Put YOUR priorities before your work to create a life you desire outside work and inside.
Put YOUR priorities before your work to create a life you desire outside work and inside.
Carlos Hidalgo is a Life Design Coach, podcaster, author, TEDx and international keynote speaker and consultant. Over the span of twenty-six years, Hidalgo has held corporate roles, started his own entrepreneurial ventures, served in non-profits and sat on numerous corporate boards.
After leading his first agency to three consecutive Inc 5000 awards, Hidalgo made the decision to leave that agency and pursue various entrepreneurial pursuits which include being a co-founder in two companies, consulting B2B organizations, Life Design coaching and the writing of his latest book The UnAmerican Dream.
In addition to his various roles and business pursuits, Hidalgo and his wife Susanne work with professionals and their partners to design their lives so they can live their best lives possible and host The Life Design Podcast.
Carlos and his wife Susanne have four grown children and have lived in Colorado Springs, CO since 2010.
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I didn't go cold Turkey and be like, all of a sudden, I'm not working weekends. I started to make a small shift, and I think if I remember correctly, it was I'm not going to work Saturday mornings. It was something small, something so insignificant. Now, when I say that it had huge impact. So it was significant. Welcome, everybody.
Today, I'm excited to have Carlos Hidalgo with us, and he's got a very interesting story. It has a lot to do with his own business, starting a business, leaving a company, what he's done in his personal life, setting boundaries. And we're going to be talking about designing your life and your business by establishing boundaries. I really like your story. I don't want to tell you too much about it. So I just want to first welcome you, Carlos. Thank you so much for coming.
Hey, Wade, great to be here. Thanks for having me calling you from the RV.
Yeah, well, that's the other part. So Carlos is not in a small apartment. He's in his RV. So maybe if you just share a little bit about the RV and then share a little bit about your story, if you don't mind.
Yeah. The RV came really, as my wife and I embody our own life design, in short, designing a life you love to live every day. And we had spent ten years in Colorado, loved Colorado, Colorado Springs, our youngest one off to College. And about 18 months before that, maybe even two years before that, we just started talking about, like, what do we want to do now? That will be empty nesters. And we quickly came to the realization we didn't want to hang on to a big house with a big mortgage and have to pay the homeowners on top of that.
And things like that. And not that we live in some palatial estate, but we surely didn't need four bedrooms. And so we kind of went around the Horn with discussing all these ideas. We talked about going to Europe for a year. We talked about do we just Airbnb across the country for a year and move every 30 days? And obviously, then COVID hit. So we had to pivot a little bit and get realistic about what we could do. And we had done several RV trips with our neighbors, and we really enjoyed it.
And so we said, hey, let's do it. And credit to my wife. I call myself a recovering control freak, but it really stretched me. And she just kept saying, what is the worst thing that can happen? We do it, we hate it. We sell it, we buy a house. That's the worst. And so we've been almost six months in it. And I am Florida. How much I love it. It's been fantastic. My story very quickly. Did the whole thing that people expect. You graduate College, you go get a job.
This is what you're supposed to do. And so we got married right out of school. About a year after we graduated College, we had our first kid within our first year of marriage, totally unplanned. And so we had all of our children by the time we were 30. And so it was kind of a rapid fire, four kids within six and a half years. During that time, I was traveling like crazy for a software company. And I said, I have to step away from that because I'm missing out on my kids childhood, started my own business, co founded that in 2005, and then around 2000, I would say 20, 08, 20, 09.
We really started to grow. And the difference between the software company and this was I was attached to this. This was my baby, my ego, which is a short little word that has tremendous impact, sometimes very negative impact, which it did on me. And I put everything I had into that business. I neglected my relationships, I neglected my own holistic health. I bought into the Hustle Hulk line and sinker, and at the end of 2015, it all came crashing down around me. We had built the business.
I had built a great personal brand in our industry. People knew who I was. I wrote a book that was doing very well. It came out. It was the number one Amazon new release. And boy, my ego just couldn't get enough of that. And as a result of that, I made some really bad choices just in what I was going to put my prioritization in, made some really bad personal choices and bad business choices in terms of how hard I was going to pursue everything. And it came crashing down, and my wife and I ended up separated for nine months.
It was an awful time, and it was a journey, though, for me to get back to the truest form of myself. At the end of 2016, I decided to leave that business and I resigned as CEO, left it all behind, didn't hold any stock, didn't hold on to anything, didn't know what I was going to do either. I didn't have some big savings, some big fallback plan, but I knew I needed to do it to get my life back. So I did, took that risk, pulled the rip cord, and in 2017 started a company that I'm still running now called Vismcx much Different Model.
It's myself and me and my wife and we are consultants, but we also do life design, coaching and business advisory services for business owners and CMOS in particular, really helping them design the life they want. So they get to live the life they love every day. And it's been a fantastic ride. My wife and I are back together. If you didn't catch that, we're in business together. And I am a testament to the fact that everything is indeed redeemable.
Wow, that's awesome. There's so much to that. One of the things that I've run into at times when I've talked with people about creating the life they desire or working a four day work week, or however you want to word it, there's a lot of entrepreneurs that will say to me, Wait, I'm doing what I want.
