Hangin’ with Hank Smith
Have you all ever heard of the four quadrants of high trust? Well, I certainly haven’t until yesterday, when I chatted with Hank Smith about some of his amazing research. I won’t spoil them for you here, but Hank identified four points that, when properly applied, can increase trust in others. Powerful, powerful stuff. Hank is a genius like that. He loves to serve people and better humanity. With this at his core, he has turned into a successful coach, motivational speaker, author, husband, father, and overall rad human being. He has definitely become quite popular in LDS circles, inspiring many with his messages of hope and God’s love. Over the last six months, Hank has faced his share of heaviness and trials but was very open and friendly talking about his challenges. In the end, I personally came away with incredible tools to build up my life after having him on the podcast. Hoping you all can do the same. Enjoy!
Get to Know Hank Smith
Hank Smith is a motivational speaker who is well sought-after within the industry. Hank grew up in St. George, Utah. He says that his wife, Sara, knows everything about him and still loves him! He and his wife have five children and currently live in Mapleton, Utah. With twin boys recently added to the family, this is certainly a busy household to say the least.
Hank has many interests outside of his motivational speaking, which include running marathons and hiking with his family. He enjoys a lot of sports and he’s a very family-oriented individual, which is likely what makes him both relatable and likeable.
Hank’s Career as a Motivational Speaker
Hank has had the pleasure of presenting as keynote speaker for universities, school assemblies, international programs and other forums that have expanded across the globe. He’s had many successful, bestselling books and has also created audio CDs that include Be Happy and Running Down Your Dreams. He’s written three books so far and a staggering 14 bestselling talks that can be found in CD format.
Hank has an MBA from Utah State University, which he followed up with a Ph.D. from Brigham Young University, which certainly show his commitment to education and doing all he can to strive for success. He’s also helped to consult with companies and families through his work. Hank is a popular presenter at both local university and national events. These forums have been something that he greatly enjoys doing.
Smith didn’t go into public speaking with the aim of teaching religion, but he would describe himself as someone who has always been goal-oriented. He’s always been one that has been driven from a young age. He found that his attitude changed from a fire-starter in his youth to a peacemaker in his adulthood.
As such, he’s not only changing the way people learn about religion, but he’s managed to make himself a very busy individual with the amount of speaking opportunities that come his way. Despite his busy schedule, he’s always one to have an open-door policy with his office.
A Powerful Presenter You Won’t Forget
Hank Smith has helped many companies large and small benefit from the teachings and instructions that he provides. As an author, speaker and consultant, there’s very little he can’t do. His blend of knowledge, wisdom and a sprinkling of humor is what makes him a great presenter for those who have the pleasure and honor of seeing him in action.
Smith is someone who is clearly very passionate about public speaking, having spoken at events almost every weekend across the nation. He has also managed to visit more than 15 states since 2015 for speaking engagements alone. His popularity is something that’s only grown as time has gone on, and he has an impressive 10,000 followers on Instagram and 28,000 likes via his Facebook fan page.
His Teaching Style in Religion
Hank’s engaging and often funny teaching style has influenced many of those who’ve listened to him over the years. It’s also helped many of his audiences to take new courses with him. The classes that Hank delivers are about laughter and creating a strong student engagement. After all, if you’re not engaging the students successfully, then how do they learn successfully?
He also encourages the class to focus on engaging in active discussion and not necessarily with note-taking, as that can often be a distraction. Some of the religious teachings can be complex in nature, and Hank has a talent for making them a lot easier to understand. Bringing humor to the table while keeping his students engaged is a skill he’s perfected over time.
It’s no surprise that comedy can really help to make learning easier and public speaking can sometimes get boring if the person speaking isn’t delivering it in the best way. Hank’s ultimate goal is that he hopes anyone who engages with his work that’s been published or attended one of his speaking events has become closer to Christ as a result of what Hank has given to them.
Hank Smith Podcast Transcription
Charan: Hey, what’s going on guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast, and I’m here with Mr. Hank Smith, who apparently needs no introduction. Because when I asked him, “how do I introduce you?” He’s like, “I don’t know. I have no idea.” But he’s a father. He’s a husband, a father to five children, lives in Mapleton, Utah, I believe, and is also professor at BYU.
Charan: But he’s also an incredible motivational speaker. All before COVID shut that world down a little bit. Written many, many books, has become very, very popular in the world of, I guess, the world of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In that space, he’s done a lot of wonderful things and motivated people, and I’ve read a little bit more about you and how you infuse humor into a lot of the things that you do, which is, that is my jam, man.
Charan: I feel like humor is the way to penetrate people’s souls. And so, I love that. And I know it’s been a crazy couple of months for you. I know, we’ve been like ping ponging a little bit back and forth trying to figure out the right time. So, I’m glad that today, April 19, we can make this happen. So, yeah.
Hank: You’ve been, you’ve been good, being flexible with my schedule.
Charan: No, no worries. I appreciate that. But yeah, Hank, thank you so much for joining us on the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast. And-
Hank: Absolutely, yeah
Hank Smith’s Lemonade Stand Story
Charan: … this little podcast, yeah, everything about this is all about people’s lemonade stand stories. Like how they first got into their business to begin with. And when they were a kid, it could have been a lemonade stand. But what about yourself, when you were a kid, were you like, I want to have my own lemonade stand? Or did you have your own business growing up or anything like that?
Hank: Oh, yeah. I ventured into little things, because I was always like, “How can we make some money?” And so, we were spray painting people’s house numbers on their curb. I remember going house to house. “We’ll do this for you.” We had our stencils out. It probably wasn’t until just after high school that I thought, ooh, I enjoy teaching, I enjoy speaking. And after that, I just take any opportunity that comes to me.
Hank: Probably the big thing that if people say, “Hey, I want to do what you do,” or in any business, really, you got to just take every opportunity that comes to you. If the door opens, take it. Don’t be scared. Someone said, “Can you speak to this group on this?” and I’d always say yes. I have no idea how to do that. I have no idea how to speak to that group on that. But I did say yes, yes, I can do it. And then, I’d figure it out beforehand.
Charan: Dude, that is so awesome. I love that piece of advice. Because there was a point when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And motivational speaking, public speaking was definitely one of those things that I really wanted to attempt and do. But then I was like, “Well, what credibility do I even have other than I like speaking?”
Charan: Which it sounds like you’re like, “Well, I like speaking. So, I’m just going to go ahead and do it.” And for me, I was like, “Okay, I want to also build my credibility in something and then go out and speak.” And I also loved acting, I love producing, so I’m like, I’m going to go make some movies. I’m going to go act in movies. I’m going to make some movies.
Charan: And now, I have a little bit of that credibility underneath my belt. And so, it’s actually kind of fun to go out and speak and talk about my experiences, which I’ve had the opportunity to do a couple times. But I love your thing of saying, “Hey, I’m going to just take whatever opportunities I have, and I’m going to speak, even though I don’t know what it’s about.”
Hank: That’s really what it was.
Charan: Go for it and just see what happens.
