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In Part One, you learned about how Alexander Rodriguez, a guy known on the party circuit in Miami remade himself, first by going to law school, then Harvard and then tackled the fintech world.
How did he do it?
In Part Two, I take a closer look at the inner work Rodriguez did to make his pretty lofty goals come true.
SOMETHING FROM NOTHING
“To make something out of nothing.”
That’s how Alexander Rodriguez always thought of entrepreneurship.
The nightclub world fascinated him growing up. It led him to become a blogger on the party scene in Miami at the age of 16.
The blog became so big that, at one time, he had more than 50 independent contractors working for him.
The party life also helped him cope with his stutter. But he also worked on improving himself on the inside.
THE GO-TO BOOK
There’s one book that, for years, has served as his business bible because it’s kept him focused on pursuing challenging goals, like going to law school and then earning a Master's degree in finance from Harvard.
“I’ll, on a consistent basis, listen to audio that helps reinforce my drive. I’m a big believer and a big follower of Think and Grow Rich [by Napoleon Hill].”
Rodriguez says he’s been following Hill’s teachings since he was 16 years old.
“And whenever I’m in between businesses [or] in between projects, I’ll listen to the audiobooks [and their] lessons. I’ll do writing on it on a consistent basis. And, over time, that helps to water my drive for something more.”
He has also allied himself with people who felt the same drive.
THE SEARCH FOR MORE
“I’ve had some great friendships with people [who have]… been on similar journeys since we were kids, like always searching for more, more and more.”
Rodriguez is also thankful that, as someone with Cuban roots, that he grew up in Miami.
“I don’t know how it is now. But back then… being Hispanic [in Miami] wasn’t considered [being a] “minority”… You don’t have the same inferiority complex that exists when you’re, you know, Hispanic in another state.”
I’M DIFFERENT? YEAH, I’M DIFFERENT!
It wasn't until he was 18 years old that he realized he was being treated differently because he was Hispanic. That's when Rodriguez says he was followed around in a store by one of the store's employees.
“And then I looked in a mirror, and I looked around me. And I was, like, wait a minute. I look very different than everybody else. And then that’s when it first hit me… I’m not white. I’m Hispanic… I was never forced to differentiate between both.”
But, one day, when he was in Boston, he had an epiphany. He realized, it could work to his advantage.
Rodriguez went from thinking, “Wait a minute. I’m the only Hispanic in this room - this is very intimidating - to, wait a minute, I’m the ONLY Hispanic in this room. This is actually an opportunity. So I just ran with it.”
ALLIES, NOT ENEMIES
He decided the best strategy to adopt was to build consensus, not opposition, particularly when he became president of the Massachusetts Association for Hispanic Attorneys (MAHA).
“These law firms want to work with us because they want their clients to be happy. The law [firm's] clients want to know that diversity and inclusion is important for these law firms. So, let’s work with them. Let’s find allies!”
He says that approach made all the difference in the world.
“Because my tone was more, ‘Let’s form partnerships, instead of… let’s blame each other’, I feel that that helped to… promote an environment of collaboration between non-Hispanic allies and Hispanic groups.”
FINDING MEANING THROUGH MENTORSHIPS
Rodriguez says he really benefited from having a mentor who was also Hispanic, Rogelio “Roy” Carrasquillo.
“He would take me on a lot of his business development trips to teach me how to do business development.”
More than that, the opportunity to be around other Latino attorneys helped him find his footing in the corporate world. It helped him figure things out like the following:
“Should I wear a suit?”
“How should I look as a lawyer?”
“Should I be myself?”
“I know that I’m a fun person. But… how fun should I be?”
This exposure helped Rodriguez find balance.
Going on outings with older Hispanic attorneys from The Hispanic National Bar Association also helped him build up his confidence.
“Culturally, they’re just like me. They look like me. They may have some differences… They helped me feel comfortable in my own skin.”
LOSSES ALONG THE WAY
Rodriguez has lost some things along the way.
“I have lost things in common with a lot of friends because I’ve had a lot of growth... The byproduct of that growth has been a changed mindset.”
