Javier was born and raised in Mexico City and he started his career in the corporate world working for large multinationals. He then moved to the USA to get his MBA from UT Austin and decided to permanently move to Canada in 2005. Javier has built a stable and happy life in Toronto until he turned 50. He then decided it was time to reinvent himself and fulfill a life-long dream of becoming an entrepreneur. In 2015 Javier partnered up with a Mental Health expert and they both founded The House of Purpose to help employees put their emotions to work.
- CEO Hack: I do exercise
- CEO Nugget: The concept of sunk cost; don't look at the cost you have put in, be willing to start all over if necessary
- CEO Defined: Being the one calling the shots
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Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello. Hello. This is Greg from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today of Javier Santos of the house of purpose Javier, it's awesome. have you on the show?
Javier Santos 0:39
Thank you for having me. I'm really excited.
Gresham Harkless 0:42
No problem. Super excited to have you on and before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Javier so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing and how he was born and raised in Mexico City, and he started his career in the corporate world working for large multinationals. He then moved to the USA to get his MBA from UT Austin and decided and decidedly to permanently move to Canada in 2005. happier has both a stable and happy life in Toronto until he turned 50. He then decided it was time to reinvent himself and fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur. In 2015. Javier partnered up with with a mental health expert, and they both found it the house of purpose to help employees put their emotions to work. Javier, are you ready to speak to the imcl? community?
Javier Santos 1:23
I've never been more ready. Awesome,
Gresham Harkless 1:26
man. So I wanted to say kick everything off by rewind the clock a little bit here a little bit more on when I touched on how you got started. Could you take us through your SEO story? When did you get started in business?
Javier Santos 1:36
Yes, so I you know, I was working for corporate and I always had this dream of starting my own business. But I never found something that really made me so passionate. You know, I try things like I think at one point, I wanted to start an ostrich farm, which I'm glad I did it. But it's it's when I met Marco who's our chief clinical officer. And we started seeing that there was a big opportunity by bringing the mental health world to business. And I think part of how people understand things right now is that we are not, you know, separate smart in terms of IQ and EQ. So instead of thinking that you have both logical and emotional skills, it's more like we first feel and then we think so what do you feel is even more important? What do you think?
Gresham Harkless 2:29
Yeah, that's actually important.
Javier Santos 2:31
Yeah, so so we looking at the space, we started seeing that, you know, the issues had in the workplace, were just getting worse in terms of what's emotional, I'm talking about stress and conflict and engagement. And there wasn't really a robust solution. At the same time that we saw so many things coming out from affective neuroscience, and cognitive neuroscience and psychology on how our brains and minds work. So things like, you know, how you are unable to be creative and resourceful. When you're afraid, we're not well understood. So in the corporate world, it was like you had to be at your best performance ever. And if God forbid, if you were, you know, as late to your feelings, and we just can't be like that, that's how you know machines work, we are always at the whim of our feelings. So it's more like feel, so that you can think before you act. So we started this, this company with that, you know, idea in mind. And you know, we've developed a solution. And now we have clients, and we're seeing how we're really helping people be happier and more productive. And he's just like, COVID brought everything to disruption. But it just knocked down the walls of stigma for mental health at work. So now we we talk to our clients, and they're, you know, we don't have to convince them about how important emotions are. We just have to we go directly into talking about how we're going to help them write the discussion on ROI is not even there anymore. Because what's the cost of not having something like this? So I'm talking about a company that we started for one environment, but that we really weren't creating for this new environment on but normally, yeah, so I feel more than fortunate. I feel incredibly responsible to make this happen. Right now, I have no excuse anymore to fail.
Gresham Harkless 4:19
Yeah, absolutely. Why I definitely, you know, definitely appreciate you for, for following through and creating the business and doing all the very much needed work. And obviously, if you were, you had decided to do the Ashridge business, we would have had an entirely different conversation. But I love obviously, that you talked on, you know, working on this and how important it is. But I think even when we first connected, I mentioned and I talked about how I feel like I don't know if there ever is enough kind of mentioned in information about the kind of the human aspect of business and a lot of times the stresses and obviously we're all experiencing that stress, and how to deal with that and what exactly that looks like. So I appreciate you know, all the work that you're doing and helping out and empowering these businesses to be aware and responsible related to their their, their, their own personal kind of mental states, but also the people that they work with. So I know you touched on it a little bit, could you drill down a little bit deeper into how exactly you help to work with and support these organizations and the people within?