Hank: I’ll figure it out. And if it scares me, that’s where I know I’m going to grow a little bit. Because I’ve never done anything like this before. But that’s where I’ve gotten some of my favorite opportunities. One of my buddies said, “Come speak to my school, my elementary school.” And I said, “I’ve never spoken to an elementary school.” He said, “It can’t be that different than what you’ve done.”
Hank: And I said, “I’ll do it. I’ll do it. I’ll figure it out.” I ended up doing hundreds of elementary school assemblies. And so, it’s just one of those things where if you take the opportunity, you’ll figure it out. But you’re right about credibility when it comes to speaking. I figured that out early on. If you want to get paid as a speaker, you better have some sort of credibility.
Hank: So, that’s why I kept… I noticed that you could do that route that you talked about, which is go have an impact in a certain market, and then come talk about it. There’s also, you can just be President of the United States, or be Oprah, or something, and then someone will pay you a bunch of money. Or you go do something no one’s ever done before.
Hank: You run 50 triathlons, or something in 50 days, and you go speak. And I was willing to do any of those things. So, mine was, the other one that you can do is education. So, I went back, and went back to school, and got a doctorate degree. And that adds some credibility. So, I tell people, when they say, “Hey, I want to be a public speaker.”
Hank: I’d say, “There’s three routes, basically. You can be a celebrity, you can have your niche,” like you’re talking about with movies, “or whatever it is you did something that no one else has done, or you get a doctorate degree in a certain area, and you just become that.’
Charan: So, what was your doctorate degree in?
Hank: So, I went back to school, BYU. Well, I swear, when I left my master’s degree, I was like, “I’m never going back to school.”
Charan: Well, I said that about my undergrad, and I haven’t gone back still.
Hank: I told my wife, “I’m not doing this.” But then it started stirring in me, “I better do this.” So, my doctorate is in educational leadership, and my dissertation was on high-trust relationships in schools. So, it’s very applicable to a lot of different things. If someone says, “Hey, come speak on marriage,” I can speak on high-trust relationships there. Come speak to a business, the same principles apply. Yeah, it’s been really fun. It’s been fun.
Hank Smith Talks About Trust
Charan: So, in your own opinion, what makes something like… this is the worst way to say it, but high-trustable, how do you have a relationship that has that level of high trust? Because honestly, right now, we live in a society where it’s hard to trust anything; we don’t know what the truth is.
Hank: Absolutely. Yeah. It was a fun thing to discover. So, if let’s say that you’re, “Hank, how do I increase trust with my business partners? How do I increase trust with my children? Even my spouse, how do I increase trust?” Really, there’s only one way to increase trust in any relationship. And that is through interaction that has four characteristics. It’s frequent. So, I don’t see you once a year, like, I don’t know if I trust you with frequent. Personal, meaning we might be in the same room together, but it’s not very personal. Donovan Mitchell and I have a lot of interaction. It’s not very personal because I watch him on TV, right?
Charan: Right, right. Yeah.
Hank: It’s frequent.
Charan: It’s frequent.
Hank: It is frequent and it’s positive. That’s the next one. Frequent, personal, positive. And then probably the big one is low-risk. I take my daughter to lunch, and I don’t say, “Hey, let’s talk about your boyfriend; let’s talk about your grades.” I keep it low-risk for her so she doesn’t feel vulnerable. And then if I feed that fire with lots of frequent, personal, positive, low-risk interaction, then the trust will start to build, and you can get to a trusting relationship.
Hank: Now, want to go beyond that to a high-, high-trust relationship, then that involves more. But if someone’s not willing to do the first part — yeah, I want my kid to trust me, but I don’t want to spend any time with them. I want my business partners to trust me, but I don’t really want to talk to them — then that’s going to be really, really difficult.
Charan: I always say that where you put your time shows where your value really is. And so, if you value someone, if you value something, then you’ll put your time with that. You’ll give your attention to that thing.
Hank: You’re exactly right.
Charan: And I feel like right now, honestly, with the world being where it is, with social media with all these different stimuli completely bombarding our senses all the time, where we’re not sure where we should put our attention to, if you choose to put your attention to someone in a world that’s full of all kinds of stimuli, then that person would be like, “Wow,” like-
Hank: It screams, “You’re a valuable person.”
Charan: Exactly. And so, I always… I don’t know, I’m a man of faith. And I talk a lot about just giving your time to God saying, “Hey, that shows how you value God by spending time.” And the thing is, he values you by spending time with you. And I think that’s a beautiful thing. And you did talk about people, especially you’re saying, “Hey, initially, got to keep it low-risk, because people may not be ready to be vulnerable.”
Hank: That’s exactly right.
Charan: Now, I did hear something. It was at one of my BYU professors. He was talking about what the word trust really means. And it means “to be comfortable while you’re vulnerable.” Which I love that definition, because it’s like, “Hey, well, where’s your vulnerability level right now? And how much are you willing to be comfortable in this space?” And once you practice, once you go back and forth, then you can increase it slower, and slower, and slower, right?
Hank: That’s exactly right. When you get to that trust level, where you’re like, “Okay, I’m willing to now risk a little bit,” that’s when the research starts to point to things, like if I want to get that out of someone, if I’m like, “You can trust me,” I boiled it down in my dissertation to four things: compassion, which is the other person knows that I truly care about them. I have their best interest in mind.
Hank: I’m not going to use this information to hurt them in any way. So, that’s compassion. It also has to do with listening. Not listening to fix someone, not listening to… it just has to do with I’m giving you my attention because you deserve it. The other one is openness. So, how much information are we sharing? And are you hiding information from me that you know I would want?
Hank: So, openness, then the next one is reliability or predictability. So, how consistent are you? You’re compassionate, but you’re compassionate once every six months. Where are you?
Charan: Right, yeah, yeah.
Hank: So, you’re not all that reliable. And the last one that moves you into really high trust is a different one. It’s not a character issue. Those first three are called pretty much character: compassion, openness and reliability. The last one is more capability. And that’s expertise. I trust you because you know what you’re talking about.
Charan: You know what you’re talking about.
Hank: You know what you’re doing. And there’s a lot of people in my life who I think are compassionate, open, and reliable; they just don’t know what they’re talking about. So, I don’t trust them with certain things. I don’t trust them with talking about money, or mechanics, or something, because they just don’t know.
Charan: They have no clue. Right.
Hank: Yeah, so once you [crosstalk 00:12:51], yeah. So, if you want to be in a high-trust relationship, first, you do the interaction we talked about, and you keep feeding that fire. And then you can start working into, okay, they don’t trust me in an amazing way, why not? It’s probably one of those four things, compassion, openness, reliability, or expertise.
Hank: And it’s nice to give people something that they can say, “Oh, I can do something about that. I can be more compassionate. I can be more open. I can see that I’m not reliable. I’m not predictable.”
Charan: Right. I love that. Because now, you’ve identified things for people that are trying to work on that relationship-
Hank: They can do something.
