on this episode
Once you’ve decided to make a career change, there are a lot of things to consider, and possibly several roadblocks and mental barriers to overcome. Often, people allow their own fears to stand in the way to make that change. You know that you want to change – or NEED to change – but you don’t see how you can actually pivot to where you want to go.
Over the years of working with people, it’s been proven that the hard work, the endless days and sleepless nights, and the energy it took to put in the work to make a successful transition in their career is worth it in the end.
What you’ll learn
- How to get out of your own way when faced with needing to make a change.
- The importance of identifying your signature strengths.
- Why you need to evaluate your values, wants, and needs.
- How to actually reach out to the right organizations (to get a response).
I stumbled across HTYC through an article and it gave me hope again. After a Strengths Finder review session with your career coach and the Figure Out What Fits course, I've finally admitted to myself what I really want to do, what I really want out of life, and have made a decision.
It’s a lot of self-reflection and honesty and looking at things differently and being willing to be open to what our inner self is truly saying instead of what everyone says it should be.
Get the Full Backstory
I can't thank Happen to Your Career enough for giving me all the tools and resources I needed to understand my strengths and help define how those can best be used within my company.
Get the Full Backstory
I’ve been offered the job! It was great having the opportunity to speak with you prior to my interview. It enabled me to highlight my strengths as part of the conversation and I was able to be clear about my enthusiasm for opportunities to be proactive versus reactive. I also highlighted my desire to provide positive individual experiences. Our discussion not only assisted me in the interview but it also helped to increase my confidence!
Get the Full Backstory
Cesar Ponce de Leon 00:01
One of my biggest fears at that moment was that I've been working in the legal industry for such a long period of time, eight years of my life, I invested in this to not do it anymore. You know what, I wasted eight years. How am I going to transition to a new career when I have no experience in that career? How am I going to switch into a new job opportunity or even industry when there is really nothing to give?
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.
Scott Anthony Barlow 01:00
Once you've decided to make a career change, that's really just the first step. Because after that, you're going to have so many things to consider. It feels overwhelming to try to narrow down the work that you want to be doing and where you want to go. But the fact that you're going to run into many roadblocks, mental barriers, what we call setbacks, and even walls along the way of different types, well, a lot of people get to this point, and then they allow their own fears to stand in the way of making the change that they really wanted. And you know, that at this point, you need to change, and maybe you know where you want to go, but you don't see how you can actually take the necessary steps to get there. After working with people for years, we've proven that the hard work, the endless days, sometimes sleepless nights, and the energy that it took to make a successful transition in their career is worth it at the end.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 02:00
I used to work in the legal industry. And now I work in that nonprofit industry. I work for a large nonprofit company that helps people change in their lives. So that is what I do now.
Scott Anthony Barlow 02:10
And this is going to be a super fun episode, because Cesar was struggling in a not very fun place for quite a while. And he knew that he wanted to make a change. And he was Uber-frustrated. So he actually invited us to come along for the ride, because he knew that he needed help. So you're gonna get to hear his story today. But he did a few things that were particularly amazing, and also that you can do too. And I wanted to be able to share his journey with you. And he was so gracious to be able to come on and share it with you at the exact same time. Because I think that there's a lot that we can all learn from other people that have just gone through the process of where many, many of you that are listening, many HTYCers out there want to be. Alright, here he is, right here.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 02:59
I mean, there were ups and downs. And obviously, before changing the organization, I was in the legal industry for eight years. I was a paralegal, wanted to go to law school, and then realized that's not what I wanted to do. And then the question came up, what is it that I need to do? And obviously, in that process, you know, sometimes you just think, "Oh, I'm gonna just rock the world." But when you realize that is not easy, and that you need help, that's when you start looking for help. And that's exactly what I've done. That's how I landed into HTYC.
Scott Anthony Barlow 03:26
Yeah, absolutely. And we'll definitely talk about that, too. I'm super curious, though. You mentioned law school, and I knew that about your past. But what caused you to realize that law school was not going to be good for you?
Cesar Ponce de Leon 03:39
For me, it was more than likely intentions, because, first and foremost, to understand, you know, what got me there, I guess we need to go through the beginnings of...
Scott Anthony Barlow 03:46
Let's go through the beginnings. Let's do it.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 03:49
So I landed at this job because I needed cash.
