave me her blessing when I got a gig, I would work a four-day work week, Or take a vacation day and I was doing diversity consulting work for him for three years, while still fully employed, and I said, this is what I want to do when I grow up.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And you put it out in the universe, the last organization, I worked for we work acquired by another bank at the time I was a Vice President of business learning resources and if I was let go, I would get six months’ salary six months’ severance I said Bob by corporate I did my best.

Cindra Kamphoff: Jackson six I like it.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And that’s where I started this journey, the journey that will only in when I expire because I’m not going to retire. This is my This is my ministry I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And I’ve done internationally 35 countries 45 states, and I just keep getting older and hopefully wiser and better.

Cindra Kamphoff: I love it yeah and I can tell that you’re very, very incredible at it, but I can tell that you’re passionate just the way you’re talking about it in the way that you know you describe it to us so, thank goodness, you made the leap up speaking full time.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Center the word passion, you know spelled P A S S I O N.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Yes, I like to believe that it means pass I on one passing on my enthusiasm my experience my energy my vulnerability my courage, regardless of what I’m speaking or coaching or.

Cindra Kamphoff: Excellent, and I know you speak on at least four different topics today we’re talking about all of them in some way so authenticity presentation skills personal power and diversity and inclusion and I guess the first question that I have for you is let’s let’s dive into this idea of authenticity and honestly I love that you’re talking about this topic as a man because I think these ideas of like vulnerability and authenticity, I think.

Cindra Kamphoff: You know they’re in my book, my book is called Beyond Grit Dr James, and it covers 10 practices of high performers and one of them is authenticity. And I find that it can be really difficult for people to practice, and I just use the word practice because I do think it’s something that we have to practice, so I would just I love for you to start.

Cindra Kamphoff: With you know you talk about living leading and speaking authentic authentically every day, what does what does that actually mean to you.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Sure, sure, sure, when you were framing the question.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Back in my head when I was growing up, I heard refrains like big boys don’t cry you know. Right, you know show me your muscles all these narratives relative to being a strong tough young man well in that moment, was I didn’t want to be tough suppose I wanted to be emotional, I wanted to let it out, I was reared or raised, not to do that.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: So, there was a guess a need an urge to explore this for a long time, when I was in corporate, I heard fake it till’ you make it go along to get along. I don’t speak truth to power don’t reveal your entire self-keep something in and then of Lake would really lead me to my research with people saying.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I’m one way at home and I’m one way at work, and I wanted to know why couldn’t you be home at home and at work and people would say no, you can’t you can’t you can’t corporate culture playing the game, and I said call on that and decided to do my research, I went into my research, believing that authenticity was a matter of either or you’re either authentic or in authentic and I wanted to find out why people weren’t more authentic.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: All the time and through my research, I now believe that authenticity, is a matter of degrees it’s more or less not either or.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: If I choose not to be war in this moment it’s because I’m choosing not to if I choose to be more in that moment it’s my choice, I believe authenticity around being the best version of yourself as often as possible and, depending on the situation.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: You may choose to be less or more, but it doesn’t mean you’re being inauthentic because I don’t tell you what I did over the weekend, with my mom or my family not being in authentic.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I’m just choosing not to reveal those deep personal details and the detractors the researchers who don’t believe in authenticity say humans cannot be authentic all the times we can be authentic in that moment.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: But it doesn’t make us an authentic person, a painting is authentic piece of jewelry is off that is never changing, but every day we get a chance to become like a Kaleidoscope.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: We’re always evolving we’re always becoming we’re always changing, but in that moment, yes, we can be authentic, but it doesn’t define who we are.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, I love that so authenticity is not either or it’s more or less and humans cannot be authentic all the time.

Cindra Kamphoff: It makes me think about the barriers that I experience in terms of you know, when I feel like I’m more authentic or less authentic and I think the thing that gets in my way is.

