It’s not hard to succeed when a team is able to create leverage when they come together and collaborate. Creating leverage is important so that people can accelerate and exponentially expand results. Ridcardo Palomares is an expert in this space. Ricardo is a leadership expert, TEDx speaker, author, consultant, and explorer. He is an incredible speaker and has a unique and deep perspective around leadership and bringing and creating leverage for individuals and teams in getting to the next level of themselves. Ricardo says focusing on goals that gives the most leverage will help you accomplish things.
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Creating Leverage To Accelerate with Ricardo Palomares
We’re going to talk about focus in the light, of focusing on what creates leverage so that we can accelerate and exponentially expand our results because of what we’re focusing on and how we’re focusing. I’m super excited to have a special guest with us. Ricardo Palomares is an expert in this space. He is an incredible speaker and he has this unique and deep perspective around leadership and bringing and creating this leverage for individuals and getting to their next level of themselves, but also bringing teams to that next level. Ricardo, it’s great to have you here. Thanks for being here.
Thanks so much for having me. I’m really glad I could be in your show.
We shared the TEDx stage in Erie. For our audience, how did you set on this journey to be focused around leadership and leverage?
My goal was never to become a leadership expert. My goal was to travel the world, that was it. Since I was a kid, my goal was to travel the world and tell stories. I’m a filmmaker as well. The last project that I did is that I cycled from Alaska to Argentina over the course of two years doing a documentary. During that time, I was leading a team and I had to lead teams from extreme conditions with support and a lot of stress and we have to achieve this massive goal. When I came back from a trip and we successfully finished the trip, I realized that there was a lot of things that I could share with other people as far as leadership. That was the case and since then, that’s what I’ve been doing.
That’s a massive goal. How did you get buy in from everyone to do this with you?
The most interesting part is that I was not the guy who started the project. There was someone else who started the project. He was the main guy, the producer. He planned it for four years, invested a lot of his own money and then three months into the project, he quit. Suddenly we’re at the beginning of the project without a leader. I saw the necessity that we needed someone to lead and I step up and that’s how I became the leader of the project. What was the most interesting is that I was not the leader by title. I was the leader because I earned leadership. That was the most powerful lesson. That leadership is earned and it doesn’t really matter who has the title of leadership. It’s earned over time, over daily actions, over daily commitments and things like that.
People think that just because they’re in a position of authority, that makes them a leader. If we get back to the time aspect of being efficient and effective, those are ineffective leaders because people won’t follow. They won’t be passionate and you won’t create that leverage that a team creates when they come together and collaborate when you don’t have a leader who’s leading.
That, to me, was the hardest thing I did. More than the cycling, more than the physical aspect to lead that team on those conditions for that long. Learn to share leadership, learn to be more compassionate with myself and others, learn to take care of myself and the team to be sustainable. It was a massive experience for sure.
It’s through those real experiences, through your stories that people can see themselves. We’re going to talk about creating leverage and focusing on the goals that most create those leverage. Tell me what’s your take on that? I know that’s one of the things that you talk about.
My take on goals is that I focused on goals to give me the most leverage. I’ll give you an example. Two years ago, I came back from a trip and my goal was to become a speaker. I wanted to become a speaker and speak on big stages as soon as I could, in the best stages that I could. After researching a lot of different speakers, I realized that there were certain things that the main speakers we’re doing that put them in the next level. Some of them had a book, some of them had an amazing website and so forth. I realized if I wanted to shift time off my speaking career was to recognize the things that we’re going to keep the most leveraged.
Once I accomplish those goals, those goals were going to keep me leverage to shed years off my career. In this case, I recognize that if I wrote a book, if I did TED Talks and if I have an amazing website, those things were going to shave a lot of years in my career and they did. The funny thing is when I start it, a lot of people told me that it’s going to take me a lot longer to get paid to speak. After I did this, within a year, I was making ten times my fee as a speaker. It’s the general idea of recognizing what are the goals that are going to give you more leverage so you can get to where you want to be.
I call that thinking and acting more strategically. It’s when you can get clear on what are the most important tasks or activities or objectives, that when you do those, you’re going to be able to propel yourself that much quicker. It’s like the Pareto Principle that 20% of the effort gives you 80% of the results. You focused on that 20% that was going to catapult you and I get that because I did the same thing. We have a lot of common there. This is for anybody, even for companies. I know companies that are also creating themselves as the authority and it helps them to get quicker trust in the marketplace and get quickly connected to new customers and prospects. More so than any type of cold calling or prospecting sales effort that might happen. That’s really key.
