Don’t Do It for the Money. When I began my career as a speaker and trainer, I looked for the opportunities that would yield the most money. I soon learned that I was leaving a lot of people behind because my rates were too high, and I was losing numerous gigs because my fees were too high. I used to think, well, “I am certainly worth it!” I was making it all about me. I said that I wanted to train others to make them better, but in truth, I was chasing the money, it was all about me and what I wanted. Things changed for me when I read a book named, “I AM,” by Howard Falco. In it I learned that our primary purpose for being here on this earth, is to serve others. As I allowed this thought to sink in I came to the conclusion that for me…the best way to serve others is to focus on what they need, not on my own. When I made the shift, my prices became more flexible and I even spoke for free on numerous occasions, not for what I could get, but for what I could give.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve “Stevie G” Gallegos, JD.
A former U.S. Marine, Law Enforcement Officer, Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, Singer-Songwriter/ Recording Artist, Commercial Photographer, International Speaker, Trainer and award-winning Author, Steve Gallegos is no stranger to challenges or adversity. He now serves as a Master Coach and Trainer on BeeKonnected, a platform where global business professionals connect and do business together. Steve’s mission is to elevate the lives of others so we may all contribute to society at a higher level.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
My childhood backstory? The clearest memory I have of my childhood finds me sitting anxiously in my classroom watching the clock. Now, while I may have been engaged in a decade’s old schoolkid activity, I do not know many students who would watch the clock dreading every second of its forward movement. “Stop damn it, why won’t you stop!”
I did not want the school day to end. Not because I was enamored with learning. Not because I enjoyed my teachers. Not even because I loved being with my friends. It is because I felt safe. It is the only place I felt safe. I lived for the moments that I could be in school, because I feared I would die when I was home.
By the age of 17, convinced by my parents and other adults in my life that I was an absolute failure and “good-for-nothing,” I had attempted a number of times to extinguish my own life. I had no self-worth, no plans, and no dreams to pursue. During this time, my high school girlfriend gave me a book by Norman Vincent Peale, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” I did not understand much of it as the ideas were far beyond my understanding at the time. However, I did find 7 simple words which inspired me to take my life in a new direction instead:
I did not know how to change my thoughts, nor did I think it was possible. However, I did know that I could change my world because I had run away from home in years prior, and of course, because I experienced being at school. So, I volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote is “I achieve my dreams helping others achieve theirs.” This is a lesson which I learned while in Marine Corps Basic Training, and it remains my personal motto to this day.
A little-known fact about the Marine Corps, and a surprise to many people is that academics play a substantial role in determining whether you transition from a recruit to the ranks of the Marines. Most people think that the Marines focus on creating mean, lean, fighting machines, and while that is true, academics play a vital role in determining who gets to wear the Marine uniform, and what job you will have while in uniform.
It happened that in my training class there were 3 other Hispanic recruits for whom Spanish is their primary language. I noticed that they were struggling with the academic portion of the training. So, I put on my cape, leaped over some buildings, and went to the rescue. I gathered the three of them and offered to help them learn and master the material. So, at night after everyone else had gone to sleep, the 4 of us got up and went into the showers, where we sat on the cold, damp, musty tile floor in our squad bay.
Once seated in the showers, we pulled out our little “red monsters” (yeah, it sounds like this story is about to get freaky, but no, stay with me here). These are the red vinyl covered flip books that we were required to carry with us during the entirety of boot camp training. These red monsters contained all the material we were required to learn and master to pass our exams. So, with our red monsters in hand, I would translate that day’s material into Spanish, we would discuss it, and they would repeat back to me in English until I was sure they understood the lesson. No one asked me to help them. I had no prior experience as a tutor or as a teacher. I was just doing something that I felt I had to do. These guys needed help, and I wanted to help them.
During one of our nightly tutoring sessions, the on-duty drill instructor got the urge to use the bathroom, and upon hearing low voices speaking a foreign language from the showers, he descended upon us with all of the delicacy that you would expect from a Marine D.I. who thought he was about to single-handedly capture an enemy stronghold. As he entered the room firing cuss words at us at the top of his lungs, the four of us jumped out of our skin and cowered even closer to the tile on the floor.