Scott Anthony Barlow 03:54
Verifiable reason. Yeah.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 03:55
I started as a legal assistant firm, and then after that, I moved up to paralegal. And after being a paralegal, I went to office management. Okay, and obviously, as I told you a few seconds ago, the reason why I took the job is because I needed the money to really pay my bills. And that's how I landed in the legal industry. And for the first month obviously, it was a struggle because you're learning everything, you know, from just doing intakes, right, to just doing a whole variety of things. And that is exactly what I've done. And obviously, it was hard. In my mindset, I thought I needed to persist, because quitting was not an option for me. And once I have learned all of the duties required by my position, I saw something pretty interesting that my boss was making lots of money. He was successful, and powerful. You know, just the fact that you tell somebody, "Hey I'm a lawyer." People automatically respect you, you know, it's like you earn people's respect. And I've seen that and I kind of crave that at that moment, particularly.
Scott Anthony Barlow 04:55
Yeah, isn't that funny, though, we have so many associations with different types of titles, or opportunities or positions or anything like that. And lawyers, to your point, definitely one of them. And what's kind of cool, though, is that you realize that part of it was something that you craved in that moment. So why do you think that was for you?
Cesar Ponce de Leon 05:13
I don't know. I mean, I guess it was the fact that I wanted to, at that point in my life, okay, as I was growing up, yeah, I always wanted people to, you know, respect me. And to know that if I went somewhere, or did something that the lawyer title was going to come out, and people are automatically going to be like, "okay, now we have to bill."
Scott Anthony Barlow 05:31
Lawyer has entered the room.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 05:33
Absolutely. So that was kind of like the equation part of it, you know, at the moment, and then obviously, as people also picture, I think it happens to a lot of law school students. And by the way, I don't want to over generalize here, but I believe that with some Law School students, they see, you know, the Hollywood side of law, you know, that you're going to go in, and you're going to have this huge case. But when they come to the reality of what the legal job, that the position may look like, they're like, "whoa," you know, I didn't know that's what it was, you know? And at least for my position, I was attracted to the power, the security that comes out of the position, which were attracted to the at the moment. But what led to the change, I guess, just to say, you know, is it really for me, I believe that I think it was my third year in law firm, once I actually got a hold of everything. And I moved back into my role. I guess at that point, I was transitioning from college to the university. And something interesting happened in my life. And that was, I found my faith in God, which that kind of changed my perspective on seeing things, you know, and even my motives, to pursue law, I decided to get a degree in religious studies so that as I were going to law school, you know, I will get a liberal arts degree, to be able to go into law school and what happened, but in that process of studying religion, and just to understand my faith, my values and all of that, I realized "No, is law something really worth pursuing for? Like, if my motives were power before, and chasing high financials, can I do it only with law?" I guess what my major, kind of, helped me realize it at the moment is that law may not be for me, it helped me change my view on values.
Scott Anthony Barlow 07:13
Interesting. In what way? I'm super curious about that. Because values are something we spent a lot of time discussing here on the show, but also with our students and clients. And I know you know that, but what caused for you some of the change and how you were looking at values?
Cesar Ponce de Leon 07:27
I guess the changing factor for me was that, first and foremost, I didn't really have an understanding of values until that moment, which I look at some of the basics, and then HTYC reinforced the process. You know what I'm saying?
Scott Anthony Barlow 07:40
Cesar Ponce de Leon 07:41
I thought that devalues were always the same. I thought that there were a standard that I had to follow at the moment. And for instance, everybody craves for power. Everybody craves with this. And because everybody craves for those things, I should look for them, you know. But when I really came to the realization of studying theology, and doing my religious studies, I started asking, "Who am I?" That's the question, you know, who am I? What is it that really valued reality? Because, am I just looking or chasing for something that is completely false, or completely something that may align to other people's values, but not with mine, you know, or with my core being. And so that was something that I kind of realized. And then obviously, in that process of realizing things, and just understanding the 'Who am I' part of me, I continue to do it. And I was going through a lot of difficult times too, working at a law firm, which, one of them was, I was always fighting with industries to get great results for the client. And a lot of the fights were the first three years you kind of get the energy, but after a long time, your energy, just take it as it used to. And then secondly, I guess, part of my big issue is that you work so hard to get good results, right? As you're in the front lines. But your clients were unhappy with the results that you get.
Scott Anthony Barlow 08:56
Yeah, I remember talking to you about that, too. And for you, if I recall correctly, in the way that you had identified, you needed to be able to help people, you had to have some of that positive reinforcement in a variety of different ways, or that positive type of feedback for it to be truly fulfilling for you. So it, kind of, like mashed oil and water a little bit.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 09:18
Yeah, what happens is, you know, like, even we know with the thing of going to law school, I envision disease or pretty much speaking to people, you know, arguing for the case, and just going for it, you know what I'm saying? Later on I realize that helping people is something that I want to do, right, but I want to actually help people change positively for the better. You know what I'm saying as opposed to a legal issue going through, you know, the legal process to be able to solve that issue, I want to be able to help people in order way, which I think is what I'm good at, which is to influence people, encourage them, helping them grow. And I realized that as a result of the why question that I had with myself at that moment, because obviously, if I work to chase money and power, and those things that, they are not bad in and of itself, I mean, we all need security, we'll need some self of knowledge, we have to not be naive about things. But if you paid and you tied those things, and you are not even sure that they fit with what you really value, then you're chasing the wrong things. And that's what happens to a lot of people in America.
Scott Anthony Barlow 10:24
What you were saying about values is super interesting to me, partially, because I'm embedded in this stuff every single day. And we spend a lot of time teaching this stuff. However, it's interesting to see it in action. And it's most interesting, where you kind of made this progression, almost, where initially, you're looking at, hey, here's what everybody else is doing. And obviously, everybody wants these things. So we think that everybody wants these things. So we should be doing it too, right? So you kind of went from that point, and that's part of the reason why you were initially interested in law school, and by the way, some people, like, never get to that level of honesty with themselves their entire life. So first of all, kudos to you. And then second of all, after you made that mental transition, and started looking at, hey, here's some of the ways that I want to help people, here's what's really incredibly important to me. And here's what lines up with my values. I'm curious what you began doing after that point. How did that change your daily life after you had some of those realizations?
Cesar Ponce de Leon 11:28
Well, for me, again, just weighing the pros and cons of deciding what was really making me happy at the moment, oh, and I realized that at the law firm, I was not as happy. I was fighting all the time, it was a lot of toxicity, you know, just getting good clients that were ungrateful for the hard work that you've done for them. And I was doing a lot of case auditing and case management, which was okay to me at some point. But it was not how I wanted to help people. The legal part of it, it's amazing, because you help people through it, you know what I'm saying? But I guess when I came to the realization that, why did I really want to, when I was honest with myself, and realized that maybe it wasn't too much of the power, maybe it wasn't too much of the money, but it wasn't the influence. And then I came to realize, okay, how do I want to influence now? Is it at the courtroom, fighting for cases and defending clients and what have you, or with something that I'm great at, and that's where HTYC came, so helpful to me, because it kind of helped me define what my strengths, what I'm good at. And not just that, you know, because obviously, HTYC, you know, kind of gives you the platform for it. But I also went out and seek out for confirmations for other people, which it came to the point that those were my strengths. And now I don't know what the true North Point looks like. I don't know what it is, I kind of know what it looks like.
Scott Anthony Barlow 12:48
Yeah, and for a little bit of reference too, for everyone that's listening, first of all, that's awesome. And second of all, what you mentioned there is, one of the things that we'll often have people do through the career change bootcamp program, where you're actually going out and seeking out some of those validations. And we have people do that in some really specific ways. But, and it sounds like you were hearing back and getting those types of validations about your strengths and what you were great at from other people. Is that right?
Cesar Ponce de Leon 13:18
Yeah, yeah, that's what it was, you know, obviously, people were saying, "hey, you're this, you're that, you know, these are your strengths, you're very good with this." And then I was like, whoa. It's crazy because obviously, without them telling them what the process was with HTYC, I was like, I got those planned. And it was amazing to just hear those confirmations from others. But this is at the level of HTYC after I made the decision to get to HTYC. But before that, I kind of knew that my thing was influencing, okay. And then you know, weighing the pros and cons of continuing in the law firm. I said, "You know what, I'm going to move on" because obviously, I came to the realization that love may not be exactly for me. And after that, obviously, I did some research on personality tests. I think I took them all.
Scott Anthony Barlow 14:07
I remember you emailing me and saying that, like, "I think I've taken all of these."
Cesar Ponce de Leon 14:11
Some people may not your audience, I went through, like, Myers Briggs test, and I don't even know how many to the DISC profile and whatever you want to name it. Okay, so once I got these results, I'm like, "Okay, great. So I get the results. Now I start applying to every job that I can. And I started applying and applying in the conventional way, right that people do it all the time, right? Go on indeed.com. I'm gonna go to all these websites, and I'm just going to start applying to all of his jobs. And what that did for me, it actually was more frustrating because I wasn't getting any responses. I think I only made it to one interview and then that interview, which I was not prepared for, that they never called me back. Understandably enough, you know, I wasn't prepared for it. So they didn't call me back. So I spent most of my evenings applying to different jobs and got no results. And that kind of made me anxious. And a little bit upset, to say the least, because I was like, you know, I'm applying to all of these jobs. And I'm doing all of these things, and I'm not getting any responses whatsoever. And that's what actually made me feel stuck. It made me, you know, kind of lose my confidence but I was actually starting to believe in myself. So I was like, you know, I'm a great influencer and this or that, but started losing my confidence. I was like, you know, what, maybe I'm not good enough. I started feeling stuck. And what a lot of people go through is that when you read those job descriptions, if you want to be this or work for this position, right, you have to have 5 or 10 years of experience in doing this, this and that. And I'm like, I think I just graduated from college like two years ago.
Scott Anthony Barlow 15:48
It's fairly demoralizing, or like, even if you've got 17 or 19 years experience, or I don't know, 10 years experience, or whatever it might be, like, it always seems like no matter what role you're looking at, it's like, "Ah, that's ridiculous. Why do I need 15 years of experience for that? Why would you ask for that? Like, I can totally do that." And then yeah, it's depressing. So that's where you were then, it sounds like before you came to us, and you've gotten all of this information about yourself, you've gone through every assessment under the sun. And then you've gone on the demoralizing sending off application train. Was that the point where you began to look for help? Or what happened after that?
Cesar Ponce de Leon 16:28
To answer the question, yes. But first and foremost, that's when I came to my... to the realization that I was like, "You know what, I can't do this alone. I can't do this alone. Because obviously, one of my biggest fears at that moment was that I've been working in the legal industry for such a long period of time, eight years of my life, I invested in this to not do it anymore. You know, what I wasted eight years, how am I going to transition to a new career when I have no experience in that career? How am I going to switch into a new job opportunity or even industry when there is really nothing to give? And I think that a lot of HTYCers right now, in that moment, but let me tell you, let me give you an encouragement that that's just a mental thing. Okay, once you pass that mental barrier, which that's what we discuss in the bootcamp, right. Once you pass the mental barrier, okay, you're able to do those things. Now, I'm not gonna say that you're just automatically one day in the morning, going to wake up with no fear, because one of the things that I did was doing things with fear, okay, but I did them with fear. And that is what got me results.