Cindra Kamphoff: A judgment right judgment of myself or sometimes onstage you know it’s like Oh well, what’s the audience thinking I’ve learned to just silence that inner dialogue and just work to be me because I also feel like when I’m my full self I can connect with people much better than when I’m judging myself, so I think judgment is one way that gets you know, at least for me of what gets in our way of being authentic.

Cindra Kamphoff: What do you think about that Dr James and like what are some other things, do you think get in our way of being and expressing ourselves.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: One self-created barriers stories we tell ourselves relative to if I am authentic this is what’s going to happen.

The perception that we have the power to hurt someone’s feelings, the power that if the thought that if we are authentic people aren’t going to understand us.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: They’re going to judge us, we fear speaking truth to power, because if we do, we create punishments and penalties that we believe will happen as a result, and we would, just rather go along to get along if you talk about the areas of diversity equity inclusion.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: We’re at our best when we’re young we asked questions you want to play, we want to know why you have that pimple on your cheek.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Why did you shave your hair. Why did you die it now as adults not asking I’m not saying anything, no, no, no, we still have that that inquisitive mind?

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: But we don’t act on it as much because we fear something negatively may happen and we don’t feel safe and also syndrome, we live in a society where it’s acceptable to be less authentic.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Coach, tough game what happened? why did you lose well, I have to put my players in a better position to it’s my fault, you know I could do a better job of coaching your quarterback through 10 interceptions what happens, well, we call the wrong play and come on tell us the truth.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Right Oh, Mr. Brady was the quarterback.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: You guys lost the super bowl well how do you feel about that it’s just another game I’m gonna go home to my wife and my kids I’m a billionaire I don’t care about.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: The fans I care about my family he can’t say that.

Cindra Kamphoff: Right, right.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Mr. President, you said that tough meeting, with the other party, how did it feel well no character-building time you know we just putting the country first okay if.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: We can we really.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Give and receive authentic communication I believe there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Cindra Kamphoff: I know that there’s a lot of room for improvement, and I think, maybe even the way that people are criticizing social media that’s one of the barriers, I see why people don’t necessarily speak their mind, one of the things I know, Dr James you talk about is this dual threshold model of authenticity tell us a bit about that, and how we could apply that to our own lives.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Sure, when I was working on my research my advisor Dr. Deanna Getty’s had studied emotion, when she was working on her PhD and she showed me this model and like this is amazing, can we substitute emotion with authenticity and we did and essentially it’s a it’s a model that has three threshold you start in the suppression area you move to the expression area and then there’s the impropriety area.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: The suppression area as a speaker as a person in the workplace you’re basically you are suppressing your level of authenticity.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: You don’t share your truth you don’t speak truth to power, you just show up go along to get along the likelihood of you moving into little leadership or ranks of leadership a slim, and none because you’re not expressing your power.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Then you move to the expression threshold and that’s the threshold we believe is rocking you’re sharing your truth, as much as you can you’re being you as much as you can.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: You are feeling good about what you’re saying you’re being vulnerable you’re commuting you’re communicating your thoughts your expressions and then the impropriety threshold. Okay that’s the threshold where your level of authentic authenticity supersedes or goes against the values and norms and beliefs of the organization of the members of the group, for instance in your Narcissus.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: This is being a narcissist 2.0 if you’re any type of is whether it’s a sexist sable in races it’s homophobic it’s that level of authenticity over-done and it’s not welcome more appreciated, well, I would say organization expand their threshold of authenticity around four through eight with 10 being.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Getting into impropriety but force through eight and there are factors that play a role in US crossing those thresholds, and that includes the culture, our team Members, our leadership. Those entities play a role and giving us more courage permission confidence to express more authentic communication.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, James I hear a lot of people say well you know when you’re thinking about authenticity, you know that they might just say, well, this is just who I am. And maybe what they said was sexist or homophobic or racist or wasn’t like what you said aligning with the company’s values and I appreciate that you, you called it in propriety impropriety threshold right like there’s a name for it.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Give us a little visit to your point. That’s just who I am my response to that is that’s how you choose to be in that moment. When we do these personality indicators and they said I’m this on that as well, you choose to be in that moment.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I speak for living I coach I train people would say I’m an extrovert because I’m running my mouth all the time, I’m getting my energy and the people in speaking to. But when I travel, I choose to be an introvert I don’t talk if I want to playing sitting next to you, you won’t get a buzz out in the other than. You think and I get by you to go to the bathroom.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Right, I put my sunglasses on my hat I pretend like I’m sleeping till I’m asleep unless I’m on a marketing campaign, then, once you buy my next book.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: But it’s one of my favorite quotes is that when we’re young we look a lot, like our parents but when we get older, we look a lot, like our choices, what are we choosing to be.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Given the situation, that does not define best just who I am that’s where you’re choosing to be in that moment.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, that’s helpful because I think it takes more of the personal power back like you feel like you have a choice, instead of you know well that’s just who I am right.

