Follow Friday: Randy Elrod, Michael Hyatt, Steve Anderson & Ken Davis

I thought I would try Chris Brogan’s idea about writing a Follow Friday post. In thinking about this, there are so many people I would recommend following but for today, I’m going to start with the four men I am around the most in my neighborhood. Randy Elrod, Michael Hyatt, Steve Anderson and Ken Davis. (Literally, we all live in the downtown Franklin area “Franklin Campus” if you will)

Michael Hyatt, Les Clairmont, Me, Ken Davis, Steve Anderson and Randy Elrod

Randy Elrod @RandyElrod

Most of you know he is my mentor, closest friend and business partner. Honestly, if he really was just all of those things in my life and nothing more then I would be completely happy but the truth is he is not. He is that one of kind friend that comes a long and really teaches you what life really is all about and his example of how he lives life is really what impacts me the most. I also love watching how he and his wife, Chris, live out their love for each other and passionately pursue one another. Randy is always challenging me to think just beyond where I think I can go which makes me move forward that much more in life. If you follow him on twitter and read his blog, you will be educated, challenged and encouraged. I always am.

Michael Hyatt @MichaelHyatt

I came to know Michael and his wife, Gail, through Randy and Chris Elrod. Michael and Gail have become a dear friends over the past couple of years and any time we get to hang out with no agenda other than good conversation, we always have the best time. But I have to say… when we all start talking social networking, twitter, blogging, publishing… the geek factor in the room goes up about 100 percent and then we all go home to try new things we learned from each other. What I love about following Michael on twitter and reading his blog is the amount of information he puts out there is enough for anyone to learn from on any level. He is constantly looking for relevant content to share with anyone who is willing to read it… By the way, Happy Birthday Michael!

Steve Anderson @SteveTN

Steve is the guy in my life who I think actually travels more than me. He speaks weekly to insurance agents on how to engage their clients more effectively. He has mastered combining the social networking world and the insurance world into an easy place for his audience to really understand the digital world we live in and is always looking for new technology to try out. In his personal life, Steve and his wife Karen are a kick to hang out with. There’s always a conversation to be had and Steve can cook some meals that have sent us all home in awe. Let’s just put it this way… You put Steve Anderson and Randy Elrod in the kitchen together and the experience would be worth it’s own TV show. In the words of Randy when it comes to a masterfully prepared meal “It’s Heaven times ten thousand!” The combination of those two is a cooking powerhouse where every taste of the final creation is worth savoring.

Ken Davis @LitenUp

Ken and I have been friends for years. He is a comedian and speaker (yes there are times he speaks that don’t involve jokes) and he has been representing the work of Compassion International for a good while. I’ve been fortunate to travel with him on behalf of Compassion, which is a blast. But again… Ken is a friend. He is someone who dives into my life and like Randy, challenges me to think and to get very real with who I am. Any time I get to spend with him is precious and the humor involved is unprecedented. He and his wife Diane are a blast to hang with as well. We’ve been on cruises together, had dinner’s on the porch and made fun of his son-in-laws for far too long. I mean… what’s not to love about that! One of the coolest things I love about Ken is in the past two years he has tackled the triathlon world and has caught the bug. It just goes to show… no matter what your age, you’re always young enough to go after anything you set your mind too. Ken is in the best shape of his life and if you hang around him, his energy will rub off on you.

So those are the four guys in my immediate life you should follow today on twitter, but really… there is a fifth. He is not on twitter and is never on the computer. I’m not even sure he has an email address. But I’m going to give an honorable mention to our friend Les Clairmont.

Les is married to author and speaker Patsy Clairmont who does know how to use the computer very well and is on twitter and has her own blog.

Les and Patsy have moved to downtown Franklin, TN in the past year and have both been an incredible addition to our little family of friends. Les is always the life of the party. He’s incredibly funny and full of one liners and little songs he sings to us. But the greatest thing about Les is through his humor and example of how he lives his life is always throwing out little life lessons. I love Les because you just can’t be around him with out smiling and walking away having learned something from him.

I’m honored that I get to share my life with these men. Every man in this post is an influencer and they are all supported and partnered with wives who are great influencers in their own lives.

You see… we all need influencers and… I think… we all need to influence others. That’s kind of the idea behind Follow Friday. Influence others to follow someone who influences you.

So tell me… who are you influenced by?


The views expressed here are those of a personal nature and do not reflect the corporate view of my employer or anyone else who employee my services.
  • Lindsey_Nobles

    A great list of great men! Loved reading your thoughts on them.

    • SpenceSmith

      thanks Lindsey!

  • His Girl

    I loved this post. Reason is some of these men are dear to me and I have never met them in person but they have stretched me, taught me, inspired me and at times just plain puzzled me. All this through social media. It was so good to hear your personal thoughts on them as friend and not just social media follower. It's nice to see their true character reflected in their social media interactions as well. The way you, Randy, Michael and Patsy interact with us it makes the distance small and the community greater.