Charan: Yeah. They can do something about it, you’re empowering them, as opposed to this daunting feeling of like, “Oh, how do I gain trust back or how do I do certain things?” And one of the things that you really talked about was being reliable. I love it, because nothing speaks louder than showing up, I feel. And saying, “Hey, you know what, I’m going to show through my actions.” Because a lot of times, if your actions aren’t matching your words, then that trust-
Hank: Exactly what reliability is.
Charan: It’s right. And I know I’ve been in situations like that, where people are like, “Okay, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this.” And that’s what they say. And as a producer, even more than acting, because acting, I just go up, and I show up, and I act. But when I’m producing, it’s like, I’m managing a team; I’m organizing certain things. And if people say they’re going to do certain things, but they just don’t show up, they’re not reliable. It’s like, I just can’t trust that they are going to fulfill their duties.
Hank: And they might be amazing. They might be very talented.
Hank: I usually use the analogy with… I’ll ask people that I speak to, “What’s the largest geyser at Yellowstone?” And they always say Old Faithful, and it’s not even close, Old Faithful. There’s one that’s called Steamboat Geyser that’s three times the size.
Charan: No way.
Hank: The reason everybody goes to Old Faithful is because it’s consistent. They know when it’s going to erupt. The other ones, you never know when they’re going to erupt. So no one goes out there. Even though they’re bigger and greater, everyone goes to Old Faithful. Millions of people a year go to Old Faithful. And that’s the idea of it’s consistent; it’s reliable. It’s not the greatest thing ever, but man, people invest in predictability. They invest in reliability. With airlines, they put out their rankings every year of who’s most on time. I’m looking at that.
Charan: Oh, that’s cool.
Hank: I’m looking at it, going “I need on-time flights,” because there’s nothing like scheduling something, having a big… you’re going to go out and speak somewhere. And your flight is delayed.
Charan: Your flight is delayed. Well, it’s interesting, too. One of the things that investors ask when we bring movie projects and stuff to them, because most investors are like, “Oh, it’s a movie, no way.” But those that are willing and daring to look at a movie project will always be like, “Okay, the filmmaker that’s made this, what other stuff have they made? And have they been successful?”
Charan: Have they finished it? Have they been successful? And what made them successful? And if you can identify those things, those people are likely the more… they’re the ones that are able to get the money more, right?
Hank: Right. Even if they’re more expensive.
Charan: Even if they’re more expensive.
Hank: I have a mechanic that, I won’t go to anybody else. And they charge more than the other places, but man, they fix everything every time on time. And I’m like, I don’t care. That’s worth it to me. Charge what you want. You’re reliable.
Charan: You’re reliable. And your service is fantastic. That’s what-
Hank: You know what you’re doing. There’s the expertise idea. You know what you’re doing. Yeah.
Charan: Dude, I love it too. Because the whole thing is like, everything you boil down to is just four things or just a couple of things. And that is what makes it awesome. Because people can now say, it’s not like this huge checklist of like “now I got to do this, and now I got to do this,” right?
Hank: Yeah. I can go into a business. We can do a little survey with all the employees. We can say, “Okay, here’s 30 questions.” And then I can identify which one their leadership is struggling with: compassion, openness, reliability, or expertise. And then we can focus on that, then it brings the trust level up. And when we get there, let’s look at the others. Let’s look at the others where you are a little low.
Hank: And you can do it in a marriage, too. If I was talking to a couple, and they’re struggling with trust, something happened where someone broke trust, we can go through it and say, “Okay, what’s the problem here, other than she just doesn’t trust me?” Well, there’s got to be a why. Why doesn’t she trust you? Are you not compassionate? Are you not open? Have you ever hid information from her? Okay. Are you not reliable? Do you say something and do another? Or is it that she just doesn’t trust that you know what you’re doing? And can we give you an education so you do know what you’re doing?
Charan: Yeah. So, I have a feeling like… I’m not married, but I want to get to that point. My fear is like, I think I have all those, except for the expertise of “I don’t know what I’m doing.” I got to work on that, I know.
Hank: That’s hard. And it’s fun to give people examples. And it’s okay if someone doesn’t trust you with certain expertise. My wife doesn’t want me to do the drywall, or the tile in the bathroom. And it’s not because she doesn’t love me. She just doesn’t trust my expertise. And it took me a while to figure that out. Why do we hire it out? I can do it. She’s like, well, someone else can do it better and faster. And so good.
Charan: And that’s what I’ve learned as well, actually, as a filmmaker, is I’ve learned the importance of delegation and being like, hey-
Hank: Right. Let someone who knows what they’re doing do it.
Charan: Yes, we will hire those people. We’ll get the money. And we’ll hire those people, rather than me trying to figure it out myself. Because that’s-
Hank: Exactly right.
Charan: That’s like spreading yourself too thin, you get worn out, and then you’re not able to be as compassionate. You’re a little bit more short-fused.
Hank: That’s exactly right. And that’s the wonder of our system, is people can specialize and become really good at that certain thing. And we can bring them in. So, yeah, it’s been a fun journey. In the back of my mind, I’m like, “I’ve got to write this book. I’ve got to write this book on high-trust relationships. It’s just something that sits in the back of my mind that I want to do.” So, I’m hoping-
Charan: And speaking to you and maybe this podcast right now isn’t-
Hank: It will be the catalyst.
Charan: Yeah, go ahead and start writing right now. I’ll wait. I’m patient.
Hank: Right. Here we go. I’ll just start-
Charan: Here we go. Yeah, whatever is up in your mind. So, in your own life, Hank, have there been any relationships that have required a lot of work to get to that trust level?
Hank: Oh, absolutely. Every single one of them. Probably, the misnomer, or the myth is, “Oh, we’ve been married for 30 years. Therefore, we have a high-trust relationship.” That’s not always true. Or “I gave birth to it. We have a high-trust relationship.” Someone might say to me, “How can my kid, my teenager, trust their friends and not me?”
Hank: And I’ll say, “Well, who do they have all the frequent, personal, positive, low-risk interaction with? It’s their friends. They don’t have any frequent, personal, positive, low-risk interaction with you. Whenever you talk to them, you’re trying to fix them. That would get old for anybody.” Charan, if you call me every day and you’re like, “Hank, let’s talk about how you can be better,” I feel like, “You know what? Why…”
Charan: “I think I’m good.” Yeah.
Hank: “Why do we have this phone call every day? So, what if we just hang out?” I’ll tell them, “Go take your kid to lunch. And don’t fix them. Just talk to them. Just talk to them.” Because that’s what they do with their friends. And that’s why they trust their friends. And that’s dangerous, trusting 8th graders with other 8th graders.
Charan: Oh man, I know. That’s a dangerous road to walk on.
Hank: The blind leading the blind, right?
Charan: Yeah. No, I love that. And especially when you’re saying like, hey, spend time with the purpose of just hanging out. Not with any other intention in mind, other than just hanging out, and just enjoying each other’s company.
Hank: That’s it. That’s it. And you don’t have to solve all the world’s problems right now. And we do that as parents because we care. We’re like, “Oh, man, they’ve been messing up.” But those high-trust conversations will happen naturally as you build the relationship. They’ll happen. They’ll happen naturally. I remember one woman I was talking to. Her son was just really struggling. Even by 15, he was in rehab. She was really scared. And I said, “So, tell me about what you do together?” And she said, “Well, he plays those video games. And I don’t like those. I don’t know what to do with those.”