Surely the Sergeant thought he would catch us engaged in highly inappropriate behavior and that he would have his way with us. However, after catching my breath and placing my heart back inside my chest, I jumped up to explain what we were doing. He stared at us in disbelief for a few moments and said… “carry on.”
Fast forward several weeks to the final exams, I scored the highest grade in the class, and my tutoree’s (is that even a word?), ranked in the top 10. For my part, I was named the Honor Graduate (the equivalent of valedictorian), promoted to the rank of Private First Class, and awarded the coveted Dress Blue Uniform for which the U.S. Marines are known and recognized worldwide. I was not the strongest, I was not the fastest, nor was I the most intelligent. I was simply the one who chose to serve others…first.
(It would be many years later before I discovered that the world renown sales coach and business leader Zig Ziglar had coined the phrase “You will get all you want in life , if you help enough other people get what they want.”)
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Clearly, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” as mentioned above, provided the impulse to change my world, which then changed my life. Since then I have read hundreds of books that have in one from or another accelerated my development as a person and in business. However, my absolute favorite book is titled “Conversations with God,” by Neale Donald Walsch. It is an insightful study into where we come from and who we are.
One of the things I love most about the book and the series, is that Neale does preach or advocate for one point of view. He simply relates his point of view through his experiences and allows the reader to make their own decisions as to what they should believe.
The book resonated with me because for years I had been searching for the truth about God, religion, spirituality and what it all means relative to our journey as humans. The idea that we are not separate from our creator, but rather part of our creator made perfect sense for me as I can relate it to being part of my own birth parents.
The most significant impact from this book is in the area of my personal relationships. I used to believe that my intimate partner was my possession, and I was hers. That is, we belonged to one another…”to have and to hold,” as so many of us are taught. Yet, I could not understand why quite often I did not want to be “held.” I wanted to be free, to have new experiences, to create my own moments and express my own thoughts. I felt constricted and often my partner would feel the same way.
Until I read in Conversations with God, the idea that man and woman do not belong to one another. I am not yours to have and to hold. I belong to no one, and you belong to you. We can be together not out of a sense of obligation or belonging, but simply because we want to be together, united to pursue our dreams, to express ourselves, and to co-create the world that we see for ourselves. That to me is magical, and it’s the reason me and my wife, who are legally married, enjoy being with each other “so crazy much,” as we like to say.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Before the pandemic, I was happily engaged in a career as an international speaker, trainer, and author in the area of personal development. My work is focused on 3 primary areas, which I refer to as the 3 Pillars of Living Remarkably, which are self-mastery (how you think, decide and act), communication-mastery (how to look, what to say and how to say it), and relationship-mastery (build connections that are irresistible, invulnerable, and insuperable). This is my superpower.
The most commercially viable of the 3 Pillars (and the gateway to the remaining pillars), is communications training. That is, training professionals to become better communicators, speakers, and presenters through a course I created “How to Become a Natural Born Speaker.” People pay more readily to acquire this skill because it will make them at least 50% more valuable in the marketplace. So, in 2019 I decided it would be a great idea to launch an immersive and experiential speaker’s training program in an exotic and irresistible locale.
After persuading my wife that it was a good idea, we donated the contents of our house in Dallas, Texas and moved to Costa Rica. As soon as we landed, I began making friends, and building relationships with owners of resort and conference properties that were ideal for offering my speaker’s training.
While we found Costa Rica to be spectacular and its people beautiful, my wife developed a sudden and resounding nudge to return to the U.S. Perhaps it is her powerful female intuition, or maybe it was the lack of Amazon Prime. Either way, and while there was no clear logical reason to leave Costa Rica, we revised our plans and decided to make our new home in Denver, Colorado, chosen for its world class destinations, amenities, lifestyle and of course the variety of natural wonders to experience.
We arrived in Denver on Valentine’s Day, and I began the task of scouting theatres and other venues equipped with a stage where I would offer “How to Become a Natural Born Speaker.” I found vendors with sound and lights, and video recording equipment. I even contacted a major microphone manufacturer to partner with me to supply professional microphones as a gift to the attendees. And then — the news — “Steve, I am so sorry, we can no longer rent you the venue.” What? Why? WTF is happening?
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
In shock, as was most of the world, and realizing this pandemic was driving a new normal, I was forced to pivot and come up with a new way of delivering my training to the business world. So, I got to work and recorded a video version of my course and loaded it to a popular web-based education platform.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
During my marketing outreach to promote the fact that my course is now available on the web, I contacted a long-time business associate from Dallas, with whom I had lost touch over the years.
Upon learning of my adventures from Dallas, to Costa Rica, to Denver, and of my new program, he told me there is a company looking for a bi-lingual (Spanish), trainer for its growing online business community. He offered to make an introduction to the owners of the company.
After a series of interviews with the founders of the company named BeeKonnected, I was offered a role as one of 5 Master Coaches in this global community of business professionals who come together for one thing and one thing only, and that is…to do business together. The members receive on-demand training on a variety of business topics that are necessary to pivot and or grow their businesses online, how to master their business relationships, effective sales strategies and much more. As a master coach, I get to create business related programs in English and Spanish, for the fast-growing community.
As well, members of BeeKonnected benefit from deep discounts on services they use to run their businesses such a s a video conferencing platform with a license for 500 attendees, unlimited recordings and transcriptions, for a fraction of the price we would otherwise pay.
I now have the privilege of training a global audience without having to leave home.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Since joining BeeKonnected as a training partner, I am now an equity partner (I think they like me!). The company has members in 30 countries and is growing daily. I have made new friends and business relationships that I would not otherwise have found without this platform. One of the fun aspects of this company is that technology drives the creation of the relationships. That is, unlike other platforms where we have to manually sift through profile after profile to find a prospect or business partner, now all we do is enter a few keywords, and the system searches all of the profiles to present us with my ideal connections. It’s as if Linked-In married eHarmony and had a baby, and they named it …BeeKonnected.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Wow, there are so many people that I am grateful for. Everyone I have ever met has in one way or another, taken part in forming the decisions which have led me to this stage in my personal and business life. I believe that everything we want and desire comes from other people, whether it’s money, material things, jobs, careers, relationship, and opportunities…it’s always someone that says — “hey, look over here.” I am privileged to have enjoyed a variety of careers and in each of these chapters, there have been a different group of people that have served to guide me.
If I have to choose a specific person that has guided me throughout most of my life regardless of the chosen career, it would have to be Anthony Robbins, whose training about life has had universal application for me. And, if I get to name one person in my personal life who has helped me to become who I am today, it is my wife, Alithia. She does not try to mold me into her version of who should be, instead, she allows me to be who I want to be and offers me continuous encouragement, support, and sometimes a gentle reminder that I am out-of-line…hey, it happens to the best of us!.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Since starting with BeeKonnected, I have had a chance to meet people I would not have met. In my role as coach and equity partner, I have had the opportunity to influence the direction of the company to make it better for the members and the world at large.
One of the most interesting developments or events is that I get to be a hero for chambers of commerce, professional associations, and non-profit groups that have access to, or which serve a business audience. As a result of the pandemic, BeeKonnected created a partnership program to support organizations like the ones I referenced. Through this partnership, an organization gets a free account on BeeKonnected, and when their members join, the organization receives a substantial portion of the subscription fees paid by and attributable to its members, on an ongoing basis. This provided the organization with much needed revenue and gives its members access to our global community of business professionals, also at a substantial discount. It’s a pure win-win scenario for everyone involved.
As a result of this partnership program, I have had met with leaders of some of the world’s largest and most recognized chambers of commerce and business associations. And because of the nature of our conversations (partnering to give them financial support during these trying times), I have gotten to know several of these leaders on a personal level which is the gateway to relationships that will bear fruit far beyond the duration of this pandemic!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
The 5 things I wish someone would have told me or taught me are:
1. Don’t Do It for the Money.
When I began my career as a speaker and trainer, I looked for the opportunities that would yield the most money. I soon learned that I was leaving a lot of people behind because my rates were too high, and I was losing numerous gigs because my fees were too high. I used to think, well, “I am certainly worth it!” I was making it all about me. I said that I wanted to train others to make them better, but in truth, I was chasing the money, it was all about me and what I wanted. Things changed for me when I read a book named, “I AM,” by Howard Falco. In it I learned that our primary purpose for being here on this earth, is to serve others. As I allowed this thought to sink in I came to the conclusion that for me…the best way to serve others is to focus on what they need, not on my own. When I made the shift, my prices became more flexible and I even spoke for free on numerous occasions, not for what I could get, but for what I could give.