Cindra Kamphoff: I’m curious for those people who are listening because I know they’re probably asking or thinking in their mind how do we know what would you suggest, if we want to express our authentic self-more often right not suppress it but expressing it thank you especially for leaders, this is so important, so that you know kind of what I was saying, is, I feel like I can connect with people who are their full authentic self.

Cindra Kamphoff: So, give us a sense of what you might you know advice you’d give for people let’s say you’re coaching or you’re onstage training and they want to show their more their authentic self more often.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Sure, sure, number one you have to know who you are.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Because authenticity, as a matter of self-knowledge and self-regulation, how do I behave based on what I know about me. Number to develop your personal values stand for my organization our personal values, our organizational values are what is the word glue GLUE G stands for goal driven. L stands for leverage U stands for urgency and he stands for excellence and the people in my team know that if we are utilizing this glue.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: We’re going to stick together and we’re going to stick to our principles and the results are going to be unfashionable so develop your number you want number one number two develop your personal value set in live according to those values number three stop making up stories.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: In life something happens to us and, as a result, we tell a story, and that story is usually negative. We believe, if I say this, this is what’s going to happen and again it’s usually negative, though, if I tell my boss I don’t like it here, he she or they’re going to fire me or they may say why don’t you, like you, but we forecast failure so those three again are know who you are number to develop your personal values, then number three stop telling stories and saying that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Cindra Kamphoff: Really tangible things there and I appreciate what you said about knowing who you are it’s a self-knowledge but also self-regulation and being able to regulate yourself I think you’re right that people. We tend to tell ourselves stories about failure or that people won’t accept us if we really follow our true authentic self, I think.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, I’ve done all my own share of personal development work and one of the things I really learned from one conference I went to someone said how your passion your energy is the thing that makes you unique and I was like wow no one’s really told me that and for a while, especially working with a lot of male teams and let’s say male sports teams professional teams, or even speaking in front of males like.

Cindra Kamphoff: I think I suppress that a lot well you know, maybe they won’t like me if I’m really passionate but after that comment It made me realize Oh, I think, if I own this more right that would help me. Just also be my us myself more often connect with them, but you know I learned to I’ve learned to just really embrace that about who I am.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: If you think about your life, we experienced a lot of bumps in the road for us to learn anything. When we speak truth to power, we’re going to take hits.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: We are, however, is it worth it, if you get wounded, are you going to learn to walk with the wound.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: If it’s worth it you’re going to do it in our mindset has to be one where we ask ourselves.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Is this worth it event go for it, we tend to chase what we want, and I want you to chase even more that’s why my keynote on moving from ally to advocate.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: it’s so popular it’s a lot of allies out there, but we’re our advocates the people who will stand up for us to go at it alone this be our voices speak for us when we don’t have a voice ally.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: To me, seemed like people who think about doing it right about doing it say they have your support when I hear advocate, I see someone in front of me saying, be careful I’ve got to leave her alone, you know.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: My sons are non-verbal I advocate for them.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Many of us have elderly parents, we advocate for them think of the spirit and energy that goes into being an advocate and they compare it to being an ally it’s night and day to me. As an advocate. It is a risk.

