The Cowboy Philosopher

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Pilot, consultant, professor, actor, stuntman, and cowboy turned motivational speaker all describe Dr. Steven Schmidt. Donned with black vest, Wrangler jeans, and felt cowboy hat, Dr. Schmidt gave his secret formula for success to an audience of more than 40 students and faculty at the first spring meeting of the HEBSBA Business Club on Tuesday, February 4th in the Mabee Library Auditorium.

A man of many titles, Schmidt spoke of his transformations and how any goal can be accomplished with determination and heart: “What’s the difference between a dream and a fantasy? A dream can be achieved through hard work.” Schmidt is not a stranger to dedication. With over 30 years of experience in business improvement strategies, he has used his “cowboy” approach to attract clients across industries, some most notable as: General Electric, Boeing, Methodist Hospital, San Antonio City Waste Management, and Motorola.

The HEBSBA Business Club gave students the opportunity to not only hear how to achieve organizational excellence from an expert business strategist, but also the importance of attaining individual excellence. Public Relations Officer Lauren Pesina spoke on the impact of Schmidt’s presentation on students: “It’s important for students to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and to find their character. Schmidt really emphasized to us that dreaming big and business are interconnected; they survive together to create our reality.” The task of applying dreams to business is essential to Schmidt ideology to achieving “radical excellence.”

Schmidt believes that by starting with the individual, business goals become more attainable, “We cannot improve business, until we improve people,” said the cowboy philosopher. Schmidt challenged students to search out the weaknesses in their character as the first step towards individual excellence: “Call five people that know you the best and ask for your top three weaknesses, it may be difficult to hear, but it is essential to progress.” According to Schmidt, this allows the individual to leave behind the “me” and pursue the “we.”

Stitched into Schmidt’s vest was the badge of the Texas Rangers Foundation. Motioning to the embroidery, he reminded the audience that in business we all wear titles, but titles are not the most important part of us: “Titles are like badges. You wear what you do on your shirt, but there is something more important behind the badge: your heart.” Through understanding that we should never give up on our dreams and follow our hearts, Dr. Schmidt suggests to us “life is a journey, not a destination.”

Stay connected with upcoming Business Club adventures by following the HEBSBA on Twitter @uiwbusiness. You can find more information on Dr. Steven Schmidt and his World Class Quest program my visiting his website: