Tag Archives: empoderamiento

Sharing is caring – Harvey Mackay on career success

MackayBookCover(NOTA:  Este post no es para promover o vender.  Buscando contribuir al maximo a tu desarollo profesional, decidi compartir la entrevista que muy gentilmente me concedio Harvey Mackay – un autor que cinco veces a formado parte de la lista best seller del New York Times.  Gracias a Dan Schawbel, el editor de Personal Branding – una revista en la cual contribuyo bimensualmente y en la cual se publico esta entrevista –  a sido posible publicar este material en mi blog.  Asi que gracias Dan.)

Meet a man who knows and a man who cares about helping people succeed in their careers. Above all, Harvey Mackay is a man who cares.

It makes perfect sense then, that he is the author of five New York Times bestsellers including Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, We Got Fired!…And It’s the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us, and Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt.  His books have sold more than ten million copies around the globe – in over 80 countries – and have been translated into more than 40 languages.

From his home in Minneapolis Harvey spoke to me about his latest book Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrest No One Else Will Tell You.

In a paused and caring voice, he said to me: “when I wake up every day – I say ‘it’s a gift’…I want to be able to help other people…If I meet you, the first thing I want to say to myself – while we’re talking is ‘how can I help you – what can I do to help you – and expect NOTHING in return?’”  

He goes on to say:  “That’s just my life style. And I’m a lucky guy – I’ve got a business, I’ve got a wife, I’ve got kids, I’ve got grandkids.  A long term marriage, I’ve got my health. I’ve got my travel – I even have my airplane.  So therefore what turns me on every day – is having the capacity to help people – and that’s a humongous thrill.”

Harvey is one who has been around the block more than a few times – and has made a career out of learning and sharing his lessons.  It’s evident that he is not in it for himself.  When I asked him where he got inspired to dedicate his life to help others, he explained that it was his father who had a major impact in his working life early on in his career.  His dad said to him that 25% of life should be dedicated to volunteering.  

Following his dad’s advice, he started to work in the non-profit sector, raising money for charities.  As he sums it up – it was fundraising where he learned the most important selling skills – handling rejection, selling, communicating in public and leading.  Until today, these competenticies play a mayor role in his career as a New York Times best-selling author, as one of America’s most popular business speakers among Fortune 500-sized companies and as an entrepreneur – he is chairman of MackayMitchell Envelope Company, a $100 million company he founded at age 26.

It’s no surprise he wants written on his tombstone: ‘He couldn’t sleep fast enough’.  Harvey Mackay is here on Earth to make a difference in people’s life.

That’s what shines through in his writing – and it was easy to sense during our interview.

Aside from being passionate about charity, Harvey believes his education played a major role in his path to success.  He’s a University of Minnesota undergrad, a graduate of Stanford’s Executive program and a Dale Carnegie Training and Toastmasters program graduate as well. 

Regarding his two latter degrees he said – more than once  during the interview – that speaking (well) in public is a very powerful skill to hone, particularly when you’re looking for a job or aiming for a promotion. He said: “Speaking in public helps you develop a good speaking vocabulary and the ability to sell your ideas and yourself.”  In Harvey’s mind, these competencies are not optional, rather required, in today’s work world.  Let that resonate in your head one more time – to succeed at work, be able to sell your ideas and yourself.

I couldn’t resist, so I charged toward his best advice first.   Without hesitation, he said: “without question, here’s the theme ‘practice makes perfect’ is not true.  You have to add one word – ‘PERFECT practice makes perfect.’    There are people out there by the millions who are practicing the wrong concepts.  If they take these kind of books – like the one I wrote…and more than read these concepts, they study them, underwrite them…write post-it notes – and if after using these principles, after six months you don’t have a job, I Harvey Mackay, will personally guarantee your money back. To sum it up, (people) have to practice the right concepts over a long period of time (he stresses long  period of time) not a short period of time.”

Purpose – how important is it in your career – and how do you find it?

“I call that having the Midas Touch – which I talk about in my book. …A goal is a dream with a deadline…Everybody should have the Midas Touch – or the Midas Goal.  In other words, Measurable, Identifiable,  Documented, Attainable and Specific…write down your short term and your long term goals…and then you have to look at them periodically. So it all starts of course from the goals.”

Support – how important is it?

“If you look at all succesful people, you will notice several common denominators.  One is mentors.  You can’t be afraid to look and ask for people…There are more people out there willing to help than people willing to ask.  People out of college are afraid to ask – they’re afraid to get a no, to get rejection – and you can’t do that….You can’t do it all by yourself…”

“The other one is – don’t be a lone ranger…Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. In other words, you have to have the kitchen cabinet…that means find two, three, four friends who care about you – so that when you are on your career track, when you may want to leave, when you don’t know whether to stay with that company, when you don’t know whether to drop off to become an entrepreneur – all these different questions you can kick around with your kitchen cabinet – and with the people mentoring you. And they change.  Mentors and kitchen cabinets change over a life time.  So these are additional arrows in your quiver – that will dramatically increase the probability that you will be sucessful.”

What are the main concepts for success?

“We’re all students for life.”  “Take doctors” , he explained. “Would you go to a doctor who graduated top in her class 20 years ago from a top medical school – yet never again opened up a book to study – or attend a conference to stay on top of  the latest trends in her field?  It’s the same thing in business”, Harvey points out.  We must all stay on top of our computer skills, public speaking skills, otherwise as he says it: “you’ve got problems…you can’t practice those sort of skills enough…those are the ways that you become successful.”

