When I was in first grade, my teacher told me that I was too talkative.
That’s because I asked a lot of questions.
This makes me smile now, but when I was small I thought it was bad to ask questions.
Still, I continued to ask lots of questions.
Why few people are rich and most people are poor?
What makes some people smarter than others?
How can I bring my family out of poverty?
My teachers got tired of answering my questions. So I decided not to pester them with my questions. But I continued asking myself questions that matter to me.
Before I became an entrepreneur, I was a seminarian, a campus activist, and a school teacher.
I was fired from my teaching job in May 2004. I tried to bounce back and applied twice.
Got hired in a high school for boys, then resigned after seven months.
I got hired again in a university as an instructor, then resigned after five months.
I’ve never had a boss since.
I tried my luck as a motivational speaker. I thought It was the most logical step for someone who was hooked reading Tony Robbins, John Maxwell, Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Dale Carnegie, Russel H. Conwell, and Les Brown. I created my website and newsletter. I easily landed on the front page of Google search for “Filipino motivational speaker” and got hundreds of followers.
But I struggled really hard for the first two years. I felt I needed hundreds of motivational speakers to keep me going. This sounds insane, right? But it is true.
I founded my first HR Consulting company. I was able to get few clients. But every month my debts were mounting. I was a crazy optimist that it took me three years before I learned the lesson that my business model didn’t work.
But I knew then, being a crazy optimist, that one day, I will uncover the secrets to success.
I only need to change my kind of craziness.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.Attributed to Einstein
When I decided to zag when others are zigging, things started to change.
One secret is to provide your clients solutions with real world value. Another secret is to be a difference maker. I share both of these in this website.
My journey to freedom has been f-ing hard and challenging, yet so rewarding and life-changing.
I became more confident and accepting about life and its surprises. My confidence comes from the truth that I am making a great difference in the lives of people because of what I do.
In 2011, I began to wonder whether I could apply tools in user experience design to workplace learning design.
I designed tools (and re-imagined Design Thinking tools) so I could help organizations accelerate learning.
I started training other trainers and mentor leaders.
I founded Starfisher Asia, a people development company. This company provided me enormous opportunities to serve thousands of clients here and abroad.
It is here where I gained valuable business perspectives which one cannot find reading books or attending MBA courses.
I was exposed to real-world problems of a company trying to be profitable while serving clients and changing the world.
Because of Starfisher Asia, I have appreciated the enormous responsibilities of being an everyday leader.
Every business rises and falls on leadership.
It is a cliche. I know. But it is true.
After having served hundreds of clients I closed it in 2016.
Because in 2016, I accepted the position of president of a training corporation.
I think I was really done with Starfisher Asia and my body was aching to pivot to new directions.
But the company I joined was not the one I really intend to create. The investors have another intention.
I left in December 2017.
My mind is on business innovation, not just same-old same-old training.
In the Business of Innovation
in 2018, I founded Business Innovation, a profitable start up company whose mission is to solve real-world business challenges through innovative courses, workshops, conferences, summits and other learning solutions.
Business Innovation offers unique learning experiences on workplace leadership and innovation.
I spend 20 percent of my professional time today in Business Innovation.
I still do keynote speaking.
Before, I deliver 30-40 speeches every year. I decided to limit my keynote speaking in 2019 so I can give more attention to Business Innovation.
Okay, let me share a little more about speaking.
Speaking of Speaking
As I have mentioned earlier, started as a motivational speaker and eventually expanded my services to corporate training and leadership consulting.
Because I came from the teaching profession, my first target clients were teachers and students.
I failed to get paying clients for the first eight months. So my family and friends persuaded me to delay, if not to stop, my dream of becoming a professional speaker.
I was stubborn.
Speaking for School Principals
My turn-around in professional speaking happened when I delivered another “free” ten-minute speech to 30 employees of a company whose advocacy was to equip public school principals.
After the speech, I was invited to train 300 school principals on educational leadership.
I was paid 15,000 pesos for each day of training. I knew then that he would not be begging for clients again.
I started earning real money.
The opportunities to speak beyond the education sector suddenly opened more opportunities.
As people learned about my ability to provide actionable ideas to leaders, people who heard me talk and those who read my blog posts (from the old version of this website) started contacting me.
Some of my first paying clients were Meralco, PLDT, Petron, Asian Development Bank, US Embassy, and a dozen of small companies.
Through my speeches, I have equipped thousands of leaders in almost every city and every province in the Philippines.
In 2010, I started speaking and training in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand.
My experiences in working with companies big and small eventually encouraged me to pursue entrepreneurship.
My 3 Words for 2019
Value, 10x, and Execution are my three words for 2019.
I commit to create high value solutions that my clients love.
Mine is a lean company. And I choose to provide my clients courses which have predictable, repeatable, and scalable results.
My formula therefore is no secret. I begin and end with people.
My second word is 10x. I commit to find ways so I can 10x my results, again and again. This means that whatever I do, I will strive to get the highest and best possible results — and find out how I can multiply that results ten times over.
I have stumbled on this secret before. I have not created this into a habit. I will now. I will not make this stay as a secret. I will live 10x and share it with you.
But I will not follow Grant Cardone’s advice on 10x Rule. He said that to get to 10x one must make massive action. I believe many of his 10x principles were taken from Tony Robbin’s book Awaken the Giant Within.
I have read a lot of giants. They do 10x for the less amount of time and effort. Robbins is a giant too, but he is not my kind of giant.
I found that to create 10x, one does not have to do 10x action. Instead, I must find leverage actions, the 20 percent of the 20 percent of Pareto’s 80/20 principle, the One Thing that make all the dominos fall down.
And so my third word is execution. This means that I will pay attention on the big goals and leverage my actions so I can ensure that my goals are achieved.
Execution is intentional.
This is why I am applying the 4 Disciplines of Execution in my business and in my personal life. I believe that focus, action, engagement, and accountability will not only get things done, these will make change happen.
Jef “the zagger” Menguin
I live in Los Banos, Laguna. My family enjoys the fresh mountain air.