Javier Santos 5:19
Yeah, so a couple of things that are important to understand is that if I try to teach you geography, I can just give you you know, a book or a YouTube video, when we talk about emotional skills, when we talk about you learning how you are resilient, or you discovering how you are self aware, these are things that we discover, we don't learn, right, and it's a little bit goes a little bit like this. So I have an interaction, and then go back and sit down and think about it and reflect on my experience doing this. And then I see what worked, what didn't, and I have to try again, it's a little bit like riding a bicycle, right? So this is not the kind of thing that you can train or that you can help people learn in a webinar. This is something that requires a confidential, private place with someone that knows what he or she is doing for you to kind of go Hmm, how did that go? And why am I doing this? or What is it about my behavior? What does it says about me, and your mentor will help you discover all that, so that you discover your need, so you say, Oh, I think I have to be more empathic, and then you try different ways of being empathic, fail a few times, and then kind of go back and say, Okay, now I'm getting it, right. So we go through a process where we engage with individuals for six to eight weeks. So that's the time it takes for someone to first you know, trust us, right, because you're not going to trust just anyone. So we build that relationship over the first couple of sessions. And then we go into like a more deep discovery stage where people start seeing themselves in a different light. And then we go into Okay, so let's try to move to a different place in terms of how can you be more resilient? or How can you solve this conflict? or How can you self motivate, right, and now that we're all working from home, we're starting to see way more opportunities to do this in terms of how to use self management and workplace integration. Like if you're going to work from home. Now, your office is your basement. Right? So how do you make sure you get up in the morning and, you know, brush your teeth and keep hydrated and exercise? Right? Because not everyone has that? You know, self discipline, if you will? How do you make sure you integrate your workplace, even with your family, so your kids know, it cannot interrupt in the middle of the meeting? unless something happens, right? So what is that exception? These things that we've never done, you know, things like ergonomics in your basement, you know, all the way to relationships to engagement, to just basically well being? How can you prevent depression from set on, especially now, there's a lot of things that we can do. And, you know, that's one of the things I focus on right now is, how do I avoid the pressure from setting in now that I don't have the gym and the yoga? So, you know, we all went crazy for the, you know, home makes home bake bread and things like that, which was good for an exception, but now this is here to stay. So how do I keep up, you know, physically and mentally healthy lifestyle? When I am basically my own boss, for a cop? For a lot of things, right? For practical purpose in a lot of areas, right? And how do I leave my company's culture when I don't even know anyone else? Or I don't go anywhere. So, you know, the challenge is even bigger, right? Like, the ante has been up. So. So we need to pay attention to these things. And, you know, there is never different ways of doing it. We like our way we think it works. Our clients are really happy. The interesting thing is sometimes they cannot put it in words, because I feel like what we're doing is so no. So people just refer to your sessions, right? Or your coaching. And that's good for me as long as they recommend it. But, but it's I, you know, we sometimes feel that we're crazy, you know, and and, you know, we we started with a concept that people were scratching their heads, like, Can you tell me again, what you do. And so we spent a lot of time to try to, you know, put it in a in terms that we could sell it. But now the world has changed and now we feel it's, it seems that we were, you know, working in the background for something like this because it fits so well. So I'm very excited. At the same time. I'm as afraid as anxious as everyone else in this world. Yeah.
Gresham Harkless 9:27
But I love how you described it like a obviously, you know, incredible work that you do. But you said that is incredible responsibility as well because, as you mentioned, like all those different scenarios and this is obviously been one of the more you know, disruptive times, if not the most disruptive time at least it has definitely been for me because it has an effect. You know, this pocket of the globe or this state or this street or whatever is literally disrupted every single person in some form, shape or fashion. And I think that having awareness when it's brought at the forefront or right into your friend step of you know things like depression of emotional intelligence and understanding exactly what your emotions are and being tunes all of those things and how these new scenarios of being able to work out where you're also working from a nine to five, and then also potentially having to homeschool your children, all these different scenarios have disrupted everything. So I think I love the work that you do, because so many times people put everything kind of in the back on the back burner, they don't really bring it to the forefront. They don't discuss it. But now is the time where you actually have to have these conversations. Because the I guess the mental state of us as individuals with us as a society is kind of hanging in the in the balance of what we do, and the decisions that we make on a day that day to day basis.