Hank: And I said, “Okay, well, maybe you could give it a try.” I got to talk to her a couple of weeks later, and she said, “It’s not working.” I said, “Tell me about it.” It was funny. She said, “Well, I decided to go knit by him while he plays his video games. I go down there and knit.” And I said, “And how’s that working out for you?” And she said, “Not very well. He’s not talking to me.” And I said, “I know what you have to do.” And she said, “Please don’t tell me.” I’m like, “Well, will he knit?” And she, “No.”
Hank: I said, “Well, then you’re probably going to have to start playing.” I talked to her a couple of months later. And she said, “I’ve gotten pretty good at Halo.” She’s this 45-year-old woman, and she said, “I’ve gotten pretty good.” But over the course of them playing together, he was shocked that she would play.
Hank: He’s like, “You want to play with me?” And she said, “Yeah, let me see how to.” And he taught her a little bit. And then, she said, a couple weeks, we would play every day, a couple of weeks into it. He just randomly came up. He just said, “Mom, I don’t want to be this way my whole life. I don’t want to be a druggie.” And she’s like, “Oh, really?” Keep playing. “Oh, yeah. Well, that’s good to hear.”
Hank: It happens naturally. These conversations we want to have with our kids will happen naturally if we’ll just invest our time into them. Your kids know how valuable time is to you, and your kids know. So, the moment you focus on them, put your phone away and say, “I’m with you, 100% with you,” that screams “you are a valuable person.”
Charan: I love that. And it’s like that saying, hey, people… oh, my gosh, I started saying the quote, and I don’t even know how to say it. It’s like, people don’t-
Hank: No, they don’t care how much you know.
Charan: … until they know how much you care, right? That’s one.
Hank: Right, exactly right.
Charan: Well, it’s interesting. My dad and I, just all through me growing up, it was one of those relationships, where I felt like he was always trying to fix me, trying to tell me all the things I was doing wrong. And I’m like, “Aw, Dad, come on, is there anything else you can talk about other than all the things that I’m not doing right?” But as I got older, it’s interesting. One of the things that he always wanted to do with me was to play tennis. He loved playing tennis. And I remember as a kid hating it. I just could not hold the racket right.
Charan: I was very weak. Every time I hit the ball, I would go whatever. Well, funny enough, tennis is now my favorite sport. I play it all the time. And so, my dad and I, that is our thing. We just go on, we go play, and we bond, and it’s so amazing. And it’s crazy because my dad is not nearly as good as he used to be. And so, it’s not like we’re playing competitively or anything. It doesn’t matter. We’re just having fun. We’re having fun and it’s enjoyable. And I think if people can learn anything in life, it’s like, never underestimate the power of fun.
Charan: And if you can have fun with someone that you love and have a nurturing awesome relationship with that person, then that trust just comes, right?
Hank: Yeah. It’s a natural fruit of investing into someone your time, and it’s simply just spending time with that person and not having an agenda. And also making sure it’s personal. If you and your dad just watch movies together, that’s different than playing tennis, because the personal aspect of that is we have to engage with each other; we have to talk. So, maybe watching Grey’s Anatomy together, you’re like, “Well, it’s not super high-trust.” Well, you could do the same thing by yourself, right?
Hank: It doesn’t take this other person to be part of that interaction. So, the more personal it is, the better. This tennis, you’re going to have to interact, you’re going to have to talk about what happened, and talk before, and after, and-
Charan: And during, because half the time other than we’re playing, we’re hitting the net, and as we’re going to go pick up the balls, we end up not even going back to go play, we just start talking on the other side of the net. So, it’s fun how that works.
Hank: Yeah. It’s absolutely beautiful. And we’d love, humans love those kinds of connections. I’ll ask a group of people say, “How many have you ever been in a restaurant with people you love? And the waitress or the waiter server comes over and says, ‘We’re closing up now.’ How long have we been here?” Because we love that connection. You even go out to the parking lot, and you keep talking. Until pretty soon-
Charan: That’s the parking lot discussion. That’s what we call it.
Hank: Yeah. The servers are all going home.
Charan: They’re going home, and they’re like, hey-
Hank: You’re still out there talking.
Charan: Yeah, you’re still hanging out because our-
Hank: I think the human spirit loves that connection.
Hank: Building trust with someone.
Charan: I always say that life happens in the in-between moments. That’s where it really happens. We’re trying to go from point A to point B, like, hey, we got to accomplish this goal, to which we’ll accomplish that goal, and yada-yada-yada. But really, in between all of those trying to accomplish things, when we’re actually interacting with people, and joking around, and having fun.
Charan: One of the reasons I love making movies is because I get to make them with my friends. So that the ultimate goal is, “Hey, we got to get through this day; we got to get all this stuff shot.” But in between all of that stuff, between the takes, when we’re laughing, we’re joking around, we’re messing up, and we’re just like bloopers, and all this type of stuff — that to me, are the precious moments.
Hank: Oh, yeah.
Charan: And so, I’m always like, guys, we’ve got to spend a lifetime creating memories, because that’s where it’s all at.
Hank: That’s exactly right. That’s why I tell my students, I say, figuring out your career is figuring out if you’ll do this, you’ll be happy. Figure out what you love to do, and find a way to make money doing that thing. What do you love to do? Don’t focus on how much you’ll make at first, just tell me what you like to do.
Hank: Because if you’re going to spend 50 hours, 60 hours a week doing something, you better love it or else you’re going to be a miserable human being. You’re going to have no fun. I had a buddy who said, “I’m going to be a dentist” and I said, “Do you love it?” “No, but you make a lot of money.” And I said, “Okay.”
Hank: And it was in six years later, he said, “I’ve switched gears. I had to go do something else because I was a miserable husband, a miserable father, because I’m doing something I don’t like.” And again, you could say, “Well, I love making movies, therefore, I’m going to focus on this.” But you’ve got to figure out how to make money making movies too.
Charan: Right, right. Absolutely. It’s got-
Hank: Television shows.
Charan: Yeah, you got to figure out that component. And I think that’s the key is, is like what you just said, your life, so much of it is spent in your career. So much of it is spent doing something like that. And so, if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing for so much of your life, then of course, it’s going to translate into having miserable times at home, at home with your kids.
Hank: Sunday night becomes horrible, because you know that tomorrow morning, you have to go do something you hate. And that’s just not a way to live. It really isn’t a way to live. Now, when we were younger, we probably had to do those things, because we’re just trying to get through school, or just trying to get… but you always have that dream out there of I’m going to do what I love one day.
Charan: I remember the last final I took at BYU, when it finished, and I knew I was going to graduate, I can’t even describe that euphoric feeling I had. When I left that testing center, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that this kind of joy could exist.” Because I didn’t have plans to go to grad school. I was like, “No.”
Hank: That was it.
