Believing in yourself is a common mantra we hear for motivation, but it is easier said than done. Going past all of the self-doubts, worries, and fears due to imposter syndrome is hard, but we can definitely gain a well-deserved self-trust by seeing our uniqueness despite our flaws. Melanie Parish is joined by public speaker and philanthropist Angel Ribo to discuss how to embrace your true self and let it out for everyone to see. After all, we must not be dictated by our surroundings but by what lies inside ourselves. Angel also shares what kind of fears keep him awake at night, some tips regarding self-care, and experimenting in the middle of the pandemic.
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I'm here with Angel Ribo. He's known as The CEO Confidant, is an influencer, international TV host, public speaker, CEO consultant, board member, and philanthropist. In the last many years, he has empowered more than 1,500 CEOs in 33 different countries. He was born near Barcelona and he has lived in eight countries and speaks five languages. He established entrepreneurs and corporate CEOs to hire Angel to bridge the gap globally for expansion and exposure. He sits on the board of the Evolutionary Business Council, an organization with more than 350 global transformational leaders with a combined reach of well over 600 million people. He’s based in Texas, and early in 2017, he launched his international foundation Wisdom for Kids and has helped more than 1,000 underprivileged kids in Latin America become entrepreneurs using their local resources.
Angel, I'm excited to have you on my show.
I fell in love with the name of your show because it’s experimental. It's been my journey since I started working internationally. It's amazing. Thank you for having me and thank you to everybody who's reading.
I can't wait to know why that title resonated with you. It's fun to talk about it. Let's dive in. I would love to hear about what you're up to in your work?
My brand is The CEO Confidant. I have two distinct audiences of people that I serve. First is Corporate America C-Level Executives and corporate CEOs. They hired me along with established entrepreneurs. They hire me to bridge the gap globally for expansion and exposure. I helped them strategize and implement growth acceleration strategies through expanding those businesses internationally. It's a mixture of marketing and sales strategies, business development internationally. I'm originally from Barcelona. I lived in seven different countries and speak a few languages. I had done that before helping other companies expand internationally in more than 33 countries. When I became my own boss a few years ago, I decided to keep on doing the same thing for myself because of everything that I had learned throughout my career and all the mistakes I had made.
How do you feel like you've been experimenting since COVID?
This question has many answers. We are all experimenting with a completely new life. We are all experimenting from a personal level. I had lived intensely the crisis in 2001, 2008, 2009, from a business perspective, seeing companies, businesses, and industries closing down, that's not something new. There are the whole environment and whole feelings. Tony Robbins says that “The quality of your life is the quality of your emotions and your feelings.” That has made a big difference, which means my experiments on my business and my life are trying to deal with this fear that is all over the place, regardless of what you do. This is the added ingredient of this general crisis. My experimenting has been, how can I better understand that position where everybody is knowing that we are all under this umbrella of fear? Understanding at a personal level, I deal with both Corporate America and entrepreneurs, everybody has a different perspective.
The ones that either lost their jobs or they are entrepreneurs and they still were trying to ramp up, they are more in fear because the uncertainty has increased. For me, number one, experimenting with these people that I know that their emotions are going through turmoil right now. Number two, how has that affected their businesses? Either their own businesses or someone else's businesses that they work for. How can I best support them? How can I keep on adding value to their lives and to their businesses regardless? When I say regardless, in some cases means serving people that unfortunately they lost their jobs or they have some financial issues. I've never in my life before have done more pro bono work and have supported and mentored more people now. These are all the experiments I'm doing, giving a lot of value away, doing more personal work along with the business one, and making sure that I'm there whoever needs it. That's important now.
I love what you're saying. As a longtime business coach, I've been coaching for many years. I do some business coaching and some executive coaching. I have to think about in these times, who should we save? Who do we throw life raft? I've come to the conclusion that there are businesses that will fail because they're not providing value in the marketplace because the marketplace has changed. It's not some failing that they had that they weren't meeting the needs of their customers, it's their customer needs have deeply changed. It is interesting to see people suffering because they watch a favorite business closed or someone lost a job. I have a daughter who's a chef who feels in peril as things tightened down again in Ontario, where we are. Will she be back on unemployment or something like that? She's been gainfully employed for a decade and works hard. Through no fault of her own, she becomes marginalized after braving the first round. What are your thoughts on how do we determine as a society who we save and who we don't save?
My main life purpose is to help underprivileged kids in Latin America to become entrepreneurs within local resources. For me, the greater good and saving whatever that is important. The first thing is that not everybody wants to be saved. If we pick who do we save, do we think that we have to save everybody? Does everybody want to be safe? I don't know. I'm not sure. When you mentioned those companies that maybe they are serving industries, that they're not there anymore, or the consumer needs have changed completely, what comes to my mind is I’m learning, re-inventing, and pivoting.