Harvey also advices job candidates to humanize the search.  “Of course it’s important to prepare to win – by researching the company, the industry and more.  However, it’s as important to learn about the interviewer.  It’s simple – people buy from other people, people hire other people.”  As he explains it: “it’s because of chemistry, of likeability, because of people skills (that people hire).  And therefore, when you go in for a job…do everything you can to find out about the interviewer. Know 5 or 10 things about the interviewer that they don’t know you know about them. That will humanize the interviewer, the experience.  Because it’s a person doing the hiring, and so you have to get along with that person – humanize the experience.  Prove to them that you know how important team work is, that you’re not high soprano, that you’re not a  problem – no matter how bright you may be…Also, learn about the invisible web. Know whether the interviewer is a Democrat or a Republican. Know if they play at a country club, what their golf scores are.  Know if they did something of importance in their industry – like writing a paper…And when you get in the interview, look for a common denominator with the interviewer, so that you can get along…that’s a tremendous philosophy to have when ever you’re looking for a job.”

Harvey did not disapoint me – when he greeted me over skype – he pronounced my name just as a spanish speaker would. After cringing for years over mispronunciations – I know that he is following his own advice. He made an effort to connect – to humanize our interview experience.    

And where does authenticity fit into the pecking order of skills needed during a job search? 

“If I were to pick one other word in the entire English language that’s needed to be a success during a life time (aside from authenticity)…it’s T.R.U.S.T.

If you don’t have trust in a relationship…on the job search market. When you join that company, if you can’t trust your employer, if you can’t trust your boss, then you have very little chance to succeed. And right under that comes authenticity because you have to be yourself. You can’t be something that you aren’t.  You can’t fake it.  You have to be authentic. And once that shines through, once that shows through to your peers, to your boss, to anyone else…whatever business you’re in…once that shines through, then the sky is the limit.  Because if there isn’t trust there, if there isn’t authenticity, then you don’t have a chance. So authenticity is critical – of course it’s what we teach all the time – don’t fake it, don’t exagerate…just be yourself during an interview. And sell as hard as you can as long as you’re sincere.”

Networking – where does it fit in?

“…67% of all jobs are found through networking…so you have to be out there in the community. You can volunteer and join groups you love and respect. You can be out there technologically…Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn…”  

On twitter – what makes a good tweet?

“It has to:

  1. Have take home value – ‘teach me something’.
  2. Leave a smile on my face.
  3. Engage me.

If you can tweet every day like that, you’ll be helping  a lot of people.”

Thanks Harvey – for a life enhancing interview.  See you on twitter!

Las 10 Reglas de la Antigravedad – Hacia Un Nuevo Normal

Antigravedad(Como todo buen vallenato, este post esta dedicado. Ya que fue inspirado por la historia real de una mujer que extendió su vida porque tuvo el coraje y la visión para cuestionar un diagnostico terminal de cáncer. Apoyados por estadísticas, un grupo de doctores tradicionales le dieron unos cuantos meses de vida – y la mandaron a su casa a morir.  Esta mujer no aceptó su sentencia de muerte, y acudió a un tratamiento alternativo.  Un tratamiento que actualmente no cuenta con el apoyo de la medicina tradicional más que todo porque las estadísticas no lo validan.  Si esta mujer hubiera aceptado el status quo – y se hubiera quedado en su casa brazicruzada, estuviera muerta hace mas de 1 mes.  Asi que con todo mi amor – esto es para ti Pinc. Gracias por enseñarme tanto.)

Si todos limitáramos todas nuestras decisiones y acciones a las estadísticas, y si todos nos contentáramos con el status quo, como mínimo, el mundo seria color beige. 

Lo peor seria que permaneceríamos paralizados, copiando las experiencias de vidas pasadas.  No habría progreso, innovación, ni creatividad.  Ya que gran parte de logros y descubrimientos, en su momento fueron considerados riesgosos – mas que todo porque iban en contra de las estadísticas de su tiempo. 

Como sociedad no hubiéramos cruzado océanos desconocidos para llegar a América.  No hubiéramos llegado a la luna, ni conquistado el pico de Mount Everest. Ni descubierto la penicilina o la cura para la gripa común. Y mucho menos inventado bombillos, ni carros, y ni hablar de aviones, computadores y celulares.  Tampoco existiría el sector PYME, ni habría mujeres CEO o lideres de estado. Ni habría pastillas anticonceptivas, ni soluciones para problemas de erección. Tampoco habría homosexuales en el ejercito, ni en muchas otras partes.  Mucho menos presidentes con otro color de piel aparte que beige.

Vale aclarar que aunque fui una adolescente rebelde y en ocasiones bastante impractica (con patineta bajo el brazo, peinado punk y botas de cuero – en el calor de Barranquilla) a mis 30 y mas años, soy practica y busco la eficiencia en todos los aspectos de mi vida.  Por eso se que el status quo tiene su lugar.  Claro que amerita escoger nuestras batallas.  Seria agotador pasar todo el día, todos los días, reinventando y cuestionando.  En muchas áreas de nuestro diario vivir es practico conformarse – mas que todo cuando nos ayuda a ser mas eficientes.  Entonces no confundas ser practico con ser conformista. Y tampoco creas que ser impractico es ser innovador.  Si analizas bien los logros y descubrimientos mencionados, todos han agregado valor a nuestra sociedad.

Entonces si en algún momento te vez enfrentada con una situación donde las estadísticas están en tu contra, acuérdate que:

  1. Las estadísticas no son perfectas.  Mas que todo porque ningún estudio es perfecto.  Hay limitaciones tal como el tamaño de la población estudiada y el tiempo transcurrido.  Por eso existen márgenes de error – que admiten que hay errores en las estadísticas reportadas.
  2. Las excepciones son normales.  Eso que algunos llaman milagros, son parte de la realidad – ya que todo sistema tiene excepciones. Entonces si una estadística va en contra de tu visión, te aconsejo que luches para ser la excepción.  Ya que ser la excepción también es posible según las estadisticas.
  3. Usa las estadísticas para informarte, no para paralizarte.  Lee y relee los puntos 1 y 2.  Por lo tanto la peor razón para no seguir adelante en tu camino pionero es “porque una estadística dice que no se puede.” Y la mejor razón para perseverar hacia tu visión es “porque una estadística dice que no se puede.” 