Charan: I could do what I wanted to do. And now, I was going to go and do it. And it’s funny because people are like, “Hey, enjoy these moments in school because you’re going to miss it.” And there are certain things I miss like the friendships, and stuff, and some lectures and everything. But when I go to school again, visit on occasion, and I see the students getting ready for their finals, and I see the zombified look in their eyes. I’m like, “I don’t know if I miss this.”
Hank: I don’t miss this.
Charan: And I’m pretty sure I don’t miss this at all, actually, and so-
Hank: People have said that about kids, too, like, “Enjoy the diaper phase, you’ll miss it.” I’m like, I don’t miss it.
Charan: Yeah, I don’t. Yeah.
Hank: I don’t miss it at all. And the fun to having a little baby, but I don’t miss the work part of it. Yeah. So, I think you’re right on. You have to at least have a dream of doing what you love and be focusing on that dream. But you and I worked odd jobs. I was cleaning a building, I think, during school. I was working at a rec center. I was reffing basketball games.
Hank: I was doing whatever it took to make money. So, I’m not saying, don’t take any job besides what you love. But when you’re getting into a career, when you’re like, this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, we better find something that feels like I use my gifts; I’m using my gifts every day.
Charan: But for me, I still made sure that my jobs were fun. I was like, “Look, they’re not my career, but I’m going to make sure that I’m having fun with it.” And so, I remember… because the very first job I ever did was a telemarketing job. It was, like, seven bucks an hour. And I remember being like, “Oh, so this is what it means to be miserable. Okay. This is great. I was- I wasn’t sure. And so, now I know.”
Charan: I decided, “Hey, I’m never going to do a job where the sole purpose of it is just to make money.” I need to make sure that there’s some level of fulfillment. And so, after my mission, I ended up working with MTC, which was a blast, because I loved teaching the missionaries. But then I went and was a bellman at Sundance, and it was so fun interacting with the guests. I taught snowboarding up there. I’m like, “Come on, I’m teaching snowboarding. I get to go snowboard for work. It’s insane.” And so-
Hank: That’s the difference between, I call it, a job, career or a calling. So, if you have a job, that’s fine, but let’s move you towards a career. And then, after you have a career, that’s awesome. Let’s move you towards that calling. A purpose.
Hank Smith Talks About His Purpose in Life
Charan: Yeah. Okay. So, you know what, I’m glad we’re here, because I wanted to dive in a little bit more with this. What would you consider to be your calling or your purpose in life?
Hank: Oh, that’s a great question. So, Martin Seligman. I wrote a book on happiness. Honestly, it sold dozens of copies. But I learned a lot in writing the book. And Martin Seligman, he’s the father of positive psychology. He’s found that human beings have three levels of happiness. The first one that they go through as kids and as teenagers is pleasure. It doesn’t last very long, but we’re just chasing pleasure of candy, new clothes, whatever it is, popularity.
Charan: Reebok Pumps.
Hank: Yeah, yeah. I remember that.
Charan: Oh, yeah, of course.
Hank: Yeah. And then, he said, we keep having that pleasure as part of our life. That’s an important part of life. But eventually, we move to a phase he calls, like I said, career, or he calls it a flow, this idea of-
Hank: I’m doing what I-
Charan: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I don’t know if you know who that is. He’s like the father of flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. But he always talks about that that the flow state, right?
Hank: Right. That you’re doing something you really enjoy, you’re using what you feel are your gifts, and you’re just in it. And it happens, like I’ll ask a… whenever I go to the grocery store, I try to call people by name, my cashier or whatever. And I’ll say, “How’s work?” And they’ll say something like, “Oh, it’s been slow.” And I’m like, “Oh, is that not good?” And they’re like, “No, I like it when it’s busy.”
Hank: And I’ll say, “Why?” And they’re like, “It makes the time go by fast,” which is, I’m like, is that the point, to make the time go by fast? I just want to die. I just want to get over. But that’s not what they mean. They mean that when they’re interacting with people, they’re into a flow. They’re engaged. Time just flies because they’re having so much fun.
Hank: You probably do this with moviemaking. All of a sudden, a 12-hour-day, you’re like what? Well, it’s 7:00. Oh, we got to wrap up. So, that’s engagement. And then, he said, there’s a higher level, even for those who are in that. They get to a point where they want more of a calling. And it’s where they’re not only using their gifts every day, but they’re using their gifts in a cause that is bigger than themselves.
Hank: That’s going to outlive them. So, the idea there is, what’s your calling? Meaning, as a filmmaker, you’re using your gifts. It’s also okay, you’re going to get to a point where you’re like, “Okay, I’ve done that. I loved it. Now, how can I use these gifts to further a mission of some sort, something that’s bigger than me that’s going to…”
Charan: I’m literally there right now.
Hank: Right. I want to do something bigger.
Charan: Yes, yeah, 100%.
Hank: Yeah. And that’s a beautiful thing when people get there. We’re very blessed to be able to actually think about that question of how am I going to use my gifts to further this mission, whatever that is, something positive, right? So, for me, yeah, I’m there. I think I’m getting there too. As a young dad, I was always very focused on I’ve got to provide, got to provide, got to provide.
Hank: But now, I’m blessed enough to say I’ve provided where everybody has sufficient for what they need. And now, it’s like, okay, now you choose between projects instead of just choosing projects because they bring in income. You’re going, does this project help me further my calling? What’s my calling? For me, personally, as I’ve thought about it, and I don’t think anybody ever gets it right down.
Hank: Maybe they do, not me. I’m open to what’s behind door number three? What is that? But for me, personally, it’s been a lot with youth. I tried to be the youth speaker I needed. So, I’m like, here’s what I would have liked someone to say to me. I also like humor.
Charan: Me too, yeah.
Hank: Yeah, I just think laughter and learning are not enemies. And you can have a great time, and I use way more humor than I need to, because I like it. I like using humor. And then also for me, it’s faith. Helping people draw towards a higher power. And then also for me, I think it’s relationships, like we talked about with those trust.
Hank: The idea that someone might listen to our podcast today and think, “You know what? I’m going to change some things in that relationship.” To me, that’s golden. That feels like a calling to me. I’m helping a marriage, helping a family, helping a best friend, whatever it is. And just, to me, that feels that it’s just as good or if not more than making money.
Charan: It’s interesting, have you ever heard of this series, The Chosen? Have you heard of that series?
Hank: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Charan: Okay. Okay. Yeah. It’s a great series.
Hank: In fact, I talked to the director the other day. And he said, “You’re Hank Smith. You liked The Chosen before it was cool.” And I was like, “I did.”
Charan: Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah. So, Dallas is a good friend of mine. I’m actually in his show.
Hank: Oh, fantastic.
Charan: The episode hasn’t come out yet. So, I’m good friends with a lot of the cast. And so, I was having him on the podcast. And we were talking about things. All the ones that I had on were all saying something very similar, which was like, for us, it’s not just acting in the show. It’s just knowing that there is an element of healing.
Charan: And every single one of them talks about their own personal lives and the struggles that they’ve had. And now it’s like, now, we’ve been given a platform to use these struggles to empower other people. And I’m like, “Dude, what a powerful calling that is.” That is so powerful. And it can uplift people up. It’s amazing.
