Rhett Smith Podcast

CERTIFIED EXECUTIVE COACH | LICENSED MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPIST | AUTHOR In this podcast we explore the intersection of relationships, mental health and performance, and how it impacts the systems and organizations we are a part of.
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Jul 11, 2022

Earlier this year I was really impacted by Michael Easter's book The Comfort Crisis. And I think what stood out to me the most was really the idea that in order to grow, one must work on becoming more comfortable with the uncomfortable -- and I liked how he connected it with the idea of progressive overload that we often find in the exercise/strength literature.

When I came across that it really resonated with my work on anxiety. Mainly -- that for people to really transform their anxiety it is a process of taking their insight and putting it into practice -- but that transition is really uncomfortable and anxiety inducing. But it is in many ways a progressive overload of anxiety that one intentionally puts upon themselves to grow and heal.

Lots of people have insight about their anxiety, but often they are missing some deeper truths about it that can bring healing, or they become paralyzed with insight. Too much info that keeps them from moving into practice.

And sometimes people will try all kinds of new things to attack their anxiety, or will spend a life managing it, but don't have the insight to get at the healing they need.

Navigating our anxiety requires that we gain deep insight about it, and then we put that insight into intentional consistent practice. That is what transforms it. But the process can create anxiety, and so learning to get comfortable with the uncomfortable is the journey we must all be on.

Jun 22, 2022

In this episode I share with you some lessons I've recently learned in hiring an endurance running coach to help me train and complete the UTMB trail race this year in the Alps. 

I talk about the importance of hiring a coach (therapist, executive coach, etc) to help with:

  • coming up with a flexible plan to create change and accomplish your goals.
  • the importance of accountability that comes with hiring a coach and how it increases discipline, provides correction and creates an environment for practice.
  • the benefit of receiving encouragement in a coaching relationship/therapeutic relationship.
  • connecting to the resources and tools and networks that will help you to continue to grow.

Check out the episode. 

Nov 15, 2021

This podcast episode is a further exploration of the blog post, Anxious Progression One Day at a Time

In this episode I explore the concept of progressive overload in physical fitness, and how that same concept can be applied to working through anxiety -- mainly, progressively adding anxiety to our lives that we have to sit with, face, overcome, etc. It's through the progressive overload of anxiety that we are ultimately transformed.

In this episode I share my own journey of doing this, as well as share some ideas and stories how others have used this concept -- all set against the backdrop of my 100 mile run (which was a progressive overload for me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually -- over the course of many years).

Oct 4, 2021

I recently wrote about this on my blog -- because I've realized the last few months that I have been depressed and anxious for a while.

Spurred on by the continual navigation of COVID, and how that has impacted things culturally, as well as some of the way things are currently done on a day to day basis -- I've realized that there has been a latent affect to what has been going on for 18 months, and finally some of that was starting to emerge in my mental health.

In this episode I talk about three important things that can really help you if you find yourself struggling with your mental health -- particularly, depression and anxiety.

I will take a look at what it means to acknowledge, identify and reframe your depression and anxiety -- and how these things could be really crucial to navigating your mental health in a positive way.


Feb 28, 2021

I have always been a fan of breath work, especially in the way that it has not only been so helpful for my own life and the anxiety that I have struggled with -- but I have literally seen it change the people's lives that I work with. Breath work is integral to our ability to emotionally regulate -- to stay calm and connected, not only with ourselves, but with others. In this episode I explore:

  • the book that really shifted my belief in breath work
  • some tools that I recommend for breath work
  • my 110 day experiment with taping my mouth shut at bedtime
  • helpful apps to practice breath work
  • why breath work is so critical.
  • how my anxiety levels decreased drastically and my sleep increased drastically.
  • varying breath work methods I used in my running and weight lifting training.

  Here are some of the Things/People that I mention in this episode:

Feb 28, 2021
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

I'm definitely no expert on the topic of fasting, but I have been experimenting with it for a few years, and finally decided to do my longest fast since I first tried it back on Maunday Thursday in 1999.

In early February I did my first ever 5 day water only fast. And it was a very difficult and amazing experience. I want  to share with you my ongoing experiment with fasting -- but as I do -- I always recommend that you consult with your doctor, health coach, etc, before you decide to do your own. Though I grew up in a rich faith tradition where fasting was an important spiritual practice, I know that fasting is really an integrative discipline that interconnect our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual lives. In this episode I will discuss:

  • the basic details of my fast
  • what I added to my water (lemon juice, salt, LMNT)
  • my experience of losing 13lbs in 5 days.
  • defining your purpose for fasting
  • the double standard when it comes to fasting
  • how fasting brings your emotional, mental and spiritual life to the surface in a very raw form.