Cindra Kamphoff: And I think one is really giving and serving and focusing on other people I’m curious Dr James, can you tell us a bit about your journey to embrace more of your full authentic self.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: raised in a lower-class environment until I was 11 years old, and we would all know we moved into a middle class, they are my parents divorced, when I was 11 my mom raised my brother myself.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And because we were smart, we went to smart, schools and those schools weren’t as diverse from the ethnicity and race standpoint.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Then I went to high school in my high school was 99% black African American I graduate in the top five my class that I went to college my college at the time was 99% white. And there was a shift in me out I didn’t feel smart, I still maintain my physical sports low because I played football but outside of the football field, I didn’t feel smart.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I didn’t think I looked as smart I started to go along to get along SLIM to fit in an admission into that group was for me to take on a new name and that name was Jim.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I became Jim Smith, I didn’t really like it, but if that was the ticket to get in, okay I’m just with that’s my nickname.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And it’s a name that played a role, and we still working hard but me not speaking truth to power me going alone and get alone me becoming a people pleaser me wanting to impress you do the right thing and it worked to an extent from accumulating awards, accumulate gifts and highlights but inside I knew I wasn’t being as much as me as I can be unless I was in the classroom the door was closed may got all of me.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And I was Jim up until 2020 during the pandemic when in may lead with May 25 George Floyd was murdered.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: For years I’ve been saying politicians need to do better athletes they do better entertainers They all need to speak up educated speak up someone else needs to speak up and I’m a speaker.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And being home all that time in watching TV I said, you know, I have to stand up, I have to be a voice of reason, I have to fight for equality or advocate for equality and inclusion.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And I’m going to do it being all of me, and the first thing we do is go back to my birthday James so James Smith Jr this has been some journey and where I’m at now you’re never going to wonder what’s on my mind, or what I’m thinking if you ask me a question relative to an area of inclusion and diversity of someone’s misspoke in the past, I would hear it, and just stick my head and not say anything and that’s called silent support silence is violence.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Now, if someone says something egregious, like you know, Dr Jason I see you I don’t see color in the past, I will say okay, now I do tend to come out I think what you’re attempting to say is you don’t let my color or my race play a role, and how you treat me.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: But that’s not what you said.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: What you said is you don’t see something that’s profound and significant to me.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: My skin color my gender my name that quality that’s so important.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I wonder how some women feel I can’t speak for all women, but someone feel when the Speaker of the LEADER sorry guys that’s bringing in guys.

Cindra Kamphoff: You don’t want to get me started on guys.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Just touch a nerve.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, I’m not a guy.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Exactly.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Yeah exactly.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Good job when I see you, I don’t see you as a woman, you just wanted to guys let’s not get it twisted.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Treat me accordingly, and you know how to get the treatment 90 enough test to find out how he asked me you observe we talk, because I don’t want you to treat me like everybody else.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: People say what’s the golden rule treat everyone the way you will be treated no platinum rule treat people the way they want to be treated.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I may want more fanfare more pats on the back, was silence more distance more projects as you get to know me leader, you can adjust your leadership style to help develop me, based on what you’ve observed.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah well, thank you for sharing that journey, Dr James I got goosebumps when you said, like in 2020 you became all of you and yeah and I see you right and then really took on Dr James Smith Jr very powerful.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Powerful I do I don’t feel passive or helpless or with someone does something you know you said you saw me last year, when I did the keynote at influence main stage.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: When I got back home, since a number of my Philadelphia chapter members didn’t make it, I did a watch party and after the watch party, one of the gentlemen who was on the zoom call with us said, you really took a risk during that presentation to the risk that I just shared my life story, but there still was a risky you talked about race this part of my life and as a leader if we can’t talk about elements of diversity, how can we manage them.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: In talk about it’s a conversational make it much more challenging.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: This is my life story about where to edit some of that story. You wouldn’t have received that those goosebumps or the people in the audience would not have felt what they felt when I was out there just sharing my April 24th, 1961, up until now.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, yeah right, and what I’m hearing is the power of embracing your fullness right. And current knowledge courage that takes and you said something about like.