Regardless of the size of the company, I have a good friend of mine and colleague Neville Joffe who said, “Acres of diamonds that already exist in corporations right now and allow them to pivot successfully.” I think that everybody is in a position in which they can reinvent themselves, including corporations. They can still go to a market, their existing or another one, and still ask, “What do you guys need? How can we best serve you now? You're not doing this now, so I cannot offer you my services, but what else can we do for you right now?” It's one of the missing links. Not everybody's in the same position and same mindset.
You mentioned that you’re in business coaching for many years. Sometimes, we're preaching in the desert. Sometimes that's how much we can do. Through our coaching, we can ask those powerful questions to these people, these business leaders, entrepreneurs so that they reflect and they realize what they can do or what they shouldn't be doing. That's how much we can do. I think that if everybody's willing to reinvent themselves and is willing to unlearn and be in a different position, everybody is in a position to be saved. They have to unlearn and reinvent themselves in many situations. There are industries that are on the ground now. It's difficult to take them back, but nothing is impossible. What else can we do?
I love the question, “What else can we do? What do we need?” Let's shift a little to you personally. You talked about fear before. What keeps you awake at night?
Number one is serving my family. I still have young kids. They're going through so many things. I feel sorry for them that they're going through all these things that they never had to go through myself in my life. I've been so blessed that they had never had to suffer what they suffer when they go to school and what they have to do still talk to their friends, and all these kinds of things. That's one of the things that keeps me up at night. Going back to the same conversation as before, what can I change? Having a lot of conversations with them and tell them why this is going on, why that might be happening, what can we make of this, and how can we make this an opportunity regardless of what's going on?
Another thing is, “How can I best serve my clients?” I wake up at night because I always try to give this additional edge of creativity. I'm one of these weirdos that never stops thinking and I spot opportunities all over the place all the time. When I am serving, when I'm having a one-on-one with one of my clients or one of the partners I serve, I always on that space of, “I've been sensing this online. I've been sensing this on the Zoom call and this business meeting. I'm realizing that this might be going on. Why don't we change our marketing messaging a little bit? Why don't we change this value proposition that we're doing and we do it in a different way?”
I'm always trying to rethink and I'm always offering these new ideas. That's who I am. My brain is always effervescent. That has a good side and a bad side. The bad side is that sometimes I wake up at night or I wake up early. That's pretty much it. Since COVID start I have to say, my mom and dad still live in Spain. The US is apart compared to what's going on in Spain. I'm concerned about them too. They're 80 years old, both of them. They have been confined most of these months and I cannot be with them. This is something, unfortunately, is also a concern for me. The only thing I can do is to call them as much as I can and to tell them that everything's going to be all right. Regardless of everything else, they're going to be taken care of and happy by my brothers and sisters in Spain.
I'm in a similar situation. I live in Canada in Ontario, but my father is in New Mexico in the US, and our borders are closed. There's no possibility of visiting him for the foreseeable future. I'm challenged by that distance as well. I love talking to people who are successful and who also work with highly successful people. I love asking them to think about their thoughts on imposter syndrome. I don't ask people to bare their souls and tell me their deepest darkest secrets. I'm sure that you work with people who have figured out how to grapple with imposter syndrome. What are your thoughts on how to get through it? Anything that comes to mind when it pops up?
The first thing that comes to mind was when I left Corporate America. I underestimated everything I had done that I thought that everything I was doing at that point in time was fake. I was offering my services and I was thinking, “Medina,” they're going to say, “I'm not sure.” I was thinking like, “No, I don't deserve that person's business and that company's business.” I had never sat down and I had never written down everything I had achieved while I was working for other companies in other countries. When I started to write down and bring up like, “Let's count the number of companies that I served, the conversations with CEOs I've done, the number of countries, the number of business issues I've solved, and the number of salespeople I've trained.” I had this piece of paper in front of me that I have handwritten, and then I said to myself, “Angel, read to this list again. You deserve these people's business as much as anybody else, if not more.” How many people can say that they have done this? They might have done something differently, but not the exact same thing. We tend to think, for instance, we're both business consultants or business coaches. I might be afraid of you because you might take away a client of mine because of this conversation. Let's take this to an extreme.
We are complimentary and we will always be complimentary because I would never replace your experience. It's impossible for me to replace your experience and the kind of value that you can provide to the people that you serve. It's the same with me. Nobody can offer the same thing. Whoever will offer a different thing, a similar thing, but not the same. At the end of the day, what’s important is to be yourself, be genuine, be authentic, and be true to yourself. Imposter syndrome comes and goes. Maybe it's my education or my tradition. Spain is a very Catholic country. I don’t know if that's a tradition, education, or whatever.
