It’s all started the Friday I got selected to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University 2014 in Phoenix, AZ from March 21-23. Being on the waiting list had broken part of my ego and my confidence, so my selection brought them back. Then, I wanted to prove I was worth it. Wrong! I made the dumbest mistake by attaching my worth to an invitation.

Ready like a lion waiting for his prey, I put in all I had to win the Resolution Project that I did not eventually win. I was on fire when leaving Wausau to fly to Arizona. 100% motivated and focused.

As a crazy geek, I checked my Twitter as soon as I got to the airport in Arizona. Surprise! An ABC15 reporter had tweeted and asked me to do an interview, which kind of boosted my ego and confidence. We had to do the interview in a conference room at the hotel because I could not check into my room. I was going to be on TV and didn’t have a room, so I took a sink shower. 🙂

As a confident semi-finalist I arranged my table and display in the sexiest manner. By the way, all bragging aside I had one of the most beautiful table displays. “We are starting in 5 minutes,” I heard one of the organizer say. “It’s the big moment,” I said to myself. Yes it totally was; I answered questions and presented my project for more than an hour nonstop to more than 30 people. My feet were hurting, my throat was swelling but I kept my enthusiasm alive as long the oxygen kept me company. One of the judges even sent the Resolution Project’s president to come to speak to me. Again, that boosted my ego and confidence.

Long story short, I got selected as a finalist, but I intentionally lost the funding for my project. How? Why? Bear with me.

As a finalist I needed to prepare a 5 minute presentation to convince the judges to accept me into the circle (the fellowship). I was desperate to win. It was as if I wanted to prove something or feed my ego. It was a paradox. Even though I desperately wanted to win, I also wanted to stick true to myself. What’s my true self?

I am an outlier, a curious young man who tries things. So, instead of doing a conventional presentation with hard data and numbers, I did a leapfrog.

I went to the edge, I tangoed with my fear. I rejected compliance and refused to fit in. I did a presentation from my heart and stuck to my values. I won the hearts of all the judges while I lost their vote and potential funding. As an aspiring social entrepreneur and coach I did what my one my favorite authors (Seth Godin) referred to in The Icarus Deception as “being an artist”.

Oh! Let’s get back to my desire of winning or let’s call it my ego’s thirst. I almost missed the ride (experience) because I focused too much on winning, then lost the funding opportunity. But I quickly got back on my feet and had an unbelievable CGIU 2014 experience. I met a variety of people with whom I’d already established connections and envisaged possible partnerships. I learned about various strategies that can help IMPACT become a successful venture. Sitting 3-5 feet away from President Clinton made me think that I am on the right path and my origin has nothing to with what I can become. On Saturday night after my looser inner conversation, a CGIU fellow came to tell me that I inspired him. At that moment I felt alive and in complete harmony with the universe’s melody. It was magical, an unforgettable moment. It reminded my mission on earth, inspire people.

Overall, being a finalist proved my project is viable. All I need is persistence, rejection, more persistence and people who share this vision. On the bright side, I had the greatest opportunity to walk through downtown Phoenix. I ate, took pictures and shared some great times with my friends Brigida and Yeny. OMG I really enjoyed myself. Could it better?

This experience taught me three lessons.

1- I am now free, free from the standard and the common set by other humans.

2- The true meaning of winning is playing the game while sticking to one’s core values because the desire of winning (ego) can sometimes prevent you from enjoying the game.

3- Emotional connection is a ROI (return on investment), but maybe not for the expert.

Ego vs. Impact, it’s a conscientious choice. What’s yours?

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