Aunque arriba menciono grandes logros a través de la historia, las reglas de antigravedad que menciono a continuación, aplican a tu vida laboral. Todos los días tienes la oportunidad de elegir entre quedarte paralizada por las estadísticas o seguir adelante a pesar de ellas.

Entonces, ¿como lograras tomar acción y crear un nuevo normal en tu carrera?

  1. Formula una visión constructiva de lo que quieres lograr. Ir en contra del status quo por deporte (o rebeldía), poco sentido tiene. (Lo aprendí después de andar con botas de cuero en 35 grados de calor!) Quizás logres llamar la atención y hasta entretener a tus colegas por un rato – pero al fin del día solo perderás tu tiempo.  Y posiblemente llegara el momento cuando llamar la atención no será una razón suficientemente valiosa para continuar en tu camino pionero.  Para crear una visión constructiva, básate en lo que mas valoras.  Tu visión puede ser conseguir un puesto al que personas con tu perfil educativo jamás han llegado. O puede ser completar un proyecto sostenible, que requiera la colaboración entre profesionales que nunca antes han trabajado juntos.  O vender un producto que jamás ha comprado un cliente. 
  2. Tu visión es el mapa.  acuérdate que eres tu la que carga el machete con el que estas abriendo el nuevo camino que otros seguirán.  Así que no existen mapas.  Tu visión es tu norte. Como una linterna, iluminara tu camino. Por lo tanto mantenla a la mano durante tu trayectoria.
  3. Actualiza tus criterios.  Cuando estas creando una nueva realidad, el antiguo orden que conocías ya no existe.  Así que los criterios para medir tus logros y resolver problemas cambian. Entonces no trates de entender y medir la nueva realidad con criterios antiguos.  En el mejor de los casos, hacer esto te decepcionará, y te hará sentir insegura. En el peor de los casos te hará pensar que poco haz progresado y posiblemente te hará rendir.  Actualizar tus criterios puede tomar tiempo – entonces entre mas rápido te desapegues de los antiguos criterios, mas rápido será el proceso de aprendizaje.
  4. Las dificultades en el camino no son derrotas.  Todo tiene una solución – siempre y cuando la busques pensando que existe una salida.  Mientras la encuentras, ignora la nube de estadísticas.  Aquella nube solo te hará dudar – y te susurrara “te lo advertí, te lo advertí”  Ignóralas esas son las patadas de ahogado del status quo.
  5. La peor pelea es la que no se lucha.  Esto me quedo claro al escuchar una doctora decir: “Donde hay vida, vale la pena luchar.”   Así es como se salvan vidas – y así es como se ganan  batallas y eventualmente las guerras.
  6. Los riesgos son un trampolín – no son zancadillas.  Siendo que estas creando una nueva realidad, que no existe en la actualidad, poco tienes que perder, y mucho tienes para ganar. El mayor riesgo que corres es quedarte paralizada o retroceder – por no arriesgarte.
  7. Redefine la definición de progreso – adáptala a tu situación única. En esta nueva realidad, hay veces que el progreso será muy notable.  Y esto esta muy bien. Pero lo mas probable es que el progreso sea lento en comparación al del antiguo mundo. O que simplemente signifique que no haz retrocedido. Así que ignora la antigua forma de medir tu progreso. Progreso es progreso – por mas lento que sea.
  8. Rodéate de personas con mentes flexibles.  Cuando de ser pionero se trata, es critico contar con el apoyo de personas que te motiven a seguir adelante – no que te halen el freno de mano.  Mas que todo son personas optimistas, con mentes flexibles. Si en vez te rodeas de personas pesimistas, o miedosas o con mentes rígidas, perderás energía justificando tu camino.  Además arriesgas empezar a dudar tu propia decisión – cosa que te pone en riesgo de rendirte – y echar hacia atrás.
  9. Dudar esta bien – lo que no esta bien es desconfiar que lo lograras.  Entiende que gran parte de tus dudas están basadas en la realidad que se conoce, no en la nueva que estas creando.  Con el tiempo te darás cuenta que las dudas no son reales – que pueden ser sobrepasadas.  acuérdate que si tuviste la visión para embarcarte en ese camino, es porque tienes las herramientas para lograrlo. Si no fuera así, a tu inconciente no se le hubiera ocurrido ese camino.
  10. Celebra tus victorias – por muy pequeñas que sean. No esperes a que las montanas que visualizas mover se muevan para celebrar. Celebra las pequeñas victorias no es cuestión de ser iluso. Es cuestión de saber que en gran parte son esas pequeñas celebraciones que te dan la energía que necesitas para seguir persistiendo.

Repite estas reglas ad infinitum – hasta alcanzar tu visión. Y me cuentas.


Gracias Denise Darzacq por la foto tan adecuada.

¿Diversidad Condicional? No Gracias.

conversationLlevo sentada en mis manos desde ayer al medio día – esperando a que me pase la rabia – para escribir objetivamente acerca de una situación que ocurrió durante el Tercer Foro Universitario – Mujeres de Negocios. 

Por medio de este post no busco tener la última palabra – ya que eso no seria constructivo.  En vez busco empezar una conversación que nunca se dio durante el día de ayer.  Pensando en el bienestar de las mas de 300 universitarias que atendieron el foro, buscando, entre otras cosas, mujeres lideres que guíen su camino laboral, considero que no escribir acerca de lo que me enseñó dicha situación seria falta de liderazgo de mi parte. 

Ya les explico.

Como escribí en mi pasado post, fui invitada a ser panelista en el foro que se llevo acabo este pasado sábado 24 de abril en Bogotá.  Más que todo acepté la invitación sintiendo un gran sentido de responsabilidad por las carreras de las más de 300 universitarias que se esperaba atenderían el evento.  Conciente de que serán las líderes de nuestro país, acepte compartir mi experiencia laboral – y uno que otro truquito que conozco acerca de sobresalir en el mundo laboral.