2. Friends Do Not Make the Best Business Partners.
In 2007 I launched an Internet company which had at its mission to create stronger and genuine connections among business owners and consumers. To launch this company, I called my 3 best friends, got them excited about what I was doing, and gave them executive level roles as well as an equal percentage of ownership in the company. Many months went by and I watched helplessly as the company I had envisioned, transformed into something completely unrecognizable. Things were not getting done. Deadlines were not being met. I could not give guidance, orders, or direction without my “friends” challenging my authority and claiming I was too bossy or demanding. We bled through money, opportunities, and patience. Eventually, the company and our friendship imploded. Moving forward, I will never invite someone to work with me in my company, unless I can fire them.
3. Avoid Chasing Success
I have met thousands of people who, despite their outward signs of success (they make great money, they live in large suburban homes, they drive new and expensive cars, they wear top label clothing, they send their kids to private school, they enjoy exotic vacations every year), feel quite empty and unfulfilled at the end of each day. The reason for this phenomenon is these people, like millions of others, are busy chasing “success.” They all want to have more success and to be more successful. Indeed, “successful” is how we want other people to view us.
The problem is that “success” means different things to different people. Each of us has a definition of success which changes as we grow and develop. What you thought was success in college is different from your view of success after starting your career. What you thought was success when you were single is different from your view of success after marriage and having children. Because of these variances in meaning, we have no real standard by which to measure whether are or are not successful. If we have no standard to measure against, we have no real idea of what a successful life is supposed to look like. It’s no wonder that we become depressed and frustrated. We spend our lives trying to become successful only to find that there is always someone else who earns more, has more, has done more, looks better, dresses better, and who seemingly commands greater respect and stature.
I learned that instead of chasing success, we should instead seek fulfillment.
4. It’s Okay to Set a New Goal.
Quite often as entrepreneurs set our sights on building the biggest, the best, the fastest, the latest, and tell the world we are going to solve its biggest problems. We tell ourselves that we are going to become rich, famous and the entire world will take notice of who we are. Invariably something may happen that may cause us to change course or go in a new direction, however, because we told the world that we were going to become the next big thing.
So we keep pursuing the original plan until we have run out of time, run out of money, run out of friends, or run out of ideas. And by the time we try and set a new course for ourselves, it’s too late. The people that once supported us will have moved on. We are branded as inflexible, as lacking in vision, and being too stubborn for our own good.
If we are not seeing the desired results from our actions, we should consider that maybe the objective was not to reach a specific destination, but to learn when to choose a different destination.
5. Never Confuse Who You Are with What You Do.
I am a doctor, lawyer, plumber, electrician, actor, singer, auto salesman, or police officer. Most people believe their identity is tied to what they do for a living, and therefore they act in accordance with how the other members of their profession behave. When I was a police officer, I believed that we were different from the rest of society. Despite having taken an oath to serve and protect, we had the view that it is us against them. If you were in a police officer uniform you were a good person, and if not, you were the enemy. We wore dark glasses to create a barrier and distance ourselves. We spoke in code so that outsiders would not understand us. We developed callouses on our exterior to deflect genuine connection with others, and we hardened our hearts to protect against being vulnerable. When others would question why I was so clod and distant, I would always reply, it’s part of my job, it’s who I am, a police officer.
Over time, I grew to dislike who I was. I grew to dislike being disconnected from the world around me. I grew tired of pretending to be cold and callous when the real me is warm and genuine. Eventually I quit the police force and moved on to becoming a lawyer, a photographer, and now an international speaker and trainer. Having mentored and or counseled thousands of people from around the world, I have concluded that the biggest obstacle to our success as individuals and as a society, is that we lack clarity in who we are. So, we find our identities in our jobs, in our careers, and in our professions. We let go of being who we are, and we become that which we do.
