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Pivot With Purpose

Pivot with Purpose with Meghan Houle Ep 10

As a global facilitator, Eduardo has led workshops and spoken with groups at HBO, Google, Bank of America- Merrill Lynch, Yale, The Juilliard School, and the Wharton School of Business. Private clients include Industry Leaders, CEO’s of start up companies, UN Diplomats and social activists. Prior to focusing all his energy on Fearless Communicators, he was a professional actor for 15 years, working all over the US in over 38 plays and musicals.

When he is not “story doulaing” or spontaneously breaking out into song and dance, he is probably bringing together diverse communities in a celebration of what is positive and possible. This includes leading workshops at the Muslim Jewish Conference, global work on inclusive masculinity, LGBTQIA activism & advocacy and events around a passion project called THE BIG SING ALONG. Other projects include Carnegie Hall’s The Somewhere Project, The Daedalus Project at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Fearless Futures Campaigns for the SCHAP Community School in rural SE Kenya.
Eduardo

serves on the Board of THE OUT FOUNDATION and the Cuban American Alliance for Leadership and Education.

Fearless Communicators Website: http://www.fearlesscommunicators.com/

Connect with Eduardo on Instagram: @Eduardoplacer

Click Here to Read Full Transcript

FC Podcasts: [00:00:00] Pivot a Podcast that highlights the unique stories of professionals that pivoted their careers to align with their work lives and personal lives more purposefully and with more joy.

Pivot with Purpose is hosted by Meghan Houle a globally accredited career and business coach and creator of the Meghan Houle Method. 

Meghan Houle: [00:00:31] Welcome back to the Pivot with Purpose podcast. I’m your host, Meghan Houle and in this episode, we talked to Eduardo Placer, story doula and international speaking coach. 

FC Podcasts: [00:00:42] Thank you for listening to Pivot with Purpose with host Meghan Houle, you can find out more information about each guest, including full transcripts at pivotwithpurposepodcast.com.

And if you’d like to share your own Pivot with Purpose, click on the share button and add your story to the conversation. Finally be sure to subscribe and share your comments wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. Your support amplifies our voice. And now this week’s episode.

Meghan Houle: [00:01:13] As a global facilitator Eduardo has led workshops and spoken with groups at HBO, Google, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Yale. Private clients include leaders, CEOs of startup companies, UN diplomats and social activists. Prior to focusing all his energy on his company, Fearless Communicators, he was a professional actor for 15 years, working all over the US in 38 plays and musicals.

Eduardo also serves on the board of the Out Foundation and the Cuban American Alliance for leadership and education. When he is not story doula-ing or spontaneously breaking out in song and dance, he is probably bringing together a diverse community in a celebration of what is possible in positive. Eduardo, it is a true pleasure to have you here with us today on the Pivot with Purpose podcast. Thank you so much for being here and with our listeners tuning in. How are you? 

Eduardo Placer: [00:02:10] Yasss. I’m doing great. Thank you for asking. I just kicked the desk, I was so excited, is what happened. I’m going to be mindful of the excitement, starting off with an injury! 

Meghan Houle: [00:02:25] Well also as a PSA to everyone as we settle into your eardrums. If anyone out there is thinking about having another cup of coffee, or getting ready to work out or in general, just looking for a little energy boost. The universe is not ready for the energy and enthusiasm Eduardo and my personalities are about to bring to your space.

Okay. So, buckle in everyone. Get ready to be inspired as Eduardo and I will be diving into some hot topics with a lot of passion behind them. So, are you ready to do this? 

Eduardo Placer: [00:02:53] I was born ready. 

Meghan Houle: [00:02:54] Do we need a little song out of you to start or should we save it to the end? 

Eduardo Placer: [00:02:58] Another opening, another show in Philly, Boston, no ball to mow, a chance for stage folks to say hello, and now they’re opening up, another show.

How was that? 

Meghan Houle: [00:03:10] Perfect. 

Eduardo Placer: [00:03:11] Yeah, little showtune-itus. Yes, a little burst, a little burst of showtunes. Yeah. 