Hank: And I think that’s why the show works. I think Dallas was raised up for this. Right.
Charan: Yeah, I agree. Yeah.
Hank: And it’s a perfect time. It’s exactly what the world needs. And to me, and any chance I can to be involved, I’ve done a little bit social media-wise to be involved. And they’re saying, “Well, what can we do for you?” I’m like, “No, let’s push this forward. Let’s get to a billion people. I want to be part of this. I want to be a part of this.”
Charan: Yeah. I’m not the best guy in the show, but it’s great.
Hank: Oh, okay. You’re a bad guy.
Charan: Well, no, I’m not a bad guy. I’m just a selfish guy, I guess I suppose.
Hank: Okay, all right.
Charan: But it was fun. It was a fun role.
Hank: Did they say you’re going to be really good at this? We know-
Charan: You know what, listen-
Hank: … the perfect guy for the selfish role.
Charan: No acting required. Just be yourself.
Hank: Just be-
Charan: Just be yourself and we’ll interact. I’m like, “All right, sounds good. How are we doing, guys?”
Hank: “Charan, we have got the role for you.”
Charan: “We got the role for you, buddy.” No, it was actually really funny how that role came about. So, I was going to ask you, we’re just shifting topics just a little bit.
Hank: Yeah, no problem.
Hank Smith Talks About Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Charan: You talk a lot about happiness, and positive psychology, and things like that. Now, we were discussing this a little bit earlier that the last six months for you especially have been dealt very, very heavy blows. A lot of lemons in your life. And one of the things we talked about is, how do you turn lemons into lemonade? And I know you’ve had some pretty heavy stuff. Are you okay to talk about some of those?
Hank: Oh, sure. Yeah, absolutely. So, life was going on pretty well. And then, COVID hit, and a lot of my income was tied to me traveling and doing tours. I do tours of Israel and all that shut down. But you know what, we were financially smart, in that we had savings. And so, we’re not in crisis mode. And so, then last September, just had a bad week.
Hank: You’re going, oh man, the septic tank backed up into the basement, and we had a little puppy, and it disappeared, just gone, which you wouldn’t think is a huge trial. But man, when you’re a dad, and you’re watching your daughter, just she’s broken over the loss of this little puppy.
Charan: Of course.
Hank: And it’s just gone. Never got it back. I have no idea where it went, what happened. And then, so that was like, Monday, Thursday, and then Saturday, my dad has a stroke, and ends up having emergency brain surgery. And I was like, “Wow, what a week.” That’s quite a week. Well, keep going on that, he was a full-time caretaker for my mother. And so, there was a lot to do there. Because a lot of her caretaking was in his head. Because he’d been taking care of her for a decade.
Charan: For a decade. Okay.
Hank: And so, you’re walking into a situation where you can’t talk to him because he’s out. And we’re trying to figure it out, me and my sister and I, and my brother. And then, through that, my brother… well, all three of us contracted COVID from wherever we were. We didn’t get it from each other. We got it from somewhere.
Hank: And so, my brother ended up passing away in December from COVID. He was in the hospital about three weeks, and that’s my oldest brother. He’s just 54, young guy. And then, you’re dealing with that. I had him in the hospital. You have to find the humor in it. I had him in the hospital, my mom in a care facility, and my dad in the hospital.
Hank: So, that was my whole day was just… and my sister had COVID. And she was laid up at home. So, it was me going from, I just went to the hospital for three hours, to the care center for three hours, to the hospital for three hours, just nine-hour days talking to doctors and things. I actually got a little mini medical degree over that month, because I was learning a lot.
Charan: New expertise, new expertise.
Hank: Yeah. I was like, I know all these words now. Yeah. And then, in January, just suddenly, well, it’s an interesting story. So, that was December. And one of my best friend calls me from California. And he said, we’re going to start this podcast. And I said, I don’t have time to start a podcast. His name Steve Sorensen.
Hank: I said, “I don’t have a time, Steve, to start a podcast. My brother just died. I got my dad in the hospital.” So, anyway, he said, “Well, we got to do it.” He said, “I just feel it.” Okay. So, we get started in this podcast, it’s called Follow Him. And Steve ends up passing away in January.
Charan: The one that started the podcast?
Hank: Yeah. Just 60 years old, the bishop out in California. One of my closest friends, and he apparently had a heart attack, or whatever it was, in January. And so, we’re going, “Oh, no, what do we do?” Of course, his family is amazing. And they said, “We got to keep the podcast going. It was something he wanted.” And I can see why I think he was pushing so hard to get it started.
Hank: Because I was like, Steve, give me a couple months. Yeah. And then, just this last month, my dad was doing really well. Had a great day on a Wednesday, was up with my mom. And they were both at a care facility as he was rehabbing from the stroke. And yeah, he laid back in his favorite chair, and they called me on Thursday morning, said he didn’t wake up.
Hank: So, it was unexpected. But there’s always that, when your dad is 77, on paper, it looks perfect, right? If someone were to say, “Listen, your dad lived to be 77, he laid back in his favorite chair, and fell asleep.” That’s the way you want to go. But we were just so unexpected that you’re shocked. Yeah. So, three close deaths in just these four months have been rough.
Hank: But I’ll tell you, I feel okay. And I have to check myself going, “Am I just hiding my feelings here, right? Or am I just throwing a rug over? What am I doing?” And I think, I’m a big man of faith. I think that the Lord has been good to us through this. We’ve had a lot of really neat experiences, and you there’s something to be said for keeping up what those little things that help you, that gives you a little brushstroke of happiness.
Hank: Maybe it doesn’t look very impressive by itself, but brushstroke after brushstroke creates quite a masterpiece. So, there’s little things that I learned, and even just the process of writing the book about happiness, just being healthy, getting enough sleep, spending time with happy people, like I’m doing right now. Making sure that I keep that personal contact, having in-person conversations.
Hank: These are all very tiny things, but they’re like little brushstrokes, and they make a significant difference. But to say that I’ve been happy the entire time is not true. I don’t want anybody who is going through something right now saying, “Oh, I shouldn’t be more like that.” No, there were times where I was angry at heaven, angry at the world, frustrated. And I think that’s normal, and healthy, and human to go to be upset.
Hank: And I was, there was times I was upset. I don’t want anybody to go, “Oh, wow, he’s never, he just was happy through the whole thing.” No, I wasn’t smiling at every funeral. And I wasn’t super excited about the hospitals, but here I am. We’re through at least that part of the storm and still being okay.
Charan: It’s interesting, because since September of last year to now, I’ve had six people close to me pass away through different ways. Some COVID-related. One was my mission president, which was a huge blow. But the thing is, is like, even though that happened, I have to say, for me, there is this underlying peace that I just can’t deny.
Charan: I just can’t deny it. And that was the thing that I would feel like really got me through because of course, it’s a shock. A buddy of mine — you may know him. His name is Collin Kartchner.
Hank: Oh, yeah.
Charan: You know Collin, right?
