Our CEO and Founder, Sean Patrick Tario, sat down with a close friend and mentor of his for an intimate conversation and interview as part of a series discussing the nature of leadership. Below is the transcription of how the conversation went down… we hope you enjoy as much as we did the intimate perspective Sean shares on stress management, role models and leadership. View the original post HERE.
You know you are a leader in this community – what does it mean to you?
I am a leader by choice I guess, where as some people fall into the position and roll with it or run from it. When I was young I felt a call to be an example of change for others around me. I was very blessed to have a loving family and extended family. My education also included spirituality from an early age and I came to learn, experience and believe over time that there is in fact something bigger than myself. So I understood at an early age there is a bigger purpose in Life and specifically my Life. What you call this perspective, from my point of view, is not as important as what you do with it once you embrace it.
In my early teens I started to question the systems and media constantly bombarding me. When I listened to the media campaigns at the time, my gut always told me that what I was being “sold” was not sustainable to a healthy and productive way of life. I knew I wanted to make a change… and so the question was always where and how to make the most impact.
When I was in college I began to understand the interplay between different systems and how the political and monetary power paradigms work and have evolved over time. I learned that to make a paradigm work it takes patience, Will and a clear direction, purpose and vision. I started journaling about what I was creating, experiencing and feeling. Unlike most who simply think of an idea and never act upon it or give up after minimal effort, I learned that entrepreneurs show up and execute day in and day out. They learn from their mistakes. I learned that if you put forth some effort and bring like-minded people around you, that you can create what you want and need. I started experiencing first hand that I could actually make things happen and that I could in fact affect the world around me. Today, I do this through my actions, my ideas and the businesses I am creating.
I also learned that I can focus on and be intentional about creating my own company culture. My own actions and the businesses I create can serve as a tidal wave for whatever ethos I want to present to the world. The reality of mass media and the internet today is that you can spread your message far and wide relatively cheaply versus what was possible 5-10 years ago. Thus, we can be an agent for change in ways today like never before. I always wanted to change the world for the better… and so I started learning these new systems and mediums through which I could manifest such change.
I can demonstrate through my actions within my business today Integrity and Character. That everything we do should be to the best of our abilities. I want to demonstrate those characteristics in my business and hold those accountable that I work with to do the same. Will I compromise my integrity for money against my moral fiber because I need that money now? …or will I stick to my values and trust that the Universe will give back to me what I have given to it? My goal is to serve as an example and Legacy of Character. I want people to see that here is someone who actually cares, who will say NO to opportunities that would compromise who I am and what I stand for regardless of the monetary gain.
This can make a huge difference in someone’s life… as watching those around me who operated from the same ethos made in mine. People can look at that and say, “If he/she can do it that way, so can I!” I am a by-product of what I learned from other’s lives. I want to support people making a great choice in their lives. Choosing right from wrong. Choosing a life of passion and purpose. Suffering for a greater good if need be, knowing that there are rewards we may not see immediately or which may not be monetary that can and will be received. Knowing that Karma is a real thing. Every action has a reaction.
Is there a specific event had an impact on you?
More events than I can count. One is my grandfather and specifically his memorial. He was a very impactful man in my life, especially as he only lived a few blocks away from me growing up. At his memorial people spoke of his character, the helping hand he always had for those around him and the culture he created through his businesses. He was honest, hard working and always driving people to achieve their potential. He was also respectful, truthful, and honest. He truly wanted those around him to live up to their fullest potential. Hearing the stories from those who worked with him and knew him personally during his memorial had a very powerful effect upon me. It drove home the point for me that one man or woman truly CAN make a difference within the lives of those around him/her through their actions, day in and day out.
How do you deal with Stress?
My ideal way is to talk about my stress with the community I’ve developed who support me: my spouse, friends and mentors. Another way is journaling. I have kept a journal for 15 years now and I can’t even begin to tell you how powerful this has been for me through my own journey and evolution. I can go back and read my perspectives, what I was doing and how I have changed over the past 15 years. I can hold myself accountable to achieving the goals I set for myself years ago.