Meghan Houle: [00:03:16] So, to really take a page out of your book, which I will have to say, for you and I, and how we got connected through our time in the wonderful networking group Saturday’s with Ron Thurston,

I would love to start off with some highlights of Eduardo for our listeners and some of your passions. Beyond work, beyond your projects, what are you lovin in life? 

Eduardo Placer: [00:03:37] What am I loving in life? Let me breathe into that. So, I have my new apartment in the East Village. The pandemic has been absolutely dreadful. And one thing that I can claim as a win is that I have my own place now. My office is in what would be a second bedroom in a five floor walk-up in the East Village of New York and right by Tompkins Square Park.

And I love this neighborhood, it is thriving. It is alive. I just love the resilience of the small businesses around me. I love the resilience of the community. I love that the street is blocked off with signs that say “Trans Lives Matter” and “Black Lives Matter”. And I love that the beating pulse of the city that I love is alive.

And I love that I get to be a part of it. I’m really enjoying love. My heart is very open. I have a boyfriend and he’s currently going through the asylum process in the United States, from Columbia and just really present to being support and and empowering ally and partner to someone who is stepping into the possibility of an American dream, knowing that that is something that my parents who fled communist Cuba, and my grandparents who fled fascist Spain also found their feet on the shores of this country, stepping into possibility.

I am also celebrating and enjoying the emergence of spring. And I think there are ways in which we are all emerging from a very cold winter. So, those are, I would say three top notes that I have of things that are bringing me joy in this moment. And thank you for starting with that.

I just think it’s so important to center and take stock of and acknowledge things that we are thankful for and things that open our hearts at the beginning of conversations. 

Meghan Houle: [00:05:28] Absolutely, we’ll learn from the best, thank you for bringing that to me. And I appreciate you sharing all of that.

Warm weather with a little bit of apocalypse. Yes, we’re looking forward to spring. We love love and congrats on your new apartment. Kind of fresh start all sorts of good things going on.  And in the spirit of our podcasts, really jumping through, pivoting and talking through pivots and I’ll have a lot of juicy questions for you.

So, everybody tune in, get a pen and paper. You’re going to learn a lot from this episode. Let’s talk about your pivots through your career as an actor, to where you are, are now as a superstar speaking coach and CEO of Fearless Communicators. Talk to us a little bit about some of those pivots leading to where you are today.

Eduardo Placer: [00:06:13] Well, it’s funny that you mentioned the word pivot because I have an acute condition that I call showtune-itus.  So, my twin brother, I’m an identical twin, and my twin brother and I, when we played with our GI Joe’s as children in Miami, Florida, he played war and I played War: the musical with my little GI Joes, cause they had splits, which was very helpful. I don’t know if people realize that GI Joes can split, but they can split. They can’t do a straddle, but they can do a split. And one of my favorite musicals as a child was A Chorus Line.

It’s a brilliant, brilliant show, that tells the story of the people who are anonymous in a show, which is the ensemble, the chorus, like not the lead, not the star. And in my grandmother’s house in Miami, Florida. I would listen to the LP of a chorus line. And because there are no chorus line action figures, I would create a line, a chorus line, Parcheesi game pieces, and I would play a chorus line on a Parcheesi game board. I would always also play Evita, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, the opening moments of a chorus line, the choreographer Zack says, the last steps of the combination are pivot, step, walk, walk, walk.

And he says, let’s do the combination again, facing away from the mirrors, five, six, seven, eight, [music noises] right. Right so, in thinking of pivoting, I think pivot step walk, walk, walk, always. Yeah. And I would say that there’ve been many, many pivots. I think growing up as a queer child, I think you have to be quick on your toes.

And you have to figure out, one, is this place safe, is it not safe? What’s my strategy? And this is happening consciously and subconsciously at the same time. And for me as a child, I knew that my ticket out of Miami, Florida was school. So, I did extremely well in school and more than being extremely well in school, I was an achievement addict. So, it was like, I was a varsity swimmer and I got rid of styrofoam and the high school cafeteria and I did political things.

And, all these things that I was involved in, I interned on Capitol Hill with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. And if there was an organization, I was in it in a leadership thing. I was like, definitely polishing that resume for everything. And I found myself in Washington, DC at the pinnacle of what I thought at 18 years old was like my dream, which was to be on Capitol Hill, working for a Congressman and really deep down, all I wanted to do was sing and dance.