Scott Anthony Barlow 17:29
That is such a great point. And I think for some reason, we all have this impression, I'm either going to be able to do these things, and I'm going to be 100% confident and I'm going to be able to do them with no fear or I'm not that type of person, so I just can't do them almost. Some reason we don't allow the latitude for the in between which is reality, which is exactly what you just said, like, you are scared, it is scary. And you also have to do the things, whatever the things are.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 17:56
Absolutely. Because obviously, you know, people have this assumption that okay, you know, if I stopped people right now, I'm not going to have the symptoms, okay, it's like a scar, when you have an scar, your scar ain't go and be gone tomorrow, okay, your scar is going to be there until it fully heals. But regardless, you know, you have the scar or not, we have to continue moving, we have to continue using your arm and moving forward. And that is something that I kind of learn at that moment, or going through the process that even if I'm scared of calling companies, calling you to hiring managers or whatever how to get it done. But before we get to that, the question was, you know, how you got to HTYC because at that mental barrier, huge mental barrier that we're talking about, did not give me peace, it gave me a lot of anxiety, stress. At one point I was so stressed that I was almost... I felt like I was detached, you know from society. I remember my birthday last year to my birthday dinner, I had to step away and go to the restroom. Because I was so afraid and paralyzed at the moment that somehow I started feeling detached. And when I started seeing those things in myself afterwards, I was like, you know what, I need help. This is obviously what's causing me all of these problems, staying stuck, paralyzed, you know, it's affecting my health. And I need to take a proactive step. Now, obviously, with that, I went ahead and researched you know, for a few coaching programs. And then one day I was in my car in that Friday, and I said, I think I searched for how to change careers or wherever. And that's how I landed to your podcast. And it was so amazing. It was such a blessing because I feel like you were very real. Okay. And you had very good knowledge of the situation. You knew what you were talking about. And not only that, you know, I felt that I could relate with you and the team. And that was amazing because after that, I was like, I need to subscribe to this podcast, listening, listening, listening. And then at one point, I was like, you know what I think I need to communicate. First and foremost, one of the things that I always tell people is that if you're going through something you have to share, you know, your struggles, you have to out, don't keep them in, because if you keep them in, most likely, you're not going to take action, you're not going to be proactive. And that's just going to delay your process. And I think I needed to tell my problem to somebody who has experience in it. And that's what I did. That's how I reached out to you, I think I sent you a pretty long email, which God bless you, if you read the whole thing.
Scott Anthony Barlow 20:25
I read the whole thing twice.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 20:27
That is something that I want to tell people is that one of the things that immediately got me more interested in going with you is that not only you took the time, because anybody could say, "Hey, thank you for your email, give me a call, or I'll give you a call. You know, when you have a few minutes." You actually responded, you actually broke down that email into small segments and recorded a video explaining the situations and that video was specifically designed for my situation, which, that blew my mind. Because quite frankly, I've never seen anybody doing that before. And that actually got me motivated. Because I'm like, first and foremost, this guy, Scott, is taking his time to really hear my problem to understand what my problem is. And he's actually offering solutions on how he can help me transition from where I really like to be in the future. And that's why I decided to go and sign up with HTYC to help me make that transition.
Scott Anthony Barlow 21:23
Well, I sure appreciate that feedback. And that means a lot to me, it's something that we are very committed to doing in a variety of different ways. We are very committed to making this really challenging process, I'm going to call it a process. Sometimes it's more like a bit of a hell than a process. But we want it to be personal because it is personal. And I'm super, super excited that you found a way too. Actually we're going to hire more people, because we get so many of those types of emails now that I'm finding it difficult to respond to those on my own. And many of our other team members are... have been helping out. So it's a cool problem to have as the company in the podcast and everything has grown over the last number of years. So I'm so glad you found it that way. But I was super curious, though, because you went through this. I mean, just like you said, a year ago, you had your birthday dinner, and you felt completely detached at that point. And now you've been in this role for months. So in between, what do you feel like was one of the most difficult parts for you in making this transition and actually doing the work? Let's start there.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 22:33
Well, sure, I'll share some with you. One of them was overcoming fear, because obviously, even going through the process, I think that I guess with HTYC, you get certain weeks, you know, where you do different tasks, which by the way, are amazing tasks. But even when it's time to do the work of calling, hiring managers and getting a hold of people is you still have the fear, you're like, oh, you still have it. And that, kind of, like, pushes you to do other things. And to me, that was a challenge, overcoming my fears. But as I mentioned to you a few seconds ago, at one point, I had to come to the realization, if I let my emotion drive me through this process, then I'm not gonna get anywhere. I had to come to the realization of saying, "okay, objectively speaking, I need to start taking actions and follow Scott's advice and recommendation and a need to be in communication with him to let him know what's going on." Because you did something great, okay. You overcome fear with good and the good that you have done is provided strategies to help me overcome those hiccups and issues that I was going through. First and foremost, you understand that once you come to the realization of what fear does, okay, you get too stuck and paralyzed. And when I realized that was a problem, I decided to take action. Action in following, you know, one of the strategies that you recommended, at least to me was, okay, you need to actually go to the hiring manager, or even the executive of the companies to be able to understand more of the position or to get your foot in the door and things like that. They don't even respond to my resume on Indeed, how are they going to take my call? But the reality is completely different. But it was the fear that was blocking me. But once I said, you know what, I have to actually do something proactive to be able to get to the decision maker. And that is exactly what I've done. You provided amazing scripts, which people should know that because, you provide everything, brother, so that's why I am so thankful. And then obviously I tell her that script according to my needs, and you know what, it went really got me the opportunity to bypass a lot of gatekeepers and get to the hiring managers or the decision makers. And that's how I landed at my job. I had to go to the decision maker of the company, who was, you know, the Chief Operations Officer, and let him know, "hey, by the way, I'm interested in your organization, I'm interested in the company. And obviously, I don't know too much about the industry. But I want to know, and I want to get to learn more of it" and keep it and say, "Hey, great! Thank you for letting me know." And then he asked me questions. "What is it that you like about the company? How did you get to even this decision?" He asked me very deep questions, which, by God's grace, I was able to respond to those, and then, Scott, you know what he did, he started following up with me and started giving me small projects to large projects. And that ended in a job, but I guess overcoming the fear of saying, "okay, I'm gonna go ahead and call the higher ups and just try to get myself through it, and talk to the people that make the decision."