Con esa responsabilidad en mente fue que me pare de mi asiento a comentar durante el conversatorio que dirigía una empleada de Unilever a la hora del almuerzo.  En vista de que la empleada de Unilever presentó acerca de los modernísimos ambientes de trabajo y flexibilidad de horarios que ofrece Unilever a sus empleados buscando mayor comodidad y como resultado mayor productividad, considere necesario comunicarle a las lideres futuras que a pesar de que corporaciones multinacionales – como Unilever – tienen excelentes propuestas de trabajo, es posible encontrar Nirvana profesional afuera de las paredes del sector corporativo.  Por medio de mi comentario buscaba asegurarles que no seria el fin del mundo (ni de sus carreras) si no fueran seleccionadas para trabajar en una corporación multinacional al graduarse de la universidad. Que además es posible empezar trabajando en el sector PYME y eventualmente cambiar al sector corporativo.  Se que es posible ya que lo hice en mi propia carrera.  Pase de trabajar en mi propio start-up que tenía dos empleados – a una corporación de más de 4,000.  Al pararme de mi asiento, buscaba dar tranquilidad a esas mujeres universitarias a punto de entrar al mundo laboral, que en el ámbito de hoy, las corporaciones buscan empleados emprendedores – y el sector PYME es una excelente escuela para formar emprendedores.  Es decir, aunque aspirar a un puesto en el sector corporativo es valido y hasta recomendable al principio de nuestras carreras,  hay otras opciones que son tan valiosas.

Sin embargo apenas terminaba de introducirme al auditorio, cuando una de las organizadoras del evento se me acercó, y para mi absoluta sorpresa, usando un tono amenazador, me instruyó que parara de comentar y en vez hiciera una pregunta.  En pocas palabras me mandó a callar enfrente a un auditorio de más de 300 personas – y no fue posible comentar lo anterior.

Por un momento olvidemos lo incomoda y asustada que me sentí al regresar a mi asiento  – y pensemos en las carreras de las 300 universitarias – y las nuestras.

¿Qué podemos aprender de esta situación?

  1. Para producir resultados, la diversidad debe ser incondicional.  Siendo que Unilever fue el principal patrocinador del foro, uno de sus valores corporativos, la diversidad, fue uno de los temas centrales.  Durante el evento, varias empleadas de Unilever presentaron como en Unilever buscan crear, por medio de diferentes iniciativas, un ambiente de trabajo diverso. Por eso sigo sin entender porque algunos de los representantes de Unilever se sintieron amenazados por un punto de vista diferente.  Tan amenazados que consideraron necesario mandarme a callar.  ¿Acaso la verdad no esta compuesta por varios puntos de vista?  ¿Acaso gran parte del éxito de ambientes de trabajo diversos es que precisamente se prestan para la co creacion entre personas de diferentes culturas y con diferentes puntos de vista? A pesar del incidente de ayer, sostengo que así es. También sostengo que buscar silenciar la diversidad apesta a culto.
  2. Las reacciones son destructivas.  Es claro que la persona que me pidió que me callara simplemente reaccionó.  Siendo que estábamos en medio de un conversatorio, hubiera sido mucho más constructivo refutar mi comentario en voz alta.  Una respuesta razonable – la de una persona que busca dar un ejemplo de liderazgo – hubiera esperado a que terminara mi comentario para responder (lo opuesto a reaccionar).  Es muy posible que una conversación se hubiera desarrollado – que al fin del día hubiera contribuido conocimientos valiosos a las 300 universitarias. Al reaccionar dio fin a esta oportunidad. ¿Que oportunidades estas desperdiciando tu cuando reacciones ante situaciones?
  3. Tener un punto de vista diferente no es pelear, es contribuir.  A pesar de lo incomoda que me sentí frente a mas de 300 personas, sostengo mi punto de vista.  Y sostengo que ofrecer un punto de vista diferente – aunque en ocasiones puede sentirse incomodo – enriquece una conversación.  Así que la próxima vez que tengas algo para decir, por muy diferente que sea, dilo.  Lo más importante al ofrecer tu punto de vista es que busques contribuir no pelear.

Creo en que debemos escoger nuestras batallas – también creo en que la verdad esta compuesta por varios puntos de vista.  Así que los invito a mandarme sus comentarios – y sus diferentes puntos de vista – para enriquecer la conversación.


Gracias Community Girl – por la foto.

You gotta trust…

trust 2Trust – an over-used term, I know. 

That’s why the kind of trust I write about is not the one gurus and career coaches the world over suggest we build with our clients, colleagues and bosses. 

Instead, the kind of trust that’s under the glass here is self-trust.  Simply put, it is what you need to feel towards yourself to thrive in the world of work.  It’s that feeling when you make a decision, that it’s done and over with – no to-ing and fro-ing.  It’s done, finito.

Reaching that point is not easy – and for most doesn’t happen over night.  Admitedly, getting to the point where you make a decision and you don’t look back, is a challenge for most.  Yet the buck does not stop there.  That point is not an end in itself.  It is the process of reaching it that matters the most.


Because building self-trust is a process that requires self-awareness, simplification and cleansing – to name a few.  To begin with, it’s a matter of losing each and every layer that you have thrust upon yourself – in order to fend against the world.  Because there, beneath all your inhibitions, prejuidices, fears – lies your pure essence. You – unadulterated.  You – organic, grown locally and hand-picked. 

And that what you’re really made of – sans additives – is where your true wisdom lies. 

This is no airy-fairy statement.  My friend, it is how nature works.  The closer you come to your true essence, the more access you will have to your inner wisdom. Let me remind you that that wisdom has taken at the very least 3.2 million years to evolve.  It has been passed down to you, generation after generation since Lucy’s time – or maybe earlier.

And to think that this is effortless wisdom – you got the gift simply because you’re human.  Your dog didn’t get it – and forget about your pet fish.  Neither of them got the gift.  You lucky person – you!

