Fred Smith Sr.Fred believed in self-knowledge without diving into self-obsession. He wanted to identify his constructive strengths and his destructive weaknesses in order to optimize his giftedness. At the beginning of each year he devoted time to the review of the year past and looked forward to the year to come. His mentoring questions were one way he did self-inspection.

In this year the Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute is introducing the “What’s Next Roundtable.” Students frequently answer our question: “What keeps you up at night?” with “What’s next.” Therefore, we are establishing a format to focus on mentoring, networking, and persevering – three themes of Fred which are necessary for success in taking the next steps. Please pray. And if you can, please support us financially as we develop this new endeavor.

Your support continues to enable us to bring Fred’s legacy through these emails, the Breakfast with Fred Leadership Institute, and We want to expand our newsletter coverage, please invite your friends to sign up for the Weekly Thought to have them delivered directly to their email.

Internal Musings

How do I keep my life themes clear? I find that the major themes of my life must be reviewed periodically or they slip out of my conscious memory. I keep them fresh by finding illustrations and reading articles on them. For example, I have a continual accumulation of material on communication. I am interested in all forms of communication – from body language, gestures, and verbal expressions. Also, I must review what I have learned in order to keep it.

What recurring dreams do I have? Strange to say, most of my recurring dreams are of the failures in my life – both the situations and individuals with whom I had poor rapport. I believe I dream in color. Rarely do I remember the details when I awaken. I try to give my subconscious mind material to work on while I am asleep. I have found this to be a helpful strategy.

Do I have a high need for approval? I feel blessed that my need for approval involves a few, and not the many. The approval of the few is very important and these few serve as channel markers in my journey. When speaking I pay very little attention to the applause, but am very concerned with the comments by the few whose evaluation I seek.

Do I prefer using persuasion or fear? Persuasion is always better for the total situation than fear. Yet some people can only be motivated into taking right action through fear. A leader must know when and how to use each.

When do I feel free? I feel free when I have most nearly fulfilled my responsibilities. My friend, Mason Roberts who was President of Frigidaire had this saying on his calendar: “Having done my best today, it will be easier to do better tomorrow.” This is a great expression of freedom. By the way, I have known him to get ready to leave the office, read this statement, take off his coat, finish some work, and then go out the door. He wanted to make sure he had done his best.
This week think about: 1) How do I know when I have done my best? 2) Whose opinions count for me? 3) What are my major life themes?

Words of Wisdom: “At the beginning of each year he devoted time to the review of the year past and looked forward to the year to come.”

Wisdom from the Word: “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NET Bible)