Lessons from my travels through Spain

posted in: Stuff

Spain is a beautiful country. Beautiful scenery, great people, delicious food (a bottle of 5 litres of extra virgin olive oil for only about $20CAD, excellent wines for only 3 bucks, cheese from heaven – made in La Mancha… crazy!). I was invited to talk about different subjects related to online marketing, business promotion and personal branding for entrepreneurs in different events through several cities.A day in Toledo

I learned a lot from this trip. Usually you go thinking, “here’s what I will teach”, but you often come back getting more than what you give and that is the true value of sharing. Spain is in the middle of very hard economic times. It is a country trying so hard to reinvent itself, to find unification and to find growth and stability. In spite of this (or maybe because of all this), people seem to be having a lot of fun. In the streets of Granada, you could never guess that the city is going through one of its worst economic crisis in years. While going about through several small cities and towns in La Mancha, everyone seemed happy and to a big extent, contempt. People in Huesca, Madrid and Zaragoza share a smile and are courteous, all talk about how the times are bad, but no one actually complains, all keep working and keep living.

This experience refreshed some very important business and personal lessons that we all know, but most of the time forget. I compare the Spanish towns and cities with some other towns in other countries where people really seem depressed due to the hard economic times and look as if the sun ain’t shinning no more. Spain has several millions unemployed and others with half day jobs and half paying work because of the situation, they jus did a massive cut to social spending and more taxes may be on the way. But still, people are working hard, trying to innovate and get going.

This leads to lesson number one: When the going gets though, the though get going. We all should learn from that. Nothing beats a strong working ethic and a good heart.

To my Spanish friends, Gracias! It was a great experience. A most special thanks to Ana Sanchez and Javier Perez from Ibero Tyke Consultores in Zaragoza with whom now Cualli Ohtli internet marketing has a joint venture and are our local contacts in Spain. They were wonderful hosts, most gracious and lots of fun.

Javier was my guide through most of the politics and economics in Spain, and in spite of its difficulties, it is a country to watch. Javier working hardThrough Javier and Ana we met with several government officials in different cities (Mayors, council members and business promoters) and they all have a big passion for their country and respective cities.

Which leads me to the second lesson: Passion must be in your heart for success to come (even if it happens eventually and not immediately). This also means belief. You should believe in your product, so others can believe too.Ana, me and the windmill

Ana’s skills made possible many of our adventures and her organizational abilities and happy-go-lucky attitude made even the busiest moments a very pleasurable memory. Her smile made everything shine and her insight brings light to the darkest of hours! We will all go as hippies to Tarifa with you if you reach that point! ; )

And this gives way to lesson number three: In the path to success, there will be busy, hard times, but a smile can take you a long way. If you meet difficulties and challenges with a smile and open attitude, things will go better and the way will not be as difficult (sometimes even easier!).

So, to summarize, success is not giving up when things get hard, passion and belief in what you do must be there and a smile can go a long way.

Even if you fail, success is getting up and trying again. (See post related to team efforts and building a tower for an example of successive efforts with increasing results)