What happens to a lot of people and a lot of companies is that the goal is not as clear as it could be. Once you have a clear goal and once you have a clear focus on what are those goals that keep you leveraged, that are going to make an impact. It’s fascinating how fast you can move forward.
What are the mistakes that people make? Why don’t they just do that? It seems so obvious.
I have this constraints that I do for myself every time I do a project. The first constrain is that I don’t move forward until I am extremely clear of what is the final vision. That happens a lot with people. I talked to people and they always tell me, “I want to be a speaker” or “I want to be a coach, I want to be an author,” but that is such a broad thing that I think one of the first things that people struggle with is to have a clear idea of what is the outcome going to look like. That’s the first thing. The second is a lot of mindset and also time management. Today where there is so much information out there, there are so many things that distract us on a daily basis. Even though you know what is the goal that gives you the most leverage, once you act upon it, it’s hard for people to stay focused on that goal. That’s some of the things that I’ve noticed a lot.
Distractions are keeping people from their goal. If they do have a specific goal, then it’s the distractions that they’re allowing in. Do you have any insight as to helping people to be more focused and be able to bring their attention and eliminate those distractions?
Something that I do for myself all the time is I don’t think things too much. I don’t plan too much. I plan what’s necessary then I take action. Once I take action, I make sure that I set a certain number of hours a day or week to only work on that task. Ideally, I make those hours as many as I can. I make time for the task that I don’t want to do like emails or like certain things that are not necessarily my favorite things to do, but within certain hours of the day, like I don’t answer calls. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Michael Hyatt. He talks about how when you get distracted, when you’re doing something, when you’re doing the task and then someone gets your attention and then you go back to that task. It takes your brain almost half an hour to get to the same amount of focus that you had before you got distracted. That’s why for me, I set up certain number of hours a day that there’s nothing going on in my brain and that helps me a lot because it’s always easy to get distracted every day.
I do a lot with distraction as well. I have a distraction assessment that helps people to see what’s distracting them more clearly. It’s not only getting specific about what your goals are, but it’s also getting very specific about what you’re not going to do and what you’re going to avoid and keep out of your environment. I do hear a lot of people saying, “I work with clients and so I have to be available.” I can’t just block out time or my job is different types of people who are interactive, and they work in a matrix organization where a lot of people might come to them with different activities. What’s your suggestion to somebody like that who feels like they can’t block out hours of time.
Part of it is just personal perception. You have to create certain rules around how people work with you and how do you work with people. For example, I was talking to a friend and she has a wedding facility. She was saying that she needs to be available to clients to speak because normally when they’re planning a wedding, they’re really emotional, they’re freaking out. They contact her, she needs to be available all the time. I said, “Cool, but you just set rules of engagement. You can tell them, you can send me the message, I promise you that every single day between this time and this time I’m going to reply. If it’s an emergency, just let me know, but if it’s just a question that can be answered in the same day but in certain hour, I’m going to answer those questions and things of that matter.” I see people that tell to their teammates, “Don’t contact me unless there’s a problem that cost more than such and such money. Like if the problem cost less than $200, do not contact me. If it is more, contact me.” Certain things like that to create space for yourself, because it’s so easy to be involved in everybody else’s problems as well. You’d have to create space for yourself to be able to be productive. Because at the end of the day, that is your role.
I was trying to see if it makes sense outside because they feel that it doesn’t. What you’re saying is we have to set rules and boundaries. It’s not just at work, it’s everywhere. We set them with our kids. We set them in our relationships. Why wouldn’t we set them at work? Why would we cuddle or baby our clients? If you’re on the phone with one client, you’re not going to be interrupted because another client is calling in and say, “Hold on a second, I have to take this.” You’re going to give them your undivided attention during that period. You can take undivided attention for other activities, just set some rules and some communication to set expectations.
It’s the same thing that happens in personal relationships and partners. If you realize that whenever you put those boundaries and those expectations in relationships, they grow healthier. It’s the same process in clients or in work, it’s essentially the same thing.
Imagine that our relationship with time will grow healthier if we put rules and boundaries in place around how we observe it and how we interact with others during that time. What other things are key factors for creating leverage?
