Tag Archives: excellence

La única versión (ni nueva ni mejorada)

swimIan Thorpe – nadador Australiano que rompió varios records mundiales y por eso se ganó el apodo de Torpedo.  Durante su carrera supo que gran parte del éxito se basa en mirar la línea negra al fondo de la piscina – sin mirar a los lados. Como lo dijo en una entrevista al retirarse de su carrera de atleta elite, con solo 24 años de edad: “hay mas en la vida que la línea negra…y quiero vivir eso.” 

Esto nos da evidencia de la importancia de estar enfocados en nuestras propias carreras – y no perder ni tiempo ni ventaja mirando hacia los lados a ver que están haciendo los demás.

Además es una gran pista acerca de que necesitas para potenciar tus habilidades profesionales.  Más que muchos otros factores, confiar en tus propias habilidades, y enfocarte en tu propio camino, es lo que te llevará a ser la mejor versión de ti.  Es cuando trabajas, día a día, con tu mejor versión, con tus habilidades potenciadas, que llegan los resultados mas significantes.

Entonces, ¿cómo se trabaja – y desarrolla una carrera – mirando la línea negra? 

  1. No imites – Ni por un segundo esto quiere decir que debes dejar a un lado a tus consejeros y mentores.  Todo lo contrario.  Acudir a personas más expertas y sobresalientes te dará una ventaja sobre aquellos que no lo hacen.   Claro esta, procura recurrir a profesionales que hayan alcanzado lo mismo o mas de lo que buscas alcanzar en tu propia carrera.  Ya que la calidad de los consejos que recibes es tan buena como la fuente de eso consejos.
  2. No envidies – Acuérdate que la carrera es bien larga. Y mas que otra cosa es contra ti misma. Lo he vivido en mi propia carne.  Habrá momentos cuando estarás adelante de los demás. Habrá otros cuando estarás en el medio o atrás.  Al fin del día lo que mas impacto tendrá sobre tu carrera, es la certeza de que corriste con la mejor versión de ti – con toda.
  3. No te conformes – Ser agradecida por lo que ya tienes – y no enfocarte en lo que no tienes – te dará un sentido de fortaleza interna.  Aun así, aceptar el status quo y contentarte con lo mediocre es la receta para la insatisfacción.

Busca la excelencia – y no te contentes hasta que la alcances. Y me cuentas.

What’s a picture of Evander Holyfield doing on my blog?

Right now, do me a favor.  If you’re left-handed, pick up a pen with your right hand and write your name.  If you’re right-handed, use your left hand to write your name. (For the few ambidextrous, well, what can I say – you’re one of the lucky few – I’m afraid I won’t be able to prove my point with you).

Now, take a few minutes to think long and hard about what it took for you to do something outside of your comfort zone.  If you’re being honest, because using your ‘other hand’ to write doesn’t come naturally to you, you had to talk yourself into doing it.  Am I right?

Now lets move on to bigger and better things, beyond writing your name illegibly.

Lets look at excellence.  No, not perfection. Excellence – a commitment with being better every day and with stretching yourself a bit more each day.  On the other hand, lets look at mediocrity.  Mediocrity – feeling okay with getting by and that it’s enough to do as little as possible.  That said, pushing yourself a little bit over your edge every day is a choice. On the other hand, doing as little as posible is also a choice. And like choosing to write with your left hand if you’re a righty, and with your right hand if you’re a lefty, making any choice involves thoughtfulness and intention.

Aiming to create a world inhabited by excellent people, a world free of mediocre beings, when Dan Schawbel asked me to write a column for issue #3 of his e-mag Personal Branding, I decided to write about excellence.  Being that the issue is focused on helping readers build a personal brand that owns a specific niche, I thought it was a unique opportunity to write about what it takes to own excellence, to answer ‘what does it take to make excellence your personal brand?’

In finding someone to interview, my main goal became to showcase someone who, at first glance it’s obvious they lead an extraordinary life, one that’s worthy of imitation, yet at the same time is real and approachable.  The latter two traits is what makes excellence sticky. 

With that in mind I interviewed Samuel Azout. A Latin American business man who has thoughtfully created an extraordinary career. 

“After working for 25 years in the private business sector, he re-invented himself as a social entrepreneur. He`s now the founder and leader of two social ventures, Fundacion Carullaand Fundacion Futbol con Corazon, both based in his home country of Colombia. Both driven by his vision to create equality and opportunity for some of the poorest people in the world -those he affectionately refers to as ‘vulnerable’.

Yet, as much as he has achieved and as much as he has already contributed to the community at large, he’s very quick to point out that it’s a team of extraordinary people who deserve the credit.”

You’ll find the full interview in issue # 3 of Personal Branding.  For now, click here to access your free sample, which by the way, is hot off the press.  You will find loads of valuable information including interviews of other inspiring professionals – who were willing to share their wisdom about “owning your niche”. (yes that’s Evander Holyfield on the cover)

That said, if you know someone else who is clone-worthy, I’d love to know. (Thanks in advance for sharing your wealth).

A New Kind of Hero for a New Kind of World, Hero #11

(This post is part of a pact I made. Click here for the full story.)

Meet JC. Hearing him tell me about his career path left a sizeable smile on my face. It could be because he has such a contagious – and warm laughter. Or because his story is so inspiring – and quite unique. It could also be because he shared with me his story with a sense of honesty and transparency that I had not come across before.

That said, I’ve spent the past few days trying to work out if JC is an adrenaline junky or one of the bravest persons I’ve ever met. Because there’s such a fine line between the two, I’m finding it hard to tell. I’ll let you make up your own mind.