    • SpenceSmith

      thanks Carol. I'm thankful to have friends like this in my life. Have a great weekend!

  • donnamaria

    Wow! This is a really nice post. it looks like you and your friends enjoy life. That makes me smile. Thanks for spreading a bit of your joy around.

    • SpenceSmith

      Thanks for the comment Donna! Life is really good when you have great friends to hang with. Hope you have a great weekend!

  • Randy Elrod

    Thanks so much, Spence. it's an honor to be in the same group with these other guys.And more, its an honor to read what you have said. Thanks for the invaluable gift of your freindship.


    • SpenceSmith

      Thanks Randy! Our friendship means the world to me. See ya later!

  • PaulSteinbrueck

    Spence, I really like this idea – a FollowFriday post. It's a great way to bless people who have helped to enrich your life.

    • SpenceSmith

      thanks for the comment Paul… i though Chris had a great idea with this one!

  • Ani

    I'm not on twitter but I do read Randy Elrod's blog and I just love the guy. He is A-MA-ZING. I would love to meet him and his wife, is not going to happen but would love to. The Lord must love you VERY VERY much for placing this man in your life. Really, your life must be hilarious, gracious and beautiful with that man. You live a blessed life. About me? I'm influenced by a couple who are like a father and mother to me. They guide, support and advise me. He, Fred is especially of great influence in my life. He also challenges me, inspires me, makes me laugh, and knows how to encourage me to do what I want to do. He just understands me. He is, like me, a down-to-earth person who enjoys life. Not worry too much, be grateful, tell the most hilarious jokes, always laughing, loves God, himself and the other as himself and enjoys life to the fullest. I wonder why people who have money and have things in their heart they long to do but don't use that money and don't do what is in their hearts? My friends were like that but they are changed now. It's like they have come alive. And that is only because they did a part of what they wanted to do. It's funny how Fred is because my own dad wasn't like that. My mum was but she is not with us anymore. I have sweet memories of her and a whole lot of wisdom from her. My brother was my influencer but he is not with us either. Yesterday was his birthday and I had to think of all the things he had told me and remember how he lived his life. Found out his words are true and valuable words, still valid for this day. I have a friend who is a motivator. I don't know if you can call them influencers. Maybe we are all influencers. I guess you influence people too. I'm thinking of all the people in my life, who aren't here anymore and those who still are. The people in your life. Beautiful people. They are all beautiful people. Love it.

    AGAIN I replied with a long comment. I apparently can't reply with a short comment. Have you ever met someone who has to explain what they mean? That's me. Although I can be quiet too. This has nothing to do with the topic of this blog so I leave it here. Bye bye.

    • SpenceSmith

      Ani! You're hilarious! thanks for your comment. I think we are all influencers to some degree. some more than others… but i love the comments about the memories of you mother and brother. always hold on to those good memories and cherish the times with your friends and the people who mean the most you… thanks again… and thanks for always reading my blog and commenting. i love it:)

  • Jim

    You are very lucky to have the friendship and support of these great men and women. It is rare to have true friends that can touch you like that and can influence your life. God has truly Blessed you.

    • SpenceSmith

      hey jim! i do feel pretty lucky to have friends like this in my life… plus they all think i'm slightly nuts about triahtlons! i hope you are well and i'm loving your online store!

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  • Joni Sweet

    Quite nice idea there for a blog Spence! And having those friends all in same group would be wonderful – been there at one time – unfortunately people move away & life goes on. However, I'm THANKFUL & very GRATEFUL I've got the social media that brings me to people like you who indeed are an inspiration! Thanks for sharing from your heart. :-)

    • SpenceSmith

      Thanks Joni! and thank you for always commenting and reading and feeling inspired. I hope you have a great weekend.

  • Mary West

    Great Idea whose time has come! The most influential person in my life is my mentor and accountability partner, Sally Lundquist. She is a woderful artist and great friend. Others who influence me are pastors across the country.

    • SpenceSmith

      Mary, thanks for your comment. I'm glad you have someone in your life that inspires you and keeps you accountable. Friends like Sally are priceless.

  • torybee

    Argh, such a beautiful post and yet today I don't like this whole thing of "influencing" and being an "influencer."

    It is fine if you are a wonderful, creative, outgoing, fun person that engages people and makes one want to follow you, but what if you're not? Or what if you are more of a "middleman"? Introducing others to the "real" influencers but you yourself have no influence?

    Sorry; I have had a hard day. I suppose I'm more of a behind-the-scenes type and yet, there is a part of me that wants to be an influencer.

    As for people that influence me, I'd have to say my husband, some dear friends, some who have known me forever and others that are new to my life but bring me such joy and challenge me in my faith, and my pastor and others in my church.

    You are really so blessed to have people in your life that you interact with online and in real life. I'm still cultivating and figuring that all out in my life and I look to you and think: you have such good friends, such a neat life. Thanks so much for sharing it on your blog and in your tweets.

