In an effort to continue inspiring the higher infinite human potential of our lovely world and IHP community, the “Be Yourself” Inspirational Story Series has expanded to include Transformational Entrepreneur Stories of entrepreneurs inspiring, making a difference, demonstrating transformational leadership and unconditional love, and more.
Here is one of those amazing individuals, having the courage to be who they are and finding success in their entrepreneurial ventures thanks to being themselves, following their heart and their heart alone with passion for what they do and a drive that leads them to make a difference, a positive and loving impact, in the world and for generations to come.
To hear about how he shares his entrepreneurial journey with us on the IHP podcast episode dedicated to his transformational leadership role within his life for himself as an entrepreneur, as well as in the world with the difference he continues making through what he does every day…
Tune in to the podcast episode on Anchor: Luca’s “Transformational Entrepreneur – Be Yourself” Story – Finding Your Secret Weapon 😊
To Tune in to the podcast on YouTube: https://youtu.be/lyHmoF1iEuw
These are the questions we asked Luca Leonardini for the Inspiring Human Potential Inner Growth Inspirational “Transformational Entrepreneurs – Be Yourself” Story Series and what he has to share with us 😊
- What role did and does inner growth have on journey to becoming an entrepreneur and continuing your entrepreneur journey?
- How did and does inner growth, assist you to integrate being yourself with your entrepreneurship endeavors?
- How does your entrepreneurship journey and what you do (if there are also additional activities and projects you partake in) fulfill who you are – being yourself, your life purpose, allow you to make a difference in important ways, and express other parts of who you are?
- Does your entrepreneurship endeavor and what you do on a regular basis reflect who you are from the heart and mind completely? If yes, how so? And if there’s a lack of synergy in any area, how does this affect you (within, emotionally and mentally), in your day-to-day life, and overall quality of life?
- Are there inner growth steps you take to bring about synergy where you find a lack of it as you conduct your entrepreneurship endeavors?
- Are there other life endeavors (things you “do”, participate in, actively work on or pursue) that reflect who you are from the heart and mind, that bring forth the “mark” and transformation you want to see and leave in this world?
- Was it challenging to find and establish harmony and abundance with being yourself and doing what you do, pursuing your entrepreneurship journey, and the life endeavors you are actively involved in?
- How did inner growth assist you in finding and establishing continuous harmony and abundance? And how does it continue to support your journey?
- What part of what you do (in all areas of your life, not only entrepreneurship) makes you most excited and proud? Why and how is this a success for you and being able to be yourself completely?
- What advice do you have for others on how to integrate who they are with what they do, whether they pursue an entrepreneurship journey or not? And how would you advise them to integrate inner growth along the way?
I am happy to share with you the journey it took me to become business innovation architect.
I was at the very top of my freelance consultant career when I decided to launch my third company to sell very complex software solutions to corporations. It was a disaster: the main shareholder was a German company and withdrew the investment after one year, which left me jobless from morning to evening.
I immediately decided to pursue my interest in organizational methodologies and took an online master certificate on Lean Six Sigma. It helped me to understand that I did fail because I was thinking of selling a “piece of technology” but in fact I was selling a new way of work, which ultimately meant I was bringing a cultural change. It was too late when I realized it. But it was great because it gave me the motivation to start doing something to change the mindset in the way we do business in Italy (and I’d say pretty much everywhere).
This is why I launched a blog about Innovation and Creativity in two languages, Italian and English. I started to create a huge amount of content (articles, presentations, images, graphics, ebooks). It was 2009-2010, the first years of blogging, web marketing, social media and I was fortunate enough to be seen and hired to write articles and publications for a US portal about digital asset management and for an Italian printed magazine about graphic arts.
Up to this point I already had shared two secret weapons of mine: resilience and passion. Every time I fell, I learned, and got up again stronger with a renewed passion for what I was doing and do. My motto is inspired by the famous TED Talk of Diana Nyad “never ever give up!”.
The amount of content I continued to produce about business strategies, innovation and creativity gave me greater visibility which led me to two major opportunities: to be hired by the University of Applied Sciences of Communication Angelo Rizzoli in Milano to teach innovation. The second I was found by a world class famous innovation consultant who contacted me because he saw my work online and was impressed by the passion for the topic. We started a collaboration to bring his book about innovation and creativity to Italy and it was a success: I became editor and self-publisher.
Other secret weapons of mine are continuous learning and reinvention. I had never published anything before, but I did it, and I did it well. I do love learning new things and I have the capacity to quickly adapt to new situations.