Being that JC`s dad is a successful business man, throughout this interview I kept wondering why JC did not follow in his dad’s foot-steps. After all, JC has the option to join a business which could meet his financial needs several times over. Yet time after time, JC has chosen to go after his passions.  “I’m a big believer that you gotta follow your passion…In my little world and experiences, I think that’s where people make a big mistake. They go into things for the wrong reasons…to please others…You have to remember that a lot of people get jealous. They don`t want you to succeed…they try to bring you down…So don`t worry about what others say, don`t let others dictate your life.”

Yet speaking with JC it became clear that none of his career decisions have been driven by rebellion or anger towards his father or family. During our interview, at one point I mentioned that when he laughs he sounds just like his dad. Almost instinctively he said that he was honored by my comment. “My dad is a very special man. I admire him…what he’s done.”

He also told me: “I’m simply not an office person…I don`t have it in me.” This he found out after he set up an online business with his brother. As much as he enjoyed the adrenaline rush that comes from working on a start-up, he did not enjoy working in an office.

Note to self: Unthinkable force is generated when you work in line with your life’s purpose.

Driven by his passion, JC has been on a path that has led him, time after time, to break the mold that he inherited from his dad. Since the age of 16, JC has been a certified pilot. Flying is his first love. As I found out, it’s not his only love.

When I asked him what drove him to pursue such a risky – and expensive – activity he said to me: “It’s hard to describe…it’s in my blood…it’s like a drug. It’s inside of me – a deep passion for flying.”

Note to self: Your own reason for being lies inside of you. Finding it is a matter of learning to listen to it.

After getting his flying license, he became a flight instructor – one of the youngest at the academy. At 20 he was hired by a commercial airline, where he worked for eight years, flying domestic 1 to 2 hour ‘short hops’. He was then hired by another major airline. That job lasted four years until he was laid off following the shake up after 9/11.

He highlighted more than once that: “Flying is one of those jobs that if you don’t have a passion for it, you can’t do it.” As he explained, getting a license is a big time commitment. And the work schedule is quite demanding. It requires that you’re away from family for long periods of time – which means that you’ll end up missing a lot of important occasions.

He also told me that he’s thankful that he was in one of the last groups to get laid-off. However, as he explained, that also meant that most of the good jobs in other airlines were already taken. He made it quite clear that he’s not one to dwell on things. “Those around me tell me that I deal with things differently.” His girlfriend has even mentioned that at times it seems that he has a switch which allows him to move on almost instantly.

That being the case, shortly after getting laid off, he started to seriously consider a job in the police force. To learn more about what’s involved, he went on a few ride-alongs, where he spent the day on the field with real life cops. That is when he felt that he had found his second passion. “I remember the second or third call I went on. It was to handle a domestic violence incident…It’s pretty much the only job where you can right a wrong. That’s a really powerful thing. And it happens almost every day. I’m also an adrenaline junky…(as he says this, I can almost feel his pulse quicken) you go from 0 to 100 and back to 0. I love that. That happens in policing all the time. A million things can happen in a millisecond. That’s how I feel alive!”

Let that echo inside your brain one more time…that’s how I feel alive.

Note to self: What makes you feel alive?

As he told me: “it’s not that I’m heartless (or a career slut) – or that my passion for flying seized to be.” This is quite evident by how he described feeling when he got laid off: “When I got laid-off, that was one of the saddest days of my life. I’d spent 10 years working to the point where I could drive this big piece of equipment…by then I was on cloud million…Loosing my job was like facing a death sentence…I knew it would happen…just not when.” He then told me that he had some time to mourn, but being one not to dwell on things, he said to himself: “it happened…pick up the pieces and lets move on.”

Note to self: What have you been dwelling on? Let go

His original plan was to work as a cop for four to five years tops – until he got called back by the airline. Five years later when he got called back, he went back to flying for 7 months. Then decided to return to his job in the police-force. And he has been back for over a year. He told me that the catalyst for this decision was the death of his dog Matt. On the day Matt died, he was not in town because he was scheduled to fly. It bothered him that he could not be there for his dog who had been there for him so many times. He also sensed that the industry had changed for the worst. He knew that it was time to let go.

Note to self: Be clear on your values. When things change around you, let your values shine a light on your path.

Aside from passion, JC is driven by a strong pursuit for excellence. More than once he said to me: “I don`t believe in half-assing anything I do. I take things to the limit.” His achievements are proof of this. Aside from making it into the SWAT team, the police force’s most elite team, in 2008 he was named officer of the year.

As determined, strong and intense as JC is he has a very soft center. First, he’s a self-confessed animal lover. Until he met his girlfriend, his two dogs were the love of his life. (I sense that his soon-to-be-born child will also top the list) JC also loves photography. To the point where he now has a business taking fashion and wedding pictures, whenever he’s off-duty.

He said to me that he stumbled upon his photography business by pure chance. “It was a freak accident.” It started when a friend in the police force asked him for help with a modeling portfolio. Being that JC has been taking pictures since he was a kid – mostly of planes – he agreed. And the rest is history.

In spite of JC immersing himself fully to learn about photography, he admits that often times he isn’t 100% certain of how to take certain shots his clients ask for. Yet he still takes those jobs. It’s not that his deceitful. Rather he believes, as he tells new police recruits: “There comes a time when you’re gonna have to grab your balls and just go! You gotta be confident. Even if you don`t (fully) know what’s going on, you gotta pull it through.”

And so he has. Today his client base is growing, even in a slow economy.

Note to self: Go beyond faking it until you make it. Focus on making it.

JC leaves us with his intensity.

“You gotta trust your gut…Always have enough confidence in yourself that you’ll survive and the balls to do it. A lot of people talk a lot…I’ve always tried to be a do-er and not a talker. You gotta try different things, be adventurous…”

 Photos by JC