Cesar Espino

What leader? This is something that when I was born, I did not think I will become, and it was not until later in life that I discover who I was truly born to be. Growing up was not easy as I was born in a social classification where money and financial status did and still do matter.

I was born in Mexico City, and not only was I born into a poor family, I was born to just one parent (never knowing my biological father). Grew up in a place where there was no electricity, house made out of plywood, sheet metal, and living straight on dirt floor. This was my reality, and in that reality, there was no clear picture of becoming a leader, yet alone an entrepreneur, on the contrary, my future look more like growing up as a hard-working human being and working for someone else just to survive.

If living under those conditions was not an indication of what my future would look like, this next experienced really set the course of destiny for the following years to come. At just 4 years old, my mom decided to take a huge leap of faith and left Mexico to pursue the American dream.

This event left my older brother and I with my grandma. With the three of us behind in Mexico, and due to our poor social classification, we had no other option, but to start working. Yes! I started working at the age of 4, and there was surely no clear vision of becoming a leader or even yet becoming an entrepreneur.

One thing I’ve come to realized now is that sometimes there is someone else that believes more in you than you do in your own self, and that also means that sometimes that other person will make the sacrifices to see you succeed. For me, that one person was my lovely mother, who did what no mother would ever want to do and that is to leave her kids behind and in a totally different country, miles, and miles away.

It is Abraham Lincoln who said, “all that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother”. And at that time, I was lucky to have two mothers to look after me (my mom and grandma). As of this writing, my grandma who raised me and taught me so many great life lessons had passed away and my dear mother is still living.

During my first 10 years of life, it was challenging living, and even more so challenging to see that I will become someone outside of my poverty and or my country. What became a directional change in my life was when my mom came back from the States to Mexico and took all of us to the USA. All this time my mom was saving to bring us to this great nation, this was her sacrifice and leap of faith.

For the first time in my life, I no longer had to worry about working, not having food, not having clothes, not being a kid. Also, for the first time in my life, this changes the direction of my future because prior to this I never had thought I will leave Mexico or that life I was born into. This of course came with different types of obstacles. Such obstacles whereas I was not able to communicate due to a language barrier, discrimination, look upon a minority, being a stranger in an entirely new world, getting acclimated to a new society, and getting accustomed to new ways and traditions.

This was not an easy change, yet I also learn a valuable lesson.
• Do not let fear take away the opportunity.
• To get comfortable, you must step into the uncomfortable.

You must realize that the opportunity is out there, and it may not come in a nice, shiny object, as a matter of fact, it might be disguised and if you do not pay attention, you can miss out on that opportunity. I allowed the opportunity to walk right past me, time and time again, and it was not until the moment I decided to take on that opportunity that my life and future change.

One way in which I did this was by stepping into an uncomfortable zone to get comfortable. This was a huge challenge for me because it is not something that came to me overnight. As a matter of fact, I was in many uncomfortable places to the point where I just gave up, I did not follow through, or I did not allow for the opportunity to fully develop.

During my journey to becoming the leader and entrepreneur I am today, I had to overcome several obstacles, some that were painful, others that stay with me for the rest of my life, and others that became a life lesson.
You might be asking what life lessons.

Hmm… well, let me tell you.
• Having a kid when I was practically a kid myself, at just the age of 16. This was another turning point in my life, where I decided that my daughter will not suffer and or go through the same challenges as I did when I was a kid. This was mine why.
• Going to jail more than once, the first time for anger issues, and the second time I was wrongfully accused and incriminated because of my first offense. And a third time for not being responsible for my actions.
• Having three long-term relationships that fail and have now become a life lesson.
• Falling into what I consider a dark place, and not because I was doing drugs, or I was in gangs, I was in a dark place mentally where I was not taking care of my own actions, and degrading my own worth to my family, friends, and more importantly to myself.
Through all these challenges, I still managed to hold high-end jobs in corporate America as a leader. Obtained my MBA, travel around the world to multiple countries, have lived a much better life than others, and by the age of 27 had a total of three properties. The interesting part is that I still felt out of place.
If you remember at the beginning, I mentioned how it was not until later in life that I discovered who I was truly born to be. Well, in my twenties I decided to have several businesses, such as:
• Building computers
• Having my own maintenance company
• Getting into real estate investing
• Becoming the bank through a similar model as pawn shops
• Selling items like new bikes, used products, etc.

All these businesses did not materialize, and nor did I continue them for the exception of one that really got my attention, and that is real estate investing. Still, with all this drive I was not yet fully committed, because my priority was my 9-5 job (or more like my 10 – 12 hrs/day).

Once again, I still felt as there was something missing and firsthand experiencing the lost opportunity of moving up the ladder because the “company” had a different purpose or direction than mine. Or having someone else dictate what I can or cannot do, was really eating me alive. I gained so much weight, my blood levels were off the roof, I was not taking care of myself, I was not taking care of my family, I was not taking care of my relationships (both personal and romantic relationships).

Finally, I decided to go back and be committed to real estate investing, I also realized that for things to change, I had to change. With that in mind, I knew I had to learn different ways of educating myself and learning strategies to empower me to become a better version of my past self.

While still working the 9-5 job, I started working on my real estate business. Not easy at all, as that meant I had to work until my body, mind, eyes were tired, and this was after putting 10-12 hours shift.

Finally, the big decision, which by the way did not come easy as it took me 7 months to quit because of fear, yet finally I became a full-time entrepreneur.

As I got back into real estate, I knew I needed more information, and with that, I started looking at non-traditional education by attending real estate seminars. This was the beginning of my transformation phase and stepped into becoming a leader and an entrepreneur.

Here are some things that you can do to step into that role of entrepreneurial, yet more importantly the role of becoming a better you:

• Being present in the NOW moment. Do not live in the past as the past is gone and nothing can be done. Learn from the past, see it as a lesson and use it to help you and not to enable you. Do not live in the future, as the future is not here, plan for it yet do not live in it. Be present now, and focus on today, as today is what you can control, and the actions you take on today will impact your tomorrow.
• Read and educate yourself with your field of interest, get a mentor or someone to fast track your journey.
• Focus on the words you use, as they do matter, be careful about how you speak to yourself, and others.
• Educate your mind with the right programs. Like a healthy diet, you must have a healthy mind. Program your mind with the right triggers and programs. Such as the words you used, the type of music you listen to, the type of reading you read, and or the type of programs you watch.
• Focus on your circle of friends, the average of five people are going to help you and or disable you. I break this down into three categories.1. People who are playing at a higher level than you yet are willing to help you (as a mentor). 2. People who are playing at the same level as you, yet they are edifying you, empowering you, creating join ventures with you. 3. People who are playing at a lower level than you, and they are looking for people to look up to, this gives you the ability to help them by reaching down and bringing them up to your level.
• Create daily habits that are going to empower you and help you move forward in this ride and journey called life.

Such as reading empowering books, creating affirmations, organizing daily tasks, exercise, and creating a healthy diet.
As you embark on this journey, make sure that you have a clear picture of where you want to be and go, it is not about how you are going to do it, is more about where you want to be. Start with the end in mind and set a clear intention.

  1. You need to have the end in mind
  2. Be precise on the outcome, the closer the better it is
  3. Put it out into the universe
  4. Write it down
  5. List specific task actions
  6. Set a specific date for completion
  7. Chunk it down – break the task into smaller tasks
  8. Begin at once and act by executing your plan (take-action)
    If you find yourself not enjoying 100% of what you are doing, the best thing to do is change it. No one said you must stay stuck in a place that is not satisfying your life, you and only you have the power to change.
    And remember that…
    Deciding on your destination is up to you and only you, so choose wisely.
    It is also never too late to start, and if you do not start it will be and get late.
    Believe in yourself and see through the image in front of you of what you are to become or truly already are!