Life at times allows us to come into contact with people that have a profound impact in our lives. Unplanned, unexpected and just all sorts of cool. Joaquín Rodríguez Kierce is someone for whom I have profound respect as a person and as a professional. As a writer, he enjoys social commentary in his pursuit to motivate people to give their best and be happy with what they do in their lives, a message I most definitely identify with. His blog is brilliant and he has a book out in Spanish that is currently being translated to English to help people in a business environment. I also sent some questions and he was kind enough to send me his answers. So here we go.
1. Hey Joaquín, thanks so much for doing this Q&A. So tell us, who are you? What do you do for a living? And how does that relate to the impact you want to make in your life?
Short version: Spain, Puerto Rico, engineer, coach, project management, art, productivity, meaning.
I'm a Spaniard living in Puerto Rico trying to help as many people as I search for the intersection of meaning and productivity through coaching and art.
Hmm, funny. Let's play around with "for a living" for a moment:
I make a living by designing and implementing company-wide initiatives that improve operations efficiency, collaboration and sense of achievement among employees concerned. That's what comes out when you stirr my personal cocktail of Engineer + Project Manager + Business Coach.
I also make a living for myself, in the sense of making my "self come alive", by:
1. Playing with my kids everyday
2. Asking people tough questions that help them execute what they're fearful of doing (aka coaching)
3. Putting my thoughts about meaning, productivity, fear and making things happen on paper and offering them to the world over at www.neuronigniters.com
2. What topics drive you?
1. The evolution of technology and its impact on our lives
3. Understanding why people think how they think and exploring the obstacles on the way to our getting what we want in life and how to remove them (a synonym for this is "how to call our own bullshit"). I guess self-awareness is written between the lines all over...
3. As you know, there’re always random questions because we’re random people. So tell us, if you made a dessert, what would be in it, how would it taste and how would you name it?
Ice cream, lots of it, a Kit-Kat in the form of Dalí's melting pocket watches from 'The persistence of memory' and nutella. It would be as big as an industrial refrigerator.
4. What are your greatest achievements so far?
A happy marriage with two kids.
Not having abandoned the pursuit of my goals and dreams.
5. What will you achieve in 5 years?
1. Peace of mind.
2. Take my kids to school every day, be there with them to play and study in the afternoons. Enough energy to go on getaways every two months.
3. Helped an unbelievable amount of people execute their dream projects in a more disciplined manner, overcome the fears that stop them and communicate better.
6. What is your book about? For who is it? Why did you write it? Where can we find it?
I think I'm good at translating experiences into knowledge and teaching that to people.
So my book is about very specific, actionable and (I contend) valuable advice to make things happen in organizations. It's about the right mindset you should bring to the table, what executives want and how to give it to them and the right project management tools to make things happen in a business environment.
It's for everyone who's ever been pissed that things take too long to happen in companies and want to change that. Anything from how to run meetings more effectively, write emails that someone will actually read, how to plan a project in one page, how to save a failing project, how to conduct yourself successfully with executives, etc.
I wrote it because I've been lucky enough to learn A LOT during my career and it would be selfish to keep it to myself.
It's in Spanish but there's an awesome writer out there helping me translate it into English :-)
You can read it for free on my blog or get it at Amazon as an ebook. I'm working on a second edition with quite a few additions that I will release as a physical book too.
7. What is your blog about and what is your mindset when you write?
It's about productivity, meaning and the hard work of making things happen.
Mindset: kind of rebelling against the things we know we can do better and don't, so I try to give things a spin and say: you know, we could think of this another way, make it like this and get these results.
8. What are neuron igniters?
The toll-operator-greeting pitch: Art at the intersection of meaning and productivity.
The answer from the heart: I want to fill the walls of the world with silent thinking partners for people who like to think deeply, understand their mental roadblocks and overcome them in order to bring their best work to life.
(Here's me pictured with one of the canvases from Neuron Igniters)
9. If you had to coordinate a fireworks show for your kids, what would it look like?
Very colorful. I'd make resemble Lara's favorite Disney princesses, Atención Atención characters, family and friends' faces. Everything that would make her go WOAAAA! and call out what she's seeing.
Álvaro is just 2 months old so those might be black and white and not too loud ;-)
10. If you wrote a song for your wife, what would it be called?
As a lover of words, stories and messages, I love reading all sorts of literature and that includes texts from ancient philosophers, religious texts, fantasy, science fiction, horror and even motivational and business books. To me, the challenge to write shall never be limited to one genre, one style or one method. Throughout the years, I've been able to share countless great conversations with Joaquín and we've discussed hundreds of topics (some more recurring than others) and the fact remains, we can all make a true impact if we set aside what we're "supposed to do" and replace it with what we are destined to do.
Cheers to Joaquín for taking the time to answer the questions and much success to him in 2015 and beyond. I'll definitely be reading and commenting and you're invited to the party.