I don’t know much about you. But if you are like most of my readers, you are here not only to look for better solutions to your daily challenges in business and life. You want results. You want breakthroughs.
I help ordinary leaders create extraordinary results.
So, instead of talking about me, we will first talk about leaders. Maybe, you are one of them. We will talk about how my workshops, online classes, and training programs bring out the best in leaders.
You want to use your unique ability because your life matters. You believe that you have a story to tell, and that story won’t be told by anyone else but you.
You are not afraid to think differently. You embrace it. And whatever you have now, you intend to multiply it a thousandfold.
I have been working with people from all walks of life. This website and all the products and services I created help my readers and clients in…
- designing career opportunities
- getting their sh*t done
- getting started with design thinking
- speaking and presenting with impact
- leading and building teams
- delivering learning experiences with 10x results
- creating delightful customer experiences
- developing leaders who think and play bigger
If you want to make your mark, set yourself to a high standard, and want that for everyone in your organization, we can work together.
The tried-and-tested solutions of the past are now obsolete, and we need to think big to create new ones.
There are a few things that I want you to know.
- You can find new solutions.
- You can play bigger.
- You can think differently.
- You can dream big dreams.
- You can be D’BEST.
You can find great solutions.
Much of the information we get for free is recycled ideas. Much of what we get, even on social media, is filled with propaganda and fake news.
We live in a world where information is given freely. You have them at your fingertips. Unfortunately, too much free stuff drowns us.
It is not the fault of managers who think of team building as packages, not experiences that build team skills and open up opportunities. The providers they meet are those who make them play the same-same—Spider Web, Trust Fall, and games you can easily Google. They conduct games without rhyme or reason.
You rarely find consultants who help your team pay the utmost attention to your business challenges. They aren’t playing bigger. They are playing games as an escape from forgettable work.
It is not the fault of employees who get “basic leadership training.” Some training providers are trapped in a world where every leader must learn only how to plan, organize, direct, control, and manage.
We no longer live in a world where leaders have to spend years learning how to become better leaders.
You’ll rarely find experts who can help you design experiences for leaders that help them create and multiply value.
Many managers tend to look for what is “new” because “old ways” don’t work. But, of course, designing training programs based on competencies is better than getting canned programs from training providers.
Those who think and play bigger accept that we need new ways of solving problems to create unique learning experiences for leaders.
Because you are here now, I am sure that you don’t want to shortchange yourself and the people around you.
You can play bigger.
We have the capacity to increase our value tenfold, a hundredfold, thousandfold. There are many huge opportunities before us. Possibilities are bigger and easier to attain than we imagine.
Many organizations that rely on classroom training will have 90 percent of their time, money, and opportunities wasted. The truth is that you can turn experiences into learning experiences. You can multiply your results and bring your company to where you want it to be.
People can learn deliberately through online courses, live workshops, boot camps, and coaching sessions that I can co-design with you.
You can think differently.
I speak about value creation, multipliers, and innovation these days. So it has become my mission to show good leaders what they can do to multiply their value, create new experiences for their customers, and engage intrapreneurs.
But I was not always like this.
My readers learned how I started my career as a professional speaker. First, I was thinking and playing small. Second, I was playing the humility card. I did not want to become an imposter.
In truth, I was afraid to play big because being big was alien to me.
Like other teachers and corporate trainers, I used experiential activities, so my students won’t get bored. My focus was on providing excellent instruction.
I was good at training people. But deep inside, I knew something important was missing.
When I started studying innovation and UX, I learned how to design learning experiences that help organizations turn employees into leaders who can make a company the first in its category. Instead of giving instruction and covering topics, my focus shifted to creating solutions and discovering new possibilities.
There was no school and no certification body which could help me do this.
My clients became my teachers.
I paid attention to their challenges — and made their challenges mine.
I embraced the fixed mindset of the people around me while growing up. I was not even aware of it. So I chose a growth mindset to play bigger.
Reading the book The Magic of Thinking Big did not change me much, but it stimulated my imagination. So I started to think bigger.
Thinking bigger inspires me. Playing bigger turns inspiration into reality.
You can dream big dreams.
Not too long ago, I asked a girl about her dreams in life. Before she even uttered a word, she cried.
She asked if she had the right to dream.
“Yes, you have a right to dream.”
“I want to be a teacher.”
Nora completed senior high school two years ago. But she did not continue to college. She decided to stop “dreaming”. She felt helpless and hopeless.
