No. 1188



If there is such a thing as being able to “smile” your way to success, I have a good candidate that I feel honored to be able to tell you about. His name is Lawson Pilgrim, a two-time All-American basketball player when he played basketball for Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. Lawson came into my life several years ago when he was introduced to me by Cliff Garrison, who was Lawson’s coach. Lawson was not only a winner on the court but he is also a winner in the game of life. His mama always told him, “Success comes from hard work.” This is so true, and this principle has real-life application for any of us.
Today, Lawson Pilgrim is an International Peak Performance speaker, trainer and author, and is known in the business as Mr. Smiley. He is one of those people that when he smiles it covers his whole face. During his high energy presentations, Lawson knows how to motivate and inspire individuals, helping them to improve their lives both personally and professionally. He believes that everyone is blessed with a special gift. His mission is to help others realize their maximum potential through the power of having a positive attitude, deciding on a definitive goal and pursing that goal with pinpoint focus.
Here is what Randi C. Ballard, senior vice president of Selected Life Insurance Company had to say about one of his presentations: “Lawson Pilgrim, with his practical tools and humorous delivery, was able to assist us in accomplishing our mission of inspiring our sales professionals from all over the country, and to focus on techniques which could be used immediately to increase sales.” It has been my privilege to hear Lawson on a couple of occasions, and I know that what Randi Ballard said about him is true.
One of the things that has endeared Lawson to me is that he is also a giver. Several years ago I was chairman of a fund-raising event for the Conway Noon Lions Club. The event involved a group of local basketball players, stars in their former playing days, pitted against a national touring team called the Harlem Ambassadors. Lawson lives in Dallas, Texas, and came that evening, at his own expense, to play in the game. We did not win the game. In fact, no local team has ever beaten the Harlem Ambassadors. They play above the rim, if you know what I mean. It was a fun night, we raised money to help the blind, and Lawson was a big part of it.
If you have an interest in securing any of his books or hiring him to speak, e-mail him at or call him at 501-247-4535. Or on the short term, you can purchase one of these books: “The Secret is You” and “Mastering the Art of Success,” which is an easy read book, compiled by 15 well-known authors and speakers, including Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, co-founders of various Chicken Soup for the Soul products. Lawson’s website:
Now, I realize the last thing most people who read my column each week have on their mind is purchasing a self-improvement book. But as I heard Earl Nightingale say one time, “An investment in our own self-improvement will always pay the highest dividends.” Lawson is a Christian and his books are written from the heart and the soul, along with his passion to serve and help other people. To be sure, the quality of our lives depends on the quality of the ideas we bring into our wonderful mind that God has given to each of us. As the wise old sage Confucius once said, “Success depends on previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)