Mark Zuckerberg - Vulnerability and Honesty as signs of growth

I just watched Mark Zuckerberg's interview following the Cambridge Analytica data incident and it really struck me how much he has grown as a Leader. 

The growth I am referring to has nothing to do with the external facing confidence that comes from great success and a boosted ego, its internal facing, truthful, vulnerable and honest. 

I don't like Facebook, I don't use it, I don't like what it stands for and I don't like the principles behind the product. It was fascinating to see that as its Founder matures, his vision of what the product should stand for appears to be changing as well. 

During the interview he mentioned that he felt that having the greatest positive impact across the word was the most important thing to him, this translated in the way the product was built. 

I am hoping that as his view of what having a positive impact in the World changes, so will the product and what it stands for.

Your poison is your secret

Today as I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk's daily vlog (highly recommend),  I heard him say something that really resonated with me in different levels, something that has been a theme  in my past past and that is currently affecting a very important person in my life. This post is dedicated to her and everyone else going through similar circumstances. 

Everyone has or has had secrets in their lives, what we often fail to understand is how debilitating they can be to us, how destructive and toxic they become to ourselves and everyone around us. 

A secret is an underlying idea that if something is known we will no longer be worthy of respect, friendship or love. It grows like a cancer; the longer it remains buried and unchallenged the more it will contaminate everything around it like a virus that is constantly multiplying, unchallenged.

It devours any positive feeling it finds on its way, with  its unstoppable merciless drive it will reduce hope and dreams to ashes. 

Whatever is hidden will always influence what is in the light, until its also darkness. This cycle will never end until we realise the very simple fact that life is too short to live in shame and worried about judgement. 

Most of what we hide are mistakes, things we have done in the past, things that we believe are not in line with who we want to be, so we bury them, pretend they did not happen, lie about them. 

I have done this myself, it nearly destroyed me, it stopped any progress I was making in my professional life, created havoc in my personal relationships because it perpetuated a state that I felt trapped in, an emotional trap that dictated the way I thought and created limitations in mind, mental blockers telling me that whatever mistakes I did were perpetual and would prevent me from ever being successful, it planted this idea in my mind that I would never be happy, that I did not deserve happiness. 

If anyone ever found out or knew who you really were, your life would be over.

In the end, it the above was nearly true, but not because of what others thought of me or my shame, but because of what I ultimately condemned myself, of what I reduced myself too.

If you are facing something like this, I have a few words of advice for you:

  • Face whatever mistakes you have done head on, write them in a piece of paper, 
  • Surface your mistakes, make them known, to yourself and others,
  • Forgive: If your mistake affected other peoples lives, seek forgiveness, but don't expect it. Not everyone has forgiveness in their hearts, remember that this is not a problem for you to solve. Forgive yourself, after having faced the consequences of your actions, its time to seek forgiveness from the most important person of all: yourself. 
  • Learn: Make sure you have learned from whatever brought you to this place. Make sure you understand the root of the problem, most of the time the mistakes we are deeply ashamed about are only symptoms of something deeper underlying, this is what needs to be learned, faced resolved, 
  • Move on: Yes, move on. This means.. literally.. move on! It is no longer your reality.
Someones opinion of you does not need to become your reality.

Les Brown

Life is short, you are going to die, soon, never forget it, live your life, be the best you can be, there is nowhere to hide from yourself.

p.s. people care a lot less about your mistakes than you think, in fact most people don't really care too much about anything at all, trust me on this. More than a Make-over just got a make-over. Actually, its more than a make-over, we have changed the way we operate, the way we see ourselves and the value we give to our customers. 

One of the key changes we have done is the addition of our products section. While in the past we focused a lot in the services that we provide, now we have added a set of technological solutions that we provide to our customers. 

We have put out heart and soul into these products, they were built with a pure intention of making things better: We want to make it easer to buy and sell cars in the industries we are in. We want to do this by providing trust, transparency, good prices and a world class user experience. 

Yes, revenue is important to us but this is not what drove us to build these products. Revenue is a consequence of a strategy that is based on a pure intention to make things better.

Its my fault

A few days ago a very talented member of my staff reached out to me in a very disconcerted way saying that she made a big mistake that could impact a very important ongoing project. 

She chose to place emphasis on the fact that the mistake was hers and hers alone. She also made a deliberate decision not to point fingers at her team, external circumstances or anything beyond herself. 

The truth was that I was pushing for a very tight deadline, and mistakes are inevitable. In fact if we are not making mistakes it probably means we re not pushing hard enough.

What I heard from my staff:

  • I am aware of the mistake,
  • I have taken ownership of it,
  • I know what to do to fix it,
  • I am already fixing it,
  • I have learned from it.

The outcome: A few hours later the error was fixed and the innovative product she and her team had been working on was launched to the market successfully. 

Check it out here:

Monday Focus: Drive over Talent

A question I often get asked by recruiters and professionals is what are the most important traits I look for in candidates.

Independently on what the role is, basic technical competency is imperative. If a candidate is applying for an engineering role, the candidate must be an actual engineer, he or she needs to be able to demonstrate the experience stated in the resume seamlessly without any preparation or brief beforehand. 

Beyond this, to me, the most important thing comes down to the drive and how badly the candidate wants to succeed and contribute in his or her role. This is where I feel the market is severely lacking, there is not necessarily a shortage in talent in IT, there is however a severe shortage in people with the type of drive and desire to contribute that is needed to breed long term sustainable success in an organisation. 

Wanting to do a good job and willing to put in the hard work to achieve collective success is the single most important trait a candidate can have.

Ultimately this factor is what separates a great team member from someone who relies and usually holds on to something they have that is meaningless when not shared: Talent holds no value when not applied to collective goals.