You can relax because you don’t need to stand in line to claim your gift. Rather it’s a matter of taking a few deliberate measures and actions in your daily life. Here are the main ones:

  1. Take risks – and as important, learn from the outcomes.  Good or bad, everything leaves behind lessons for you to grow and learn.  It’s those lessons that you put under your belt that will increase your SELFtrust.
  2. Tune in to your feelings – situations either feel right or they feel wrong to your body.  Just as a kiss feels nice to your lips and hot water burns your skin, certain experiences feel right to your body – and others feels wrong.  Some things make you feel excited, others make you feel like you have a rock in your shoe.   Those feelings give you clues about your true essence.  And once you learn to feel your true essence, you have the opportunity (and choice) to honor it.  And that is one of the most powerful ways to build SELFtrust. 
  3. Pick the pattern – if you pay close attention, you follow a unique modus operandi.  Simply put, only you have your way of doing things.  And your way follows a certain pattern – or lets call it a theme.  Knowing what that is, gives you the choice to keep what’s working and to change what’s not.  Having that choice builds SELFtrust.  That said, do you know how and why you do things?  In other words, do you know what drives your choices and what stops you from taking action?  Start by asking yourself: What excites you? What are you drawn to? What scares you?  Can you pick the common denominator(s) in your choices?
  4. Decide – yes, it’s crunch time.  The most sustainable decisions, I’ve found, are the ones that I’ve made with both my head and my heart.   Even so, you need to take a stance – and to trust that decisions are neither right or wrong. They simply yield desirable or undesirable outcomes.

At the end of the day, whether you win or lose, come out on top or below, every outcome is part of your experience.  It makes part of your life’s story.    Besides, the race is long – and it’s only against yourself.

Now go on – and trust yourself.


Not sure what to think of the picture? Me neither – but thank you.

Safa el Blablablá

BlahBlahBlah(Post inspirado por la rima: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”) 

Desde hace un tiempo llevo molestándome cuando escucho a personas hablar usando términos negativos.  Me molesto tanto que en ocasiones he tenido el coraje de decirlo – en la forma más amigable posible. (o eso espero…)

Una de las frases mas comunes que escucho es “me muero por verte!”  Claro que se lo que quieren decir.  Aun así, me pregunto ¿porque la tendencia a usar términos tan negativos como lo son “me muero”, “muerta del cansancio” y “casi lo mato”?

Me pregunto ¿si será más constructivo describir con mas exactitud lo que estas sintiendo?  Por ejemplo, en el caso de estar feliz de ver a una persona (“matada de la dicha por verte”), que tal si lo dices tal cual: “estoy feliz de verte.”   Si sientes la necesidad de ser mas expresiva, que tal si dices algo como: “saber que te voy a ver me a puesto una sonrisa de lado a lado.” 

¿Te das cuenta como lo que estas sintiendo en realidad es lejos de la muerte – es mas bien vida?

¿Y porque tanta pedantería con el uso de las palabras? 

Para responderte, pon atención a como te sientes – tanto en tu mente como en tu cuerpo – cuando lees: ”Estoy muerta de la dicha!”  Y ahora pon atención en como te sientes – tanto en tu mente como en tu cuerpo – cuando lees: “Estoy tan tan feliz. que dicha!” 

Si hiciste bien el ejercicio, seguro te diste cuenta que la primera frase, aunque tiene una connotación positiva, te hace sentir cerrada – sin fluidez.  La segunda frase te ha debido hacer sentir abierta, entregada a la felicidad. De pronto hasta con ganas de pegar brinquitos. 

Entonces si día a día armas tus frases con palabras que te hacen sentir cerrada, pues terminaras cerrándote a la vida, e importantemente a las infinitas posibilidades que te ofrece.  Si en vez te enfocas, y armas tus frases con palabras que te hacen sentir abierta y con energia, en poco tiempo empezaras a sentir la abundancia de la vida.

Y si crees que esto es muy alternativo – y hasta apesta a Palo Santo – te invito a que pases aunque sea un día escogiendo palabras abiertas y más exactas.  Después decide si te quedas con las tuyas.

Aquí te doy unas pistas – sacadas de mi propia atención al detalle.  Mi intención es darte el regalo de las palabras. Con tu sola atención lograras cambiar las palabras que usas – y como consecuencia mejorar tu vida.  Al evitar usar términos negativos y buscar términos positivos, crearas bienestar.  Te doy mi palabra.

Ahora si, aquí va:

Safa: “Me muero de la dicha, emoción, felicidad etc…”

Quédate con: “Que dicha, emoción, felicidad…”

Safa: “Es un riesgo – por lo tanto no lo tomaré.”

Quédate con: “Es una oportunidad que vale la pena aprovechar.”  El riesgo más grande es no arriesgarse. Si no me crees, piensa en cuantas oportunidades pierdes cada vez que te quedas paralizada – sin arriesgar.

Safa: “Estoy muerta del cansancio.” ¿Muerta?  Lo más probable es que le sacaste el jugo a tu día y simplemente necesitas recargar tus pilas.  Así que…

Quédate con: “Trabajé duro hoy.  Estoy bastante cansada.  Se que voy a dormir muy bien.”

Safa: “Lo voy a matar.”  Usé una frase parecida para expresarme con colegas australianos, y note sus expresiones de sorpresa y susto.  Y si has tenido la oportunidad de convivir con personas de otras culturas, es posible que tu también te has dado cuenta que chistear acerca de matar a alguien no se usa – no es un chiste. Punto.

Quédate con: “Esa persona me saca de quicio.” O “que paciencia la que necesito para lidiar con ella.” 

Safa: “Brutalmente honesta.”

Quédate con: “Vitalmente honesta.” En realidad, al ponerle luz a las situaciones en tu vida, por medio de la honestidad, estas creando bienestar.  Así que el término ‘vitalmente’ es más acertado que ‘brutalmente’.

Safa: “Que nunca falte!”