Javier Santos 10:35
Yeah, and as a business owner, sometimes I think the hardest thing to do when you're an innovator is to knock down the old guy, right like to, to become you always become some like a solution for something. So unless you're completely No, like, you have to take away from somebody. And I think we're the world, the way things are going in the world. Everything is changing. So we're going to see entire companies and industries go bankrupt. So I think there's an appetite for change. There's an appetite, especially in employees for saying like, okay, I don't want to be a corporate slave anymore. How can I be, you know, productive and happy and healthy, without an have a good job and a good career at the same time. And I think companies are saying, Okay, now the game is changing. So no more revolving door of people changing jobs, because that's not practical. If you lose your job, it's going to be way much harder to get a new one. So now you're going to get stuck with your same people good, you know, the good ones are going to stay. That's great. But the bad ones are the ones who need help, because I don't think there's good and bad employees. I think they're just some people that need a little bit more support. But But now, you can't just keep playing that revolving door. Now you're going to have to fix it and help them and and people want to help and they don't want to have the same, you know, old habits. Right. And I don't we talking about, you know, from prejudice to being overworked to the way you talk to your colleagues.
Gresham Harkless 11:56
Right? Yeah, absolutely. And so I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for yourself personally, or your organization, your business, but what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?
Javier Santos 12:06
I think that we're always thinking, how can we make this better? And if there is something I've done? Not exactly right, as an entrepreneur is, I overdone it a little bit? Too much, right? Because I'm always trying to make it better and better. And at some point, you have to think well, am I gonna charge for the extra bells and whistles is this I think, you know, value to the invoice not just to you know what I do? And it's a balance, because I want to give my clients the best I can but oh, I have to make money I forgot.
Gresham Harkless 12:35
Yeah, I would absolutely agree. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an apple book or a habit that you have. But what's something that makes you more effective and efficient
Javier Santos 12:47
exercise, exercise, I don't mind the things. But I would tell you, if I had to pick one, it just makes wonders to the mind, not only the body, to my mind,
Gresham Harkless 12:56
I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. And this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hacked into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.
Javier Santos 13:06
You know, when I was in business school, I learned this concept of sunk costs. And there was even a I don't know if you ever heard it. But it's it's it's a finance concept that you should not look at a project in terms of what you already put in it. It's all forward looking. Right? So if you're building a house, it's not how close you are to termination. It's always how much more money do I need to finish it? And what am I going to get for that? So if you're started building the wrong house, at some point, it's better to start over. Right. And and that's a really important concept to keep in mind when you're pivoting and when you're innovating. Because it's very easy to say, but I've been doing this for so long. Yeah, but that's not what the future is. So, you know, you have to be willing to start over, if that's what your business needs.
Gresham Harkless 13:53
Some. So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're holding out different clinical CEOs on this show. So Javier, what does being a CEO mean to you?
Javier Santos 14:03
I think being a CEO is extremely lonely, because it's important to listen to everyone. But this is where the buck stops, right? You can ask many people, they everyone or most people have something to offer, but at the end of the day, you have to make the call. So I think it has this double edge of you know, you are the one who calls the shot. Awesome. Well, I appreciate that definition. In that perspective, I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and of course, how best they can get hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on. Well, I think that we all need to think differently in terms of we need to build a better world and this is the time to do it. And it's only going to happen if we do it. If not we're gonna get shut off the you know, we're gonna get the old thing back again. So there's an election coming there is a lot of business in bankruptcy. There is a lot of You know, flukes in the in the system. So this is the time to start new things. So do everyone out there who has the entrepreneurial bug? Go for it, you know, partner up with someone, this is the time to start. And you know, it's not it's not an easy journey. But I would not I never look back. Like I've had hard moments, very hard moments. But it's totally worth it. And I think everyone should, you know, give it a try, especially if you're thinking about it, because the world needs it more than ever. Yeah,
Gresham Harkless 15:31
absolutely. And I appreciate that in having your people that want to get a hold of you, what's the best way for them to do that?
Javier Santos 15:35
So the house of purpose.com. You know, that's where we have our website. That's, you know, everything that we do is there, we also have a Twitter account has a purpose, and we're also on LinkedIn. So check us out, and you can contact those there. And you know, just be happy.
Gresham Harkless 15:53
Absolutely. And we will definitely have those links and information in the show notes. But I appreciate that kind of last reminder as well, too. Because so many times I say like the entrepreneur and again, the CEO as we all can definitely be sometimes it's like an artist and so many times if you want to see the world in a different way, you have to kind of paint the picture you have to kind of do the work and I think it's on us as individuals as leaders, as people have within society to do that and to take the steps to do that. So I appreciate that charge. I appreciate that reminder, and of course your time and I hope you have a great rest of the day.
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