For the first time I started to think about my purpose or better to realize I never had one, I never took the time to reflect on it. I continued with teaching innovation and consulting companies about the same topics, which was super great because I slowly started to realize that I was into something bigger than me: to reimagine the way we do business, to spread a new culture of innovation. It was great, but it didn’t pay back: I was starting to feel something wasn’t ok with the jobs I was doing.
I wanted to improve the situation and I started to do things I never did before, new projects I fully owned which began to reactivate my reputation. I’ll give you an example. I created a two-days event with a friend of mine who’s a certified Equus Coach: we mixed business, creativity with leadership (working with horses). It was a think tank to help local entrepreneurs to meet with young unemployed individuals, and together to develop new business ideas. It was a very successful experience. I created a meetup group about Leadership and Exponential Innovation to make presentations, seminars and workshops in small villages within the local town halls for local businesses, entrepreneurs and institutions. It was an extremely useful period where I learned a lot, but I ended up jobless for a year or so.
During that time, I squeezed the best from all my weapons to forge a new one, one that I had been missing so much since the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey: self-awareness or self-confidence. I went through so many ups and downs during the last several years and I finally realized that it could not have been any different. It was my path. I must confess that Karol Dweck with the “Growth mindset” had profoundly changed the way I saw myself: finally I wasn’t the usual misfit, I only had a different mindset, a different way of finding my way. I feel alive when I do something new for the first time: it makes me feel happy and scared at the same time. I constantly need new challenges, to explore my limits and to better know myself.
I had been a freelancer for the last 20 years and set up 3 companies (two of them still exist, one in Brussels and one in Milano, one failed in Verona), the least I could do was to confess to myself that I was (and am) an entrepreneur, that I had (and have) an entrepreneurial spirit. I owed it to myself.
The moment I felt the most depressed and frustrated is when I had the best inspiration: to organize a TEDx event in my city, Livorno. So I did, and from the moment I made that decision, the words of Robin Sharma became reality: “when you start trusting your instinct, yourself versus the world and block out the opinions of other people, the pace of synchronicity starts to open up and these doors that you are supposed to walk through start to present themselves to you.”
Since then everything hasn’t been easy, but I had fun all along the process; I kept on learning while working super hard for 15 months before the event and 9 months after the event. I organized 7 TEDxSalon, one TEDxWomen and one major TEDx event: very close to a world record.
The two secret weapons in this process were: generosity and doing. Be generous and keep on doing, and never stop pondering.
This is how I created a local impact:
I created a cultural association Livorno 2020 to organize TEDx events (which is a must to comply with TED’s rules) and other cultural events in order to spread new culture of innovation: in two years I went from 0 to 50 members and I delivered 4 conferences and 9 interviews to innovative entrepreneurs in town that later supported the TEDx event.
I built the TEDx event from the foundation: starting with creating the network of partners to find the budget, building the team, choosing the event subject, selecting and preparing ten speakers. We went from 25 participants to the first TEDxSalon to more than 300 to the last one 12 months later. To close this chapter of my entrepreneurial journey, l went to the TEDSummit in Edinburgh where 1,000 TEDx organizers from around the globe met for 5 days of intense TED Talks and events: I had the time of my life and was so grateful for this experience.
The beauty of the universe is that it manifests in many forms and as Robin Sharma says, while I was giving without planning or calculating any return, I received a new job proposal from someone who attended the event. So, thanks to all the efforts I put into place to build something meaningful, I eventually ended up receiving a new job offer.
The thrust I initiated nearly three years ago is still active: one year after the events I got another three job opportunities and the beauty is that I am no longer in the position of looking for and asking for a job, but people are contacting me to ask for help. Which is a completely different approach; what I have always wanted and needed.
For entrepreneurs who would like to add to their arsenal, the top qualities or secret weapons that continue to be a part of my entrepreneurial journey are:
- Passion and curiosity,
- Courage and whole heart
- Continuous learning
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Self-confidence the last one which has the wider improvement margins.
Today I found my purpose and my job definition: as business innovation architect I prepare entrepreneurs to the future of business.
Basically, I am here “to help entrepreneurs to increase their success rate by reinventing the way of doing business”. I am aware that this is only a new beginning for me and I will apply all the experiences to make some ruckus as Seth Godin would say.
If you have questions for Luca or would like to get in touch, visit his website: https://www.lucaleonardini.com/
You can also find him on:
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/lucaleonardini
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/LeonardiniLuca
- LinkedIn: https://it.linkedin.com/in/lucaleonardini