Becky Smith graduated from the Rawls College of Business in 1990.
A son, a divorce and 30 years as a Lubbock native is what brought Becky Lynn Smith to Texas Tech University. Through the next 27 years, her journey led her to earn a degree, become a systems analyst, a business coach and now author, releasing her book “Designing Your Ideal Life: Create Your Blueprint for Success and Happiness” in January.
“Designing Your Ideal Life” started after Smith wrote a chapter in a book called “Share Your Message with the World.” At the release party for the book, Dennis Welch, Smith's book publicist and long-time friend, pulled her aside and asked when Smith would come out with her own book. The next thing he knew, he had a phone call from Smith, who had written the “Designing Your Ideal Life” manuscript.
“‘Designing Your Ideal Life' was the advice I wish I'd received when I first started out in life,” Smith said. “I really didn't have a plan for my life and I don't think very many people do. As a business coach, I saw many entrepreneurs struggle to balance all of these things and often sacrificed their life to make a business or career successful, or they are in a career they don't love and feel stuck. They have no belief they can take action to change their circumstances. I wrote the book to help all those people to know they can move forward and achieve what they really want.”
In the book, Smith discusses finding the one thing someone was meant to do with their life. She focuses on what makes a person happy while still taking into account real-life problems, including finances. A companion workbook also is available to help readers discover what they are meant to do and how to achieve it. In addition, Smith plans to host workshops with more hands-on training.
Smith started at Texas Tech in January 1988 as a nontraditional student. She majored in management information systems and graduated from the Rawls College of Business in December 1990, completing her coursework in three years and finishing at the top of her class, all while working and taking care of her son.
“I lived in Lubbock the first 30 years of my life,” Smith said. “At the time I decided to go to college, Texas Tech was the closest choice and, being a Lubbock native, it was always a dream of mine to attend the university, but I didn't really have the opportunity to attend before my divorce. Having a world-class institution like Texas Tech so close and available was truly a blessing.”
After Smith left Texas Tech, she became a systems analyst for Exxon in Houston, where she worked for eight years. During that time she also received her MBA from the University of Houston in 1998. Smith worked her way from systems analyst to project manager to IT executive while working at various companies, including Amoco and AIM Investments. She also became a business coach for two years before taking another full-time job, starting her doctoral degree and becoming a published author.
“She obviously developed the tools she needed to go out and do really well in the
world at Texas Tech,” said Welch, president and CEO of Articulate. “She was successful before she ever got to MBA school and I would suggest, in a
general way, she obviously came out of Texas Tech with not only graduating at the
top of her class, but getting the things she needed to get out and be successful.
The fact she had quite a resume by the time she got to work on her master's degree,
I think a good part of that is attributable to what she learned at Texas Tech.”
Welch and Smith met as a result of the University of Houston's MBA program in 1995. They formed a study team to help each other get through their three-year program and have remained in touch since they graduated in 1998. Welch said Smith is humble, down to earth and credited her as the smartest person he's ever met. When Smith graduated with her MBA in 1998 he felt there was no telling what she would accomplish.
“What Becky has done, first of all her humility and her willingness to be introspective and look in the mirror and go, ‘What am I supposed to be doing here?'” Welch said, “I think all of that has contributed to where she is today, and her intellectual horsepower is what made her really great at it.”
Smith said she was a closet entrepreneur for years while she dabbled in activities on a part-time basis. She credits her business background with her ability to connect with corporate types as well as business owners by speaking their language and understanding where different people are coming from.
She didn't set out to become a writer, though she thinks being a writer is what she should be doing. Smith said she can reach more people through writing than she can through speaking or being a business coach. Smith never recognized writing as a talent, since it always came easier for her – she even tested out of her English courses in college.
“Sometimes the things we are really good at are right under our noses and we don't recognize them as a talent,” she said. “Other people may, but we don't, and I think it's difficult for people to understand sometimes what they're really good at. My book helps them figure that out.”
Smith said one of the things she learned from her journey was that self-awareness is the key to success and having an ideal life. It also means people must focus on their overall life, including health, finances and time management, not just a successful career, all of which Smith learned through her journey after graduating from Texas Tech.
Smith now is working on her doctoral degree in leadership and organizational management from Grand Canyon University, which should be completed in early 2016. Her coursework already is finished and she just needs to complete her dissertation, which Smith said is the next book she would publish. She currently is a Huffington Post contributor and recently was interviewed for a story in Inc. Magazine.
“Graduating from Texas Tech, I left Lubbock, moved to Houston and started a brand new career as a systems analyst, which opened the door for the success I enjoyed and basically set up a lot of what I write about in the book,” Smith said. “Having that degree meant I was able to provide for my son and truly changed my life. If I can do it, anybody can do it. That's kind of the message. If I can start over at that age and compete with kids coming out of high school, anybody can.”