Lessons in Leadership – Week 12 – Dr. Markus Smith

Dr. Smith discussed his personal journey and experiences which have led him to his current success. How we can remain focused on our goals and priorities, recognizing the difficulties we may experience in our own paths?


  • Christina Bejoy

    Just like Dr.Smith said, ” As long as you are doing something you love, you will always be rewarded.” It is important to cherish the process and celebrate the small successes as you strive to reach your goal. Dr.Smith changed his life’s trajectory for his daughter, we have to find our passion as well and strive towards it. So that, even if we face challenges and setbacks, we always know why we are choosing the journey. Dr.Smith also emphasized the importance of giving back he said, ” The more money I make, the more I give back.” It is also important to give back to your community and see how we are impacting our community, in order to get the motivation to continue to push forward when setbacks arise.

  • Marcus Evans

    We can remain focused on our goals and priorities by setting sub-goals and holding ourself accountable of our responsibilities. Sub-goals help motivate people and provide more reachable accomplishments to then lead to the overall goal or priority. Another way we can remain focused is by evaluating our goals and figuring out the best way to achieve that goal with a set plan. Having a set plan will provide constant motivation and focus towards the tasks at hand. There can be many difficulties one can face when reaching goals, so the best thing people can do is learn to persevere. Avoiding the fixation of distractions will help people stay on task and focused on his or her goals.

  • Kyrah Raasch

    I can remain focused on my goals and priorities while recognizing difficulties during the process by picturing the future. I remind myself what the future holds for me and that the problems I face and struggles I go through will all be worth it in the end. Recognizing possible difficulties actually helps with the process. Knowing that a task will have situations that I will struggle with keeps me from getting discouraged when I reach that point. If I went into something, such as majoring in Nursing and thought that I will get through it easily, then when I get to a hard semester or class then I would most likely quit. Knowing there will be hard classes and difficult semesters will help me because I will be prepared for those times and when they come, I know I will get through them because I was prepared for it plus it will all be worth it when I graduate and get a job. I will reach my future goals.

  • Jenna Karp

    Life can get super overwhelming sometimes and can pull our attention and time in so many different directions. This can influence our focus in a negative way and often tends to interrupt our desired schedule. In order to remain focused on our goals, it’s important to carve out time daily to work towards our goal without any interruptions. In other cases where we experience difficult circumstances or situations we can only do our best to try to get through it. Once you’ve made it to the other side, it’s necessary to reflect on those events and understand how to avoid that same situation or learn how to handle it better for next time. A support system is also helpful to keep you accountable and motivated while striving towards a goal, leaning on others can be encouraging and uplifting in difficult times.

  • Jordan Montelongo

    I believe every experience is an opportunity to grow and learn. Dr. Smith shared his experiences of challenges but he was able to overcome them by staying driven and focused. Obstacles are opportunities you can learn from to become an even stronger person in the future. Goals and priorities are not just done for yourself but the ones you love. Dr. Smith went back to college because he believed that he would make his family, friends, and community proud, and he did! With hard work and dedication you can achieve what you put your mind to. Every leader has the opportunity to make a difference, so never be content, keep pushing, and your definition of success will come.

  • Emma Cunningham

    I think one of the best ways to stay focused on our goals is to not overwhelm ourselves. I do this by planning in advance when I’m going to do large assignments incrementally. This makes it easier to do it in smaller portions, which allows for me to make time for other things I enjoy doing. It’s also beneficial to plan out what obstacles can get in your way before you set out to do something. This allows you to plan ahead what might get in your way and that helps you to feel less bothered by what catches you off guard.

  • Amaya Coleman

    We can remain focus on our goals and priorities by knowing why we are achieving them. So people do it for money, family, and for themselves. If we have a purpose for our goals then we can prioritize them, We can still prioritize our goals with our difficulties by know we are better than our circumstances. Many successful people have had tough backgrounds so it’s about not letting our circumstances define us.

  • Jerzi Hawkins

    I believe as leaders we must learn how to use our past as fuel for our future. I believe we can use all the difficulties we have experienced as motivation to do succeed. A saying that I always use is “there is a reason your windshield is larger than your rearview mirror.” I think that we have to keep our eyes on our goals and remember why we started to stay motivated to achieve them. This is not saying you should completely forget your past, but you should tell your story and use it for good, which is something that Dr. Smith has become very good at. The one thing he said that has stuck with me is that he did not want to disappoint his mom. This really hit home for me because having those people in your life who push you to be the best version of yourself is so important and can play a big role in your future successes.

