Healing takes time: Do not expect to snap back from hard times immediately. It is so important to understand that there is a process to healing and being able to snap back. It might take you three weeks, three months, or even three years but, It’s important to remain consistent in your new habits and new attitude towards life so you can continue to move forward and pursue the resilience that you have worked so hard to build and maintain.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Castellano.
Eric Castellano has eight years of experience of building and operating a third party Amazon company. He has a staff of 50 employees and ships over 3 million orders per year to customers all over the US. He is also the co-founder of Amazon Lit, a consulting agency that helps existing and new Amazon sellers scale their businesses to grow revenue and profits to gain financial freedom. And Esellers Resource Initiative which is an in-depth training program serving over 400 students at all levels of Amazon seller experience across the world. To learn more check out Amazon Lit on Instagram @amazon_lit
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I grew up in Northern New Jersey and still reside here today. In my teens and early 20’s I battled with addiction and would party for weeks on end. After years of feeling unfulfilled and one day waking up spiritually bankrupt and lost, I decided to turn my life around and start focusing on personal development. I put heavy emphasis on my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Once I started to focus on the positive aspects of my life instead of the negatives my success escalated incredibly quickly. I have always been a hustler, and go getter, and once I started aligning my hustle with my new positive beliefs I was unstoppable.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
This was fairly recently, about four months ago I was working myself way too much. I was pushing 80 to 90 hour weeks. I wasn’t sleeping or taking care of my health and this resulted in me ending up in the hospital with what the doctors believe was a seizure. I lost the ability to walk for almost 45 days. I had to use a walker for a while and had to relearn how to use my right foot. I was in physical therapy for a few months after that as well. It was truly an eye opening experience because I was a firm believer in the hustle mentality and while I still believe that to be true and know the importance and value of hard work and dedication I realized that I also needed to focus on my physical, mental, and spiritual health as well. If those aspects are not aligned then it doesn’t matter how hard you’re working there will come a time where you hit that wall and things go south and if you are not in alignment with all parts of yourself things can get really bad like it did for me. I was able to be resilient through this situation and concentrate on my health. It’s also important to note that situations like this can’t be done alone. Cathrine my significant other, was there for me through it all. She helped me everyday with my physical therapy exercises and made sure I was super consistent with them in order to heal and get better. Without her help and of course the guidance of my medical team I’m not sure I would be walking today.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What I teach at AmazonLit is not theory or what I think might work, it’s what is actually working today in real time. I know this because I still operate one of the largest third party Amazon companies in the world. As our business continues to grow, our clients’ businesses grow because they have the most up to date and authentic information from sellers who live what they preach. At AmazonLit our motto is “Our success is your success.” I live by this motto and tell our students all the time that if our business is growing yours will too because everything we implement into our business we share with them. The community of very successful entrepreneurs that we’ve created is so special and unique within this industry. I was just in New York City last week and while walking down the street to the White Label Expo I was stopped by someone still in their car with a line of traffic behind. He came up to me and gave me a huge hug. He said “Eric, you’ve changed my life. I’ve been watching your YouTube videos for the past two years. I’ve built my business from nothing and now I’m doing 50k in sales…” Moments like that with the people in our community are the reason why I do what I do.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I would definitely say my business partner Sebastian. I’ve known Sebastian for twenty years. He is not only my best friend but he’s also my business partner for the multiple companies that we operate. About six years ago I really saw him take action and completely turn his life around. He showed me so many books about entrepreneurship, personal development, and business. I saw the revolutionary change that happened in him and that inspired me to take action in my own life because if he could do it I knew I could too. I started following in his footsteps and implementing the necessary changes that he was making not only in his professional life but in his personal life as well and because of him I was also able to turn my life around and become the person I am today.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
When I think of resilience I think of high school science class and the rubber band experiments. Seeing What happens when you are stretched out as far as you can go but have the ability to snap back from that pressure is the perfect analogy. Being resilient is moments like when you’re sick but you can recover quickly, when your business is failing but you’re able to take the necessary actions to snap back and get everything in order. For me that is the main trait of resilience, one’s ability to snap back under pressure. That is what I think of when I think of resilience.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage and resilience have a close correlation because in order to be resilient you have to have courage. You can’t be afraid, intimidated, or rest on your laurels. It takes courage to persevere and move forward from tough times. The only way to have resilience is to also be courageous in your actions and take chances in life for the betterment of it. The biggest difference for me is that most people have some level of courage in their day to day life but not everyone has the ability to to take that courage and become resilient, to snap back if things don’t work out how they wanted to initially. You can have all the courage in the world to be successful and start a business but with that comes setbacks and challenges and courage can only get you so far through those challenges. It takes a resilient person to snap back and keep working and moving forward.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