As much as she wanted to apply for college, she could not support herself.
She peddled street foods and earned 90 pesos a day. On rainy days, she could not sell anything.
I could empathize with her and all the others who are in the same situation.
I was in grade 1 when I learned that hunger is a monster. I looked for ways to earn a small amount of money. And I found out that I won’t be hungry as long as I help people.
I was born poor. And when you are poor, tiny problems are challenging problems.
One of my sisters was sickly. Most of the time, my parents were in the Philippine Children’s Hospital in Quezon City.
My parents left me to the care of my relatives who didn’t care for me. They treated me like a burden and made me a house helper.
I never hated them because they welcomed me to their house. Had it not for them, I would be in the streets.
Life is not fair, but who cares?
I will share with you one little secret that is life-changing.
Contrary to what most people think, this secret isn’t free. It requires dogged determination and continuous commitment. When you work on it, you will change your life.
Dream bigger dreams.
That’s the first secret to success.
Whenever you dream of something, strive to dream bigger. For people like Nora and me, dreaming is like wishful thinking. I think many Filipinos have the same limitations.
You cannot blame us. Allow me to explain.
The first time I entered a mansion, I was already in college. I was a seminarian. They invited me to eat at a table twice longer as our rented room in the town of Antipolo where our family of six used to stay.
I was already in my 30s when I first rode an airplane. I was nervous and too shy to ask people how to put my seatbelt on properly.
When I was young, I dreamed of going to different countries. But I refrained from making it known in public. In the slum area where I grew up, nobody talked about going to other countries for vacation. It was unthinkable.
Most of us have limited capacity to dream. Our situation is our bird box.
The only way to get out of that box is to dream bigger dreams.
Thinking small isn’t comfortable, but for most of us, it is what life is.
Whatever your situation in life, the secret is true for you and me. So you can create a better future for yourself and others, you’ve got to dream bigger dreams.
Most people think they have dreams. Without actions, those dreams are nothing but wishes.
People who dream bigger dreams do not waste their time in bagatelles. They improve themselves. They don’t allow their lack of education and resources to shackle them to poverty.
When opportunities are not available, create your opportunities. No one can deny you the opportunity you create for yourself.
Dreaming bigger dreams worked for me. It will work for Nora. It will work for anyone.
Dream big dreams. Embrace your awesomeness and do D’BEST in everything you do.
Most people follow the flow; they play safe, small, and same-same. I understand why they do that.
If we are to make a difference in our lives, to the lives of the organizations we serve, and the nation we love, we’ve got to zig while others are zagging.
On a typical bio page, you will get a glorified CV. Those who market themselves as motivational speakers, experts, and gurus tell you why they are the best.
That is okay.
If you were to hire people, you want the best in the field. You can download my bio below.
I work with people I believe in and trust. I start with Who before I ask Why and How.
What I will do is share with you stories that may tell you more about me and you.
You can be D’BEST!
In everything you do, give your damnedest best. Choose personal excellence over mediocrity. Put your ding in the universe. Be awesome.
Many years ago, I had an eight-hour conversation with Vic. He could express himself best in stories. He was like the Dave Chapelle of inspirational speaking. Every story was connected to the next. The first story sat with the last.
The difference was that you do not need to bleep his sentences. He did not use obscene or vulgar expletives.
Sionil Jose came to mind. I once asked him about pornographic descriptions in writing. He said that there is no such thing as pornography in writing, only bad writing.
Vic has polished wisdom explained in stories and acronyms.
BABY and D’BEST were two of those acronyms.
BABY means Be A Better You. A baby needs help and care. It is the nature of a baby to grow. A baby is curious and has an immense sense of wonder. A baby’s imagination is not limited by failures and shortcomings.
He told me a story of a neighbor, the owner of the big house nearby. They used to own a small vulcanizing shop. The husband used to welcome his drinking buddies, or whoever come by, every afternoon for two bottles of Quatro Cantos Gin.
“One day, many years ago, I was walking by. The husband offered me a shot and asked me to stay for a while. I was a good neighbor, so I decided to stay and listen to their war stories.”
Vic loves to use small but meaningful gestures. He can bring me to the scene.
“The wife, who was watching us nearby, spoke. Sir Vic, can you tell us how to be rich?”
Vic must have answered this question thousands of times in sales conferences and seminars. He was a sought-after motivational speaker. He became famous in his company for delivering a twelve-minute talk that moved hundreds of school principals to get life insurance from their company.