  • Jessica Jones

    Dr. Smith offered several valuable insights into this question within his wonderful presentation, each of which we should deeply consider and apply to our own journeys. The first of these might be Dr. Smith’s early struggle with education; while he noted that it was always something emphasized by his mother, he also expressed how little he was actually prepared for higher education by the public school system. I find that this is a common issue and one that needs to be fixed on a systemic level, but often times, in life, we are not always prepared for the best by those around us or by our circumstances- regardless of what that might pertain to. In this sense, much like what Dr. Smith has done, we need to go beyond that which has been provided for us and learn to teach ourselves, in an effort to bridge that gap, so that we are always prepared when opportunity arrives. Reaching out to someone whom we trust and respect as a mentor can greatly aid this process. This was another aspect mentioned by Dr. Smith, and while we individually must have the drive and determination to reach our goals, a mentor can hold us accountable to these goals and take on some of the burden of education. Finally, Dr. Smith shared the portion of his success which was driven by necessity; he always said to himself that he would be the best, and he did need to be in order to beat the daunting odds stacked against him and pay off his educational debt. Human beings are truly capable of incredible things when we absolutely must be, and more so, belief in oneself is an extremely powerful tool. The difficulties of our experiences will always be with us, but if we can genuinely believe in success or believe that we must succeed, regardless, then we are truly capable of anything.

  • Emilee J Handy

    I think that first of all, knowing that you will have difficulties already sets you up with an open mind set to allow yourself to be able to deal with those things. I also think that creating achievable goals can help you stay focused and stay on track, rather than only having an end goal. What I struggle with the most is getting help. Many times when I am faced with a difficulty, it gets so overwhelming just to have to face it, that I tend to try to keep moving without ever dealing with it. The reality of that is, I have many friends and family members who would be there when or if I asked for help. Especially when asking for help would simplify the process of dealing with obstacles, and also having some reassurance and someone to back you up is almost like having an extra boost whenever you do get over the obstacle.

  • Jayden Batcheller

    One way I stay focused on my goals and priorities is by allowing myself time to be upset. I know this may seem silly, but it works very well for me. Sometimes I struggle to see things in a realistic perspective when I feel heavily affected by something. Learning how to understand when I am not okay, taking a step back, allowing myself to recenter and come back to the best of my abilities. This way I have processed my feelings before returning to work, not allowing them to affect my work. Bad things happen, that is how life goes. We can either ponder on what went wrong or affected us negatively, or we can take our time to be upset, and then move on.

  • Teagan Jellison

    In life it is easy to let your setbacks and difficulties effect your success. You have to persevere through hard times. When you let a disadvantage control your life, you will not achieve any success because you are dwelling on the past. You have to realize that setbacks are not permanent and are only temporary bumps in the road, you have to use your experience from your setback and learn from it. Once you realize that these setbacks are only temporary you can begin to focus on your goals and keep pushing towards them.

  • Katherine Ryerson

    I think the reason Dr. Smith was able to reach such success because he was able to move on from his difficulties. All of us will face difficulties one way or another, and if we are able to use them as motivation and encouragement, then we will most likely be successful. He had to reach the point when he was ready to start a new life before he could become successful. I think that is a very important aspect of finding yourself. No one can make you ready. Being ready is a personal feeling and decision. Although he was almost forty when he decided to turn his life around, he did not let that be another roadblock or discouragement. Everyone can expect difficulty throughout their life. In order to stay focused, we must be passionate about making a change. If we live afraid of the challenges we will face, and run from any sign of difficulty, can we really call ourselves leaders?

  • Alondra Rios

    Personally, I feel like the answer to this question is very more depending on who you are and how you go based on thing because not everyone takes things the same way but I could tell you how I go based on that. So how I go based on this is that I am really religious and I have a lot of faith in God so because of that I know any obstacle, he puts in front of me is for a reason and a lesson. Also, my family is my motivation and everything I do is because of them and I really want to take them out of the southside so that keeps me going. Also, obviously you have some slips then and there and this is really when I hear motivation videos which also keep me on the right track. One of my favorite quotes I love to go by is failure is the mother of all success.

  • Isidro Fonseca

    In the path towards success there will always be obstacles. Dr. Smith’s journey was very inspiring because he was able to change his path for one reason, and that was his daughter/family. He found his reason to change and during his path to success I am sure he encountered lack of motivation, but having that reason in mind will always overcome any obstacle. Negativity is another common obstacle many individuals encounter in their path. The easiest way to get through all negativity is by ignoring and believing in yourself and your capabilities to accomplish goals.

  • Jimmy Davison

    It’s always vital to remember what are end goal is, a lot of time as leaders we forget the reason why we keep pushing. The best way to follow our reason why is to set a constant reminder to stay true to your beliefs

  • Zain Whitlock

    I think helping us stay focused on our goals is to realize to value that you working towards, also keeping sub-tasks. As leaders, we need to recognize the value of our plans to keep fighting for them even if there are road bumps along the way. And keeping little sub-task helps you focus on what you should accomplish next. And being happy about completing that sub-task will definitely help you to stay motivated. If we can corporate these things into our lives, I bet it would be easier for us to remain focused motivated and to realize that the road bumps along the way won’t mean anything if we realize value of our time.

  • Jentri Jordan

    I think Dr. Smith was one of the best speakers we’ve had so far. He told us about his life story and his journey to success, but he also seemed like he would have gone back and changed any of his bad experiences if he could. He used his life experiences as a driving factor for his success. I think the most important thing in staying focused on your goals is to believe in yourself. Of course having a support system such as friends and family is always great to have, in the end you are the only one that chooses if you want to succeed in your goals or not. I think success is a personal choice and if you want to succeed you’ll have to work for it. Don’t let your bad life experiences drag you down and instead use them to push you to do better and make a better life for yourself, like Dr. Smith did. Life won’t always be perfect, so it is important to take your bad experiences and your failures and learn from them. Being a leader you have to find motivation in yourself and then in turn you can motivate others.

  • Matelyn Jones

    To remain focused on a goal and priority I think are two different things. When I think of a goals I think there is a dream or vision behind the goal. Goals are always changing because our visions and dreams are always changing. With new experiences comes new perspectives. In order to be focused on our goals we have to understand what our dream is and how to accomplish that, and that requires a lot of reflection. When I think of priority I think of the bare minimum of what someone needs. Everyone’s priorities are different and has different circumstances. For me my priorities are family, friends, and myself. Ever since Covid hit I realized how important family is, and how I want to stay connected with them. I then realized the importance in true friends, and to make them a priority. I also have come to realize how important it is to prioritize yourself in order to help other people. If you aren’t doing okay, you won’t have as much success trying to help other people. It is important to stay focus on priorities, and I think the best way to do that is to remind yourself of the priorities and make sure you continually check on them.

  • Hana Abdelhadi

    In order to prosper despite the challenges that life throws at us, one must set goals and objectives. It is important to have a plan so that there is an established schedule and end goal. That already puts one at an advantage when they take initiative and have a good idea of where they would like to head. One must also really believe in themselves, for one’s mindset can take one very far. And whenever there is an obstacle, it is important to remember that no one is ever going through it alone. There are always those that would like to help, which is why a trustworthy support system is crucial. To sum it all up, one must be self-confident, set goals, and have a support system in order to overcome their challenges and reach their dreams.

  • In order to remain focused, we have to remember why we endured so long on the things we love to do especially when the thought of giving up comes across. For example, a pursuit for success comes with constant restlessness. Even if it seems out of reach, I believe everyone can reach their goals even if it is only 1% chance. Give it a shot and take risks, turn that obstacle into a stepping stool such as to grow and learn to become stronger and more confident in your ability and your potential.

  • We can remain focused on these goals by using them as motivation. Having goals sets a purpose behind the difficulty and a reason why we want to achieve this goal. For Smith, he felt that he disappointed his mother and wanted to escape the violence that plagued the streets. This, with his daughter, kept him motivated to go through school and any other obstacle in his life. I also learned from Dr. Markus Smith to align our goals with our core values. Our core values are ideas that we deem essential and dictate how we live our lives. If we have goals that align with these ideas, we are more likely to persevere through them and motivate by them. These goals will have a greater impact on us because they are infused with values that we consider crucial and live our life to, which makes us more motivated to achieve them. A strategy that works for me is looking at the progress I have made towards that goal. It inspires me to see how I am moving forward to this goal and how much is left.