There'S sort of two versions of that. I'm doing what I want. I'm spending time with my family, my kids, my list. And you hear a list of, like, 20 things where you say, okay, they're probably doing what they want. And then there's almost like a snapback answer from one of your kids when you're asking something or just anybody that doesn't want you to dig deeper or it's kind of like a guarded answer. Well, I'm an entrepreneur. I get to do what I want with my time, and I don't run into it with people who have kids between.
Let's say zero to 15 ish because those people usually are extremely aware if they're overworking. Maybe not always. But at least if the conversation comes up, they can kind of see stuff very often. It's either the really hardcore people that just are blind to whatever's in front of them. Or it's the people who have not yet had kids. Or it's the empty nesters. And very often they'll say, and very often it's a male that's saying that, no, it's the way I want. I work when I want.
I love the hustle, I love the grind. But when I talk with them, I hear about a lot of what's going on in their sort of mental dimension. If you will, they're pursuing excellent success. They're physical dimension, their body. They got a six pack, a ten pack, a twelve pack. And they're whatever age. But I don't hear much about their emotional dimension, their relationships. I don't hear much about their spiritual dimension, not so much religion, but what are they passionate about? What's their why that sort of stuff.
When you talk to somebody, I'm in my late 40s, you talk to people at different stages and they find more and more people. I know I had what some people might call not a quarter life crisis, but definitely a quarter life awakening of okay, I left a corporate thing in 28, 27. Good company. Good people just wasn't my gig. I wanted more freedom. What do you say to somebody that says, no, everything is fine. But that person's listening right now and they're saying, Wait, hold on.
Is it fine? Is it, like, freaking awesome, or is it just kind of fine? What was it that was going on? That if you were talking to you when you were going through what you went through, what might have you been able to say that would have gotten your retention for that person that's listing. That saying, maybe it's not as fine. Or maybe that person thinks it's as good as it can even be. I can't hope for it to be better. What would you say or the signs now you'd say to that person?
These are the things that you can look at that can tell you if you're really is awesome or you're settling or you're just kind of fooling yourself.
Yeah, I think it's the latter. If you had asked me six, seven years ago, how you doing? I feel like, man, things couldn't be better. I would have told you about all the professional accomplishments that I was enjoying that I had achieved about the book about the business, the brand named clients. And I put so much stock and stupid things like I was a Premier one K on United. That was some great ego boosting. It tells you how shallow that is and what I would encourage anybody who's there is to just if you would ask me that I would have said it was fine.
The reality was there was times I'd wake up at 203:00 A.m. And I'd stare at the ceiling and just think I am absolutely miserable because I wasn't living life based on how I was designed to live life. I wasn't being the truest form of myself. And you mentioned purpose, the why. And I think one of the reasons we pursue a false why is we get involved with and enamored with our false self. And so I write in the book The Unamerican Dream about this Identity. And I talk about the fact that I was demanding to stay in the nicest hotels when I traveled, I wore suits and cufflinks.
None of those things are wrong, but they're wrong for me. I don't care about suits and cufflinks. I never have. And since I've left, I don't think I might have worn one tie to some official event. But I can't tell you the last time I wore a tie because it wasn't me. But I got sucked into this idea of this persona. And this is who you were supposed to be as this agency owner and this badass guy who's in this agency marketing world and leading these companies.
And so I would say, if you're staring at the ceiling at 203:00 A.m. If you're staring at the wall at four in the afternoon and really thinking, man, I'm not happy. I'm not fulfilled. It probably has less to do with soul work and more to do with the fact that you're not staying true to who God created you to be number one. Number two, I would just challenge you to redefine success. I was on the call yesterday with a client and we talked about success, and he kept talking about his well, I have enough pipeline and I have in the bank.
And I just said, Stop, if that's how you define success, then I want you to be honest and tell me success is all based monetarily. But what we had talked about in previous sessions had nothing to do with the business. There was this rub. And then Thirdly, I would say, Go ask the people that are the most impacted. Go ask your family. Go ask your family if they are getting everything from you that they need. If you're married, go ask your husband or your wife if you're in a serious relationship, go ask your partner if you have kids that are speaking age, go ask them.
And I shared a story last week on LinkedIn about this, where 2016 Wade was the first time I didn't bring my laptop on vacation. That's really embarrassing for me. And my then 16 year old daughter came 1617, and I can't remember but thanked me for not bringing it. So being quite defensive, I said, Well, thanks, but I always worked before you and your brothers get out of bed. And her response was so telling, she said, I know, but then you spent the rest of the day thinking about what soul work on.
And I'll tell you, if you've never been punched in the face by a 16 year old girl verbally, that was my moment and it mattered. And it showed that, hey, she wasn't thanking me for not bringing my laptop. She was thanking me for the first time going on vacation and being present.
That's awesome. And it's so huge because the signs are in front of you if you notice them. I've had moments like that. I think any entrepreneur, if they're aware or business person doesn't have to be an entrepreneur, any person when you're not present, they know when you're not present, when you're kind of talking to them and you're like, okay, yeah, it's so obvious we know when somebody else does it to us. And yet for some reason, we think that they don't see it's like the kid that goes like this and thinks that they're hiding from you.