  Links to Things/People Mentioned in the Episode Valter Longo The Longevity Diet

Zach Bush

Ion Gut Health

Prolon -- 5 Day Fasting/Mimicking Diet

Jan 25, 2021

At the beginning of each new year we tend to think about turning the page on the current year, setting some goals, and moving with energy and momentum towards the new year that awaits us.

Though there is no magic with the turning of the calendar year, it does offer us a chance to think about resetting.

But this was a different kind of year. 2020 threw all kinds at challenges at us, and as we move into 2021, I don't think any of us are under the illusion that a new year will automatically change things.

But it still does offer us what the New Year transition has always offered us -- a change to pause for a minute and reflect upon what we have been through, and to think about where we are going.

What I have found helpful in this transitional period is to identify some specific goals that I can work on for the year -- ones that I can track and measure -- ones that involve a certain element of risk and the potential for failure.

So in this episode I want to come alongside of you and share what I have been doing that is helpful for me. You probably have your own methods, but I hope you learn something new and beneficial from how I do things.

In this episode I discuss

--the importance of thinking about goals over the long term -- not just in short frames of time. I talk about the quotes by Frederick Nietzsche, Eugene Peterson and Rich Roll that sent the context for this "long obedience in the same direction".

--Categorizing goals in the areas of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

--Importance of habits to goal setting and achieving goals, with specific attention to cornerstone/keystone habits.

--Writing down and reviewing and re-evaluating your goals / perhaps in a journal you write with hand -- like the Leuchtterm 1917 linked below.

--The concept of drift and learning to "defy drift" (something my executive coaching mentor discusses)


--Hindrances that often get in the way of achieving goals.


Rich Roll on overestimating what can be accomplished in a year, and underestimating what can be accomplished over the course of a decade.

Friedrich Nietzsche on a "long obedience in the same direction".

Eugene Peterson -- A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society

Charles Duhigg -- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

James Clear -- Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

Drew Sams Instagram post on his word of "outside"

Leuchtterm 1917 journal (I use the lined one / sometimes I use the dotted matrix one as well)


May 18, 2020

It's hard to know where to begin when describing my friend Marc Payan. Just Google his name and see what comes up.

Marc is a leader everywhere he goes, and like few people I have seen before, he inspires and encourages those around him to life a transformed life. That's the best way I can put it -- though it doesn't even really capture accurately what I want to say about Marc.

So you are going to have to take a listen. And check out his Instagram where he posts a lot of great content and daily stories.

Oh, and did I mention all the amazing work he has done in communities with his Payan X "movement".

Or that he is a Lululemon ambassador who has garnered global attention with his virtual running community during COVID-19.

As you can see, Marc is hard to describe in a few sentences, so I hope you enjoy our conversation covering a lot of topics from leadership, to his quad core principles, to his love of endurance running.

Check out our video interview on YouTube

Apr 17, 2020

Part of being human is that we get anxious.

And no human can opt out of experiencing anxiety.

It visits all of us at varying times in our lives, and to varying degrees.

But what if you can reframe anxiety in a way that you see it as a friend, rather than a foe.

What if your anxiety could help you grow?

I explore this and what it means to be anxious. And how we often misinterpret critical passages and understandings on this topic.

Apr 15, 2020

Todd Sandel (CEO and Founder of The SouthCity Group) and I discuss the importance of play and rest at home and in organizations.

One of the most important things leaders can do is model from top down the importance of play and rest to their teams.

Apr 15, 2020

Todd Sandel (CEO and founder of The SouthCity Group) and I continue our conversation around leadership during this time of uncertainty due to COVID-19.

In this episode we address leadership drift due to overworking and trying to prove ourselves worthy of adding value.

Apr 15, 2020

In my ongoing conversations with Todd Sandel (CEO and founder of The SouthCity Group), we discuss the difference between personal wellness and productivity. One leads to burnout, while the other can lead to a thriving home and organization.

Apr 15, 2020

Todd Sandel (CEO and founder of The SouthCity Group) and I continue our conversation about leadership during this time of uncertainty.

