Real Leaders

A Young Leader Takes a Step Away to Step up

I want to spend today doing things that prepare me to thrive tomorrow.

With my decision to leave management consulting and New York, I’m keeping to my 2016 commitments: chasing opportunities that challenge and seeking environments that stretch me furthest. It’s tough. And it should be. 

Eleven days into my stay in Colombia has meant a foreign land, a different culture and a new language. I’ve felt incredibly lonely, but also full to the brim with excitement. This is where exponential growth happens… and my intention was growth (be careful what you wish for!).

I want to write my story.  

I have an idea of who I want to be and the values I want to lead with. I fall short frequently and desperately want to fail less. A strong internal conviction will help me be who I grew up dreaming to be.

I’m human and humans fail, but process will win championships (Nick Saban).

Taking time away from the perpetual motion that consumes New York, NYCTech and management consulting allows me to slow down and create moments to consider process (internal practice) and cement the best parts together.

Back home, I made as much money as I was spending. If I didn’t work, I couldn’t survive. I needed to sit in a job that I didn’t love. That hamster wheel meant less time to discover things that excite me. It meant less opportunities for creation and creativity. The hamster wheel wasn’t helping me reach my goals.

By jumping off the hamster wheel, I created an opportunity to think, act, and grow.

Why a strong internal practice?

The distance between knowledge and success is action. Knowledge alone is useless.

I have tremendous potential, but my action has been sporadic. I’ve had interesting experiences and results, but I ask myself: what if I could deliver, contribute, engage and create consistently? If working at 20% has gotten me here, where can 80% get me? In less nerdy terms, what’s possible when I let my light shine?

How do strong internal practices happen?

Setting difficult goals with challenging timelines and achieving them. Falling in love with the process. Understanding that inches turn into feet, feet turn into yards and yards turn into miles. Every action is a move towards the distance.

What do I want in a strong internal practice?

Discipline: do what needs to be done. Everyday.
Patience: with people, ideas and myself.
Understanding: compassion/empathy/ a natural human centered design mindset.
Fortitude: mental toughness.
Mindfulness: strength in silence. power in observation.
Perseverance/Grit: to get hit, to hurt and decide to keep moving forward  

You couldn’t do that as a Management Consultant in New York?

New York is full of people that identify goals and knock them out of the park. I chose to change my life because I’m in pursuit of exponential growth, and management consulting was only showing me incremental growth. 

I’ve been in Medellin, Colombia for a 11 days and it’s already stretching me. I’ve also got the bandwidth to make decisions that help me in my pursuit of exponential growth and for building the mechanism for delivering action when opportunities arrive.

Why I’m in Latin America

Being in Colombia helps make my immediate goals more attainable. It’s cheaper than New York, sits in a time-zone between the East and West coast of America (my ideal clients and family), and provides a culturally-rich environment for language learning & cultural mindset broadening.

Tangibly, what I hope to achieve while in Colombia

  • Learn and interact effectively in Spanish
  • Be fight-ready in Jiu Jitsu
  • Build deep relationships with people interested in bettering their city. Particularly key players in tech/startups, innovation, policy and people. 

How long am I gone?

I booked a one-way flight to Colombia. I’ll be in Medellín for at least six months. After that, we’ll see. 

But Money! 

To make money, I incorporated a digital agency/marketing company. I support companies I believe in and work with people I admire. While here I’m doing really challenging work with clients in product, marketing, and writing. I will continue to do challenging work that grows me professionally and pays me. In my life I want to do really cool (professional) things.

Crazy, crazy cool things that grow me but also allow me to make a dent on the organizations I’m working with. In this moment, I feel this style of working and lifestyle will help me do those things more than management consulting did.

And Career!?

I believe this journey will help me be a more capable and professional person. I will learn lessons that make me uniquely effective to organizations in an ever globalizing, ambiguous and interdisciplinary world. I want to ensure that I’m doing things to inspire confidence in other people, to let me help build their companies, join their boards and lead their communities, families and futures.

I recognize that unplugged from traditional mechanisms and ladders, I lose institutional sponsors, coaches, and mentors. I enlist my community for support as I identify tough questions, challenge areas and the right people who can help me as I understand how to prepare myself for leading teams, building organizations and making things happen.


I love traveling. I love understanding new people and places. I love learning and being challenged. I want to do more than climb the ladder and run in the hamster wheel. I want to write my story. I want to be in charge of my life. Many people hate being a corporate slave; being stuck in a job they don’t like. I want to love what I do. I want to grow as a human, as a partner and as a creator. I have a lot to learn. This helps me do it.

It’s a scary thing to let your light shine. I frequently dim my own in fear. I no longer want to. And I don’t want my communities to either. Look around. The world decays without our light. It needs us to shine. 

This experience challenges me to be the best version of me. It puts me in the best position to unlock my potential.


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