    BTW: I now follow all on your list.

    • SpenceSmith

      Ahhh… you see… i don't think you realize how much of an influencer the middleman really is. I see myself as a connector which means you have influence enough for people to want to meet the people you introduce them too. So yes my friend… you really are an influencer… even on the bad days. So keep it up!!! thanks for your comment! now go have a great weekend!

      • torybee

        Thanks Spence, I have to admit your comment kinda cheered me up and I'm already having a nice weekend. It is my husband's birthday tomorrow.

        I always enjoy your posts…. even when I say they bother me!

        • SpenceSmith

          hey thanks for your comment…… i think you nailed when you said… "We need to realize that we are all influencers just by our words and actions even if we do not realize it. We never know when something we say or do will be told to someone else because the person telling the story was influenced by us."

      • porrazzo

        I agree with SpenceSmith. I got here because of post on Michael Hyatt's twitter. I never would have found this interesting site or had a better understanding of what makes Michael the kind of publisher/leader an Author like I am would want to be involved with Thomas Nelson. Cheers! Chin up Torrybee, just smiling can make a difference in this world!

        • SpenceSmith

          thanks for your comment!

  • 4himcamper

    I have several influencers. Many I have never met and they don't even know how many lives they have influenced. Then there are the close friends who I see sporadically because of distance who are always encouraging me and praying for me and my husband. I know I have helped stretch others and I have no idea how many that has been. As the case is with most people, you tell 1 person a story and that person tells others because it has impacted him or her. We need to realize that we are all influencers just by our words and actions even if we do not realize it. We never know when something we say or do will be told to someone else because the person telling the story was influenced by us.

    It's also fun to read how someone has influenced another because you gain insight in to the influencer that you may not have known before or it confirms something that you suspected already.

    • SpenceSmith

      hey thanks for your comment…… i think you nailed when you said… "We need to realize that we are all influencers just by our words and actions even if we do not realize it. We never know when something we say or do will be told to someone else because the person telling the story was influenced by us."

      isn't that so true…

      • 4himcamper

        You're Welcome, and yes…It is so true

        Now to influence the world for Christ and His kingdom.

  • moweezle

    You have a wonderful group of men (and their wives) in your life!

    • SpenceSmith

      thanks Mo! we have a great time!

  • Kyle Reed

    Randy Elrod and Michael Hyatt have been great influences to me from afar. Wish I was in that situation to be closer, but am happy to learn from afar. Great great stuff.

    Others that have really influenced me have been:
    My dad…he is on twitter but never tweets (one of those) but I am glad that he cares more about me and gives me grace and love even when I fail.
    Greg Darley…been a great guy that talks to me regularly and listens to me as I talk about the confusion that life has in front of me. Follow him on twitter @gregdarley
    Stephen Brewster…been another great guy that talks "shop" with me in terms of creativity, social media, and leadership. I savor everything he tells me. Great guy. twitter @b_wrester
    Matthew Paul Turner…it started with a meeting in St. Louis and four hours later I considered him my friend. Love that he takes my calls and even calls me just to talk and see how I am doing. Great guy and very talented writer. twitter @jesusneedsnewpr

    • SpenceSmith

      Kyle… Thanks for your comment. I can always tell… you are one of those guys who will pursue relationships because you want to learn and grow. i think that's awesome. I still want to get with you on the phone really soon!

      • Kyle Reed

        you name the time and I will be there, well at least on the other end of the phone or computer.

  • porrazzo

    Curious Spence, I came here via a re-post on Michael Hyatt's Twitter. As an Author, looking to publish a new series, we rarely get the opportunity to peek behind the curtain and see the kind of relationships a CEO of one of the world's top publishing company's has — what's important to Michael Hyatt and what does he stand for…For that reason alone, I really enjoyed your site. If you have an interest in new and advanced technologies I would be happy to share. We are currently using my entire Intellectual Portfolio to build the first on the ground Sustainable MODDHA eco-dome Village at the Espwa Orphanage in Les Cayes Haiti. You might enjoy and Thank you and I'll be back

    • SpenceSmith

      hey! thanks for all the info. I will check it out today!

  • Annie

    My biggest influence started out as my boss several years ago. We no longer work together, but she is so much more. She has taught me about business – the smart and ethical way to run a business. She has taught me about relationships by sharing her very personal stories of failed relationships. She has taught me to stretch my faith. The best part is all of this has been done in the kitchen. I didn’t grow up in a house where cooking was fun. Now, cooking is a passion and I have learned most of my lessons from her over a cutting board and a cooktop. It’s interesting how everyone winds up in the kitchen telling stories and solving the world’s problems. The older I get, the more precious these types of relationships are.

  • Courtenay Rogers

    What a sweet post, Spence. I have realized that you can tell a lot about a person by their friends. So, I would say you are a pretty great guy. I'm glad that you are a part of "Planet Franklin"

  • Daniel C White

    I agree my friend, all amazing and inspiring folks to follow!

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