15 Questions for Success: Mike Smoke

15 Questions for Success: Mike Smoke

Urban Faith Staff |

Recently, we have been working hard to bring you quality content on faith and work and plan to continue shedding light on people who are successful in making their work and faith collide in their respective industries. Each entrepreneur and professional featured in our “15 Questions for Success” series provides us with their road map to success and answers questions on how their faith plays out in their careers.

Our latest installment of the “15 Questions for Success” series features Mike Smoke, Second Vice President at Northern Trust Bank . Check out what Mike has to say about faith and work below:


1. When people ask you what you do, how do you answer that?

I work in the Wealth Management department at a bank downtown, I ensure my ultra-high net worth clients have all the information and resources they need to manage their wealth.

2. When you think of the word “successful,” who is the first person that comes to mind and why?

My grandmom, simply because she completed successfully the job that was before her, raising her children, having a successful career herself, and being a pillar in the family.


3. What role does faith play when it comes to your career?

My faith in God gives me the confidence to approach my job and give it all I’ve got. My faith helps me overcome challenging times, reminding me that there are bigger problems in this world, and helps me refocus to come to solutions faster.

4. What does the first 60-90 minutes of your day look like?

Emails, emails and more emails.


5. What are you world-class at that people might not realize?

I am in the people business, so understanding people, reading people to some degree, being high in emotional intelligence is something I consider essential for this role.


6. How has knowing your personality type affected your life and how has it played a role in any life decision?

I think greater than my personality type, understanding who I am and what I bring to the table has helped me in many areas of my life. Understanding who I am at the core, has helped me refocus when something temporarily throws me off my center. I can always go back to center, since I have a strong sense of who I am and who I aspire to be.


7. What do you most love about what you do?

I enjoy helping people, I enjoy solving problems, and thinking big picture about solutions.


8. What should someone ask to determine their passion?

What activity do you do that makes you feel alive? What, when you do it, makes you feel like you have superpowers?


9. How do you define success?

To me, success is feeling good about what you do, from the core of one’s being.


10. What habits or skills are most important to living a successful life?

Authenticity. Being true to who you are and not feeling moved off that block.


11. If you instantly lost everything, what steps would you take to become successful again?

I would rebuild from the place of what’s important to me. Then take baby steps until what I lost is recovered.


12. How do you maintain productivity throughout the day?

Since college, almost every day I write down my daily “TDL”—to do list. I only list 2-5 things, but these things are the big gains that I wish to accomplish by the end of the day. It helps me focus on what really matters.


13. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Listen to your gut and stay consistent at the gym .


14. What books would you recommend on career and business to someone just starting out?

How to Win Friends and Influence People – my favorite.


15. What advice would you give someone interested in making a career change?

Research, research, research. Find peace within, then LEAP.


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