It’s the time. It’s the focus. It’s the energy. It happens a lot with leaders that we overwork. I’ll tell you a quick story. I was three months into a trip and I was leading this thing and I was giving my all, working as many hours I could. Making sure that everything was right and that stuff. Then three months into the project, I realized, “That’s it. There’s nothing left inside of me. I’m burned out and I still have sixteen, eighteen months to go. There’s no way that I’m going to be able to do it.” Out of necessity, out of survival, I had to changed my perspective on leadership. I realized that part of my job was taking care of myself. Part of my job was taking care of my energy.
If I want to be successful as a leader and take this team to success, I needed to take time off. I needed to meditate. I needed to work out differently. I needed write in the journal to release my emotions. There was certain mental, emotional, spiritual, physical health that I needed to do for myself so I can then come in my most powerful way. That gave me this idea of everything that I do in every part of my life has to be sustainable. I asked myself that question in everything that I do, either working out, either on job, either in my relationship with my partner, “Is this routine that I’m doing sustainable over time?” I understand that sometimes, you have to push. Sometimes you have to do the sixteen hours a day, sometimes you have to do that. I understand that but can you sustain your routine over a long period of time?
That’s a great question to constantly ask ourselves because we want to be creating sustainable routines and processes that are going to serve us in the long term. That’s what creates leverage, not burnout.
I did that a couple of times in my life where I gave it my all. I ended up burning out. I sold everything that I had. I went and traveled for six months, came back, started from scratch, do the same, burnt out and then did it again. I realized that I’m done starting my life from scratch over and over again.
That’s the crash and burn cycle.
I was like, “This can’t be.” I was traveling and I was living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and I was just taking time for myself. I realized that the time of rest is as important or maybe more important than the time of action. A time of rest and recognizing what you did and what worked, what didn’t work. Let your mind get peace a little bit and your body and all that stuff. I came back and I realized that I was way better filmmaker by not working in sales than when I was working in sales.
I’m sure everybody can relate to the thing of when they’re working so hard and they’re trying to move something forward and they feel stuck and then they go take a shower. They just take their mind off of everything. Then all of a sudden, the idea comes to them when they’re not doing the thing that they were doing to try to get that result. I’ve had that. It’s important that time to rest is critical and to also reflect upon what’s working and what’s not working. I was in an interview myself and I was talking about how we don’t reserve that time to slow down so that we can actually reflect. We’re just stuck doing, doing, doing and without that fast feedback, without that reflection, then it’s like one step forward, two steps back.
Every week I sit down, and I reflect on every area of my life. How did I do this? How did I do that. What I want to improve. What is the one thing that I can do to make it better? Things like that. It takes time. It’s really powerful. It’s fulfilling and it’s enlightening to realize, I’m understanding how to operate. The most powerful thing that I’ve done lately is really trying to understand how I think, how I operated, what are my patterns and good or bad, because now I know how to work. Now I know how to trade leverage for myself and on myself.
What would be your parting words to the audience? What do you want to leave them with? What important nuggets?
The most important that has been on my mind is that you have your own answers. There are all the tools out there. They work if you do them. I was talking to people about the program that I’m doing and I was telling them, the reality is that there are a lot of tools out there that work. There are a lot of programs that work. If you take action, they’ll work. Some are better than other but they work. There are two things like, “What have you committed to? What are the things that are going to work?” Whatever you have committed to take action, whatever you’ve committed to grow in your life, that area is going to grow. Second is that from all of the tools that are out there, it takes time to understand which ones work for you. It’s so easy to get confused with so many tools. So much information out there that people get lost in them and forget that some of them don’t apply because of their beliefs, their personality, their energy or whatever. To me, it’s very important that whatever tool you’re trying to apply, think whether that tool is the right for you.
One size doesn’t fit all. Thank you so much for being here. How can people get in touch with you to hear more about what your programming is? To get you to come and speak or anything of that nature?
Thank you so much for being here.
Thanks so much for having me.
We talked about three important things. We talked about setting clear and specific goals, because that is your first thing in creating leverage. Number two is creating rules and boundaries to enable you to manage your time better. Number three is to put yourself first and manage your energy because you’re setting the example and the pace and it has to be sustainable. Those are the three takeaways and we want to thank you all for being here. My name is Penny Zenker and this is Take Back Time.
About Ricardo Palomares
Ricardo is a TEDx speaker, author, consultant, and explorer. He has spoken internationally sharing his vast understanding of leadership. He is rapidly becoming a conference favorite due to his deep and unique perspective on leadership, and his honesty, passion, and rawness on stage.