And  I think being the child of immigrants, specifically Cuban immigrants, like their two worst nightmares was one that their son be gay and two that they want to be an actor. And I was both. Yassss. So, funnily enough, I found myself on Capitol Hill learning how to tap dance from one of the staffers of the congressperson, she’d been a professional dancer. So, she would teach me to time step. So, then when I went to college, initially, I thought I wanted to study philosophy, politics, economics, go into politics. But really discovered that what I wanted to do was be an actor and I knew that I had an amazing opportunity by going to one of the top schools in the US the University of Pennsylvania, that I wanted to milk that for all that it was worth.

But I knew that when I graduated, deep in my heart, I wanted to set forth in the career of my dreams, which was to be an actor. So, that’s what I did it. At 22, I graduated from college and contrary to the advice and counsel of anyone around me, specifically, with the pedigree of having gone to an Ivy league school, I moved to New York city with a dance belt, a diet Coke, and a dream to be an actor.

So landed in New York City, I had the support of some family while I was here, but I had to work. I didn’t have a trust fund. There was no money. So, my first job was on wall street at Standard and Poor’s in human resources. So again, there’s this ability to kind of keep your eye on the prize.

I knew I wanted to be an actor, but I knew that there were other things that I had to do in the meantime to make that reality a possibility. Right? So, I had a full-time job on wall street in human resources as a temp. And what was interesting is because I was bilingual, my first language is Spanish. I got placed to be the visa coordinator, for all these foreign nationals who were trying to go through the asylum process, or they were trying to get green cards and H1B visas, all this stuff.

 Life experience, all that stuff kind of landed me in that while I was then simultaneously also doing this crazy acting program, you know that was like evenings, pounding mattresses, counting your emotions. It was like a total nightmare, while I was also simultaneously working as a janitor cleaning toilets at the dance studio 10 hours a week, so that I could take 10 dance classes a week.

Right, so I had an Excel spreadsheet with every waking moment, hour of the day, including commuting time, while I was living in North Jersey with a North star of knowing that what I wanted to do was be an actor. There were all these things that I needed to do to settle in order to make that a reality.

And then pretty luckily, early on and I would say there’s no such thing as luck, I work my Cuban tushie, my Cuban heinie for all of it. I started working as an actor. And I had this opportunity very early on to do this play in Washington, DC., and I was in this New York trajectory. I got my union card pretty quickly and this opportunity presented itself, which, because I didn’t grow up doing theater.

I had to be aware of where the energy was. And I think that this is something to track for people who are looking to pivot. I think there’s pivoting from a place of force and there’s pivoting from a space of flow.

Hashtag that. Yeah. If I was going from a space of force, I would have stayed in New York, right, and pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed. And this opportunity presented itself in Washington DC with this one director that I had known during my time as an undergrad, and there was a play that he was doing which was a play called Corpus Christi, which is by Terrence McNally, which is a very controversial play in all male identifying cast.

And I hadn’t done plays, I had only done musical theater. I’d only sung and danced. And I knew that the thing that was going to set me apart from people was acting, that’s the longer career. Not sitting in an ensemble. So, I took the opportunity, went to Washington DC, and then contrary to everyone’s advice, I moved down to Washington DC for two years. And what I did in Washington, DC is I worked everywhere. I worked at every reputable theater in the city, because I knew I wanted to prep myself to go to grad school, to conservatory to train as an actor. And while I was there, I was a singing waiter.

I was a temp at law firms. Like there were all these jobs that I was also doing, there was leaning on skills and abilities, again, taking the opportunities that were present, because I knew that that was all leading to the next step. And then I had the privilege of attending one of the top conservatories in the US, which is in La Jolla.

And there I had the power and the privilege of teaching public speaking to undergrads. Again, this is where opportunities present themselves. And you’re like, wait a second. I kind of clocked. I knew that the undergrads taught public speaking and acting, and that was a huge want, to go there.  And it’s funny how the universe unfolds because I didn’t get in.

And this is also opportunities. The woman who directed the only play that I was not in at this premier theater in DC called Arena Stage, was the woman who ran the acting program at UC San Diego. And I had reached out to her and I said, look, I can’t go to the audition in New York. So, this is also standing out and making requests, stepping outside of your comfort zone and asking for something that may not seem possible, to see if there’s possibility there.