It's like, I can see you just because you do this. I can see you. What I would pull from what you just said is and you said it a slightly different way is that this person defining success and how you're defining success was very either one or two dimensional of success. Money. And I usually generically say that's more physical mental dimension or how do you want to word that? And then that word keep coming up. That one letter word. And there's not a lot of we in there.
And as somebody who has definitely been through that stage where as providers, as males, I don't know how women process this or are told this. But growing up in the Western culture, as a male, you are taught you need to be a great provider, not just a good provider, a great provider. And if you ever think as women, if you ever watch or probably men can understand this too. But if the athlete misses the shot, that's nothing missing, dropping the catch in the Super Bowl is nothing to a man's ego compared to I can't provide for my family.
It pales in comparison. And so when we're on this journey of OK I've got to provide. I've got to provide at this level. And even if I'm not materialistic and I'm not worried about it, I'm still thinking, Well, does my kid have the best options? Does my wife feel comfortable? My partner feel comfortable, whatever they have for whatever it might be, that's something that we sometimes just at least turn down the volume on the other dimensions. Okay, well, again, I'm doing it for the kids. And I remember there was this movement initially.
Oh, you're doing it just for you and your ego. And I can tell you a lot of it. No, it's maybe ego from a sort of a back end side of feeling like garbage because I can't provide the way I want to. So not so much. They look at me. It's actually, no, please don't look at me. I'm not providing. Well, I'm struggling to make this thing to go together, so I'm just going to put my nose down. And Meanwhile, as you say, there's all this life going on around you that's being missed.
My point is so often people are very quick to assume that it must be that you're this egotistical, self centered jerk where sometimes it's just like, you're just trying to tread water and it ends up being the same. So there's no prize. The prize for being egotistical and avoiding your kids is the same prize or same consequence as being really fearful and avoiding your kids are missing out on them. It's the same outcome. So it's not like, Well, because I'm not an egotistical, Jackass. Yeah, I get a better no, it ends in the same place.
That such of a focus and a stress and kids with their grades these days and all this just not being present with the person that's in front of you.
I think we need to redefine the word provide, right. As a society. My God, we are so materialistic. Let's be honest. My son was telling us that he was sharing with a friend at College. His friend was like, So where do your parents live? And he said, Well, they live in an RV, and the kids said, Dude, no offense, but your parents broke and we laughed about it, but it says a lot. And my son, God bless him. He was like, no, they're kind of retired. I'm like, no, we're not retired.
I wish I was. But we're not yet. We're not there. But I think when we think about the role that we as husbands, that we as sons, brothers. And I'm speaking specifically of men here because my wife and I have talked. And if she was here, she could give a whole different perspective on what it's like to be on the other side, which is why I had her write that chapter in the book, which I think quite honestly is the best chapter in the book. But when we think about what we can do as dads, and again, as husbands as friends and boyfriends, whatever that role is.
And we play multiple in our lives what does provide look like. And so do you have to have that nice house? Do you have to have that great car we're so worried about? Are my kids going to go to College? Well, I think if Kovit has taught us anything, it's that I think education is going to change dramatically. So many of these kids have done online learning and the idea of the College experience. The reality is, nobody asked me anymore past my first job, where did I go to school?
They want to know what experience have I had? And so when we think about stuff and providing there's this opportunity where we can delude ourselves and I would have told you the same thing. I'm doing this all for my family, and I'm making this great sacrifice by missing out on all of these things, including family dinner, which for me, with our four kids, was some of the greatest moments of our family history because just magic unfolds at the dinner table with little kids. The reality is, if I have not had that discussion of all the things that I'm going to give up in order to deliver on the material side with my significant other and with my kids who are of age and haven't gotten full buy in, I'm not sacrificing.
I'm just selfish. They're sacrificing. They are the ones who are sacrificing because they're missing out on me and what I can provide and my presence and my influence in their lives. And if they haven't agreed to that, not only are they sacrificing, they haven't given their permission to me. And if they say, hey, we need a little bit more of you. It's not that they're not supportive. That's actually a huge compliment. And that's what my family was saying to me for years is we need more of you.
And I was so driven and then was able to put a solve over my guilt of saying, Well, I'm doing this all for them. It wasn't. And I think we need to reframe the word provide.
That's awesome. I know I've had my share at times of going the flip side of that and then getting mad and then blaming the kids for why I didn't get this done or I didn't get that done. And of course, life changes when you have children, if you in any way want to be even remotely responsible in raising them, you have less freedoms. Yes, that's an obvious thing because you can't do all the things you used to do. And yet when you consider just the idea of that, okay.
So I'm going to blame a three year old or a five year old for why my business thing didn't work out. And of course, it's never, at least for me. I never said it that way because that's clearly just nonsense. But, well, because of this because of this because of this. And as entrepreneurs, if you've been on the planet, anywhere on Earth, anywhere in the last 20 years, any or 30 years, any of the speakers, coaches, authors, leaders, whoever will tell you, well, victim mentality is going to get you nowhere.