Cindra Kamphoff: If you want to know how to treat me asked me, and I think people are don’t have don’t ask those conversations don’t ask those questions because maybe it feels like you’re taking a risk, you know that it’s maybe easier to treat everybody, the same or just. I don’t know not ask Dr James how he wants to be treated or referred to, then you know, then really asking the tough questions and being authentic in these conversations about diversity and inclusion So what are your thoughts on that.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I think you’re spot on I think many of us again forecast failure we don’t think it’s going to work out the key, though, to those conversations is what have you deposited into that relationship account before the conversation. If you have not made any deposits and now, you’re coming for this big withdraw.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Then, on the balance it’s going to bounce because you haven’t made deposits into me into her into them before then I call it having front seat conversations.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: If you think about your car, items you put in your front seat your sunglasses your phone your water your keys, they are items that you need they need to be close by.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Your backseat maybe your coat your bad your trunk emergency items I believe in life as it relates to diversity equity and inclusion you think about areas like gender ethnicity thinking style veteran status, citizenship physical ability or lack thereof. Where are those elements in your car of life, race for me front seat I think about it all the time?

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: When I’m home is in my trunk.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: When I travel internationally all I’m very aware that I’m an American.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, for sure.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Whoo. back and forth but being a superior manager part of being a superior manager is being able to get into the front seat.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: With your employees what’s fun seat for them and the way you do that, first, is not to ask them what’s in their front seat, no, no, no, no, no, no you’re making it withdraw. Start by making deposit share what’s in your front seat first.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And then they’ll see you being vulnerable and then they’ll they might be even more vulnerable as well, but they want to see where you’re coming from before they begin to be vulnerable open up and give you important information they quite frankly they’re probably thinking you’re in my office all the time, why don’t you know what’s important to me see my picture my family my university here, you know what I’m doing on weekends I’d say I’m golfing I’m a horse racing I’m hiking.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Yeah, sometimes we just were so oblivious because it’s all about me what we want, and we lose sight of those factors that are significant to other people.

Cindra Kamphoff: Is that true?

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Conversations will make those challenging conversation I’ll give an example.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: When I first started doing diversity equity inclusion work in the I believe it was the late 80s my organization had appointed me to be diversity Council leader to lead and develop our diversity training courses and Sandra initially I did not want to touch that at all, because at the time of the 30 something year old black man, and all I knew about was being a 30 something year old black man.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: No, sexual orientation, I know about Indian centric initiatives I knew a lot about me, however, I said this is going to grow me this is going to be a risk.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: People are going to stop seeing me as the corporate trainer and see me as his black guy who does diversity, but I took it on, and I went to this conference.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And it was a training conference for educators and corporate trainers, a lot of different tracks, but I went to all the courses and sessions related to diversity.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: After the first day I get on the shuttle bus to go back to the hotel and there’s a woman on the bus just me her in the bus driver. She appeared to be an Indian female because she had that that.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I didn’t know what that meant and like I need to know computer diversity, a walk the tour.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Good afternoon hope you’re enjoying the conference, my name is Jim Smith jr.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I came because I want to learn more about diversity Council leader training leader and I always wonder what did that mean what does it, what does it represent she started laughing Mr. Smith, Mr. Smith, this is crazy, you know why my company disappointed me the same position and I’m here for.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Should I call you black or African American?

