After 20 years of entrepreneurship, this year I had made the decision to take a period of reflection, to focus on spreading my knowledge and to spend more time with my loved ones. Some of these things have been fulfilled, and some have not. In this post I say goodbye to this year with a personal assessment of the things that have happened, I reveal the meaning of my personal brand and, above all, I share the lessons that I have learned in 2020 (those ones who already know my story of this year may want to go directly to the end of the article).
When I started 2020, I was envisioning it in a totally different wat from previous ones, I had just finished an important stage and I was about to start a new one. I wanted to have a balanced life and to focus on my purpose: to evolve humanity through technology, social change and love. And I wanted to do it in an authentic way, connected to who I really am, without having to follow strategies or values that were not aligned with me.
First of all, I wanted to spend more time with the people I love. I also wanted to give some keynotes to talk about my experience in a way I could inspire people on topics related to my purpose. And finally, I wanted to take the time to finish some other personal projects that I had stopped at some time in the past.
Ultimately, I had decided to be myself and I was lucky to be able to do it.
Everything was going according to plan, we were already in the month of March, I had just spent a few days with my daughter, I was with my partner Andrea and in a few days I had to give a keynote on my latest book 'Massive Transformative Purpose' (written with Ángel María Herrera and with a foreword by Jason Silva). I was especially excited, since it was a keynote that I was going to do with my good friend and great composer pianist David Montañes, in which the attendees were going to have the opportunity to attend a very emotional artwork that would connect them with their purpose, while they could experience a small (or great) personal evolution at that unique experience, being shaken by the emotions of the moment (here you can see a small sample of the concept and music of the artwork, which will be finally released someday).
But on March 12, I received a call in which they told me that the conference I was going to give on the 19th had been canceled. And there it all began.
After the initial disappointment, I began to wonder if there was anything that could be done to remedy what had happened. Obviously, I couldn't prevent the conference from being canceled, but I had the feeling that something could be done in order to keep the energy and the impact that this conference was going to have on the people who attended. And the negative feelings, from one moment to the next, turned into the opposite. I began to feel a huge force within me, a heat, an energy, that was totally impossible to stop, even less to ignore.
Purpose is unstoppable, the energy was still inside me, like the same force that continues to expand the Universe since the Big Bang.
At that very moment, on the morning of March 12, I decided that I was going to launch a challenge on the Internet so that anyone who wanted could create and launch initiatives that would help stop COVID-19 and / or its consequences. I didn't think more about it, and just started to act. I created a website to organize the global challenge and launched the first Global COVID-19 Challenge, in which I offered free training on technologies and innovation methodologies for all the people who signed up.
On March 19, the same day that was going to be my original keynote, the Global Challenge COVID-19 took place in which more than 350 people from more than 20 countries participated and more than 20 innovative initiatives were generated to fight against COVID -19.
After the success of this first challenge, Paul Epping told me that he wanted to replicate the Challenge in the United Arab Emirates. I did not hesitate for a moment, I told him that of course, that I would help him to set up the website and that I would give him everything that I had created for the first challenge. Many others challenges arose from this local challenge in the UAE, such as the one in Chile, Spain, Peru, Colombia, etc.
When I spoke to the participants about their experience, they always told me the same thing: 'Francisco, I find it incredible, thanks to the challenge I have discovered that I have the possibility to generate and develop ideas that impact the world'. People woke up, people realized the power that any of us has nowadays, thanks to technologies and the power of the community.
My purpose was still strong, everything I was doing was still about evolving humanity and people, making them more aware of their real potential.
And that's how Purpose Alliance emerged, being a global community to empower extraordinary people to create the future. Purpose Alliance did not just come from me, it came from Andrea, it came from Scally, it came from Corina, it came from Soledad, it came from Sanjay, it came from Vittorio, it came from Edwin, it came from Clarence, it came from Luis, it came from Crystal, it came from Paco, emerged from Cristiane, emerged from Eric, emerged from Pepe, emerged from José Luis, and from many other people. Purpose Alliance arose from the community that promoted it, it arose from many little pieces of the Universe who wanted to come together to continue evolving our world, and make it a little bit better.
Shortly after we had organized more than 25 challenges in different countries, to create the future of work, the future of education and even the future of the planet. More than 300 initiatives emerged as a result of all these global events.
The energy of purpose kept multiplying. In fact, it was no longer just me, everything continued to grow driven by the community.
And now what? Soon, I realized that these initiatives, which were just early-stage ideas, would get nowhere on their own. It was necessary to do more, we had to finish what we had started. So I decided to close the loop with all the necessary ingredients:
Purpose Alliance, the community of doers that had emerged from the challenges to create a better future in different areas. We complement the challenges with certification programs, so those ones who were interested in going deeper into innovation methodologies could do it. And little by little, the community began to define its own identity, attracting and selecting people who were truly aligned with its purpose. Today the community is incredibly strong, driving challenges by itself around the world and generating innovative, high-impact initiatives.
Purpose Launchpad, a mindset and methodology that I had been working on since 2011 and that combined the state of the art of all existing innovation methodologies. Purpose Launchpad focuses on helping innovators and entrepreneurs to generate and/or to evolve early stage ideas into purpose-driven organizations to create a massive impact. In the last phase of the development of the methodology, I opened the process and more than 150 contributors from around the world provided feedback before making the methodology public and open to the whole world on July 1st. And I also launched a program to certify Purpose Launchpad Mentors, with the aim of working closely with small groups of people who can help entrepreneurs and organizations to create a massive impact.