So you can't outright say, Well, my kids are victimizing me because people just say nonsense. So you got to find this really sort of clever way that you design this whole thing. And at the end of the day, one of the things that keeps me crowned. And it's something that it annoys my kids. Sometimes it annoys my family members sometimes. And the number might not be the same right now, but I will say, look, 22,000 people today are going to die of hunger and preventable diseases.
And another way to word that is, six out of seven people on the planet live on less than $32 a day. Another way to word that is over 600 million people have access to clean water, whatever way you want to look at that, it's not meant to make anybody feel guilty. It's not meant to make anybody feel like, oh, you've got to fix that. I've been down that road before. I will do my part. I can't fix it by myself if I could. I would. But what I tell my kids we live in a part of the world that is rather affluent or at least affluent enough to say, look, if you're thinking that one more ipad, one more video game, one more something, one more notch up on the car.
If you're waiting for that to make you happy, you're kind of in trouble because again, 80% to 90% of the world is not living as wealthy as we are. And I'm middle class, slightly, maybe middle to upper middle class American, not way the heck up here, not making seven figures a year, but still from a world perspective, doing very well. And so, look, if you're waiting on that next thing, all you're doing is doing the same path that some of the rock stars and movie stars and wealthy people find out later, which is, oh, it wasn't the money.
They just simply have that knowing which people sometimes say, Why is somebody so depressed when they got to the top and came down? I said, because in my understanding, watching some of my father's friends made a lot of money and they didn't think they were going to is those people have a knowledge that most of the population doesn't. The majority of the population is banking on the hope that when they make X amount, then they'll be happy. So at least even though that's not getting to where they want to get, my belief is that at least is not the crash.
The crash is when you realize I have everything I've asked for. I can't think of more stuff to buy it's clearly. And then, of course, some people go beyond that. And that's where sometimes the drugs and the addiction come in or the friends that are just living off them or whatever those people know it. So they already know it's not more money. So it's going to have to be something different. And yet, Ironically, to me, it's just a multi dimensional life. There are so many people that already have this at so many income levels.
If you've ever traveled around the world. I've been to India. My parents from China, Tobago, my wife's from Peru seen plenty of people that are materially, not wealthy and multidimensionally, so abundant in their happiness in their life. Mother Teresa talking about the poverty of the Western world in general, of just so caught up in things and people say, yeah, wait, people say like, yeah, but because even just recently, in fact, the World Happiness Index again came out. And Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, a lot of Nordic countries, a bunch of the happiest.
I think New Zealand was in there. And the US is like 18 or 19. But one of the things that they said was that there's still this prevalence of this tie in between materialism or success or Facebook likes or followers or something. Just bottom line external that is going to depend on somebody's happiness. What have you found that is the shift that you help your clients and your wife helps your clients make that maybe centers around that. What is that shift? That when they start seeing things differently.
What is it that people have to learn? What do we have to get from this? Yeah.
Great question. I think first and foremost, we have to get that happiness is a choice, much like you. I think the happiest people I've engaged with are people who have so much less than any of us could ever dream of. And so the shift that we make that I help and my wife helps people make is again getting back to who are we created to be? Like I said, coupling suits, nice hotels, et cetera, are not bad things. Now I don't purposely go to seek out the worst Rat Hall hotel that's in the city that I'm staying in.
But again, that persona was wrong because it wasn't me and I had to get back to what is it that what was I created? One of the things I do to remind myself of that when I had a bigger office, I kept a picture of myself when I was six years old in my office because it reminded me that at my most truest form of myself, I'm still that six year old kid. I'm a kid who loves to laugh. I love people. I get energized by being around people.
So I'm very much an extrovert. I cry easily. I'm sentimental. And so all of those things. What was interesting is when I was becoming the grand CEO of this Burgeoning agency, I was none of those things. I had such a hard exterior. And it's been interesting when I reengage with people from back in those times, they may have read the book or we've had minimal conversations. It's crazy way. The majority of folks who have said to me, Man, there's just something different about you. I had one person say to me, you used to be so angry all the time, and she was right now.
What didn't mean that every day I had this massive temper tantrum.
I got away from who I was created to be and my natural just Godgiven person. And so what we help people is get back to who they were created to be so they can then define their purpose, align their purpose with their gifts and talents. And if at that point, anything's possible, anything is possible. And when we get to do that, when we get to see that and you see the light bulbs turning on, you redefine success. You find happiness in the small things you get off that hamster wheel and that toxicity of hustle, which is not sustainable.
And it doesn't mean you don't work hard. I still work really hard each and every day, but I find more enjoyment in it. And then the other thing it does is it helps me define what am I going to work on? I don't take every client that comes my way because they don't align to my values, and it's not that I'm right and they're wrong. It just means I've got to stay true to myself. My wife and I have defined a purpose for our company. Why we do what we do.
We do coaching because we want to help people discover what we have. We also do consulting because we like to support some nonprofits that do some really amazing work across the world. So there's a how to the why I wasn't able to define that. Why until I got back to my true self and so I can categorically tell you my why in this world, my purpose is simple. It's to help people, whether it's my neighbor. When I had a house, helping him fix the fence or helping a client or coaching one on one with an entrepreneur who says, I want to do things a little differently.
I just love to help people, and I was able to discover that why? Because I first started with who I was.