Cindra Kamphoff: Right.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: The shuttle went back and forth for an hour so when we were in a contact why? Because we weren’t afraid to ask the question and we did it in a vulnerable way which should indicated that we were sincere, we were real we just wanted to understand and learn.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah wow it’s a powerful example, and I think people aren’t you know they don’t want to ask those questions right they would rather be silent, which you mentioned so Dr. James what you know I realized, people are on a different you know various continuum on their awareness of diversity, inclusion and the topics we’re talking about today, but do you have any advice or a takeaway that people could use to kind of think about how they can grow in this area.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Sure, sure several number one to be vulnerable.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Number two to have an open spirit.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Number three to know that you’re not always going to say the right thing, but because of your spirit in your grace in your countenance the person will receive that.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And coach and educate and say that’s Okay, no one is perfect, also to know that it’s never over we are lifelong learners.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Yes, and I believe from an authenticity standpoint we’re at our best when we’re young and when we’re old.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: You know my grandmother when she was alive, I go visit her she’ll you put on weight.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: A neighbor Mr. Smith, Mr. wow you’ve been working out you look good when they will share their truth and all years in between we collude we keep it in we forecast failure we make excuses and we make poor choices instead you’re listening to this we make poor choices, but we call the mistakes.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: What’s a mistake, it seems like it just happened, it was a mistake know you made a choice before you made the mistake the choice turn into mistake how often you hear people say I made a poor choice that time, no, I made a mistake it hurt you by the do I didn’t mean to intend impact.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: If we begin to develop a mindset of power of service of giving of wanting to continue to learn, I think that will play a key role in keeping us trending in the right direction, as it relates to diversity equity inclusion in authenticity.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yes, yeah well great suggestion, there is to share a truth more often within kind of an open spirit I appreciate that and it makes you use the word power, and I know I’m going to have to have you on again Dr James we didn’t get to talk about presentation skills, but let’s end with some ideas about personal power, and when you think about this idea of personal power, why do you think that’s relevant today more than ever before.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: It is so relevant my last book was called the notes you Scott, you have success, no matter what life throws at you.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: And I believe we make a ton of excuses which puts us in a place of being a victim.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: In 1990 a group from Germany, I believe their name snap the group is called snap they made a song so that’s still popular today now hope your listeners don’t cringe when they hear me attempt to sing it.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Because I sing like no one’s listening and dance like nobody’s watching, but if I’ve got the power, I’ve got the power we still here today, or if we have the power, why do we consistently give it away.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: When we say that’s gonna be a tough audience, we just gave the audience that power when we say you make me mad, we gave that person our power you’re not going to like me, we gave that person our power.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Oh, the pandemic, I mean people I can’t speak virtually just gave the pandemic your power.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Hmm we consistently give our power away and blame it on people and circumstances it’s being intentional is being personally responsible and accountable for what happens to you and how you handle what happens to you.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: When the pandemic hit Sandra room for the first month or two victim vocabularies, because 99% of the solutions I’ve provided were done in person.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Yeah, I couldn’t even spell zoom.

Cindra Kamphoff: Right.

Cindra Kamphoff: Now, look at ya.

Cindra Kamphoff: You learned quick.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: march through September.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Any billable income.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: hmm I reached out to my friends who were doing webinars and zoom and that crash course and how to do it and then a little love with it and listen when you watch the news.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: That news journalists in a room full of people are clapping no they’re not they’re in a room with the camera and they’re talking to the camera and they’re having a one on one and you feel like they’re right in your living room they don’t have an audience know what’s clapping.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: But they make if they make you feel as though you’d have a one on one with him and I said I’m going to do this last year I’ve been in business for 20 years I would say, last year, not the top to top three year I’ve had and 90% of my offerings were delivered via zoom or from a distance.

Cindra Kamphoff: Personal pain set.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, what a great way to just describe you know how you got stuck in the trap to what we’re human right, so I appreciate just to your vulnerability there and just how you really turn that around when you started owning your power.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Led you to turn around labs will say pivot know if.

Cindra Kamphoff: It was difficult, you know the pandemic in general right, because it would just shifted so quickly.

