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My story begins in a townhome above a bodega in Villavicencio, Colombia. One day, I got a call from my aunt, who lived in the United States and whom we had visited many times, asking me if I wanted to come and live with her to learn English. That phone call is one I will never forget and was the most important yes I have ever given out in my life.

At the time, as a seven-year-old, all I could think about was being able to visit the theme parks more frequently. Now that I’m 37 and can reflect on my decision, I know that the main reason I said yes was that I knew my future in the United States would be brighter and safer than what it would be in Colombia. It’s crazy to think that a seven-year-old can make those types of decisions, considering the most challenging decision my four-year-old boy makes today is what shows to choose on Netflix!

My Journey to the United States

When I landed in St. Petersburg, Florida, I moved in with my aunt, grandma, and three girl cousins. Fortunately, they had been in the United States for a long time and knew the ropes. Unfortunately, I had to live with five females. Imagine all the bickering! But the truth is I was fortunate. I left my home country at a very young age and moved in with a loving family who treated me like a member of their immediate family.

The Discovery of My Future Self

Before I knew it, I had graduated from elementary school, and my father and mother had moved to the US. When I started middle school, things started going wrong for me. I got expelled from school because my friend and I brought a BB gun to school so we could shoot trees afterward. That was a terrible mistake, and I had to go back to Colombia to redo seventh grade to be able to return to the US. It was a devastating part of my life.

My first lesson:

Without a clear vision of your future self, the environment around you guides what you become. I didn’t have a clear picture of myself in middle school, so I went along with what my friend wanted to do, which got me in trouble.


My Return to the United States

After repeating the seventh grade, I returned to the US and finished middle school. The trip to Colombia made me realize how much I wanted to be in the US, and it sparked a fire in me. I started attending high school, was now fluent in English, and was more confident about myself. I studied hard and started hanging out with kids whose parents were successful. That was my first turning point.

My second lesson:

Do your best to assimilate to the US culture as soon as possible. The faster you do it, the quicker you will succeed. Watch more shows, listen to more English music, and spend time with successful people. Remember that people around you have a significant impact on who you are.


Off to College

I graduated high school with a college scholarship and decided to major in finance at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Choosing to major in finance was a second turning point for me and a direct result of having done a better job of thinking about who my future self would be. I was motivated to be an expert when dealing with money and to help others.

In college, I joined a fraternity called Lambda Chi Alpha. We partied a lot, but the relationships I created were invaluable. Before I move on to the professional career phase in my life, I must mention that I also started dating my beautiful wife, Megan, during this time. I feel I’ll get in trouble if I skip over that!

My First Job After College

After I graduated college, I started working at a bank. Unfortunately, the job was low-paying and wasn’t very rewarding, but that was the best I could get during the 2008 recession.

After a couple of years, I phoned a friend from college and asked him if he could get me an interview at Fidelity Investments, where he was working. Those connections I made in college started paying off.

I got the job at Fidelity and quickly moved up the chain.

My third lesson:

Ask others who are ahead of you what they’re doing to succeed. If they can do it, so can you.


Seeking Mentorship from Successful People

In Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time,” he talks about getting ahead by asking other very successful people in his team what they were doing to get ahead.

I realized my vision of my future self no longer involved working for a company, so after eight years, I decided to leave Fidelity Investments and start my own business.

My fourth lesson:

Once you’re operating at a high level in your current career and you feel stuck, one of the best ways to move ahead is to seek mentorship from those ahead of you. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself by paying for mentorship; choose someone who has successfully done what you’re looking to accomplish.

For example, one of my mentors has the second most-listened-to podcast about retirement in the nation, has a retirement planning business ten times the size of mine, and takes a significant amount of time off to be with his family.

That is who my future self wants to become. I envision this podcast becoming the number one podcast for immigrants in the world, and I want my business to grow. I want to spend time with my family and enjoy life.


A Quote and Excerpt from The Be Your Future Self Book

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

“In a famous study, a group of researchers told second and third-grade teachers they wanted to study the learning of their students over the course of the school year. At the beginning of the year, the teachers were privately told which students were gifted and which ones weren’t based on IQ tests that researchers had given them.

As expected, by the end of the school year, the gifted students showed extremely higher increases in learning and overall development than the non-gifted students.

However, the researchers had not given the students IQ tests at the beginning of the year. Instead, they randomized which students were considered gifted and which ones weren’t simply to see if it would influence their students or their result.

Unconsciously, the teachers treated the gifted students differently than the non-gifted students. They expected more of those students, and those expectations became a self-fulfilling prophecy. We don’t like to admit this, but our performance and results are often based on the expectations of those around us. Psychologists called this The Pygmalion Effect. If you are around people who have low expectations for you, you’ll fall to those standards. If you’re around people with high expectations, you’ll rise to those standards.”

We’re all driven by our goals, but how often are goals unconsciously fed to us by our environment?


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