  • Jackson Lehew

    I believe that one of the main ways to stay focused on your goals and priorities is to be passionate and don’t let negativity or failure stop you from achieving those goals and priorities. There are lost of struggles and hardships that come with setting goals, but if you are mentally tough and stay focused on the ending outcome, then you can accomplish your goals and priorities.

  • Claire Hardin

    Personally, I have been overwhelmed lately with the many requirements and opportunities within my college life. I am grateful to have so many opportunities, as many do not. However, I have the gnawing feeling that I am expected to do everything all the time and do it well. Therefore, it was very encouraging to hear Dr. Smith speak of his backstory and how a path of success is most often paved by mistakes.

    As each day presents more invitations to be involved in this, that, and the other, it takes increasing effort to remain focused on the ultimate goals and priorities of my life. I love making lists, and they help me stay focused. I will even write down the major priorities of my life: God, loved ones, my health, and my grades. Everything else is extra- not required. Through this practice, I have come to realize that the stronger foundation I have in each of these areas, the more room and ability I have to engage in all the “extra.” I do think this “extra” is important and vital to becoming a leader on campus, but I know I am not ready for all of it yet. So, I want to take this next semester to focus on my priorities, build my foundation, and come prepared to take on fall 2022 as a better leader on campus.

  • Cheyanne Young

    Remaining focused on our goals while also going though difficult situations can provide some distraction to us. In order to not remain distracted we must stop treating every misfortune or bad thing that happens to us like it is the end of the world, and start letting it teach us. I know when something bad happens to me, I’m usually upset at first then I realize that I can learn from this situation. Like a wise man once said “The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose -Chadwick Boseman”. Remembering the end goal at all times helps provide me with strength to get though whatever I may be facing.

  • Olivia Shults

    The most effective way to stay focused on achieving your goals is to make them known. I have always been told to write my goals down because if you right them down you are more likely to work towards achieving them.It is also important when setting goals to make them achievable, if you make your goals too out of reach you will feel as though you aren’t achieving anything. I have also always been taught that your situation doesn’t define you. As Dr. Markus Smith talked about, just because he was in a bad situation doesn’t mean he has to stay in that bad situation.The difficulties we go through define who we are and should be used to help us navigate through life. Leaders are made not born, the experiences Dr. Markus Smith went through allowed him to be the leader he is today.

  • Lani Hensley

    I remain focused on my goals and priorities by planning things out (usually in my planner). This helps me stay organized and motivated. For instance, I add little check mark boxes next to goals I have reached. It is so exciting just being able to check things off the list. Ultimately, it keeps me motivated and pushes me to get whatever it is done. Moreover, knowing why this goal is important to me helps me stay focused. In addition to this, just knowing the effects of achieving the goal motivates me. Also, just knowing, despite the difficulties, something better is coming.

  • Jessica Lopez

    I’ve really had a hard time staying committed to my goals and priorities because of difficulties along the way. I’m learning and growing everyday so I definitely take everything one day at a time. Learning how to manage your personal life and/or difficulties you encounter and your goals is honestly the first step. I’m slowly learning that even if things are not going as planned or an inconvenience happened in my life, I do not let that effect or reflect in my priorities. I’m very much a “it’s heard right now but I have to do it” person. I push myself to complete my priorities, despite any difficulties.

  • Kathryn Plunkett

    To stay focused on our priorities and goals we must be able to step back and take a look at the big picture when we are faced with adversity. It is easy to get distracted and beat down when we fail at something. But these distractions must be shut down in order to move on and get back on track. This can happen by keeping a positive attitude and finding something to motivate you through it. Dr. Smith found his motivation through his daughter, and she was always the thought behind why he had to push through his schooling. This is a really effective way to see through the adversity when trying to achieve goals.

  • James Brison

    A great way to continue to focus on our own goals while handling hardships is to remember your reasoning behind why you began your journey. Finding your “why” and keeping that close to your heart will allow you to get through difficult times. Tough times can come from tough backgrounds, but it can also come from situations that occur along the way. While we cannot always control what happens in our life, we can control our attitude towards these trials and tribulations. By remembering your “why” and being courageous through your attitude, you will be able to stay strong in hard times.

  • Tori Hoffman

    I have found one of the hardest things for me to do as a full time college student with multiple jobs and organizations is to focus on one thing at a time. When I do focus on one thing at a time I am able to achieve my goals. This is something that also takes a lot of practice and patience. Another way to accomplish your goals is make it your priority and if you are unable to do that, do something small that is more achievable. For example, if I wanted to drink more water, I am not going to start my goal at amount that I am supposed to be getting, but something small that I am able to prioritize. Now, if you are getting shamed or people are not being supportive, remember why you are doing what you are doing. If you can remember that why, then it does not matter what others think.