Yeah, that's something. That two things. One of the things you said about people assume. I know when I talk about four day work week or three day weekend, people assume away you're being lazy said no. I hustle for four days. I put a lot into it, and I'm very clear. I don't always stick to my boundaries, but usually basically the simplest way I'd word it to people is I'm less present to my family Monday through Thursday, and I still show up for dinner. There's a couple of things I do that still allows me to still maintain and touch and something you mentioned, which was so huge, the conversations that happened at the dinner table.
I know something my mom always taught me, which I found to be so true. We've been blessed to be able to provide a situation where my wife can stay at home. Sometimes she's worked part time sometimes, or simply maybe more precise. She can be at home when they come home from school because I think my mom always taught me was when your kids come home from school, there's about a 15 to 30 minutes window where they're ready to talk and they'll tell you what happened. And it's not that they get mad at you later.
It's passed already. How is school? I was good. What do you do? Same as every day. Whereas if you're there right when they come in, it's fresh and they're looking to talk and my wife gets to do most of that. I get to do that sometimes, and that's so huge. But other than that, those four days, I'm working hard. Sometimes I might work eight to nine to 10 hours, but for me, because I am kind of a binary person, I'm pretty intense. I have to say.
Okay, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I'm not working. I'm not checking email. I might once in a while, just, oh, if there's something going on, like an event coming up that I'm involved in that I know I'm part of that. I have to check, and I'm sure I'm still an adult, but overall, I can separate those two. For me, I kind of have to separate those two. Otherwise, it's very difficult for me to really be present to the person and one of my friends. I don't think he made this up, but he said it.
He read it somewhere. Just be where your feet are, wherever your feet are, being there and being present with that person or whatever it is that's in front of you. And that's something that I try to do more and more. And I find that people that are happiest, they are usually able to do that and do that in a way that it's liberating in the sense that you don't spend the weekend thinking. I wish I'd have done better. No, I gave everything. It's like an athlete.
I tell the kids I coach them in soccer, basketball, soccer, too. So look at the end of the game, specifically basketball, because basketball is a game where you sub in people and you're supposed to be sub or a soccer. You might pace yourself. But basketball, you're supposed to be subbed in the game. You're supposed to run your tail off and get exhausted and raise your hand to the coach. Look at the end of this game. You still have energy in you and we lost. You're going to be pretty ticked.
On the other hand, if your tank is empty, you might still wish we won, but you're going to know you did everything you knew how to do and we can still get better and we can improve. But, you'll know, you did what was in your power, and you won't have that sense of man if I'd only tried harder if I'd only done something different. And from that perspective, I can feel like when the weekend comes, I did what I could. And for three days I'm not going to think about work.
I'm not going to check it and sometimes all notifications off and whatnot. But because I also know my limitations, the thing you've said about it. And I learned this from Dan Sullivan, the strategic coach, over 20 years ago. Once you start thinking work at the beginning of the morning, it just takes up the rest of your day, and it's still kind of creeping in. So even if you have to Somedays, on Fridays, in a busier time of the year, I have a software company. And so most of those clients do occasionally have something on a Friday.
My other clients know I don't work on a Friday. I'll have gone to the beach. I will have played my volleyball. I'll be exhausted. Anyway, I'm done. I have no energy left. And at about 03:00 p.m. I'll do one check in. And if I need to, I might send two emails because as a solopreneur now I've been a solopreneur. I've been a business owner business. I had multiple employees. That one or two emails can save me needing to hire another person a whole lot of money.
So again, overall lifestyle, I choose that. But I don't look at that email first thing in the morning, because if I do, then the whole time I'm on the court, I'm thinking about that email and what happened and why. And so there's so much to that. You and I talked about something on the pre interview and a little bit about your take on work life balance. And that's a term that so many people. It's a generic term, so it can be used in so many different ways.
What are your thoughts on that? And when it comes to that, how does that factor into whether a person can actually design their life or whether or not their life is kind of being run by their business or what they're allowing to have happen?
Yeah, I don't believe in work life balance, and the reason is even before the pandemic. And there's so many articles now saying Koben has ruined work life balance. But the reality is before the Pandemic 70% of America was saying, I have no work life balance. I've been to Europe, I've been to Australia, and my colleagues over there will also say, hey, this isn't just an American problem. So you shouldn't have called it the unamerican dream. You should have just called it the undream, right? Whatever that is, insert your country of origin.
So I don't believe in work life balance, because the example I give is my daughter was a gymnast, and nothing set my heart racing. I had multiple kids perform in different things from theater to sports. I never got so nervous when my daughter jumped up on the balance beam. She's doing all these twists and things like that on, like a four inch being. Plus, she's my only daughter. So there was that. But I used to get and even the slightest wobble, she got a deduction of points, and I'm thinking like, hey, if you just stay on for the whole thing, you should get the goal.
It's all good by me. That's how we are with soul work, and we try to balance all these things. So I do talk about boundaries. Now. I talk about work, life, boundaries. The reality is we only have one life. Now there's multiple things that go into our life. So if we want to live a holistic life, we have to think about mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and relational. That's how I define it. You can define it differently. That's how I define. So let's define the things that we value within that holistic life.