Since we are kids, we are educated with so many boundaries and things that we cannot do. Maybe this fear goes with us all the time like, “You are not enough,” but we are enough. When you talk to people and business executives, when you doctor more successful than you the C-level executives, you realize that you still have a lot to offer. We all should know that we carry with all our flaws, mistakes, and our failures. We still carry a lot of stories and experiences that nobody else has made us have a completely different and unique perspective of the world and of the business world that can help others to do a better job. It's simple.
It's even more simple than that. Every single person has the capacity to be a sounding board. Even if you strip away the experience and your own perspective, you have the ability to ask questions and help someone become more aware of their own thoughts. If you're talking to the smartest person in the room, they may not have themselves talk enough to get the value. In my coaching, letting people talk, and then saying, “What did you learn as you heard yourself say all those things?” Sometimes it's not an earth-shattering shift. Sometimes there's real insight in allowing them to hear themselves.
That's why I said, “Stay true to yourself.” Be genuine and be authentic. I know it's fearful. I know it can be a social fear in the beginning. When I started giving away some interviews, I said to myself, “Maybe I don't have answers to the questions I'm going to be asked.” The more you talk, the more difficult the questions are, the more different and unique the questions are. The more you explore inside yourself, you realize that you have the answers.
There’s some answer.
When I am on the other side, I'm interviewing someone, I always say, “I'm not the important one here. The important one is you because my audience has to listen to your messages today. I know that some of the things you, Mrs. or Mr. Guests are going to say are going to resonate with many audiences.’” I know that for a fact. That's why I would want you to keep ongoing. Sometimes the most simple short statement can be the most powerful in the life of the listeners. Everybody sees their world in a different way. It's human nature. Imposter syndrome is a fear that you’re like, “I'm not enough. I will not be enough. I'm pretending to do and to be able to do things, and to deliver the things that I'm not able.” You are asking the wrong questions. The question you have to ask is not if or when, it’s how. How can I deliver that service? How can I do it? Going back to your original question about experimenting, how can I do this better for my clients? How can I do this? What else should I be trying in order to serve my market better?
My favorite expression is, take imperfect action now. Interestingly enough, it's related to experimenting. You will not know that that particular strategy or idea is going to be successful or you’re going to like it unless you try. You try but don't worry there's always a safety net. Try it in a particular environment that makes you be safer, try and see what happens. See what opens up for you. I'm sure that you've seen this a million times. When you try something, regardless of what it is, when you take massive action, things start to happen. It is what it is. It's like this universe where we are, our God rewards us for taking massive action, for going diligently to do something. I've experienced that so many times, suddenly things started happening around me when I take massive action or when I recommend someone to take massive action.
I love the idea of imperfect action because if it's perfect, it's no longer an experiment, it's a gamble. It's gotten too scaled up, too planned, or too organized. You've already invested too much to allow it to be an experiment. What can you think now that you're experimenting with tomorrow? Short timeframes. Another pivot here in our conversation, what do you do for self-care?
Number one, I do fasting often, which helps me from a health perspective. I love sunbathing against common belief. My skin is in great health. My age stopped many years ago and it becomes younger and healthier every single day. The second thing I do is very often, as you probably have realized, I'm a very passionate and optimistic guy. I use my incantations and affirmations every single day. It's very easy to see me in my car, at a traffic light, or on the carpool of my kids. It’s like me chanting something. I liked to take naps in the middle of the day. I believe that it's like recharging. I'm glad that being an entrepreneur, I can take 30 minutes in the middle of the day to do that.
The rest is to be present and not to be reacting. Reacting kills you. If you want, you can be reacting to something throughout the day. The good things about this situation that we are living in 2020, there are so many stimuli out there for many different sources that staying away from a reaction and looking at the world as an observer observing the world. I've never observed the world more than now. Trying to build bridges as opposed to being reacting and taking sides. That's helping me a lot to be in a place of sanity.
I love the sunbathing, incanting, and napping self that you describe. It's a refreshing view.
I also hike trees, but that will be too daring for me to share with the readers, which I do. I’m barefoot in the backyard.
Where can people find you?
My strong hole is my LinkedIn account. I'm there very often at Angel Ribo. You can find me anytime. My email is extremely easy. It's Angel@AngelRibo.com. Those are the easiest ways to find me. I'm very responsive. My team along with me, we are always willing to help and to support everybody that needs it.
It's been such a pleasure to have you on my show. Thanks so much for your time.
Thank you for the invite. I've enjoyed the conversation. Thank you to all your readers for their patient reading and for allowing me to be in their lives.
I've been talking with Angel Ribo and I love his connection to his own values and how he weaves that through the way that he works. I love that his answer to the question, “Should everyone be saved in COVID in terms of businesses?” His answer is not everyone wants to be saved, but if you do want to be saved, then that's the wrong question to be asking. It should be, “How do we ditch all of that?” I've enjoyed hearing how he lives his values in everything he does. I like the self-care that he does like sunbathing, having incantations, and taking naps in the afternoon. He defines his own reality as a leader. I love that he says, “If we're asking who should be saved, we're asking the wrong question. It's how should we do it?” I’m loving his question, “How do you take massive imperfect action?” I love the imperfection of that because it fits along the guidelines of the experimental leader to do short, quick, safe to fail experiments using prototypes wherever you can. Go experiment.