Purpose Evolver, focused on supporting the initiatives coming from the challenges through the support of Purpose Launchpad Certified Mentors, Purpose Alliance community members who offer direct support to purpose-driven initiatives and investors. Purpose Evolver is also a community-driven project with an approach that disrupts the traditional models of startup accelerators (I'll post how in a future post soon).
It is clear that the year 2020 has not been what I initially expected. Initial plans to focus on lecturing disolved with the pandemic, as it happens with many others. All of us, in one way or another, have had a very different year than we initially imagined.
What I was able to do was to reconnect with myself, with my essence and to promote initiatives connected to my purpose. Do it together with wonderful people who have made everything possible. And do it with the personal balance I was looking for.
And my purpose, the pole star that guides the path of all people, remained in the same place. The path changed, but not the destination.
In fact, at the beginning of this year I launched my personal brand, which has always had a very deep meaning, and which I will explain for the first time publicly below.
As can be seen in the image, the brand consists of two elements: a circle and a star. The circle is not really a circle, it is a letter 'O', which is the last letter of my first and last name, and represents my essence, myself. The star represents my purpose, my destiny.
Once someone's purpose is clear, no matter what happens, no matter what we do, we can no longer avoid following the path that our destiny marks. This has been my most important lesson this year.
However, not everything has been easy, along the way I have learned a lot and I would like to end this post with the twelve most important lessons that this year 2020 gave me:
The power of purpose, an unstoppable force of energy. I still remember that feeling I had when I decided to launch the first global challenge to help with COVID-19. That inner strength, that energy, that inevitable impulse that whispered inside me encouraging me to do what I did, and at the same time pushing me hard towards what I could not stop doing. When you feel that force, when you feel that you have to do something transcendent, do it without hesitation, because surely you are in this world to do it.
Words alone are worth nothing, actions are what matter. We all know people, organizations and communities that claim to be one thing, and really are another thing. It is useless to use the word ‘impact' when profit or return to investors is the most important thing above anything else. It is useless to use the word 'doer' if we are left with empty intentions. The power of words and communication is undeniable (that's why we created the Purpose Alliance community manifesto, which transparently communicates our identity), but things are not demonstrated with words, they have to be demonstrated with actions.
People who do things are those who change the world. Above countries, above politicians, above famous people, above people in positions of responsibility, above large companies, above great managers, above all of them... there are people who really take action and do things that change the world. The future will be written by the people who do, by the doers.
Surround yourself with people who believe in you and who are aligned with your purpose and values. Everyone knows that it is essential to surround yourself with the right people. But who are they? Knowing people is not easy, sometimes it takes a lifetime to do so. Something that can help us to do so is to know their objectives, their values and if they are aligned or not with our purpose. Time usually puts people to their right place, but if we are able to understand the previous elements and anticipate destiny, we will save a lot of time.
Every cloud has a silver lining. My grandfather used to say it and that's how it was. COVID-19 has been (and continues to be) a global problem that has impacted the entire world. But thanks to this global pandemic, Purpose Alliance emerged, we were able to turn a challenge into an opportunity. We inspire thousands of people around the world to create innovative solutions, which are generating a positive impact that will go far beyond anything that could destroy the pandemic. We have emerged from chaos to re-invent the world and make it better.
Technologies and the Internet do not disconnect us from others, but rather allow us to be connected. Despite the fact that many people have been saying that technology, phones and other devices disconnect us, the reality is that we all can be connected among us in the middle of a global pandemic just because technology exists. Thanks to these type of technologies we have all remained connected and, not only that, we have also been able to continue working remotely for a better future for all.
(Only) staying at home has not been enough. I already expressed it at the beginning of the pandemic in a short video (in Spanish), titled 'Stay Home and Act', we all have the potential to create something positive for the world. We could all do more than stay home. We all can act.
Mindset is the key to adapt and to be successful. It is not a question of resources, not even intelligence. As Darwin said, 'it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change'. And that (adaptation) has been what allowed me to see beyond the problem and challenge that the pandemic brought, and to create something out of nothing that reinvented the future of many, many people and my own.
The riskiest thing is not to risk. Standing waiting to see what the future holds, continuing to do what we have always done in the hope that everything will improve, or limit ourselves to reducing costs until the crises that hit us pass is the riskiest thing we can do, because we leave our destiny in hands of the unpredictable future. However, if we risk, if we invest, our time, our money, in building our own path, we can direct our future wherever we want.
Balance is key, without balance we fall. We are complex beings, we have needs of different types and we have to know how to satisfy them all. Physiological needs (eating well, sleeping well, etc.), social needs (being connected with the people important to us) and, among others, the purpose - self-realization - is also necessity. In our life, in our day to day, we need a little of all of them. As happens when walking, balance in life is essential to remain standing. And after this year I can assure that it is possible to dream, to have a purpose, and at the same time to maintain balance as person.
We have to dream with our feet on the ground. Dreaming big is just as important as making things happen in a realistic way. Eventually, everything can be achieved. Eventually, all dreams will be achieved. But we have to do it through the right path.
The future cannot be predicted, the future can only be built. If this was not clear enough for some, the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has made it clear to all of us. Who would have imagined one year ago that all this would happen? Nobody. However, we all have the ability to imagine a better future. We all have a purpose, a destiny. And even if something forces us to change our path, we will always be able to find a way to reach our destination, to build our own future.