Prayer and meditation also definitely helps. I silence my mind and thoughts, breathe deeply and just BE. I listen to the voice of THE SPIRIT. Over time I have practiced acknowledging myself and hearing the inner Voice that speaks to me. This Voice goes by many names, but I call it the Holy Spirit. I ask myself routinely what the next step should be in my life? What should I be doing right now? I acknowledge that no matter how stressed out I may be at any given time, I have survived A LOT WORSE in my past and while any one moment may be pretty crappy, my life as a whole is Blessed and full of abundance. My pain is relative. When feeling stressed out, I take a deep breath, close my eyes, remind myself of the bigger picture and know I am ok.
This has taken many years of practice, and still requires continued practice. Over time, we can condition our mind and behavior though, and this becomes easier over time. Our behaviors can become addictions, and just like any addiction, changing ones behavior requires A LOT of continued effort and patience.
Are there events that you would do differently now?
Yes, of course. I try not to regret them so much as grown from them and learn what not to do when faced with a similar situation in the future.
Did anything STOP you because you got defeated?
Yes. Pivot / Shift. In college and immediately post college I was an entrepreneur working with a few different startups. Then my wife and I got pregnant and I learned through personal coaching that I could not be an entrepreneur if I also wanted to have a healthy, happy and stable family. I didn’t have the nest egg yet to provide the stability a young family needs and so I made some errors learning to change what I thought my “career path” would be. I had to learn how to find a “real” job with stability, benefits and security. It was VERY hard for me. Learning to take orders from others was difficult for me. I got through it though over time and it has positively affected my career path. I learned new skills… patience and persistence. I knew I wanted my wife and family in my life for decades to come, and learned to adapt and change and open myself to new possibilities.
What do you have now that you wish you had earlier?
I have more of an ability to simply shut up and listen. I have had to learn this skill as this was most definitely not a family trait on either side. I had to learn to listen to others and learn to respect the perspectives others had outside of myself. In college, some of my close friends sat me down and said, “We love you, but you are a horrible listener. When we talk we know you are only thinking about your next response and not listening to what we are saying.” This was a huge moment for me and I learned how important people around me are. It is more than just me. I am not successful alone. I demonstrate my love and support through trust and listening. We can all learn so much from each other if we simply spend the time to shut up, listen and truly empathize with those around us.
How did you develop all this confidence to act it out?
Nature / Nurture. There were a lot of leaders in my family; my father, my grandfather, my uncles. Most were entrepreneurs. These were good models for me from my early life. I believe, with only a few outliers, that you can only become what you have experienced in some way, shape or form. I am a byproduct of what was around me. My mom was a strong woman as well. She was a school teacher and leader within a number of organizations. Almost my entirely family showed me how to be strong willed, hard working and persistent. It was up to me to be confident and act upon what I had seen and learned. I was taught early to always ask “what value am I bringing to the table?” I had to keep going and keep learning. One setback is not a whole life not working out as planned. Patience and perseverance will almost always pay off… likely though not in the exact way and form we expect however.
People want to succeed so bad that sometimes they blind themselves to the current situation. Recently for example, a local geek friend was so passionate to change a flawed paradigm and system around him he was not able to evolve himself and learn how to best accomplish what he needed to succeed. He wanted change via brute force and was constantly frustrated by those who didn’t see things his way. A solo entrepreneur needs to take a different tack than originally anticipated sometimes… and unfortunately, through all the frustration and lack of progress, he chose to take his life. This was beyond sad for me as he had a support group available to him that was willing to listen.
There are entrepreneurs who will be blind to the personal evolution they need to do undergo until they hit the brick wall in front of them and they have no choice but to change the path they are on. They do not ask what other gifts and options they have available or what other resources they can leverage to achieve what they are hoping to achieve, albeit through a different path or means than they originally anticipated and planned for.
I believe that for those who are truly seeking help, all the tools are out there… but you have to keep going and asking for help from those around you. For example, I wanted to be a part of an entrepreneurship group in Santa Cruz, but it did not exist locally so I started networking with likeminded technology entrepreneurs in Santa Cruz and helped to start Santa Cruz Geeks. This community has been impactful beyond words for dozens, if not hundreds, around town… but it definitely did not evolve the way we and I had originally anticipated.
You have to be willing to go where the path takes you. Embrace the Journey. When you find your Passion, it becomes much easier to accept the path you are on is fluid and may not necessarily bring you to where you originally thought it would.