Scott Anthony Barlow 25:37
So many people get stuck in those fears. And I definitely hear what you're saying about once you got to action, like that was the thing that helps with the fear, ultimately. But I'm curious, what was an example of one thing that worked for you to be able to take you from that place, you know, they're not even returning my calls, when I'm going through the regular process all the way to making the calls from them, and moving through that fear so that you could get to that action at least one or two times. Because after you started seeing that, hey, this is working. But there's... it seems like sometimes there's a big gap in between there. And I know it's different for everybody. What was one thing that worked for you to force yourself to take action, if you will?
Cesar Ponce de Leon 26:19
Well, first and foremost, I guess it was a process. You know, I wouldn't say that it was one thing particularly, but I know that when we were going through the bootcamp, we talked about relationships before resumes, right? But in order to send your resumes, I think that there is a step. I don't know if it's before or after that, but that was select an ideal companies that you'd like to work for. Okay. And establishing a relationship with those companies. And to me was, okay, how am I going to do that by send them an application, and they're just gonna throw it away? How can I stand out in a way that would be different, you know, unconventional, if you will?
Scott Anthony Barlow 27:00
Cesar Ponce de Leon 27:01
What I've done particularly in that situation is based on your advice, right, was to get their email address, get their phone number, bypass the gatekeeper. To me in that situation, particularly, I actually attended a non profit organization. And I volunteered before but not as a high level volunteer. I never know who the execs work for the company. So I had to actually find out, we don't ask the questions to people, who is the one of the execs here and that's how I got to the Chief of Operations, who makes the decisions for their organizations. And so I had established myself, I had to introduce myself to this person, I had to start building a relationship, you know, asking him questions, personal, and that's something that I want to tell is that we have a corporate mindset that we have to ask, "what do you do?" because it's all about personal love that's what it is. You have to be able to give love in order to get some love. And I think that's one of the things that I mentioned before in one of the comments for the HTYC bootcamp, in order for you to receive love, you got to give love. Okay? And love is authentic. You don't just go to somebody and say, "Hey, I love you. Can you please help me out with this?" I established that friendship, because this is actually one of the organizations that I love the most. And that's the one that I needed to prioritize, I then went ahead and told the person, "I've been attending and coming to this organization and done some volunteer, but I really love it. I love what you guys do to help people. I love the fact that you, I genuinely care for people, and that is something that I am very interested. And I don't know how that's going to happen. But I am here available for whatever you guys need." I didn't really say I'm looking for a position, but I said, I'm available for whatever you guys need. And I know that for some people, that's a hard thing to do. Because if they actually go up the ladder, and you reach to a certain level, sometimes you have to come to the realization that you may have to step down the ladder to be able to potentially get back up in the right field. Okay, but not a lot of people are willing to accept that. And that's what the question does sometimes, sometimes you may need to bring you down here to potentially get you up here in the field that feeds you particularly. So what I've done in this situation, I told the person, "look, whatever you guys need me, I'm here, and I'm available." And guess what this person did, keep it in just this base me and say, "Okay, get away from here." He said, "Really, I thank you so much." And then we kept in touch. And then I told you that I was going to the Middle East for vacation. And I was intentionally thinking of him. And I went, and based on our conversations, I got him a small souvenir that was very meaningful. And then obviously, when I came back, I said, "Hey, I went to the Middle East, and I got these gift for you, I hope that you appreciate it, that you value it." And that gift obviously came as a result of listening of the things that this person told me. And he said, "Oh, thank you so much." And then he actually started following up with me and give me a small project. And here's the key, okay, he told me, "even though you told me that you're interested in even knowing that even volunteering the company, I still don't know you as much. And I want to get to know you. So we're gonna work on some projects together."