But here is the truth. What we do is not who we are. Who we are is loving, compassionate, understanding human beings. What we do is simply the vehicle by which we serve who we are.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
During these extremely challenging times, it is important to recognize that the things which drove us to succeed, are not the same things that will get us through these tough times. I think one blessing that arose from this pandemic and the political instability is that many people, myself included, have come to terms with what we truly value. We have seen the loss of life, the loss of health, and the complete disappearance of jobs and income. Fortunately, I have lived through some tough times and experiences during my time as a U.S. Marine., Police Officer and Lawyer. I learned early on that it is important to step back and reassess the situation. This often means turning off the news, turn off the compute, leave the phone in the drawer and take a hike! Seriously, go outside and play, walk in the woods, on the beach, around the lake, or go into the mountains and take a hike. Allow yourself to see and feel the nature around you. Notice how effortlessly the trees bend in the wind, and how easily the flowers sprout from beneath the surface of the soil. We can learn so much from being in nature, chief among them, that we are so small in comparison to this world that provides us everything we need.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
This is an easy one… I want to inspire the world to Live Remarkably.
The world we live in is rooted in the idea of “success.” We chase it, we want to become it, and we are told from a very young age that we will never become successful unless we conduct ourselves in whatever fashion the person judging us wants us to behave. We seek to acquire prestige, wealth, and material things not to improve the world necessarily, but to convince ourselves that we are doing okay. And to measure how well we are doing we look to our neighbor’s house and we compare. “I have a new car in my driveway, theirs is 3 years old. Life is good!” And then, the neighbor celebrates her promotion with a brand-new car in her driveway. “Well, who the hell does she think she is? I’ll show her.”
But what if, instead of chasing success, we learned to Live Remarkably?
Look carefully at a flower, it can be any flower at all. You may look at it and see perfection, yet there are many who would argue that it is less than perfect. Its petals are uneven and oddly spaced, the seed head is missing many of its flowers, it is of uneven color, and the list goes on. Because the word “perfect” means different things to different people, we may never reach a consensus on whether any flower is perfect or not.
However, let us consider the journey this flower had to endure for it to bloom. It began as a tiny seed buried for months in complete darkness under the weight of soil and rock. The seed had to wait often long stretches of time for a source of water to bring it the nutrients necessary to break through the surface of the earth. Once it breaks through it must struggle and compete with grass and other vegetation for access to the sun’s rays. It must survive blistering heat, wild winds, bitter cold, and pelting rain. It must survive being sprayed with pesticides and withstand insects that rely on it as a food source. It has to avoid being destroyed by animals, or trampled by humans with lawn mowers, weed eaters, and plain ol’ big feet.
When we think of what a flower must endure for it to one day appear in your garden, on your table, or in a photograph for you to admire, there is no question that its journey of survival is remarkable.
Like all flowers, I believe that each of us is perfect. I do not mean this in an egotistical or arrogant sense, nor do I suggest that we should walk around thinking we are somehow better than others. I mean we are perfect in the sense that there is no one else like you. You are unique in your thoughts, beliefs, ideas, mannerisms, traits, characteristics, behaviors, and appearance.
Like all flowers, we have gone through dark moments in our lives. We have each experienced pain, suffering, loss, and broken hearts. We have experienced hunger, thirst, and we have experienced fear. We have been trampled on and beaten down by the winds of life; yet here you are breathing, alive, and with the capacity to read and enjoy this interview. Isn’t that remarkable?
When we view each other as remarkable, we can embrace and celebrate our differences. We can stop judging, stop comparing, and stop condemning.
This is the idea that I desire to bring forth that will do the most good for the most amount of people.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Yes. Arianna Huffington. She migrated to this country and became a naturalized citizen, as I did. She has risen to one of the highest levels in American business as Editor of the Huffington Post. However, she found that her true calling is helping people become better humans and create a better quality of life for themselves and for those around them. That, I believe is the essence of why we are here on this planet, to serve one another, and she lives that daily. It would be an hoor to have lunch with her and ask her about the things she would have done differently and what can be done to change the world.
How can our readers follow you online?
Readers may follow and connect with me on BeeKonnected https://bit.ly/KonnectNow and via social media:
- Website: StevieGSuccess.com
- Facebook: StevieG.Success
- Linked-In: StevieG
- Instagram: @steviegsuccess
- YouTube: SteveGallegos
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!