Charan: He was pretty popular. It was a huge thing.
Hank: It was just sudden.
Charan: It was sudden. We went to high school together. I was friends with him since I was 13 years old. And in fact, I was even talking to him before. And I said, “Dude, I’d love to have you on this podcast.” And I was filming a movie. So, I said, “Listen, after the movie is over, let’s get you on the podcast.” And we were talking about it. And then he passed.
Charan: And it was such a shocking thing, because it was like, oh my gosh, he was my age. He was my buddy. I have so many memories with him. But I got tell you, for me, my faith, it is my saving grace, I would say. It is a thing that has given me so much hope, so much joy during these times that just seems so traumatic, and difficult, and hard.
Charan: But as I’m hearing the things that you’re talking about, and like what you were saying, I had to go and check myself, because I’m like, am I just masking my feelings because-
Hank Smith Talks About Grief
Charan: I felt like I was doing that a lot. Because sometimes I tend to overcompensate, and I don’t accept grief. Sometimes I don’t allow myself to grieve. But how did you allow yourself to grieve during those tough times when you’re such a happy person?
Hank: Yeah. And I do think that that is crucial. The grief and faith can exist in the same place. They’re not opposite. So, somehow, we don’t think, oh, I’m grieving. I must not have enough faith. No. In fact, in our scripture, there’s a commandment, thou shalt grieve them that die. “Thou shall weep for them that die.” So, there was a lot of weeping, a couple of just breakdowns in the afternoon where I needed to go be by myself.
Hank: I think sometimes we fight that. And that can create a lot of stress, unneeded stress when we’re like, I’m feeling this way, I got to run away from it, I’ve got to fight it, instead of just sitting in it for a little while. And just letting it… because the grief, the terrible emptiness of grief is part of healing. Mourning that person so you can heal and move forward. Your life is different now.
Hank: It’s never going to be the same. And sometimes we think, well, if I stop grieving, that means I’m not honoring them because life is the same. Well, life is never going to be the same, but you can honor them through… I would think to myself, well, what would my brother, my buddy, Steve, what would my dad say? They’d say, “What do you do? Get yourself up. Let’s go. You got a short amount of time. Let’s get back to work.”
Hank: And so, I’ve done a little bit of that. I’ve done a little bit of just distracting myself, which it’s not a bad thing just to distract yourself. And then, I do a lot of journaling, as well. It helps me get, I just feel like it’s a bit of a release, I can get those feelings out, recorded. At least for me, that’s become an important part.
Charan: Yeah. Are you familiar with the movie Lord of the Rings?
Hank: Yeah, yeah.
Charan: Love them. They’re my favorite. At the very end of Return of the King, when everything’s done, the ring is burned, and Frodo is back. Spoiler alert, guys, if you guys haven’t seen that movie though, you can watch it. I apologize. I’ve spoiled it for you. But it’s also 20 years too late. But anyway, Frodo goes back to the Shire. And he realizes that it’s just, they’ve evolved. They’ve grown.
Charan: And it’s like how do you go back to your old life and you realize, there is no going back. There’re some wounds you just can’t heal. I literally quoting the movie. But he was saying that they did save the Shire, but they didn’t save it for himself. And so, he felt he needed to move on with his journey. And I think that’s a beautiful thing, where we realize like, “Hey, you know what life is about evolving.”
Charan: And you may not go back to where you used to be, even though it was a good time. It was a beautiful time. I remember my high school friends being my life, and “Guys, we’ve got to live next to each other; we’re going to hang out all the time.” It doesn’t happen. But things have evolved, and things have moved on. And if you try to go back, it doesn’t feel the same. It doesn’t feel right.
Charan: Because your spirit has evolved. And I think all of these lives that you’ve been so in touch with that were so close to you, as they’ve passed on, in a sense, you’ve also passed on. You’ve evolved. And now, you have that much more compassion, that much more love, that much more ability, and willingness to have the high-trust relationships with more people, but-
Hank: There’s nothing that’ll cure the idea of the rat race. “I’ve got to have more money. I’ve got to have a bigger house. I’ve got to like going through tragedy.” You just don’t care about those things anymore. You’re more concerned with relationships than the car you drive. You’re more concerned of how you’re spending your time versus how you’re spending your money.
Hank: It’s something that, yeah, grief changes you. It really does. It changes you. And there is something to be said for believing or knowing that you get to see these people again. That’s a very important part of my theology as a human being, and it’s not necessarily, “Oh, it’s okay, I’m going to see them again.” It’s, “I have some responsibilities because I’m going to see them again.” I’m going to have to give an accounting.
Hank: I want to be able to say, “I carried on your work” with my dad. I kept up. I took care of my wife and kids because that way, he would always say that to me. “You take care of your wife and kids. That’s number one. You take care your wife and kids.” So, I want to be able to say I took care of my wife and kids. So, it’s not only a balm, this healing that I get to see these people again, but that it’s also, there’s some responsibility there that I think helps propel us forward action.
Charan: I was seeing this Twitter, I think that you posted, and I’m totally paraphrasing, but it says something like, “Hey, no amount of material things that you can possess can ever compete with God’s love.”
Charan: Right. And-
Hank: It’s just, there is nothing else. And just like you, I’ve been able to have some cool opportunities of travel and been able to have a nice paycheck every once in a while. You’re going, “Wow, this is awesome.” And it gives you a little blip of like, “Woohoo.” But really, it doesn’t change life all that much. Once you get above poverty level, get up around $70,000, $80,000 a year, income has nothing to do with happiness.
Hank: It’s zero, which is hard for some people to believe. It’s just like they’ve tied money and happiness so closely together that they think the more of one means more of the other. And it’s just simply not true. Yeah. I think that there are better experiences than the “look at me” moments. “Look at me, and look how either famous, or rich, or whatever I am,” and whatever.
Hank: I don’t want to say, “Oh, don’t go do things.” Go travel, go get experiences, do what you can. But there’s nothing that I don’t think compares with the spiritual connection that’s available to anyone who wants it.
Charan: There was this quote, I believe Jim Carrey was saying it, and he was saying something to the effect of like, “I hope everyone in the world can get everything they’ve ever wanted. Only to know that once they get it, they realize, oh, that was never enough. Because that wasn’t what they were really, really wanting to begin with.”
I heard that from him. Yeah. He said, “I wish everybody could be rich and famous, because you’d realize how nothing it is.”
Charan: How nothing it is.
Hank: Being is rich and famous. Yeah. And so many of us are like, “Oh, that’s the dream. That’s the dream.” And I’ve had a tiny taste of it. Not very much in my own little sphere. I’ve had a tiny taste of it. And I realized, “Yeah, it’s just not important.” It’s more about our calling in life. What are we going to do?
Charan: Yeah, I love that. I think-
Hank: How are we going to help people?
Charan: That that’s so powerful, man, because I was in California doing the same thing, and only to realize like, “Okay, this is not fulfilling.” And so, I’m like, I got to re-shift things, and think about my calling, like you said.
Hank: Yeah. How am I going to measure my success? How am I going to measure my life?