  • Roy Angele Kubwimana

    Every success comes with difficulties. So those difficulties should not be a way to stop people from keeping trying until they achieve their success or goals. It is always good to remember why you are doing what you do, either studying or working. Doing so will help keep focus and look on the future benefit than what someone is struggling with currently. In financial, there is what is called long-run profit, where a company takes a complex path with many challenges. However, it will bring more profit in the future. We can apply this strategy to our daily life and take on some challenges that will have a better impact in the future.

  • Jessica Caballero

    I already have an example about how to stay focused even though there are trials and challenges to overcome. I personally think that the way to remain focused on your goals is to make sure that there is a tangible short term goal along the way to the ultimate goal. I remember back when I decided to leave college because I wanted to focus on being a mom and working to take care of my young family. I always made little goals that I went after along the way and the ultimate goal would be to finish college with a degree and find a career. It has bee 10 years and many short term goals achieved along the way, such as buying a house, buying a car, having another kid, buying/building another house, getting married, paying off all debt, and ultimately going back to school and finishing school with a career. The short term small goals gave me reason to celebrate the wins while I worked and lived. It give me the motivation to keep going and get excited the next goal.

  • Alexander Rackley

    The easiest way to keep eyes on my goals is to always remember where I came from. My family came from nothing, constantly moving and fearing the day when a check bounced or a payment didn’t come through, leaving us hungry or homeless. Sick days weren’t even a possibility, as even one shift less could mean a utility wasn’t paid for that month. It was rough business, and a rougher life for a 4 year old kid and beyond. So i know what it’s like to be at rock bottom, and that knowledge keeps me motivated to fight for a better future, and motivates me to help others in that journey as well.

  • Meralyn Staudt

    Staying focused on our goals and priorities while recognizing the difficulties we experience is all about learning to balance your emotions and work ethic, giving enough attention to both. As important as ambition and drive are to success, taking time to reassess and check up on yourself when you are experiencing a challenging time is very important as well. Sometimes it seems easier to internalize our emotions and use them as “fuel”, but the healthier thing to do is allow yourself to feel it, and then move on. Success feels so much more rewarding in my opinion when your motivation comes from passion and excitement for change, rather than pain or negativity. Essentially, it just takes a lot of patience both with yourself and your situation, trusting that things will get better, and that you as an individual will continue to learn, grow, and improve!

  • Emily Patrick

    It is always good to dream, but with those dreams we need a heaping dose of reality. With that being said, I mean the kind of reality of expecting hardship not assuming impossibility. For some, the dream is to finish high school, others it is being president; all dreams are good and you are capable of achieving anything, however start the journey to achieving the impossible with the expectation of hardship.

  • Ashley Jimenez

    Everyone has obstacles to go through in their life because it is part of it. However, how you go about them is up to every person. Many give up and change their goals and priorities because it was easier to. I have personally gone through a situation where I was struggling on the fact if I was going to college or not. My dad got COVID last December and could not work until late January. I changed my priorities of getting a degree to helping my family out with the bills, since we did not know how much our bill was going to be. It was early March and I still had the same mindset even with my parents, teachers, coaches, and counselors trying to change my mind. It all changed whenever I got an email from Leadership Central for a scholarship interview. After a week of waiting, I received a call and Claire told me I was was offered to be in PLC. Couple days after that phone call, my family found out our bill was zero because our insurance covered. I changed my mind back to finishing my degree. Experiencing that in a span of three months, it has changed my perspective that I am meant so much more than working at a plant. Whenever I am doubting my degree, I remind myself of everything that I went through.

    Leaders need to recognize that not everything will be handed to them and some things are not always going to go their way. There will be obstacles on the road, but they can overcome it with the right mindset.

  • Cecilia Alali

    Hearing Dr. Smith’s story was extremely powerful because of the strong theme of strength through struggle. The best way he showed we could remain focused is to find our driving motivation. One of Dr. Smith’s was his daughter. When he felt like giving up on his future and giving into his setbacks, he kept looking forward and stayed focused on his goal of getting to have custody of his daughter. Personally, I still need to find my driving motivation, but stay secure in that it can change over time, like Markus’s. It was also interesting that Dr. Smith didn’t downplay the gravity of his situations, which I believe is also important. He acknowledged it and took it head on, which is something I can also apply to my leadership and life.

