The following interview is part of a class assignment for Entrepreneurship and the Hero Adventure at SMU, Meadows School of the Arts. Each interview has been conducted and created by students for this course, which celebrates those heroes in our communities. Heroism, for the purpose of this course and assignment is described as:
- Service of something larger than oneself.
- A willingness to sacrifice in the name of service.
Conducted by: SMU student Marquelle Power
Marquelle: Hi Raul, thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me and sharing your time. I just want to let you know that this interview will be used for the purpose of this
project and it will be posted online on a blog. If you want to remain anonymous that is fine, I just want to get your consent to put the information online.
Raul: Yes that’s fine. Thank you for having me and having contacted me.
M: Great, let’s start. SO my first question is, what would be three points of advice that you would give to entrepreneurs following university life?
R: Well Marquelle, first thing, begin with the end in mind because that will keep you focused and keep you from being discouraged; it keeps you going.
Next thing, you need to learn to move in the waves. There’s always going to be people who don’t believe in you and there will be some whosupport you. Dim the noise in your life. My last piece of advice is to let go of your fear, if you don’t, it will assassinate you. Well to be honest, fear is not something you ever really get rid of. It’s your courage and your passion that must outweigh and overshadow your fear and you go out and do it anyway.
M: Wow, these are very profound pieces of advice. I never thought of beginning with the end in mind. That really opens my eyes to a new way of seeing things. How did you feel when you were first starting your business?
R: I was scared when I was trying to start my business. I was most scared of the unknown. I had to ask myself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” I realized the worst possibility that I could be unemployed, or even homeless, and I’ve been through that. So I realized that I may fail, and I just have to get up and keep going.
M: Hmmm…. That’s powerful. I like how you take on the fear itself and push yourself to keep on going. I’m curious however, when faced with the question of, “What it is that you love to do?”, or “What is your greatest passion?”, what do you do to figure it out and once you do, how do you hold on to it?
R: That’s a very powerful question, you ask very profound questions. You have to follow what interests you most and not what others have or want you to do. Then begin with your true passion, your bliss.
When I was a kid, I inherently knew that I wanted to be a motivational speaker. I knew I wanted to help people. I used to talk to myself in order to self-motivate myself because I had no one to do that for me, and I needed to keep on going. I believe that when we’re children we truly know what we want to be, but as we grow up, over time we lose that.
M: Wow, the idea of self talk seems very powerful. This is a perfect lead in to the next question I had. What do you do when you start to fall out of touch with what you thought of as your passion?
R: You have to become a strategic risk taker. Try new things and explore different facets that can relate and help you find your passion.
M: In other words, those things will help you rekindle your passion or help you find new ones?
M: Now that you mentioned the aspect of being a strategic risk taker, I just realized something. People fear taking risks and they feel that risks take away opportunities from them. Yet, the very term ‘risk-taking’ should be viewed as such; that risk takes you closer to achieving your ambition and desires.
R: Yes, that’s it. I really like how you put into perspective the messages I say.
M: Thank you.
R: You also need to stop listening to the voices that have been trying to pin you down. If something doesn’t exist, create it for yourself. Bring something new that others didn’t think of before. You have to be hungry enough to keep going, a hunger of the soul. This reminds me of the analogy of the bumblebee. Have I ever told you this before?
M: No, what is it about?
R: Well, scientifically, it cannot fly and shouldn’t be able to fly. Their wings are too small to carry their body weight. The reason they can fly is because they don’t know that they can’t. they defy nature.
In other words you have to be like the bumble and defy nature. Do what you love and keep going. Pursue it because you don’t know that you can’t, be a person with no limits. The truth is, if you think something is going to be easy then it’s not worth doing. Success is not an overnight thing; you have to keep at it. In a world that wants everything yesterday with such things as facebook, twitter, and instant messaging, we want things now. We’re becoming low on patience and our willingness to work for success.
M: That’s very true; I find that people nowadays are always on a rush. As a society we are losing out ability to relax and really concentrate on what’s important. Going back to the idea of defying nature, what does it mean to defy nature, and conversely, to go with the flow?
R: Well, defying nature means that when you’re faced with negativity you defy it, and you go against the odds. Nature will seem to prescribe certain ailments, like that of the bumblebee.
People who go with the flow are those who don’t get anywhere because they are not willing to put in the work necessary to be successful. They let others define their success for them.
M: Ok, that makes more sense now. It’s a matter of choosing your own path and not having others choose it for you. I’ve also heard of the importance of surrounding yourself with a mastermind unit, and that it’s highly essential to your success. Is that true for you?
R: Definitely, it’s very important. You have to surround yourself with people who are like minded, yet have different experiences. They may have similar goals, but different means of achieving them.
I have what I call a ‘personal’ board of directors. They’re people who I can trust wholeheartedly, and who have your best interest at heart and vice versa. You want this because they will keep you accountable for your desire. You want someone who can push you to your limits. You want someone who can stretch you, someone who can comfort you, someone who is logical, and someone who has a heart.
You teams strengths have to compliment your weaknesses and vice versa. The most important thing is to never let your circumstances define you, and never let your temporary circumstances make long term decisions. For example, don’t drop out of school from a temporary defeat. I see it all the time and it’s something I want to fix. People tend to make life long decisions based on temporary circumstances.
M: That’s very though provoking and I see where you’re coming from. Seeing how this is something you want to help alleviate, this leads to my last question. How important is giving back to your community, because I know you stress the point of servant leadership?
R: It’s very important, the thing you need to remember, is that the greatest gift, is the gift of time and sharing that with people.
It’s important for me and I want to be able to come back and share my experiences, so that my struggles don’t become your struggles. I want you to learn from them. I want to be able to remove as many obstacles for those who come after, and be able to pass the baton on to the next generation. To have them carry the torch and be able to give back to the generation after them.
M: Not only is that very profound, but I can relate because I would give back as well. I want to thank you so much for your gift of your time and sharing that with me. Hopefully those who read this will be inspired by you and your words. Who knows, maybe they’ll reach out to you some day.
R: You’re very welcome Marquelle, again, I’m honored you contacted me for this. And you’re right, you never know, maybe they will one day.
M: Again, thank you Raul for enlightening me on new ways to look and think of things. Until next time.
R: Thank you Marquelle, it’s been my pleasure.
*Interview conducted 3/14/13*