Charan: That’s awesome. Hank, this has been so great. And I want to just wrap it up with just a couple quick questions.
Hank: Okay. I’ll try to be quick.
Hank Smith Talks About Joy and Fear
Charan: Yeah, no, no, you’re good. What is your greatest source of joy right now?
Hank: Oh, definitely, my wife and children. Definitely my wife and children and those relationships, and also my siblings and I have gotten closer. My sister and I have gotten closer. So, those relationships are definitely a source of joy. And then, just holy things, scripture, and prayer, and those to me have become even more sources of energy and courage.
Charan: Yeah. I love that. That’s great answer. I love that. Okay. What is your greatest fear right now?
Hank: Oh, goodness, there’s a lot. I’m not overly scared about the future of the world. I don’t watch enough news to do that. And I have a belief that the world is in very good hands. So, I’m not overly scared about that. Of course, I’m scared for my children. And the things that they’ll face. So, trying to prepare them for that. And I fear wasting time that I’m not living up to what I should be doing. Because I can spend a whole day on Twitter sometimes. And what did I just do? What did I just-
Charan: What did just that happen? Yeah, yeah. That’s interesting. I love how it’s interesting when people talk about the greatest fear. A lot of people have mentioned time, like, “Hey, am I doing enough with my time that I’ve been given?” Especially, when you realize you’re on like, I don’t know, your days are numbered, right?
Charan: I know it’s going to sound like a morbid thing, but the truth is, mortality was meant to be temporal. So, what are we doing with the time that has been given to us? Like, what Gandalf would say, right?
Hank: Exactly right. St. Jerome kept a human skull on his desk to remind him that when you’re tired and you think, “Oh, I’ll have more time. I’ll have more time in the…” future me always has more time. Future me is going to be healthy. Future me is going to be better a dad. Future me is going to be a better husband. But future me is a myth.
Hank: Your future you will have less time. Whoever you are today is going to be who you are tomorrow. So, I try to get away from, “Oh, future me is going to make all these promises.” And so, it just makes me feel better for not keeping those promises today. So, I got to get away from banking on future me doing all these things, and just make it me today. Let’s do these things right now.
Charan: God resides in the eternal now, where the past, present and future are all now to Him.
Charan: So, the only way to connect with God is to connect with Him right now.
Hank: In the present, right now.
Charan: Present moment.
Hank: Yeah. Don’t put anything off that you’re like, “Oh, one day, that’ll be good for me to do.” Then, if it’s good for you to do, tomorrow, it’s just as good today.
Hank: To do it today.
Charan: Yeah, absolutely. Okay, last question.
Hank: All right.
Hank Smith’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: What advice would you give your younger self?
Hank: Oh, man, probably the advice, the same advice I give to youth, which is, you’re more valuable than you think you are. There’s a lot of bright spots ahead. I had a rough, just in my mind, it was a bit of a rough first 18 years. Not a lot of confidence. Not a lot of hope. And I think I would, instead of getting after myself, there was a time in my life.
Hank: I thought if I could meet my younger self, I’d probably punch him and say, “You have a lot of unearned confidence. What is your problem?” But now that I’m a little bit older, I’d probably have a little more compassion, and say all that arrogance is just a mask to hide behind. And so, I’d probably put my arm around him and say, listen, you’re a lot more valuable than you think.
Hank: And the future has a lot of great things ahead. There’s a lot of great things ahead for you. And I try to tell every teenager I talk to, “You’re valuable.” And there’s a lot of great things ahead for you. So, try not to despair. Just keep moving forward, and you’ll get to all of that.
Charan: Yeah. Oh man, I love that. Hank, that’s amazing. That’s a beautiful way to end this podcast.
Charan: I really appreciate just your wisdom. Seriously, I feel like these podcasts are therapy sessions for me. It’s like, I don’t need to go see a therapist. I’ll just go see Hank.
Hank: Yeah, it’s a connected conversation. That human connection.
Charan: Human connection. So, I really appreciate these things. But yeah, and I know we played like phone tag or whatever. But I’m so glad that this happened today. Because I think now more than ever, people need to hear this message. So, thank you-
Hank: Yeah. Let’s do it again sometime. Happy to come back anytime.
Charan: That would be awesome. And I know you’re doing a podcast as well. Can you tell us a little bit about your-
Hank: Oh, sure. Yeah. Yeah. The podcast that I talked about earlier that my friend Steve started just before he passed away. It’s John Bytheway and I, and we just go through the Come, Follow Me lessons each week, and we bring on one of the Church’s experts. So, I’ve done this long enough, where I’ve got friends in high places. So, I can bring on the Church’s expert. And right now, it’s history.
Hank: And next year, it’ll be the Bible. I could bring on the Church’s experts in Bible. It’s been really fun. I’ve learned more probably than anybody else. And John and I, a lot of people know who John Bytheway is. John and I just have a good chemistry. We enjoy each other’s company and personalities. And so, yeah, it seems to work. I hope everyone will give it a try. But don’t give up on this podcast. Just add that one to your list.
Charan: Absolutely. No, that’s awesome. In fact, I’m actually, I don’t know if you know who Corbin Allred is. He’s an actor.
Hank: Yeah. Yeah. I know Corbin. We spoke together once out in California.
Charan: That’s awesome. So, Corbin and I, funny story, we served our missions together. So, he was my zone leader. And we’re still really good friends to this day. In fact, that movie that I just produced, he was one of the leads in it with me. So, we’ve been friends for a long time. And now, we’re doing a lot more things together. And one of the things that we’re putting together is actually a series about using humor to depict God’s love.
Hank: Oh, wow.
Charan: And it’s like the two of us are going to be just sharing our experiences, life experiences, life stories, that are just meant to be so funny because they’re things that have actually happened to us. But in those ways, we show how God has loved us through it all. And we’re just stoked about it, because we’re like, “Dude, we have to do this. There’s no reason we’re not doing this.”
Hank: All right, hey, I love that. I want to be involved because I can tell just, there’s so many, Elder Bednar calls them the tender mercies of the Lord. But I’ve had some bitter ironies of the Lord, where I’ve learned some really hard lessons, but I think it was humorous for everyone watching from above.
Hank: This is going to be good for you. It’s a little bit painful for me at the time, but man, they’re being kind of funny.
Charan: Most of mine involve embarrassing moments of “the Lord is with you.”
Hank: Oh, yes.
Charan: And I’m like, “Why would you do this?” I can just tell like they’re laughing, and I’m like, I get it. I get it. It’s good. And you know what? I’m going to do this to my heavenly children when I get the chance.
Hank: Yeah, exactly right. Yeah. It’s got to be, it being our heavenly parents, has got to be humorous.
Charan: Humorous, for sure.
Hank: So, it’s got to be like look at that.
Charan: Like, what is happening? Yeah.
Charan: Oh, that’s awesome. Well, thanks again, Hank. I really appreciate you taking the time. And yeah, we’ll chat soon, okay?
Hank: Okay. I’d love that.
Charan: Okay. Thanks again.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast, and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the reviews, and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand story, please reach out to us on social media, and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.