In this Expert Insight Interview, Ruben Gonzalez discusses the power of following the leader. Ruben Gonzalez is a professional speaker and author. He has competed in four Winter Olympics in the luge, despite having started at 21, when most competitors in this discipline are already in their prime.
This Expert Insight Interview discusses:
- How he got into the luge and how resisting his coach’s advice held him back
- Why and how he decided to change his focus and start listening
- How being in control keeps us in our comfort zone and prevents us from improving
Ruben got into the luge because he got excited about the Olympics despite not being much of an athlete. He decided to find a sport that fit his strength, which was perseverance. That hard-headedness and determination helped him stay in the game long enough to learn the skills even at a relatively late age.
On the other hand, the same hard-headedness hurt him because he always resisted following his coach’s advice. He kept looking for a coach or a mentor throughout his life but would always resist their guidance.
Changing the Focus
For three Olympics, Ruben resisted following the leader. It wasn’t until about two years before the Vancouver Olympics that everything changed. He was training for the Olympics, hoping to qualify and become the oldest athlete there at the age of 47.
The problem was that the number of participants was reduced for these Olympics from 50 to 40, and Ruben was usually ranked around #45 globally. He decided to try a new approach and start listening to his coach immediately. This enabled him to change his focus and improve his time enough to qualify. Changing his focus changed everything for him, and he was sliding better at 45 than he did when he was a kid.
Comfort and Control
So, what is it that holds people back from listening to advice? According to Ruben Gonzales, it is about control. He wanted to be independent and in control, which is a nice way of saying he didn’t like people telling him what to do.
Being in control feels safe, but it keeps you in your comfort zone, and you can’t improve in your comfort zone. Letting go is scary, but it gets you out of your comfort zone so you can improve.
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.