GFB News Magazine

Smartt’s Principles for Living

by Jennifer Whittaker
Editor, Georgia Farm Bureau News

Posted on February 24, 2024 6:38 PM

Lisa Smartt speaks at the GFB Women in Ag Summit. / photo by Jennifer Whittaker


Everyone wants to work with people until they do, Lisa Smartt joked as she delivered the keynote speech at Georgia Farm Bureau’s Women in Ag Summit. To understand Smartt’s heart, consider that she lists friend on her business card before being a speaker and author.

“The people business is a lot like losing weight,” Smartt said. “It’s an easy thing to understand but a hard thing to apply.”

As she shared her 10 principles for living, the room rolled with laughter. 

Smartt’s Principles for Living:

1)    Never think you’re superior.

“Wealthy and poor people face the same four problems: relationship troubles; rebellious children; addiction issues; and financial problems,” Smartt said. “Don’t treat anyone as being inferior.”

2)    Realize there are two types of people: Type A who push people to get things done and Type B who forget to turn things in on time.

“The two types of personalities need to respect each other. God gives us each other so we can help each other,” Smartt said. “We need the Type A people, so we have completed projects, and we need the Type B people to love on us and encourage us.”

Each type of person, Smartt said, needs to extend grace to the other.

3)    Forget hurtful, untrue things.

“When we’re down, we tend to replay negative, hurtful things people have said about us,” Smartt said. “To get along well with others we have to be able to walk into a room with confidence. PBS has lied to children by telling them ‘If you can dream it, you can be it.’ That’s not true. We can’t all be professional athletes or super models. We can only be the people God intended us to be. Be the best YOU that you can be. Be the person God destined you to be.” 

4)    Don’t be oversensitive.

“Don’t be oversensitive. If you’re a person who gets your feelings hurt 10 times a day the way to solve this is to wake up and be about other people. I promise you won’t get your feelings hurt so easily,” Smart said. “Society tells us to think about ourselves, but we need to think about others. When people say something to us that’s a little snappy, filter it through love.”

5)    Help people even when they disappoint you.

“Sometimes you have to help people even when they did something stupid and messed up,” Smartt said. “Do it because it’s about your integrity and not theirs.” 

6)    Own your mistakes.

“You can’t grow from a position of an excuse,” Smartt said. “There are reasons why we struggle with things, but you and I are the ones responsible for our lives.”


“This is for all of you workaholics out there. Picture your friends and family who will sit in the front row at your funeral,” Smartt said. “When it comes to work and commitments outside your family, ask yourself, “Am I jeopardizing my relationships with the people who will sit in the front row at my funeral for someone who won’t even attend my funeral?”

8)    No gossip.

“It doesn’t matter what name you give it. Don’t do it,” Smartt said.

9)    If you can’t forget, forgive.

“There are some things people do that we can’t forget,” Smartt said. “Choose to forgive every time you remember so you don’t drink the poison of unforgiveness.”

10) Be merciful & gracious.

“Give second chances. Everybody who has an addiction wishes they had chosen a better way to deal with their struggles than their addiction,” Smartt said. “I’m not saying live and let live. Love me enough to hold me to a standard but be merciful about it.”

Smartt recommends Coach John Wooden’s advice: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you are. Your reputation is what others think you are.”