  • David Harlin

    Many successful people that I have talked to about accomplishing goals have said that writing goals down and reading them everyday increases your odds of accomplishing them. Constant reminders of your goals helps you to constantly work toward them. It is so east to make goals and then once it is time to put the work in, it becomes difficult to actually put the necessary work in to accomplish them. being constantly reminded helps every action you take be centered around bringing you closer to your dreams.

  • Amer Hawsawi

    Focusing on the goal you want to achieve, that waht makes it worth of going through all the problems and hatred that you face on your way that waht makes you stronger in the future. What I heard from Dr. Smith during the lecture, what he went throughout his life to what he became. That what lots of people these days are missing. Yse, you will get to the point when you feel everything is against you but when you beat that though all the negativity on your way you will see that these problems dont worth losing your energy and misguides you on what who you are and what you are capable of.

  • Ella Strader

    A way I stay focused is by rooting myself in what is important to me. I take time to myself and remember who I am and what I strive to be. I reach for those who encourage me and listen to my thoughts and feelings. Most of the time it is hard for me to stay focused because there are so many things going on in my life but I have found that taking time to breathe and see the bigger pictures helps me remember who I am and where I come from. We are all different and it is important to take time to remember that.

  • Kaylee Bjorkley

    I can keep focused on my goals and priorities by keeping a relaxed head and laying on a friends shoulder when needed. I think that it is super important to discuss with other friends and colleges your strategies and goals. If I were to lose my why in what I was doing I would want to grab some advice and reassurance from a friend or co worker, which would removiate me and help me remember my why. To the main thing for me is to not try and put too much on my plate and remain a relaxed and easy head about any obstacle or extra step that gets added to me plan.

  • Dr. Smith started off with his accomplishments and they were very impressive and that built the foundation for the rest of the speech. Most speeches will begin with hardship but he strategically said it last. I admire his drive and focus and how he is very secure in himself and continue regardless of what others say. He knows his worth and does not let the opinions or stereotypes keep him down. I admire that he exceeds expectations not just the highest sales for an African American male in the real estate business but overall. I respect and strive to have that mentality. He stressed the importance of staying focused and prioritizing. He did always do that but one day it juts clicked for him and that motivated me to do the same in my own life.

  • Kelsey Sanchez

    I have struggled with difficulties in my path but managed to remain focused on my goals and priorities. It is challenging and stressful because I have so much going on with school, work, family, and random problems in life but overall I have managed to make it this far. I was able to remain focused on goals and priorities because I knew how important it was for me to succeed in life. I have a set of goals I want to accomplish and I remind myself whenever I feel like I want to give up. I do this to set examples for my younger siblings. They look up to me so I have always found it important for me to guide them and set examples. My family pushes me to remain focused on my goals and priorities. I believe having people around you who are goal oriented and focused will also help you remain focused. A positive support system is so important because they are the ones who can motivate you when you feel down. I also found planing ahead will helps me remain focused on my goals and priorities because it pushes me to accomplish that task.

  • Whisper McDoulett

    Keeping a goal through trials has to be one of the most difficult things to do. Dr. Smith had a pretty rough upbringing to say the least. At a young age he was surrounded by gang violence, and knew nothing else. With this kind of brutality being all he knew, what other kind of outcome could be expected. Understanding that continuing the trend of his community would be nothing but detrimental, allowed him to set a goal for a brighter future. Life will throw distractions left and right, but one’s future is ultimately in their own hands. You can choose to either: dwell on things of the past and suffer for the rest of your life or use those experiences to better yourself and shoot for something greater. That is exactly what Dr. Smith did. Through the trials he endured, he chose his own hopeful, positive attitude because that was the only thing he had full control of.

  • Just like Dr. Smith I come from a similar background, my hometown was always on the news for something violent it was always negative things coming out of that area. but with having my mother who was educated at the university level and beyond she always told me and my sisters to go 110% for anything that we want to do it.whether that be being a student leader playing an instrument singing dancing I always have to give it my all and what I do. honestly I feel that coming from an adverse background And having a mother who came out of adverse backgrounds has made me a harder worker and hopefully I’ll get rid of procrastination so I can be just like Dr.Smith

  • Casey Merrill

    I think the best way to remain focused to to keep in mind the goal you are trying to achieve. Give yourself breaks to recharge so that you can keep going without breaking down. I also think that family and friends are important and it is okay to ask for help or to lean on some one every once and a while. Make every opportunity a learning opportunity. make sure to keep trying and encourage others to do the same.

  • Ricky Harris

    First I would like to thank Dr. Smith for that awesome presentation! I can personally say that his presentation spoke to me, Its crazy we have the same backgrounds as far as growing up in a bad area. Just like Dr. Smith I lost my childhood best friend due to gun violence. After that my mom moved me and my family to choctaw ok, it was very different but if we wouldn’t have moved from the hood I probably wouldn’t be were I am now, with that being said even when my family lived in the hood I had dreams to be a mortician. And to this day I’m grateful that I had family, friends, and mentors pushing and motivating me to get to the next level. One thing my mentor taught me is to not be self pity, which mean don’t look for others to feel bad for you or also don’t be mad about something you went through. My mentor helped me get out of that dark place in my life, and feel that is it very important to surround yourself around people who’s gonna push you and tell the truth to you. Most of all I learned that obstacles are the cost of greatness.

  • First I would like to thank Dr. Smith for that awesome presentation! I can personally say that his presentation spoke to me, Its crazy we have the same backgrounds as far as growing up in a bad area. Just like Dr. Smith I lost my childhood best friend due to gun violence. After that my mom moved me and my family to choctaw ok, it was very different but if we wouldn’t have moved from the hood I probably wouldn’t be were I am now, with that being said even when my family lived in the hood I had dreams to be a mortician. And to this day I’m grateful that I had family, friends, and mentors pushing and motivating me to get to the next level. One thing my mentor taught me is to not be self pity, which mean don’t look for others to feel bad for you or also don’t be mad about something you went through. My mentor helped me get out of that dark place in my life, and feel that is it very important to surround yourself around people who’s gonna push you and tell the truth to you. Most of all I learned that obstacles are the cost of greatness.

  • Adrian Smith

    We as leaders can remain focused by surrounding ourselves with the right people. Not to say that others are bad to be around, but rather some people are better to be around in the aspect of who can be there for you. As leaders we must also know and understand when its necessary to be humble. While we should aim to be humble. Staying humble allows us to properly understand the teachings we have the opportunity to learn. One of the easiest ways to do so is once again by surrounding ones self with the right people. Those people you know will rightfully judge you based on what you do.

  • Tanner Trevino

    Writing things down in a journal or planer helps keep your mind on a central goal and helps you from getting overwhelmed while staying focused on specific tasks. You also have to be willing to say no to others and reserve time for yourself to work towards your goals and priorities. Dedication, is something you’ll need to get through any type of difficulties, you have to be willing to work through the hardships to make it to the other side and if you give up that won’t happen. You wont always succeed but just because that happens it doesn’t mean you failed, you’re able to learn from every setback you encounter and using what you learned get through difficulties you experience. We all experience difficulties and hardships in our life, but it’s how we handle and overcome the difficulties presented and continue to progress towards our goals without giving up or losing focus on your goals.

  • Miranda McLean

    There are guaranteed moments that will occur throughout our lives that try to block our leadership paths, but we mustn’t let them get in our way. Everyone has different difficulties: some being as small as a bump in the road, and some being as large as getting involved with the wrong group. I think that it is important to continually remind ourselves that these difficulties do not define us, and they are just one chapter in an endless journey. The reward at the end of the tunnel is always what encourages me to persevere. This always helps me focus on the task at hand and not let my difficulties distract me, despite how discouraging they can be. I don’t forget about the difficulties, though, because they ultimately help me grow. it is a matter of acknowledging them and then focusing on what’s more important: my ultimate goal.

  • Ana Savva Garcia

    In my opinion, the best way to stay focused on goals and priorities is to take time out of your day to relax if you start to feel overwhelmed. Especially, right now, with finals coming up this has really helped me stay focused on what my priorities are. The more overwhelmed you are the more frantic you get, and that does not help at all when you are trying to get things done.

  • Katherine Ryerson

    Relationship building resonated with me the most. I plan to implement that in my leadership journey by creating as many relationships as possible. The more connections you are able to make, oftentimes is the more outreach you will achieve. Without connections it is nearly impossible to reach our goals. By ourselves, we are only able to achieve little. With many people we are able to achieve a lot. All of these lessons resonated with me, but relationship building resonated the most.