Scott Anthony Barlow 30:27
Cesar Ponce de Leon 30:28
A lot of companies, not only they look at your strength, but they also look at your character. Because character means a lot. I think that a lot of people see that 20% on top of the iceberg, but they don't see the 80% that goes underneath. And the 80% that goes underneath has to do with a lot of hard work. And that hard work is called character. If you have the character to be successful, you're going to be successful. And I guess that's what they were trying to see, you know, because you remember Scott, I volunteered for like three or four months. And then at one point, I was like, I'm just gonna just dump it off the truck, because I was already getting drained. But it was that volunteering persistence of being available for anything that landed to an opportunity. Now when people say, what did you do? You know, with those five months, I did everything, Scott. One day actually had me direct traffic outside. Okay. I was like, how can I help and they were like, "okay, just get a jacket." Okay, and no directing traffic outside with my orange sticks.
Scott Anthony Barlow 31:27
I love it.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 31:28
At that moment, I was like, you have to be kidding me. Like, it's cold. I'm here directing traffic, I thought I was meant for more. But it was at that moment that I had a realization that maybe one of my issues was pride. And that in order to be able to succeed, I needed to be more humble in the tasks that were given to me. And that was a big turning point. Because after that, I said, okay, I'm just gonna... even if they haven't washed dishes, I'm going to go ahead and do that. The optimism that I'm doing something great, you know, and even if this opportunity doesn't work out, at least I pop or something that was meaningful, and beyond yourself. And I had to come to the realization of being optimistic about it, and know that a better opportunity was gonna come in spite of whatever the outcome was gonna be.
Scott Anthony Barlow 32:20
You know, what's super cool about that is, one, your point about finding for something that is meaningful to you, I think that I've seen so many people succeed, and so many people never even get close to opportunities, because they were or weren't willing to fight for something that was meaningful to them. And I think that looks completely different to different people. Now, I think that part was absolutely super cool. And I think the other parts, I just want to clarify, because I think there's danger here that some people can look at your situation and say, "Hey, do I just need to go and volunteer? Or do I just need to get out orange sticks and go drive traffic for some organization or something?" And people I think would be missing the point which is, that you were not just willing to fight for something that was meaningful for you. But also, you were willing to invest the time and energy into building a relationship with people that you wanted to be around.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 33:15
Yes, that's the heart behind. The heart behind this story is to let the audience know that if you want something, you have to be able to be willing to accept whatever challenges come. And secondly, obviously, to fight, because if you're stuck, and you're paralyzed, and you're going through the process, believe me, there were times that I wanted to quit, there were times that I did not really follow through the schedule, there were times that I was like, you know what, I want to clean my room, because that looks more appealing to me than doing what I'm supposed to be doing. But at the end of the day, do you really want to get out of there? And will you do whatever it takes to get out of there? And that's the heart behind, you know, just you have to be willing to do and like you say, right now you don't have to deal with traffic, you know, you don't have to do any of those things. But you have to be willing to accept some challenges, especially if you're trying to get into a huge company, or change of organization, or whatever it is, okay, or even start your own business, you have to come to the realization, there will be challenges, and you have to be up for them.
Scott Anthony Barlow 34:16
Yeah, absolutely. That is so cool. I am delighted as the right word, I don't use delighted often, but I'm so delighted that we got to, one, have this conversation, and, two, you got to share your story with the HTYC audience. At the beginning, you were talking about how just a little over a year ago, you found the podcast and you were flipping through it on your phone and everything like that, and then ended up subscribing. And now a year later, just a year late, you're on the podcast, and you've been in your role for four months. And that is such an amazing story. And I appreciate you taking the time and opportunity to actually share it with us.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 34:50
Yeah, I'm so excited right now. I mean, because I've never thought that would be in your podcast. Like being able to share my story, you know, and obviously, right now I'm into catalyst. I'm not going to say that I got to the perfect place, you know.