Cindra Kamphoff: But I appreciate what you said about like not giving your power away to the audience or the other person or you know or whatever that might be, we can sometimes do that without even realizing it.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: That thought about that, when I was preparing for my keynote and influence last year, I actually had slides to show, but during dinner The night before my keynote.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: One of the season NSA or Hall of Famers he said man I wouldn’t use any slides you are an amazing human visual aid it’ll take away give them you wall real everything those slides.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Yeah, after my slides away I didn’t use them and my mindset was should I do some of this stuff because this is NSA conservative, you’re about to go raw and real but I said, if I’m going to go down going down with my fastball.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: For the curve or change up if it’s not going to work, I’m going to say I gave them my all I gave them my best, I gave them the best version of me now, I love it.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: No personal power.

Cindra Kamphoff: Well, that’s personal power and then you know I think the way that you did it was incredible and that’s what’s memorable right like as somebody in the audience.

Cindra Kamphoff: Right, I’m not going to remember right just going through the slides, but it was like this true story of you know you where you’re sharing your soul, really.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Yeah, that Stephen King likes to say facts fade, stories stick.

Cindra Kamphoff: I love it.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Love it a bunch of facts, but your stories.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Oh, sticky never speaker, you want to use narrative and words that have thinking power.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, I love it.

Cindra Kamphoff: Well, Dr James here’s what I took from our conversation today is a way to summarize and wrap up.

Cindra Kamphoff: I appreciate what you said about authenticity is not either or it’s more or less, and you said humans are not created to be authentic all the time.

Cindra Kamphoff: But you gave us some really great ideas on how to practice authenticity so it’s like the dual model or dual threshold model of authenticity suppression expression in propriety threshold, hopefully, I got that right, and then you, you know you gave us three steps on how to do that.

Cindra Kamphoff: Or how to be authentic more often know who you are, which includes self-knowledge and self-regulation.

Cindra Kamphoff: Understanding your personal values and stop making up stories and I appreciated the conversation we’re having about diversity, inclusion and just asking right and I heard you say a couple of times.

Cindra Kamphoff: That we forecast failure and I’m hopeful that that’s something that people took from today is owning to own your personal power means working to reduce that forecasting failure so where can we find out more about your books and tell us how we can start following you Dr Smith, the easiest way social media.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Instagram, Facebook Linkedin Twitter Dr Jane Smith Jr have a YouTube channel Dr Jane Smith Jr and my website get ready for these really creative days with your car.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Yeah, days with your car.

Cindra Kamphoff: I love it.

Cindra Kamphoff: Well, what final advice or thoughts, do you have, for us, Dr Smith.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I’m going to give you what since we did not get a chance to speak presentation skills one around presentation skills it’s called the fish model F.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: s ah so great presenters go fishing the acronym stands for, FIFA he stands, I will start with I stands for, I the individual.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: I the person listening to you I the person listening to this podcast I the person watching you from afar in the audience I need to F feel your message s see your message in H hear your message speaker, I have to get you to feel it movement gestures energy I communication vocal variety feel it.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: See it, because you always hear said, we always hear you see them saying you see what I’m saying, though, we have to get people to see what we’re saying anecdotes stories illustrations movement.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Stand-up comedians do it the best, because no one has a few people have seen stand-up comedians use PowerPoint know they don’t have two hours you laugh or two hours they’re telling stories and then using repetition so feel it see it, and finally here I’m not talking volume.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: Not blowing be very sexist here, because my mother, my female friends, and colleagues at some point they want they’ve said oh you don’t hear me.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: They’re not talking value they’re talking to a deeper level of understanding so as a speaker, if you want to wow your audience take them fishing get them to feel seat and hear your message and you did that today on this podcast Thank you very much.

Cindra Kamphoff: Thank you, Dr Smith what an honor to have you thanks for the last little piece of content there that I know we all can use, so thank you so much for gifting us with your time and your talents today we’re grateful for you.

Dr. James Smith, Jr. CSP: We, and we are grateful for you, because you’re using this show to bring wisdom and knowledge and bring Center to their heads in their hearts of Thank you so much for inviting me and I look forward to seeing you again real soon.


Cindra Kamphoff: Awesome Thank you.