” I thought that a talk about insurance won’t work for the wife and the drunk husband. So, I answered that there are two simple actions they need to do every day. If they keep doing these two actions for 30 days, I will teach them another lesson. But only if they will do the first two. They took my advice very seriously. You saw results earlier on your way here.”
The other acronym is D’BEST.
“I came up with this acronym because people need simple answers to their questions.”
He told me of an employee who lost his job because of frequent tardiness and underperformance. He was devastated at first. But it did not take long for him to realize that self-pity won’t help him survive. Both husband and wife became fish peddlers.
At first, they invested in two buckets of fish. It was not easy at first because neighbors talked about how the husband lost his job. The couple could not hide that. They persisted. They sold fish in the morning. And then they sold fish again in the afternoon.
“It was about six months after when I noticed that the wife no longer accompanies the husband. I learned from him that they got a tiny stall at the wet market. But the husband must continue for their loyal clients expect them to deliver.”
After two years, they expanded their business and rented more spacious stalls. They invested their monies in other businesses too. They employed people. The husband learned an important lesson about work which he shared with his employees.
I asked Vic if D’BEST are steps to success. He said yes and shared with me the steps.
“But people are likely to forget the steps. So, I told people that D’BEST is a mantra that helps cure procrastination, laziness, indecision, mediocrity, and foolishness. Say D’BEST as if it is one word or say it as a one-sentence declaration when you want to do something important. Say D’BEST when you are in doubt. Say D’BEST if you want to have an awesome day”.
A mantra is a sacred utterance. It is a spoken belief. It is not a wish but a reality for those who believe.
I was waiting for him to tell me what D’BEST means. I wanted the mantra.
“Damn it! Be excellent starting today!” He uttered those words like it was the beginning of the big bang.
I want you to succeed.
We define success in many different ways.
When I was a child, success was earning 100 pesos a day. In college, it was to encourage the youth to serve the people. When I was teaching, it was to bring out the best in my students, get a doctorate, and become a university professor. When I started speaking, it was to become the Jef Menguin of Asia, then build a unicorn business.
Today, I want my family’s security, safety, and well-being. I have start-ups that can support a good life while serving others.
Read these posts:
- Mañana Habit and 5 Ways to Get Things Done
- Leaders Have Passion for Excellence
- 1000x Mindset
- You Are Your Choices
I was born in Camotes Island, Cebu. Today, I reside in Los Banos Laguna together with my wife Romelyn (who is a college librarian), and our son Jefferson Carlos (who is six years old and very inquisitive).
I was a seminarian. I was an activist. In 1996, I became a teacher.
I am a graduate of Political Science. I have 30 units in Master of Arts in Teaching and 9 units in Masters in Public Administration ( I took MPA while having my MAT). I got bored with lectures and class reporting. I opted to rest for a semester. But I did not come back anymore. I got hooked on real-world learning.
In 2004, I pursued a career in motivational speaking.
Years prior, I was influenced by Og Mandino, Wallace Wattles, John Maxwell, Les Brown, Tony Robbins, and Francis Kong.
I joined Toastmasters International to polish my speaking skills. During the first three years of my membership, I delivered more than 250 speeches. I got my DTM norm in 2011. I thought I would become the best motivational speaker in Asia and the best Jef Menguin in the world.
Then, I got involved in consulting.
For the Department of Education. I have trained school principals and teachers. I designed and implemented a professional development program for The Farm at San Benito.
Clients started referring me to others. I started facilitating team-building workshops, presentation skills, customer service, supervisory training, stress management, time management, change management, personal development, and many more.
I could have stayed in one lane, but I took whatever landed on my lap.
I was afraid to reject a prospective client. It was not the best way to establish oneself as an expert. It felt like running from one venue to another but not reaching anything.
But I learned something from the experience.
I realized that I was not called to be another Og Mandino, John Maxwell, or Les Brown. They are great in what they do — and I could be like them too – but I want to do something else for the people I serve.
What I Learned from Business Mistakes
My first company was Starfisher Asia People Development. I hired my first employee because a friend recommended a fresh graduate who needed job experience. During the first two years, the company grew beyond my expectations.
In 2010, I started getting invitations to speak in other countries. Business was good so I hired 2, 4, then 2 more people.
I thought the business will scale up. I got used to getting six-figure clients. I established joint-venture partnerships in Cebu City and in Davao City.