In today's episode we focus on the habits and routines that help leaders and their organizations thrive during this time. As well as talking about what that looks like in the home. Specifically the importance of tuning in with one another.

Apr 15, 2020

In this interview I chat with CEO and founder of The SouthCity Group Todd Sandel about how leaders can navigate this time of uncertainty.

We discuss the metaphor of trimming the sails and how leaders and their teams can identify and prioritize what is most important during this time.

This is critical in organizations and in the home.


Apr 3, 2020

Yesterday I posted a short video on the movement from orientation to disorientation to new orientation. I first learned it by this name and paradigm by reading Walter Brueggemann's work, The Message of the Psalms.

The movement itself is as old as humanity, and it is a movement that we all go through in our lives.

Currently we are in a period of global and national and local disorientation -- together -- I hope that we move into a newness when COVID-19 subsides, and that we just don't go back to our old ways. Because disorientation brings about growth.

There is an opportunity for us to be a new kind of people and community.

Mar 22, 2020

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<p>It's been a long time since I have done a podcast. About a year actually. </p>
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<p>I was on a break for awhile, just reading, researching, writing and focusing on other kinds of work. I had nothing new to add to the conversation so thought I would hit pause.</p>
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<p>But in light of COVID-19 and how it has caused all of us to look at some things in a new way, it has also really caused a spike in people's mental health struggles...from anxiety to depression, and beyond.</p>
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<p>In this episode I wanted to keep it simple and just focus on the four pillars of self-care, which is why I started this podcast about 3 years ago. It is more critical than ever that we are being mindful of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual capacities, as they are often the key to help up regulate our emotional reactivity...allowing us to show up in our not only our own lives...but the lives of those around us (family, friends, neighbors, community) in a way that is life-giving. And we need more than ever to be people that breathe life into those we are around. </p>
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Apr 18, 2019

In this episode I had the privilege of sitting down with my good friends Jeff and Robin Reinke. Besides being colleagues of mine in a workshop we lead in equipping ministry leaders in a variety of issues impacting the church, we are also co-authors in Vital Tools for Relevant Church Leaders: Restoring Relationships and Building Community During Difficult Conversations.

Jeff is the Marriage and Family Pastor at North Coast Calvary Church in Carlsbad, CA, and Robin is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Carlsbad, CA. They are an amazing couple with a beautiful story of redemption and hope, and they are passionate about helping others navigate their own life struggles.

In This Episode

Vital Tools for Relevant Church Leaders: Restoring Relationships and Building Community During Difficult Conversations


Apr 11, 2019

In this episode I discuss the topic of singleness with my colleague Kelly Haer. Kelly is on staff at Pepperdine University in the Boone Center for the Family where she is the Relationship IQ Director.

Kelly is a part of the teaching group that I am a part of that meets with and trains ministry leaders 3-4 times a year on issues that are impacting the church. In our time together we works towards equipping these leaders to more successfully address the issues that they come across in the local church. Singleness happens to be one of those topics that many churches are struggling to address, especially during a period of time where more and more people are not getting married, yet ministry often targets marriage and family.

Kelly addresses this issue at length in our free e-book, Vital Tools for Relevant Church Leaders: Restoring Relationships and Building Community During Difficult Conversations. In this e-book, and in this conversation, she discusses the current state of singleness in the United States, its impact in the church, and how Restoration Therapy provides a tool to best address this issue.

Mentioned in the Episode

Kelly Haer

Vital Tools for Relevant Church Leaders: Restoring Relationships and Building Community During Difficult Conversations

Mar 27, 2019

In this episode I get to sit down with a colleague of mine who I have been getting to know more over the last couple of years in our collaborative work together around Restoration Therapy and ministry leaders.


Robert Scholz is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, consultant and writer, who specializes in helping individuals and families who are struggling with addictions.


I am so glad to have Robert on the podcast, as addictions is something that I come into contact almost everyday in my work, but it's not something that I specialize in. So thankfully I have skilled people like Robert that I can refer to. In this episode we dive into what an addiction is, it's characteristics, and how it is defined. And we explore the impact of addiction on relationships, and more specifically drugs and alcohol, while also touching on the rampant and addictive nature of vaping.



Mentioned in the Episode

Robert Scholz Website

Vital Tools for Relevant Church Leaders: Restoring Relationships and Building Community During Difficult Conversations

Mar 22, 2019

In this episode I spend some time in conversation with Terry and Sharon Hargrave. Terry is the founder of Restoration Therapy and is the Evelyn and Frank Freed Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary and Sharon is the Executive Director of the Boone Center for the Family at Pepperdine University, as well as the founder and director of Relate Strong.