So for me, my boundaries are not this huge, long list of 50 things. I value time with my wife. So we have a boundary that is set aside for one of the things we do among many is we have coffee every morning, we just sit down and have coffee. We don't rip out our devices and start thumbing through work emails. And even this morning, I got up a little bit before she did. So I did. I knew there were some things I had to get done before this conversation.
So I actually sat down. I read the chapter of the book called A Coffee Brewed. Got my coffee, sat down one through, deleted the emails. I knew I wasn't going to read anyway. And then she came out and we sat down for 20 minutes and we had coffee. And then we talked about, okay, what's the schedule of the day? And it wasn't until 800. I opened up and was really able to get things moving. So we set a boundary around the time because we value that time together.
I value my physical health. So I set time or a boundary around time to work out during the day. I believe mental and emotional are important, and it was much easier. When I was in Colorado, I regularly check in with a therapist. My wife and I last night went for a walk and just talked about numerous things because mentally and emotionally, we want to build that intimacy spiritually with meditation. And however you view that you may read religious books, I don't care what that is. The idea is your boundaries don't need to be grand.
They just need to be established. And work is one of those. You should value the work that you do. So set a boundary around that work, and then we don't have time to get into it. But do some investigation into altradean rhythms and seeing how we were wired where we can only go all out for 90 to 120 minutes before we are mentally, we need a mental break. You'll get more done in less time. But what I did is I started to find what are the things I value.
And then my wife and I actually sat down and talked about those things. Like, what do we value as a couple together? And then what boundaries are we going to establish so much like you? I don't do it year round during the summers. I don't work on Fridays. All of my clients know that during the weekends, I don't do any work. I've been invited on podcast on Sundays. I'm like, no, sorry, don't work on the weekends not going to happen. I remember when I was talking about this to somebody.
They said, oh, I could never do that. And I said, I used to believe the same thing. And so I would just encourage anybody who's listening, just take out a pen and a paper, do it on your computer. I don't care how you do it and just say, these are all the things I value. You'll be surprised at how small the list is, and then say, what boundaries can I set and then have that discussion with your closest of community because they're the ones that are going to help you stay within those boundaries.
And when you step outside the boundaries, they're the ones that you will invite in to say, hey, if I'm stepping outside that boundary, I want you to call me on it. If you see something that I don't, please feel free to say, hey, what's going on here? I'll tell you what, I am so much better for it. I work better. I work smarter, my happiness. And again, I think that's a choice. But I'm able to let things go. I don't really think about work on the weekends, and I'm much more present in my relationships and my business.
Professionally. I've had the best four years I've ever had in my life.
That's the thing that I think a lot of people don't seem to get. And I mentioned this a lot. If somebody's a long term listen to the podcasting, wait, I've heard you say this before for some reason, with athletes, we get that people need rest. So if the big game is coming up, we know you don't do two a day practices or three day practices right before the Super Bowl. But for some reason, with work and our mental dimension, we seem to think that we don't need any sort of rest whatsoever.
We're just going to keep going. And I think of the worst decisions I've made that have cost me tens of thousands. Sometimes one decision cost me over six figures. And it was during a time when I was working too many hours. I was fatigued. And so the simplest way I would describe it to somebody is the data that was presented to me, not presented by somebody. But just what was in front of me felt a lot more dramatic, a lot more likely to turn south and go bad than I would have where I balanced and said, oh, yeah, that's something that could happen.
But let's make a plan for that, as opposed to thinking, oh, my gosh, this is coming. It's going to be horrible. I got to do this. I'm going to do that. Investment decisions made out of fear. And a lot of times people say, Well, I made an investment decision out of greed. But I did a thing where I took about 10% of my four one K money and started trading some Penny stocks based on one of these software. That three Greens go by. So I started making 30% in two days and 40% in two days.
So great. I'm so friggin smart. I'm going to go more. And then the short version is, I got greedy despite all my training and lost 90% of it in a short period of time. Because eventually in that sort of a game, you lose. And I first thought it was greed, and it wasn't greed. What it was is I was afraid I couldn't get to a financial goal that I wanted to hit as quickly as I could. And that was the only way I thought I could.
And a bad real estate decision I made was the same thing. I'm not going to be able to do this. I can't do this. So I need something outside of me. This stock, this real estate investment to save me. That's very different, by the way, to be really clear from wise investing, long term in stocks, mutual funds, real estate, whole different story. I'm talking about the quick trade, the flip, pretending that me out of 7.5 or whatever billion people on the planet is going to figure out the thing that nobody else figures out when I dabble with it.
Come on, man, that's not going to happen. Tell me something. You mentioned some of the different things about the sort of boundary led approach. Why don't more people do it? Because you said your list of things are important in my life. When I look back at the list I've made five years, ten years, 20 years. The list hardly changes. In my experience. I look back on my core priorities. These were them. Why don't people take a boundary led approach?
Change is hard. Change is scary for me now. I want to be clear. I didn't go cold Turkey and be like, oh, no, I'm not working weekends. I started to make a small shift, and I think if I remember correctly, I'm not going to work Saturday mornings. It was something small, something so insignificant. Now, when I say that it had huge impact. So it was significant. But change is hard. We get used to things even when they're dysfunctional. And to make that shift again, I go back to the Lady I remember because I talked about it when I gave the TEDx, and she was like, yeah, that's all fine and good.