Then natural calamities happened. Training programs got canceled. The joint partnership did not produce anything. But I got bills to pay that can’t wait.
Starfisher Asia almost folded in its fifth year and I had to let go of my best people. It took me a year to bounce back. I had moderate success as a one-man business. I failed to grow my first business because I lack business acumen.
An opportunity came.
And I grabbed it without question.
In 2016, I joined a group of businessmen to create a training company for leaders. It would be a member of a group of eight companies. And the board decided that I would be leading this company.
To say that I worked more than anyone and more than at any time in my life is an understatement. I bet my life on its success that I neglected Starfisher Asia and decided to close it down. I put all my eggs in one basket.
I saw that my wife was proud of what I have achieved — and she too believed that I could make a great difference. Many things that I am doing today, I learned when I was building this company.
It never occurred to me that after 18 months, I would be leaving the company. My vision was too big for the Board; they wanted to build the training company slowly, surely, and safely. I wanted to play bigger – training does not have to be a commodity business.
That’s my version of the story.
I messed up big time, and I knew it.
Deep down, I knew I did my best and contributed much to the growth of the organization (as the #1 salesperson, marketer, and learning leader), but I failed as its President. I grew impatient because I saw opportunities they didn’t see.
After I left the organization, I did not close any clients for four months.
No, people did not leave me.
I had on average five inquiries every day. This website was working hard for me. But I sabotaged myself. I punished myself for my failure that I did not pursue clients though they’re knocking on my doors every day. Of course, I realized this in retrospect.
The worst calamity that happened to me was man-made. And I was the maker.
But I remembered what I learned from Og Mandino, John Maxwell, and Les Brown. I remember the teachings of my grandfather and the great mentorship of Vic Santiago. I immersed myself in the study. I evaluated my experiences and looked for lessons.
I started to put more value on connecting with people, enabling leaders, and creating opportunities for others.
In 2019, I came back.
I established Business Innovation Talent and Development. I focused my attention on helping organizations innovate their businesses and build their leaders. Though I was not certified in any leadership or innovation program, my experiences (a mix of success and learning) taught me lessons my clients use.
I saw my business grow.
I had great plans for 2020.
Then, Covid-19 happened to us.
My clients, except one, canceled our engagements for the rest of 2020. I understood. I know, that the pandemic, like other things in this world, will pass.
Until July 2020 came. I woke up to the reality that the Philippines won’t be out any sooner.
I decided that the best thing I can do for myself, my family, and my country is to bounce forward.
I won’t be starting from scratch. The values, vision, and mission remain. Three months of quarantine allowed me to pick the best products and services that can help Filipinos during this crisis and in the new normal.
My programs are platform agnostic. I only need to choose what is applicable today.
There are three things that I do best: consulting, leadership training, and creating learning assets.
I design online courses for speakers, leaders, and small businesses.
I facilitate virtual workshops and host webinars.
I build groups on Facebook and educate members every week through live streaming and recorded videos. I am also building a community to help Filipino professionals build their dream jobs.
I write books, publish blogs and newsletters, and help small businesses market their products and services.
Calamities won’t stop me from helping others.
I may fumble and fail. I messed up so many times, it lost count of them.
But found my message from my messes.
In 2022, I started in-person training sessions again. And everything is looking good. This website, for example typically has 3000 visitors every month. I have now more than 100,000 visitors each month.
Soon, I will teach people the secret of creating courses that people will buy – and writing articles that they’ll share with others.
My Core Values
Personal values guide us in how we choose to live, even if no one is watching. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds, we can talk about. I choose to get a life and thrive – and these are the values I believe can help me most.
I am PURPOSE-DRIVEN.
I pay attention to my intention. Intentionality works like magic in relationships, in businesses, in leadership, and in backyard farming.
I value SIMPLICITY.
I keep things simple. I simplify complicated problems, explain them in simple words, and find simple solutions.
I TRUST FIRST.
What you see is what you get. I share with you what I do. I worry not about impostor syndrome because I know my limitations and my talents and skills.
I keep PROMISES.
Not always in the past, but not keeping promises is a yoke on my shoulder. I show up. I persist. I try, fail, try again, and fail again, but I won’t stop as long as I live.
I seek to THINK DIFFERENT.
One can think out of the box, or in the box, of the giant box, or no box. I choose to zzzag when others are zigging.
I choose to PLAY BIGGER.
No, not because I am ambitious. I am a simple person who does not dream of becoming famous or super-rich. Playing bigger is strategic and practical.