Quédate con: “Que siempre sobre!”  Suelo decir esto cuando hago un brindis – o doy gracias por algo en mi vida.  En realidad lo que buscamos es abundancia, verdad?

Safa: “Tengo un problema.”

Quédate con: “Tengo un reto.”  Los problemas tienden a achicopalarnos. Siendo así nos roban la energía creativa.  En cambio los retos nos energizan ya que podemos asumirlos. 

Ahora si ¿ves como las palabras tienen el poder de cambiar tu perspectiva – y por asociación tus sentimientos y nivel de energía para tomar acción?  Entonces ¡safa el blablablá!

El Niño Dios eres tu…

Santa ClausSigo molesta por una situación que continua pasando en mi vida laboral. 

Desde hace un mes empezaron a llegarme cartas de nuestros socios comerciales, solicitando regalos para sus fiestas Navideñas.  Algunos piden licuadoras, otros tostadoras – y el mas atrevido me pidió una cámara digital (…si supiera que la mía la compre de segunda mano…) para sus empleados. 

¿Y por que estoy molesta?

Por que ¿acaso la Navidad no es un tiempo para compartir?

Siendo así, esta Navidad decidí multiplicar por diez el costo que incurriríamos dando estos regalos y en vez donar el equivalente en dispositivos médicos a fundaciones sin animo de lucro.

Se que una de las reglas cardenales de dar caridad es el anonimato.  Por lo menos eso fue lo que aprendí de mi familia.  Entonces ¿porque estoy promocionando las iniciativas caritativas de la compañía. 

Porque busco despertarle el Niño Dios a la comunidad. (y en ti también)

Mas que todo, busco que en el 2010 nuestros socios comerciales se monten en el tren de dar y de agradecer lo que ya tienen.

¿Será eso mucho pedir?


¿Que buena foto ah?  Gracias Hunter.

13 and counting…

Today, to celebrate my blog’s first anniversary,  I’m writing my 100th post.  It’s about my 13th job. 

That I’m up to job 13 means that I continue to stay faithful to my self-proclamation – as a strategic job hopper. 

I am now working as the commercial director at an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of medical supplies.

That said, rest assured that I will continue to blog – and to work on my book projects.  That’s another pact I’ve made with my readers.  I even have some inspiration to drive me through my back-to-back schedule as a writer and employee (and wife).   The other day I came across a CEO of a 50,000-large organization who blogs.  Logic tells me that if he can, well I can too. I say.  And it’s been 2 months since I’ve been keeping my pact – with you.  So far, so good…

In the spirit of keeping it real, here I answer questions I’d be asking about the change I’ve just made in my career.

How does it feel to be back on high heels and a business suit?  

As much as I loved my jeans/t-shirt & bare-footed existence (while I was writing full-time), I’m enjoying the change.  It feels kinda’ good to dress up.

Is my work-life still being guided by my reason for being?

Absolutely.  I would not have it any other way.

In addition to waking up every day as a writer with the vision to inspire and empower people to create, follow and  succeed on their own  path –  my vision as commercial director is:

To defend the safety of patients (yours and mine).

I’ll elaborate.

The OEM I work with is my family’s business.  For close to three decades this small giant has been manufacturing disposable medical supplies – like syringes and catheters.  Our company was born to produce high quality medical supplies – not a small feat in a Latin American country.  In fact we’re the only Latin American OEM supplying the market – the rest are multinationals. 

Why have I made it my vision to defend the safety of patients? 

At the risk of getting in trouble, I will share with you what I learned in my 60-day induction to the healthcare system in Colombia. 

After traveling around, visiting some of the largest hospitals and meeting with providers of health-care products (i.e. drug-store chains), it’s quite evident that most buying decisions are being made by administrators – not scientific commitees or nurses and doctors.  It’s obvious that the main driver is cost reduction, not quality or the improvemet of patient safety.  Priorities are inverted.  Product sterility and patient safety are often last on a long list of commercial priorities. 

As a manufacturing outfit, that for close to three decades has been following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and is certified by world-class regulatory bodies (ISO-9001-2001) – we know what it takes to manufacture high quality goods.  And this is where we differ from most of our competitors.  In other words, most lower cost products being used at hospitals and being sold at drugstores across the country, have not passed the test of our quality assurance laboratory. 

It’s these findings that set me on the path to defend the safety of patients. 

Simply put, if I, as a manufacturer don’t fight for patient safety, then who will? 

And that, my friend, is another fulfilling reason to wake up for everyday.

So was it nepotism the main reason behind my appointment at my family’s business?

Valid question – I’d be wondering that too if I were you. 

The answer is a resounding no.  

I pose the question on your behalf to share with every aspiring strategic job hopper the number one insight I’ve gained after more than a decade of hoping around jobs: (drum roll please…)

Every single job has a reason for being in your career. 

(Read that one more time – and make a mental note.)

Right now it may not be obvious to you what that is, but nonetheless, there a reason behind every experience.  Taking from my own path, not so long ago I discovered the reason behind my tour de force through the healthcare industry in Australia. 

Starting out, I had no idea that I would one day work in my family’s business.  That possibility was not a reality when I accepted my first, second, third or fourth job in the health-care industry in Australia.  On top of that, a decade ago when I moved to Sydney, Australia, I had no idea that years later I’d be coming back home.

The opportunity opened up a few months ago.  And because of my experience, because I endured stapling papers and stuffing envelopes as a marketing coordinator; waiting ad-infinitum in doctors’ offices as a medical sales representative; using my right brain to understand complex market data as a consultant; and finally (almost) giving blood as a national sales and marketing manager at a start-up malpractrice insurance company – I am now ready to cease this opportunity.  Which at times, I admit, feels like a dream come true.  Yes, I now feel that every single experience is an integral part of my career puzzle. (yes, even the time when my boss wrote me a memo for refusing to order a cab for another manager or the time when…) 

Yes reader, I have arrived. 