I have known this couple for about 8 years, and not only do I consider them close friends, but I am a huge fan of them. Restoration Therapy has changed my life and practice, and my wife and I have also trained together in Relate Strong.


I can not say enough nice things about Terry and Sharon, and the impact they are making upon the world. In this episode we explore some of the early roots of Restoration Therapy and Relate Strong, and why we are bringing this work to ministry leaders in our workshops that we do several times a year.


Mentioned in the Episode

Download your free copy of Vital Tools for Relevant Church Leaders

Restoration Therapy by Terry Hargrave and Franz Pfitzer

Relate Strong

Mar 1, 2019


"for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)

In this episode I reflect on the passage found in Genesis 3:19 that is repeated every Ash Wednesday.


It's a beautiful, but harrowing passage that reminds us of just how fragile and short our lives are.


But this reminder, rather than being tragic, is to help us focus on our life on what is important.


We were created from the very dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). Our first work (vocation) was to work the land (the dust) we were created from, displaying a connection between our identity and the work, service and hobbies we put our lives towards (Genesis 2:15). And yet, often, many things cut us off from this very soil (the dust), and disconnect us not only from our identity, but our Creator as well (Genesis 4:14).  


Mentioned in Episode

"The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver

Water from Rock (Check out their Lenten Devotionals)

Henri Nouwen

Ray Anderson

Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala

Feb 28, 2019


And he said, "Hagar, slave-girl, of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" Genesis 16:8

Where have you come from?

Where are you going?

Perhaps these are two of the most important and fundamental questions we can ask ourselves. I appreciate that Jay Stringer brings to these questions in his phenomenal book, Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing.

It wasn't until I read his book that I realized, these are two of the most fundamental questions I have been asking my whole life...and they are the questions that I am continually asking my clients in my therapy practice.

They often don't take the form of those exact sentences, but they are asked in some form or fashion throughout my work.

And it is these two questions, and this text, that I dive into in this episode.

I hope you enjoy the episode.

And more importantly, I hope you are asking yourself these two questions.

Mentioned in the Episode

Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing by Jay Stringer

The Message of the Psalms by Walter Brueggemann

The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni

Feb 21, 2019

This episode is somewhat of a continuation of Episode 115 where I reflected both theologically and psychologically on the biblical text found in Genesis 1-3 (and a little of 4). Those opening chapters have lots of insight and implications for us relationally.

In this episode I want to pick up on some of those themes, especially the idea of self-differentiation, and focus on how Restoration Therapy lends itself nicely to this concept. I think you will find this a helpful episode in understand you and your relationships better.


Feb 13, 2019

I had the opportunity this last Monday to record a video on anxiety with another therapist, and one of the pastors at Preston Trail Community Church in Frisco. And then a few hours later, I talked to a group of parents at Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco about anxiety and depression.

It's obvious that anxiety and depression are prevalent issues affecting our culture today. One only has to read the latest headlines, look into the most up to date statistics, or have a conversation with someone you know....everyone seems to struggle with anxiety and depression at some point in their life.

This is an issue I have talked about a lot, and I continue to talk about it, as it's something I am very passionate about. There are lots of angles to approach this topic, but the most important in my mind is that we reframe the conversation around anxiety and depression as one being about shame and something being wrong with it's something that affects all of us, and we need to be able to bring it out into the open, and talk about how anxiety and depression can be used as an opportunity for growth.

In this episode I dive into what anxiety and depression are, how to reframe it, what tools you can use, and much more.

I hope you find this helpful.

Some of the Things Mentioned in This Episode

Kevin Love on his battle with anxiety

The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good?

The Concept of Anxiety

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong: The Guide to Life Liberated from Anxiety


Don't Panic with Andrew Johnson

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain


Feb 2, 2019

As I mentioned in a previous podcast, I thought I would take some time this year (on occasion) to stop and reflect on my reading of the bible, and how it connects at the intersection of theology and psychology.

So in this episode I want to take some time and just reflect on Genesis 1-4 and some insights that may be helpful for you and your relationships.

Enjoy the episode.

Books Mentioned in this Episode

Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1-3 by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

On Being Human: Essays in Theological Anthropology by Ray Anderson

Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation by Miroslav Volf

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