But I could never not work weekends. And I said, yeah, I used to think the same thing, and it's okay. I get it. I get that mindset that scarcity mindset. So I think that's number one, number two. And some people may be like, oh, I don't care about that. And I would have told you the same thing. You're worried about what people are going to say. And I've had people say, you are giving people a license to be lazy. And I'm like, no, I'm not because I include work in my boundary.
I would actually say this year, most weeks have been four days, but I really work and I work hard. But I can tell you when I shut that thing down, it's like, done because I've set that boundary and I got into a place. What's interesting to me is listening to what people say is, oh, man, I wish I could do that. I wish I could move into an RV. I wish I could take four days off. I'm sorry. Work four days only. I wish I could do this.
And my response to them always is the same. Why can't you and you can't because of that limiting belief that fear that if I do this, if I start to work in two hour sprints and then take 20 minutes breaks to let my brain refresh, I won't get as much done. And you've already created a story. You've created a self fulfilling prophecy in your head that instead of saying, Well, what would it look like if I just took one small shift forward, like writing down all the things that I value?
That's all you have to do. But instead, you're listening to that voice that saboteur in your head that says, you can't do this. If you do this, your business will tank. 2019 was the biggest year I ever had from a revenue perspective. It was silly. It was stupid. I took every Friday off that summer. I did not bring my laptop on vacation. And keep in mind, I'm now in a model where if I'm not working, the business isn't operating. There's nobody else out there doing the work with my clients.
Every client I told I was taking that time off had the same response. That's awesome. Enjoy. Nothing so crazy is going to happen here that we won't get by. And so what's interesting now is like I said, is when you're afraid of how people are going to react. And the reality is you're never going to know it unless you try it. And I'm not saying, Go zero to 61 small shift. One small calibration in your life can lead to huge results because it's a series of those small shifts that lead to monumental change.
Yeah, that has definitely been my experience. As I started more communicating to my clients. I have two types of clients coaching clients who are more than happy for me. But it's the filter. They're the ones who are more than happy for me to be off on Friday, and they're looking up to that. They want to do that. They're more like, how do I do that? And then some of those clients also have my software software. Just the nature of software is you want tech support when you want tech support.
So I have to balance that. And that's why sometimes again, on the Friday, I'll check my email really quickly. But even in that model, the software is not of a nature. It's a payroll software type thing. So it's not something that is urgent where the fate of the entire free world is dependent upon it. So it's all going to be okay. And there's still some clients that can't get that, or they'll call on a Saturday. I just kind of smiled myself. Like, what are you thinking I'm doing on a Saturday?
Have you not seen any of my blog posts? Even if I'm lying, I'm not going to pick up on a Saturday. Even if I was BSing. This, I'm not going to pick up a Saturday. Hey, yeah, because so much what I do is about creating that lifestyle. One of the things that I love that you said, which is so true in my experience, is just the making a subtle shift. One simple thing. I'm not going to be on the TV past such a certain time. Like I'm working on sleep habits.
Now, somebody I interviewed does really good stuff around this, and I realized how much my sleep habits could be better. I thought, Well, mine are good enough. I go to bed at a certain time, but I'm on either my device or watching a TV show until five minutes before bed. And that's just long story short. All the research says that doesn't help. And as I sort of follow that, I learn it. And yeah, change is tough. But one of the things I think people get afraid of, and you said it a different way is they're just afraid of what happens if I don't show up and nobody notices.
What if I don't work Saturday? Nobody says we didn't notice. What does that mean? As somebody who's done a podcast now for over three years and the goal was to do it weekly, which would mean I'd have 160 actually, by now, almost 200 episodes. And I've got about maybe 80 something that had been published, and I look at it and at times when I wouldn't publish one week, oh, my gosh, what's going to happen? Well, first of all, the free world is still going to go on without you.
It's sad to think, but it does. And I looked back and was like, okay, that wasn't this tragic thing. It was okay. But it did kind of require the sense of like, oh, so it's not that they didn't miss you, but the world still goes on, and we all have people. At least I don't want to depend on your age. I'm 49. I have people. I've lost that. Yes, I miss them. But I don't stop living. And I don't think they would want me to any more than I would want my friends to stop living when I die.
So I think there's just so much like you said, there's so much of the story stuff. And I think that's something that if you've not been in either the psychology or in the coaching world, you may have heard that the concept of story just being like, what are the stories we tell ourselves that simply aren't true, that are biased. Some people call them faulty beliefs or whatever it is. Tell me a little bit if you don't want mind. Wow. You're worried that tell me a little bit if you don't mind.
What of that? When we talk about your book, The Unamerican Dream. What's the core story that people are either buying into and it's not serving them? What's that core story? What's true about it? Because usually there's something that's true about otherwise people wouldn't believe it if I just said, my hair is red, you'd say no way. That's not even true. But usually there's something that keeps people caught in that what's the part that's true? And what's the part that people are missing that perhaps if they can untangle it, that it might serve them.