Being that I am now working with my family, does that mean that my job hopping days have come to an end?  Must I now remove ‘strategic job hopper’ from my blog’s heading? 

It’s hard to say – mostly because more than ever, I’m aware of my modus-operandi – and hence I’m open to the possibility that I will eventually seek out other opportunities.  Because…why not?

In line with my strategy, I am giving my current job my absolute best. That’s mostly because that’s how I know how to work.  It’s also because it is my family’s business. And lastly, it’s because I recognize that I have no idea what the future will bring.  That means that my professional track record is still on the line.  In fact, delivering results matters more now than it ever has. And more than ever, I feel prepared to deliver.

Will this blog be about strategic job-hopping?

Actually, it never has been.  Since day one, my writing,  has been  guided by my vision to inspire and empower people to create, follow and  succeed on their own path. 

While I strongly advocate strategic job-hopping, that is not the driver behind my writing. Inspiration and empowerment are.

That means that my posts will remain faithful to this vision.  Now they will benefit from my new experiences – as a commercial director in a Latin American country – with the perspective gained after more than two decades working, first in the US and then in Australia.

My advice to you:  stay tuned.  My blog has just grown up – it’s one year old!

Thank you all for your support during one of the most amazing years in my life.



A New Kind of Hero for a New Kind of World, Hero #12

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

Meet Rebecca.   Google her name and you will quickly learn that she’s a fellow strategic job hopper.  (long live!)

Her career started with a job in environmental consulting after she graduated from college with a BA in Interior Design and Environmental Studies. Then she worked at a nonprofit raising funds for several projects.  She strategically used that experience to apply – and be offered – the job as Executive Director at MAGNET – another nonprofit that since 2004 has been focused on identifying and retaining young talent in the Madison, Wisconsin area.  Looking for more national exposure, today Rebecca is part of the social media and marketing team over at Alice.com.  As their tag line goes: EVERYONE needs an Alice…NEVER run out of toilet paper (go see for yourself if you don’t believe me).  What da? National exposure  and start-up is the reason behind this job stop.  Rebecca also is the author behind the blog Modite.com.  That’s how we met – through the blogosphere, mainly because it’s so easy to read her blog for hours. 

That said, what drew me to her story is that above it all, Rebecca is a Gen Yer who’s quite vocal – and active in social media.   That’s because she’s one of those people who’s driven by the task of changing the world.  In her own words – taken from an interview over at Conversation Agent: “Generation Y wants to change the world. Not the environment. Not healthcare. Not education. Not poverty. Not racism. Not sexism. Not war. Not cancer. Not anything, really. Just the world. We want to change the world.”

Changing the world, that’s where Rebecca finds her career nirvana – that’s her reason for being.

And what is her contribution to this generational cause?

Risk taking. 

Looking to contribute – and in the end to lead an extraordinary life –  Rebecca has re-invented herself several times over. From working in consulting to the nonprofit sector, and now at a business start-up.  Being that I’m a firm believer that every single stop in our work-lives has a purpose – one that at times you may not be aware of, but it’s there for sure – it’s obvious that Rebecca is one to continue watching.  Her current stop in the business sector is just a launch-pad to something greater. 

World, just you watch!

In her words: “There was a moment each time I changed jobs that I was terrified. I kept thinking, ‘Who do you think you are? You are going to FAIL!’ It was awful. But then I remembered that failure is a better option than staying. That you should always be growing and challenging yourself. Otherwise, you settle. Settling is boring…. The main lesson I’ve learned is that life rewards risk-takers.”

Note to self: Next time that you find yourself sitting on the fence, ask yourself: “What does it mean to lead an extraordinary life?” Then start NOW.

Is there a method to Rebecca’s aparent career madness? You bet.

“I trust my intuition.”

Note to self:  Learn to listen and to trust yours.  Once you do, you will find that your intuition acts like a magnet for opportunnities.  Attracting into your life that what is meant to be – for your good and the greater good.  (this is not woo-woo – it’s the reason why you have gut feelings).

Take up more space

(Or Bold is beautiful)


It feels like long-nails sliding down a blackboard when I think about how some people go out of their way – way out – in order to not disturb others.  Yes, I cringe at the thought that there are some who tip-toe through life, hoping to make as little noise as possible, to be noticed as little as possible, asking for permission and apologizing. 


That said, I did not write this post to promote rudeness, loudness, or obnoxiousness.   It`s about turning on the volume on those who walk around with the mute button pressed. 


Taking up more space is about joining and contributing to the conversation. 


So how do you come into living out your full size?

  1. Develop your own opinion. (For the record, expressing your own opinion is not about being a contrarian for the sport of it.)  You may find that you agree with others a lot of the time.  But please arrive at that conclusion AFTER thinking things through. Learn to use your own filters.  Trust them.
  2. Speak up.  Learn to share your thoughts and opinions in a non-threatening way.  A successful entrepreneur said to me once: “the truth is not contained inside a single point of view – it’s the sum of multiple opinions.” Contribute to the truth.
  3. Ask for forgiveness (only if it’s absolutely necessary).  Next time that you feel tempted to ask for permission to do something, STOP.  Ask yourself if you`re doing so out of politeness or fear.  If it`s the latter, take action.  If later on you find out that your actions trespassed someone else`s space, make it a point to learn from the experience.
  4. Seek to live your own truth. When you express your needs and defend your limits, you`re making way for an honest exchange with those around you.  Communicating to others where you stand, makes way for collaboration. 
  5. Say that you`re sorry once…once.  Saying sorry ad nauseum is not polite.  It`s annoying.  When you make a mistake, take ownership (apologize if it`s absolutely called for), and for everyone’s sake, move on – and pronto!
  6. Drop self-imposed grudges.  When you assume that others know what`s on your mind, particularly when it comes to your needs, you`re risking not getting your needs met.  Then does it make sense to hold a grudge towards someone because you feel they have not given you what you want – when in the first place you have not been clear about your needs? 
  7. Walk down the middle.  (Do so symbolically and literally)  When you walk into a room, even if you don`t think so, pretend that your presence is necessary.  Let others know that you arrived.  Walk down the middle – and introduce yourself.