Part of that changed mindset involves his attitude towards drinking. Rodriguez says he hasn’t had a drink in ten years.
ON THE INSIDE
It doesn’t mean he’s lost his love of entertainment, though. He says he’s always kept a hand in entertainment. “Just because, culturally, it’s something I enjoy. It’s like sports for me.”
In the end, Rodriguez believes the time he’s spent working on himself as a person has been the key to himself as an entrepreneur.
“What works for me as an entrepreneur is a lot of inside work. So I always suggest that inside work to other entrepreneurs, as well, because it’s helpful. I mean, worst-case scenario, you learn about yourself. Because, ultimately, your business is a reflection of yourself.”
THE TIP JAR (tips passed out courtesy of Alexander Rodriguez, Esq.)
He recommends the Think and Grow Rich playlist on Spotify. “But it’s actually, I think, 17 lessons. And it's from his [Napoleon Hill's] teaching course, Your Right to be Rich… I listen to that… And I know that sounds corny, but it helps. It helps to get you into that mindset.”
STEEPED IN SKILLS:
“It would be helpful to look at other start-ups in the space..."
Rodriguez says it helps you “… see how other people are innovating. And then form your own path to help stimulate your mind to form your own path to innovation, as well.”
“Another book that’s helpful for mid-career but, more importantly, late-stage career people, would be The E-Myth: [Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It].”
It’s by Michael E. Gerber. Rodriguez says it shows you “how to have a healthy dose of both being a practitioner or a technician - and being a manager, as well.”
I’LL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN:
“My failures have been the biggest… growth moments for me... So, I, for one, like when I fail. Or I hit moments that it feels like I’ve failed, or I’ve done something wrong. Because I know that the low moment usually comes with a seed of equivalent benefit. So this is straight from Napoleon Hill’s teachings.”
BEST ADVICE FROM “LA CASA”/BEST “HOUSE” ADVICE:
“You never know the hats that people wear, and the way that people are helping others. And that taught me the skillset of… being able to relate to everybody.”
Rodriguez says his father taught him that valuable skill.
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE...because we can all use a helping hand:
The Art of Reinvention
In today’s world, to do well or just survive in business, you have to be nimble and know how to adapt. In this FREE webinar, you’ll find out what you need to do to make sure you’re ready for change and ready to reinvent yourself as the world changes. Here are more details:
The SBDC (Small Business Development Center) at FIU (Florida International University)
"Business Reinvention Kit"
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
1:00 p.m. EST – 2:00 p.m. EST
WORKING ON THE INSIDE...because we know our culture has a hard time asking for help:
We all know stress is bad. But what are effective ways of managing it? And how do we find that proverbial “work-life balance?”
This webinar will not only explain how stress can affect you, but it will arm you with strategies for dealing with stress and improving work-life balance.
The discussion will be led by Dr. Michele Haley, an expert on mental health.
Miami Dade Chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
“Increase Your Work-Life Balance”
Thursday, February 24, 2022
1:00 p.m. EST – 2:00 p.m. EST
INSPIRATION FOR THIS ISSUE:
How many times have you read a book or heard a motivational speech and thought it would change your life?
How long does that feeling last?
I know. We’ve all been there.
For some of us, it happens often.
As I get older, I really believe consistency – in saving money, in exercising, in improving yourself - is the key.
Of course, maintaining that consistency and momentum is the hard part. There are so many distractions!
Some people use vision boards to stay on track. Others rely on affirmations to stay positive and stay focused. We all have different triggers and motivators we respond to in our lives.
Alexander Rodriguez has intentionally gone after big goals. That’s why I wanted to know what worked for him.
As many of us learn, it boils down to discipline and doing the hard work on the inside. Consistently.
It’s uncomfortable to admit our shortcomings. It’s even harder to correct them.
But, as Rodriguez has shown, the growth and awareness you achieve as a person, learning about yourself, can be truly valuable.
So, even though I read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich many years ago, I don’t know, maybe it’s time for me to pick up that book again.
🌴I'd love to know your favorite motivational book. Share it in the comments section. Don't forget to share this article, too (share button is at the top)
🌴 And thank you for spending a little bit of your time with me. I'm grateful.