I said, I can’t make it to New York to the audition for the school because I’m actually in technical rehearsals for a show and they won’t let me out of it. So, I can’t leave. And then she said, well, I’m actually coming through DC, so I would be willing to just audition you by myself. You’re at a major disadvantage because I’m not with my collaborators.

I auditioned with a committee, so, you’re kind of a disadvantage, but if you want to do it, let’s do it. So, I said, yes. So, I did the audition and I got the rejection letter from the school saying that I didn’t get in. And I hadn’t got into the, I applied to the top three schools, which were NYU, UCSD, and Yale.

And I got rejected from NYU and Yale. So, I kind of just had surrendered. It went out of the blue, I got a phone call and she said there was one spot where one person chose to go to another school and she remembered me from the audition. And did I want to go and she had no money to give me. And I said, you never look a gift horse in the mouth.

And I said, yes. I was like, you had me on hello. Like I’m coming, I’m doing everything in my power to make this thing happen. And it was a game changer, life changer to have three years to study, to play, to center the development of the craft to not have to be waitering and cater waitering and bartending doing all the things, the hustle while, you know, doing it was a huge benefit. And what’s interesting is again, moving into flow, one of the things that I also picked up was a camera. So, when I graduated from school, I had these parallel businesses. So, I had my acting career, I was also a portrait photographer, so I did headshots. I did children’s portraits.

The first wedding I photographed was in Jamaica and the second one was in Colombia. And then I started this parallel public speaking, coaching business. And then as I was in the space of being an actor, I performed in over 35 productions all over the United States and the top theaters in the US. I kept on finding myself in the room and then onstage thinking is this really all that I’m called to do in the world and the answer no, started off as a whisper and then got louder and louder and louder and louder. I’m sure this resonates with you, the generous resonator and with the listeners is that there are times where your mind really desire and you invest in that as a possibility and your heart and your body is actually telling you no.

I feel like sometimes it’s like, when you’re in a relationship, like I found myself where like the kiss is off or where you hold hands with someone, and it just, it doesn’t fit. And yet your mind is telling you, they went to Harvard, they have a great degree, they have a great apartment, they have great income, they’re really hot, but yet your body is telling you like runaway, no, doesn’t work, get out of there, this is not, right. So, there’s like a beautiful saying that steers our work now in Fearless Communicators, which is, knowledge is only rumor until it lives in the muscle. And there’s a way in which the body knows. And I would say my acting career specifically at the end was coming from a space of force.

I knew that I was called for something greater and I just needed the courage to step into that. And the universe has an amazing way of sometimes forcing a pivot, which is you lose a job. Or you get fired, right? Right. Yeah. My last job was at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which is a premier repertory acting company in the U S and it’s heaven.

It’s a company of a hundred actors. They do 11 plays in rotating repertory. I mean, you’re doing maybe four or five plays. At least in my repertory contracts, I was never doing eight shows a week. I was doing maybe five or six. I mean, it felt luxurious. You had days, I was also a teaching artist.

And I was a tour guide at the theater and I produced their HIV and AIDS fundraiser. Like there were all these things that were like an expansive space of community. And I kept on noticing, I keep on showing up to places and I give them everything that I have and at the end I ended up without a job and I was like, that doesn’t work.

So, at the season I was like in conversations about coming on board in an administrative capacity while I was still an actor in the company, there was all this stuff that was like generating energetically as possibility. And then there’s one day where you find out what your casting is.

And my body, like the winds of change were like clocking that it’s not a hundred percent certain that you’ve got a job. Although I was hoping and wishing and praying, #thoughtsandprayers, that that was gonna happen. And then I got the phone call, I was sitting on the beach on the Oregon coast. Rocky, violent, Oregon coast beach, which all of the Oregon coast is like that,  and spoke to the artistic director. And he said, I never thought we would find ourselves in this position, but I don’t have a job for you next season. Again, as an actor, this is not the first time I’ve faced oblivion.