So go on, spread out.  Be bold and beautiful.


Photo credit: Peterastn

A New Kind of Hero for a New Kind of World, Career Hero #10

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

Meet Henry*.

A man with a mind that’s sharp as a diamond and the endurance of a tri-athlete. If you ever meet him face-to-face, you’ll notice that he speaks at a million words a minute – just imagine the speed of his thoughts. Henry is also quite impatient and demanding – but mostly with himself.

Yet as bright, talented and disciplined as Henry is, it was only until his mid-thirties, after moving up the ladder in the Australian financial sector, then test-driving a string of jobs in the sporting industry, and in between starting & stopping two university degrees (Business and Psychology) that he feels he has finally found his career Nirvana in the healthcare sector.

Today, Henry is a fifth year medical student in Newcastle – a town a few hours outside of Sydney, Australia. In his own words: “I am not a working doctor yet but I am around the hospital a lot, both as a student and in my part-time job in an emergency department, where I have worked for nearly two years. I feel far more at home in the (medical) field than I did in finance…Medicine offers me things that finance and sales can’t – ever.” When I spoke with him a few weeks ago, he told me that he’s considering specializing in anesthesiology or intensive care.

Sure, with such a checkered path, riddled with stop & go’s, it’s tempting to pin him down as a quitter. Also it’s hard to wonder if this time he’ll stick around long-term.

Yet I decided to give him a chance. And found that his actions are more in line with someone who’s determined to find his reason for being at any cost. I also found that he fits more the profile of a superhuman. Intensity is his modus operandi – not quitting.

Note to self: Give yourself time to search where your passion lies. That time is an investment in yourself, not a waste.

Then why did Henry go through so much trial-and-error before finding his career Nirvana?

Simply put, Henry suffers from having too many choices – mostly because he’s great at many things. In his words: “I guess the pattern here was quitting not because I was not doing…well but because I had other things to do! …In some ways, having too many choices is a burden. It can make it hard to choose something!…”

Henry’s search started at 16 when after attending an air-show, he became passionate about flying. Soon after, he enrolled in flying school and through part-time work as a bank-teller, he paid for his flying license. In his words: “At the end of childhood I probably saw myself being a professional pilot, either military or commercial.”

That changed when he wound up in the futures division at one of Australia’s major finance corporations, Macquarie Bank. This was a case of Henry being too smart for his own good. While looking for work after high-school, to continue to pay for his pilot’s license, he applied for a bank-teller job. After testing and interviewing exceptionally well, instead he was offered a much better (and higher paying) role in the futures division. From there he worked his way up to the metals trading floor, trading a principal book. In his words:”It was a sought after job, in a big money making division in the bank, and it was an exciting time.”

During the decade that he worked in the financial industry, Henry was making enough money to live comfortably in Sydney – one of the world’s most expensive cities. He was also able to fund an eight-year stint competing in triathlons, which included completing three Ironman distance races.

Reading how he describes this time in his life makes my legs cramp-up. “On paper, it is an insane thing to do, and looking back I don’t know how I did all the training – up to 25 hours a week on top of about a 45 to 50 hour job. But it was very important to my self-confidence, starting a new sport at age 20 and then finding out I was reasonably good at it and then doing races that most people look at and think just aren’t achievable. Big confidence booster for me.” I believe him. I once met one of his training buddies – an outstanding athlete himself. He told me that Henry is one of those gifted athletes who’s effortlessly great at what he does. At least to an outisder, it looks that way.

Note to self: Have healthy self-esteem, will succeed. Have you performed a health-check on your self-esteem lately?

In spite of his financial success and achievements in the financial sector, something did not feel quite right for Henry. He describes it as being in a ‘career crisis’. In his words: “(At one point)…I got really depressed, which is when I KNEW there was no way I could stay in finance. I knew I was in the wrong place for several reasons. I looked up the ladder and didn’t see a lot to inspire me….The work didn’t inspire me. I got a little way on ability alone, but there comes a point when you really need to work hard and have your heart in what you are doing, to get anywhere – and clearly I didn’t.”

At that point Henry knew that he had to change, if only he could work out what to do next. In search for answers, he worked in a string of jobs that for the most part were related to one his passions – sports. This was also when he started (and stopped) a Psychology degree.

Note to self: Be open to trying different things. After all isn’t it insane to expect different outcomes while doing the same thing over and over and over again?!

His career ‘aha moment’ came quite randomly after he convinced a group of friends to buy a painting for another friend as a surprise for her birthday. As he wrote to me: ”She had no idea until we gave it to her…When she opened it she burst into tears of gratitude. It was a really powerful experience and it made me think a lot. Being able to make a difference in people’s lives is a really special thing, and tremendously gratifying.” In his typical snappy way he continues: “I am not silly enough to think that moments like that will happen every day. In fact, a lot of people you run into in health are not remotely grateful. But when you do something well and help somebody in a lot of pain, or otherwise unwell, it is a great way to be able to spend your days.”

This is all well and good on paper, but in practice how was Henry able to find the courage to take the leap and embark in a five year degree – in a career where it will take him close to 20 years to match his pay check in the financial industry?

In his words: “The thought of going back to university (a.k.a uni in Aussie-speak) for five years was a big draw back, but for some reason, it seemed easier the longer my ‘career crisis’ went on. My dad’s partner is a doctor and she also started in her 30s, so that was inspiring.”

Note to self: What would you rather endure? The steps to get where you want to? Or your current misery?

As determined as he is, he admits that he spent too much time bumming around and waiting for something to happen. In his words: “It doesn’t just happen. I drifted along for a very long time, taking the path of least resistance. “

Note to self: What are you waiting for? A pie to fall from the sky?

*Name changed for privacy reasons.

Photo credit: www.socius.or.kr