Scott Anthony Barlow 35:02
I don't think anybody gets to the perfect place necessarily. It's a continual revision.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 35:05
Absolutely. But what one thing that HTYC did help me is to affirming those values, you know, affirming the strengths, affirm on what is it that, you know, I'm looking for NBA season, because obviously things change. As you heard my testimony before I was in law school of power and things like that, you know, you had think that your values change over time, okay, and depending on your convictions as well, and what HTYC gave me is hope, to say, "I will be okay, that it is possible to change from one organization to another" one of the things that I was actually doing in going through the process, and I think I don't know if I told you this, we were in the process of buying a home with my family as well. And there were some conflicts, you know, in the whole transaction, and whatever. But I also got an offer as a marketing consultant for a large communications job, which when I got the job offer, the manager told me, "we know that you have zero experience. But one thing that we really loved about you was the fact we were able to relate with you, and that you are teachable. Okay, because there were other people coming with mass marketing degrees, and some even master's degree applying to the position, but we really like your personality." So to me, that was like mind blowing, because I was like, wow, but because of what I was going through that process, I had to turn it down. And I was volunteering with this other organization, which to me, that was my priority. But it is possible, okay, to change of industries, even if you don't have the degree, even if you don't have the major. A lot of companies are looking, for instance, the company that I'm working for was looking for character. Now this other company was looking for one of the characteristics of character as well, which is teachability. Are you going to be able to learn? Are you going to take on tasks and be willing to be okay, with, you know, the responsibilities? You know, are you willing to be molded into what they want to mold you to afford that position, particularly? So that's another one.
Scott Anthony Barlow 36:57
That's amazing. That's absolutely amazing. And yeah, you did share that with me. And I totally actually forgot about it up until this moment. So that is behind the scenes, actually, I don't know if I've ever told you this. But one of the ways that we measure success, behind the scenes, for our students and our clients is, can we get people to the point where they have the capability to get job offers, and they also understand themselves well enough to be able to turn them down. And that is something that has happened so many times, when people go through this process, it boggles my mind. But at the same time, that is super cool. And that makes me happy, because that's one of the ways that we evaluate success for ourselves. So awesome job, and congratulations again.
Cesar Ponce de Leon 37:44
Thank you so much. Thank you for helping me. You and your team were very, very huge part of it. And I always tell people, when you go through situations, don't do it alone. Always seek for counsel of somebody who has experience and in this situation, you have experienced if you're, you know, just listening to the radio show, you're thinking oh, you know, I can apply, I can do this, you know, myself, you know, I'm just going to look for a couple of inspiration things from Scott. Call him, okay? Because you don't know, he actually works in strategies of helping you succeed through this moment. And he will hear you, and he'll go through the process with you.
Scott Anthony Barlow 38:25
I am a total nerd when it comes to anything that has to do with the science around happiness, psychology, and I just absolutely love it. And that's one of the reasons why I was so excited to have our next guest on the show. But the other reason was, because well, I had been a fan of her work for going on 10 years now.
Jenn Lim 38:53
So it was a selfish, sort of, like, inward look of, well, what is meaningful? So before I got to the organizational stage, I had to do that hard reflection within myself. And then understanding that "oh, purpose" and this was the terminology that is now versus then. But what was it for you? Like, how can I make these big decisions of where I work, where I live, who I go out with, you know, like, and not have to, like, have a whole conundrum every single time. I realized it was like, Okay, what is the most important thing to me?
Scott Anthony Barlow 39:29
That's Jenn Lim. She's the author of a brand new book called 'Beyond Happiness'. She learned how to identify what was really important to her after she had been laid off from her job, her dad was diagnosed with cancer. All of that was happening at the same time as 911 was occurring and all the global events that followed. Well, after looking internally and doing much research, Jen learned how to be much more intentional and leverage the science in psychology behind happiness. This led to her working as a consultant with Tony Hsieh, the former CEO at Zappos, and later the two of them co founded the company Delivering Happiness. All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically, even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out.
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