It’s not the first time that you face, and we don’t have a job for you. Right? This is not the first time rejection or a planned future. Thinking about the pandemic and stuff like that, where a planned future disappears in front of your very eyes. And you’re like, well, what I have is right now and right now, and right now. I lean on the three G’s, which are grace, generosity, and gratitude.

And there are people in these moments that go to like blame, belligerence, blasting, all of that. And really centered my breath in that moment, and I said, first of all, and obviously this is not the conversation I thought that I would be having, but in these moments, I think it’s important to express my gratitude.

Like this has been an extraordinary run. I feel so grateful to have been a part of this company and this organization, I’m so grateful for you and your leadership. I can empathize how hard it must be for you to have this conversation. And, and that you’re choosing to have conversations with people who you don’t have jobs for.

 That’s very uncomfortable for you and I acknowledge your courage and the willingness to deliver this conversation over the phone, and to actually have a conversation with someone.  And thank you and thank you so much. And it takes a leap to get there, but I think it creates energy that is possible and not shut down in the moment. And then of course I went to Dairy Queen and stuffed my face, and got really upset and all that other stuff, cause I’m a person. But I think it’s important to think about these moments of transition because it’s how we want to pivot. I think in that moment I pivoted with grace and then there were these opportunities that presented themselves after that, because now I was standing in front of an open future. I was up for a Fulbright. I was going to go to Kenya, India, and South Africa and do work with AIDS orphans on digital storytelling projects. And I was a finalist in that. And there was either that or my Fearless Communicators business.

And again, didn’t get it. It was down to 10 people they were going to choose five and I wasn’t one of them. I’m going to step forward, that’s where the entrepreneurship journey began. And I would say that, that is where I find myself today, six years on. And it’s always a dance. Right?

And I think that’s why pivoting is such a great metaphor because in dancing, there’s always a pivot. If you’re dancing in a straight line, not interesting. Right, but the pivoting is what actually makes it interesting. If you notice the pivot, it’s also intrinsic to a heartbeat. A heartbeat is not a flat line, a flat line is death, but there’s pivots.

There’s a turn, and there’s constant turns. And I just think that that’s life. And I think that there’s an opportunity for us to not be afraid of the pivot, but leaning into the pivot. Right? And then when we lean into the pivot, trusting that the pivot that’s emerging, is one that is ultimately in alignment and in the greatest service of ourselves and our purpose.

Meghan Houle: [00:21:19] Thank you for sharing all that and in terms of your Fearless Communicators, and I know you coach some pretty amazing people.  What do most people struggle with that come to you for coaching and what are some of your offerings around that? 

Eduardo Placer: [00:21:34] One of my leaning places to begin is 76% of people suffer from speech anxiety, and everybody else lies. There’s like maybe 1% of people who are like, I don’t have any fear. And I think oftentimes that comes from a lot of privilege. So, for me, I begin the journey in second grade at show and tell, clutching a stuffed animal seal, standing in front of my classmates.

When I then blurted out that I named the seal after a boy that I had a crush on. And in that moment decided that when I stand in front of people to speak, I can’t be myself. I can’t speak the truth. And if I do it’s dangerous and that fear is always present for me specifically when I’m presenting and speaking in front of male dominated spaces.

Right? Which let’s face it is the world. My biggest fear specifically in corporate landscapes and stuff like that, I’m going to say something really horrible, but I’m just going to preempt it before I say it, is that somebody is going to call me a faggot. Right? Because that was my experience growing up as a kid that, that was named that, that was said, so that anyone would see that, or think that or name that, right?

Then I feel like I have to force myself to conform into what I believe they want me to be. And there are ways in which my father and my culture and teachers taught me conformity while at the same time, there’s this whole underbelly undercurrent of be authentic, be you. Right? But it’s like be you as long as you’re passing for what you want me to be.

And I think that, that tension, now I’m 44, right? So, I would say that kids now that are growing up, probably have maybe a different experience, but I would say that that stress, that trauma is something that was intrinsic to how I grew up, and I have to give myself permission every time I speak to show up exactly the way that I am.

So, there is a certain amount of support that I think people are looking for, which is how do I speak, not as a performance, but how do I actually speak and lead in a way that it’s in alignment from my diverse body and the voice that emanates from that diverse body as a true testament to who I am in service of the people that I’m committed to making a difference for.