The part that's true. And I actually do reference this in the book and use some writings from Harvard Business Review that talks about we want to be viewed in soul work as that scarce resource, the resource that is so vital that man, if we don't show up and boy, did I fall into that like I had to be at these events. I had to be in my business. I had to travel to the office to make sure. And I remember my wife one time saying, if you have to be, there so much for your staff, you're a really bad CEO.
And man, I didn't like hearing that at the time, but she was 100%, right? And so we buy into this false narrative that we have to be the scarce resource. And this is and I find this especially true for men. This is where we go off track. I find this especially true for men. We put our identity and our worthiness and our purpose in what we do for a living. And I'm here to tell you, it doesn't matter if you are a cashier at a local convenience store, and I'm not demeaning that position.
You're working, give it everything you got. Or if you're the CEO of a Fortune 50, your worthiness and who you are at your core are never going to change it's what you do with that? Do you embrace your worthiness and do you embrace who you are at your core, or are you pursuing and living out a false self? And for me, my need to be that scarce resource was all wrapped up in this narrative. I had spawned that man. If I don't perform, if I don't reach these sites, this is the only way people are going to love me and respect me and want to be my friend again.
Six years old, right? We don't change that much. We just put a finer layer on it, and I'm like you, wait. I'm 49. I'll be 50 in a few months. I've had people that I've lost. Guess what? When they're on their deathbed. They're not worried about all these things. They're worried about the impact they made. They're talking about the experiences they had, the memories they had, the friendships they had. So when we think about this stuff, let's stop thinking about are we going to be the scarce resource in our business, to our clients, to the trade show, to whatever it is and say, first of all, are we going to tend to our own cells and take care of ourselves in those five areas that I referenced so that I can then first and foremost, provide for those that I love the most, my family.
And then what can I bring? What boundary can I set to deliver the best of me and my talents to my clients and to my work and to my customers? Once I figure those things out, I don't want to say life goes on autopilot because we're constantly working on things to better ourselves, and we're constantly being more self aware of areas we can improve upon. But the charade just ends. And I got to tell you, six years ago, I would have never shown up to your podcast with a hoodie and a baseball hat because I would have been like, oh, people won't take me seriously.
They see this on video. They're going to be like, really, this guy. He's a coach. The idea is this is who I am, and I'm really comfortable with it. And I feel good. And I got up this morning and I've got a pretty busy schedule, and so I'm like, it's a little chilly in the air. You may be able to hear the rain in the background here. I'm going to put on a hoodie, and I'm not really going to worry too much about it because I just don't really worry about those things anymore, because that's who I am.
And if you do worry about those things, if that's important to you, that's great, just make sure it's genuine. And it's authentic, because when you're authentic, then you can be vulnerable. And that unlocks so much of what life is all about.
Awesome. Yeah. And definitely you'll attract, as you and I both know, you'll attract the clients, the client that wants to be wearing the dress to the Nines suit or whatever. There's nothing wrong with that, but they're not going to be attracted to soul work or probably my work because they're going to say, okay, that person. And that's cool. That's perfect. That's actually a good sort of thing. That's what people would say to me. Wait, you sometimes drop F bombs. I said, yeah, and sometimes they're kind of meant to be a filter because the people that are holier than that.
Also, those people scare the poop out of me, the ones who never say that. There's really, really crazy stuff hidden in there somewhere. I've learned that much.
Yeah, I grew up in that stuff. And at least I know I got a lot of people praying for me.
There you go.
So thank you so much. We will be sharing the links in the show notes, but for those people listening, what's the simplest way people can find out about soul work and soul work with your wife? And where can they find out about your book?
Yeah, they can find the book on Amazon. It's just The Unamerican Dream by Carlos Hidalgo, H-I-D-A-L-G-O. We also have a website, Carlos and Suzanne, and that's S-U-S-A-N-N-E. Com. If they want while they're there, they can sign up for a free 90 minutes coaching session. It's our way of giving back. And yeah, if you want to follow me on Twitter, I'm at Cahidalgo, or just find me on LinkedIn. Awesome.
Thank you so much. And for those of you listening, I do my best to pull from the interview stuff that maybe isn't directly in a book or get into better conversations with people. I know sometimes I talk a little more than maybe I maybe should or shouldn't, but I really just feel like what you and I had was a conversation that for those of you all who are younger, maybe you and I are both old enough. Now where we're giving wisdom. I'm not sure, but there's something that's true to this.
There's something that happens a lot. So if you're saying, oh, this hasn't happened, it might just be that you're not at that stage yet, or you haven't seen this yet. Or maybe you're making choices that are different. But so much that we talked about is something I've just seen so many times, it's almost an archetype. It's almost a prototype. It's a pattern. Something just happens so often. So I hope this serves you. And by the way, if you're somebody who's a spouse or if you're a female, listen about what's going on in your husband's mind or your partner's mind or whatever it might be.
A lot of this might sound weird. I know men always say we're not complex. We're actually still a little more complex. It's just good marketing to say that we're not complex, but I hope you find this helpful and as always, I hope for the helping you. I look forward to helping you create the life and the lifestyle you most desire. Thanks for listening.