A Guide To Working With Thought Leaders
Contrary to the common belief, it’s actually still possible to come from a humble background and pursue greatness. I was raised by a loving family in a small town on the west coast of Spain. At 18, I moved to the UK to pursue a career in engineering and design. Now in my 20s, I’m starting a new chapter designing engaging enterprise software for some of the largest corporations in the world.
Along the way, I’ve been able to accelerate my career by joining many entrepreneurial societies, being part of mission-driven fellowships, living in different countries and working for fast-growing startups. Above all that, though, what’s made the biggest difference for me and my career are the relationships that I’ve built, especially those with some extraordinary mentors.
Coming from a place where people are genetically engineered for good living, where the savory vino leads to short breaks between siestas and fiestas, it was imperative for me to seek new experiences and opportunities abroad. Because what’s the worst that can happen? Coming back home with my tail between my legs to a family that would welcome me with open arms didn’t sound all that bad. After all, as Dale Carnegie says, “First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.”
Taking risks and pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone has become a good rule for me to live by. Most of us are afraid to get out of our own way, but like many of us, I understood from a young age that throughout my life, and to follow a path to greatness, I was always going to be my own biggest challenge. As Hunter S. Thompson says: “Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things ... the floating or the swimming.”
Besides taking risks and pushing myself, I’ve also always had the desire to help those around me. While helping others is good for the soul, it’s not just about altruistic acts of good faith, there are many rewards that stem from helping people around you. Leading with generosity is a mantra practiced by my mentor, Keith Ferrazzi, that has returned enormous dividends for him throughout his life and after adopting it, I am also seeing results.
Don’t ever be afraid to share your thoughts and ideas with others, regardless of where they, and you, are in the hierarchy. The best way to prove you have something of value to share is to share it. That’s true whether you’re just getting started or you’re an established leader in your field. Throughout my career, I’ve been bold, or naïve, enough to voice my point of view, whether it was about making critical decisions or trivial issues.
I’ve had the privilege of being in many rooms with great leaders who have given me the opportunity to be a part of their discussions. Although I’ve constantly questioned my value in those rooms, I’ve come to understand that while I might not always see what I can contribute, they do.
With all I've been able to put together through ambition, drive and sheer "chutzpah" I thought I could share some tips and ideas with others. I hope this, like other essays, will serve you as a reference to help you learn from my mistakes and challenges as well as to allow you to keep thinking younger and acting smarter so you can keep learning from the best while not getting lost.