Inspiration at work

When you go to a conference, you don’t go only to learn something new or just to network with complete strangers. You want to be inspired!

When you go to a training, you will be more likely to start the change process if you are inspired!

When you go on a business trip and have back to back meetings… you’re looking for inspiration.

People who are inspired are better employees, more engaged, more passionate. These employees are the ones that make a real difference, that challenge the status quo. They are the real change agents. They have the thrill, and want to bring it in their everyday life. They’re the ones you want to hire.

When they come back from a training or an event, don’t ask them what they learned; ask them what inspired them, what they would do differently, what they would like to change. Their insights are invaluable, so don’t kill the emotion and creativity by asking the wrong questions. ‘What have you learned?’ is a buzz killer and doesn’t bring value.

I’m ready to change the way I do things because I was inspired by:

  • the technology my company is creating. Printing on all sorts of surfaces is not new, but when I see how millions of items are printed and that each of them is unique, that’s something. When I touch a 3D printed chain, bracelet, or a super detailed item, I get that thrill. And when I see how a picture from my phone is printed on my coffee with milk, I am amazed.
  • my colleagues’ passion. They want to make a difference, they are proud of their work, and they want to share it with everyone. They invent the most amazing things and are so humble. It’s a life lesson!
  • the genuine desire to learn that I see everyday around me. No matter how much experience you have, that real desire to learn something new, that curiosity is contagious.

I love how each trip or new experience enriches my life. This week was working from HP Barcelona office, next week it will be something else. These things make me see everything from a new perspective, and this is what I’ll look for in all new experiences.


Lessons Learned from my Mentors

In the past months I gave a lot of thought to my career trajectory: successful moves so far, how to prepare for the next step, how to become better at what I do. As I was going through this mental exercise, I realized the importance of my mentors and of the lessons I learned from them. I don’t know the correct definition of a mentor; in fact I don’t know if there even is one.

For me a mentor is that person that is genuinely interested in my development as a person and a professional, with significant life and work experience under their belt, a good listener ready to give advice and answers to my silly questions without judging, and capable of seeing a situation or problem that I may be dealing with from a different angle. A mentor will also help me push my limits and discover new things about what I can do and achieve. It all may sound simple, but it’s not that easy to find these great folks to support you. If during your first meeting with your new mentor he says: “think of me as your father: you can brag or complain. I’m not your manager.”, you know you hit the jackpot.

And there are a few things or lessons if you want, that stuck with me throughout the years. These are true landmarks that I go back to when I feel lost or overwhelmed or when I don’t know where to start (a task, a project, a new job…).

1. Have authentic conversations. Be genuine and people will respond in a similar way. Don’t just scratch the surface, the essence is underneath. Listed actively, ask meaningful questions, be there, grounded in the conversation. You will discover a new world, and maybe, a new person in front of you.

2. Create your own experiences. Do not wait for people to tell you what to do. Choose where you want to make an impact and take the lead. You own your job, career and life.

3. Think about how you want to be perceived by others and present yourself like that in everything you do, be it a slide, a conversation, a meeting or a formal review. You can transform yourself, discover new abilities and become that person you want to be.

This is not all I learned from these wise people that play such an important role in my life, but these 3 things are constantly in my mind. And this is what helped me find and shape my path. I can only hope it will help you find yours as well.

Your Path

Review of Open: An Autobiography, by Andre Agassi


Do you know that feeling when you’ve just finished reading a really good book? You finish reading the last page, close the book holding it in both hands, and then you take a deep breath in. You look at it one more time. That’s the moment when you realize you lost something, a part of you, and at the same time you got something really beautiful in return. And then questions creep in your mind – “what am I going to read now? what am I going to do? what now?”. And when on the front cover is the face of one of the most famous tennis players in the world, the black and white image and that feeling haunt you for a while.

That’s exactly how I felt a few days ago, when I finished reading Open: An Autobiography, by Andre Agassi. Once I started discovering his story, I couldn’t put the book down. I loved every page, every minute, and I know I will come back to it someday.

Andre Agassi’s life story is amazing, with ups and downs, with losses and victories. I think what struck me the most was the brutal honesty about a lost childhood, millions of hits and the constant quest for his identity. What Agassi achieved is to deconstruct the psyche in a captivating manner. He brilliantly articulated his emotions with the maturity of a 36-year old man feeling like a 96-year old. When reading the book I was so empathetic that I almost felt the anxiety, the confusion, the need of a support group, and then the serenity. I was a real emotional journey for me, and it is strange when someone you don’t know has written your thoughts in their autobiography, like this phrase that keeps coming back to me: I fight […] as always the loss of control, which feels like the ultimate loss of choice.

To be relentlessly focused when media and tabloids were calling him a rebel is probably one of the most important lessons I learned from this book. Winning, victory, success – they are a state of mind most of the time. There’s this excerpt that I simply love and now it’s like a mantra to me:

I’ve won 869 matches in my career, fifth on the all-time list, and many were won during the afternoon shower.

We all win or lose our daily matches, big or small, in the shower, during the morning run, before bedtime… It all boils down to our mental focus and desire to win.