I would honestly say my mother. She’s battled multiple health issues over the years. She had lymes disease, car accidents, trouble walking. Physically her health has depleted rapidly but her morale and positivity about life is higher than it’s ever been. She has been so resilient through these challenges and with that our relationship has gotten stronger and I feel so much closer to her. To see her persevere through those trials and tribulations and struggles both physically and mentally but to be able to consistently have a positive outlook on life and to encourage other people to do the same in theirs has been truly inspiring.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
When I would tell people that I was going to build a multi million dollar consulting business there were some friends and family members that couldn’t see my vision at the time. It was less that they didn’t believe in me but were skeptical of my ambitions and had a ton of questions. There was a lot of hesitation in the belief that I could make these goals and ideas a reality. But, I knew it was possible so I put my head down and got to work on it. Here we are today with a very successful consulting company helping over 400 students in our training program and hundreds of thousands of people online through social media.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
I lived in my car and on friends’ couches for well over a year in my early twenties. I truly understand what it meant to have nothing. That experience has helped mold me into the person I have become and although it was a terrible experience, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It taught me empathy and compassion and instilled a drive in me that I do not believe would have happened if I didn’t experience homelessness. Through these struggles I’ve learned the importance of community and what it means to support others. Whether it’s in my personal life or in business, the communities I’ve built are unbreakable and filled with so much gratitude and support for one another it’s truly incredible. I’m proud of the life I built for myself and believe that I have become more resilient because of the hardships I’ve faced. By working hard, trusting the process, and showing up for myself, my loved ones, and my community is how I bounce back from any setback.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
For almost the entirety of my early to mid twenties I battled with addiction. My addiction had full control of my life. Any money I had went to it. I had no motivation in life to do anything else; it was all consuming. I was a broken person during this time of my life but, I was able to overcome this and realized my potential in life was so much more. I have seen the lowest of lows and now the highest of highs. I saw how my actions and life choices were affecting not only myself but those closest to me and knew I needed to change. This is where my resiliency was born. Thankfully, I had the courage to get better. At first it was slow but each day I kept taking the next right action and over time those right actions built up on each other. This is how my resilience was built. To this day I am still just taking each next right action and knowing I have the strength, courage, and power to achieve anything I set my mind to.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Harvesting a community of like minded people: It is so important to surround yourself with like minded individuals who add value and support to your life. You need people on your side routing for you when you’re at your best and there for you at your lows. Life is not just about wins or loses. It’s about having people there to celebrate with or turn to when things don’t work out how you planned.
- Remain positive: It’s super easy as a human being and spiritual being to beat yourself up when things go south. It’s easy to fall into the negative self-talk and to be blinded by it. But, you have to push past this and be able to see that in any situation you’re in there is some positivity, there is a bright side. When the going gets tough you have to be able to still appreciate and recognize all the good you do have in your life and push forward from those positive things instead of focusing on the negative.
- Taking immediate action: You need to set up your game plan, get it written down and know what you’re going to do today, in the next five days, next month, next six months and so on. Get that pen to paper and take action everyday so you can check off all the accomplishments you make as you make them. I’m a firm believer that having a checklist and checking things off is a morale booster. It’s a physical way to see your success happening in real time.
- Things that happen to me don’t always happen for me: Everyone has dealt with tough times and have been in situations that were so devastating you say to yourself “why me?” But, I’ve come to the realization that tough situations don’t happen to me, for me. It happened to me so I could share that experience with someone else and help them through their tough times. Life is all a bunch of experiences and if we can find lessons in the harder parts then we can teach others how to come out of those hard situations through our own lived experiences. That’s what makes someone become a more resilient person.
- Healing takes time: Do not expect to snap back from hard times immediately. It is so important to understand that there is a process to healing and being able to snap back. It might take you three weeks, three months, or even three years but, It’s important to remain consistent in your new habits and new attitude towards life so you can continue to move forward and pursue the resilience that you have worked so hard to build and maintain.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
A movement that I would like to inspire would be to implement business classes in schools across the world. I would want this to teach middle and high school age students how to do their taxes, how to invest in real estate, and understand the stock market. All of those things that aren’t really taught in school and if they are it’s either very outdated information or taught in a way that leaves students either confused or entirely uninterested in the subject. I would love to implement business and entrepreneurial studies and to give access to real life skills that these students will actually use in their adult life regardless of what career path they choose to take.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Russel Brunson. He changed my life in so many ways. On February 3rd of 2020 I went to one of his live events. I was truly in awe and inspired by his selflessness and his ability to help other people. It was on that day that Sebastian and I decided to build Esellers Resource Initiative, our Amazon training program. Since the program launched in July of 2020 it has also changed our lives but, that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the inspiration I received from Russel Brunson.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!