About Angel Ribo
I am originally from Spain. At 18-years-old I moved to Barcelona from my hometown. In 1996 I got married with my college sweetheart but 6 months later I got divorced. That crushed me emotionally. I had to start my life all over as a single guy... In 1999, after working a couple of years in Spain, I was looking for a position that would allow me to go overseas and I found one in London. I got the job and I moved to London. The First Defining Moment Of My Life In London I was working for an American company and they invited me to a Sales Training Bootcamp in United States, Massachusetts.
After that bootcamp I decided to take a couple of weeks off from my job to visit Mexico and then go to Cuba. At the time I was reading a novel called “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield that discusses various psychological and spiritual ideas rooted in multiple ancient Eastern traditions and New Age spirituality. When I finished the book I was in the second floor of my Villa, overlooking the ocean, the sun was setting and it was an amazing sunset. For the first time ever in my life I felt this intense energy telling me that I had to go and work in Latin America. After my vacation and after experiencing this powerful spiritual moment I went back to London where I told my managers that I wanted to leave to Latin America and I asked if they could offer me a position there.
They said yes and after 3 months I was already in Mexico. I started working there and I was very successful at the beginning but then my boss started asking me to get involved with the weird illegal things that they were doing and of course I didn’t want to do that which led me to leaving the company in 2003. 2003 was a good year however, because I met my wife :)Things Weren’t Always Easy In 2005 I started working for a new software company after seeing an ad for a chance to open an office in Mexico city. I applied for the job and got the job. I was the the number one person of the company in Mexico. Out of intuition I had to build distribution channels and personal relationships with different people. Through hard work, by being a very good human being and by spending a lot of time with the people there, I was able to get some great results and I ended up helping them triple their revenue in 1 year. Because I got no directions I pretty much had to jump of a cliff and build an airplane while I was falling. At the time my mantra was, “I have to help these guys. I have to be with them.” And I just knew I would get results As I was so focused in my work I started to leave the family alone. I started to spend weekends away from home and my wife was thinking at the time that we were going to get a divorce. Mexico City where we were living was also a very difficult city to live in. As one of the candidates to the Presidential election in 2006 said that there had been fraud, living in Mexico City became impossible, so we moved to Puerto Vallarte.
I worked from Puerto Vallarta for a while and I got some really good momentum. All the people in the company knew, liked and trusted me. Then one day the Vice President for Sales came to Mexico and he said to me that if I want a better job I should move to the United States. Fast forward a few months and my family and I decided to move to US where I had the same responsibility as in Mexico. The Day I Discovered My Life’s Purpose In the United States I continued travelling for work and for pleasure through Latin America until one day, again in February, this time in Mexico City, something extraordinary happened again. I was there in an event that was meant for people from all walks of life and of social origin. In that event those people were taught how to become entrepreneurs. You could see all kinds of people but, among all, you could see the high energy level that everyone had there. The following day, as I was having a shower in the morning, before going back home a strong flash came to my mind. I felt this intense flow of energy, complete state of bliss like never before in my life... I started crying like a baby, literally. I suddenly understood why I had been called to live in Latin America instead of in Europe, and why I had travelled so much with that due to my work. The flash that came into my mind was that I had to take all the kids in need in Latin America out of poverty, through inspiration. Through the inspiration that everyone has an immense power to create their own reality. My mission would be to reach out to all the kids in need in Latin America and teach them how to become Entrepreneurs with their local resources.
And the way that I would use to create reach out to so many people would be a network of Angels, angels that would deliver those inspirations lectures over and over again. The Angels would inspire those kids to realize that they could start setting up their own ventures to help themselves and their families. This was the day when I discovered my life's purpose. My Mission Today And that's why now I have 2 missions in life. My number one mission and my life’s purpose is to help kids in need in Latin America with my non-profit, Wisdom for Kids. There are 81 Million kids living in poverty in Latin America right now and my goal is to help 810,000 kids in need in Latin America within the next 3 years. In fact half of my coaching fee goes straight to the non-profit and it’s tax deductible...
My second mission in life and really something that's connected to the first mission is to help 7,390 CEO’s within the next 10 years.. Why that number? That number represents 0,00001% of the world population and I feel that when I achieve that I’ve made a real difference in the world... I also believe CEO’s run the world so that’s why I want to inspire CEO’s to give back.
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A public speaker, consultant, workshop leader, author, and Master Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation, from whom she received the Prism Award, Melanie is an expert in problem-solving, constraints management, operations, strategic hiring, and brand development.