Meghan Houle: [00:23:47] All that you’re offering with Fearless Communicators is such valuable information,  it seems like you are pretty powerful in what you’re teaching and teaching a lot of amazing life skills for people to get out there and talk about themselves, get jobs.

So, in the spirit of this podcast, we usually ask a yes or no question, and then we go to a quick break and I know you and I have talked about this, but yes or no. Do you think pivoting is possible at any age? 

Eduardo Placer: [00:24:14] Absolutely! 

Meghan Houle: [00:24:15] And with that, we will go to a quick break and pick this up when we get back.

All right Eduardo, before the break, you said yes, tell me what are some of the best practices you can give listeners who want to pivot, but may have shame around their age. For example, feeling aged out of certain jobs or having COVID resume gaps, questionable career pivots, major life events gaps. How would you advise somebody to address these head on?

Eduardo Placer: [00:24:56] The biggest piece of advice I would say is own the gap, right? I think people are oftentimes ashamed of the gap. There’s shame around the gap, for example, I do global work and I remember I was in Israel doing a program with entrepreneurs, people who were pivoting in their businesses into tech.

And there was this Orthodox Jewish woman who’d had nine children or something like that. And there was a gap of like 12 years in her resume. And now she was going back into the job force. And I said to her own the gap. Because what’s going to happen is you’re going to go into the interview and you’re going to be resisting and avoiding anything about the gap, what you’re resisting and avoiding, what you don’t want to give attention to, you’re still focusing on and that’s what they’re going to focus on. Right? So, know that that question is coming and how can you then spin that to talk about what was possible, what you learned, how that’s applicable. There’s one of my clients, she talks about her mommy MBA and she has an undergraduate degree from Yale, I want to say, and an MBA from MIT Sloan or something, like that. She has four kids and she said the best prep that she’s had for a career in business as an executive is being a mom. And she has 20 years of that experience. And it doesn’t appear on LinkedIn. Like she knows how to put a CEO in timeout, like when they’re having a temper tantrum. Things like that, right? Yeah. Yeah. So, I think it’s possible. And what I’m noticing is that our culture is ageist. And I think that there’s a way in which I think we can also, frame and celebrate and center the experience of our elders.

And create spaces for them to really center their learnings and their knowledge. And I find all the time, people in their sixties and even in seventies with ideas and new projects and new things that they want to create. And I’m always excited and thrilled to hear.

Meghan Houle: [00:26:39] You can truly pivot at any age and I think a lot of pivoting success also too, comes from networking, which is such a hot topic on this podcast and certainly I’ve heard you speak about networking with abundance, which is really giving back, planting seeds. So, tell me how can someone step into networking abundance and maybe what three things can someone do today to fearlessly network? 

Eduardo Placer: [00:27:09] So, I would say the first piece is a mindset piece. I would think of it as gardening and not hunting. So you are really creating a fertile ground and it’s going to take time. It’s going to take longer than you think. So, I think thinking about networking spaces that you can go to, that is all about relationship building.

It’s really important. And I think you probably don’t even know who you know. So, I think one thing that’s helpful is to make a list of 50-100 people that they know and start reaching out on LinkedIn. And saying, “Hey, would love to have a virtual coffee with you and just catch up, it’s been too long!”. Not ask for anything, but just to be really curious about what’s happening in their lives. And people love to talk about themselves. Right? So, just create the space to listen, take notes of what they said. There’s a great term in Spanish, “tener detalles” which is have detail about people, right? So, over the course of that conversation saying, Oh, they talked about this dog that they really love this type of puppy. Or this author that they really love or a book or a TV show or something like that. So, if you have notes of that, then when something pops up on your Facebook feed or you see an article that’s of interest to you, you can send it to the person and say, “Hey, this thing just came down my path and I saw that, you love Pekingeses,  this new breed just came out, it’s called the Peekapoo, I think you’re going to love it!” And then you send it has nothing to do with a job.

It has nothing to do with anything, but it just shows that you paid attention and you listened, right? That starts creating a sense of goodwill, and connection. They’re like, “Oh my God, that’s so great!”, and then you start becoming top of mind for things, right, as they’re thinking. So, I think one gardening, two making a list, reaching out and just being really curious about what they’re up to.

And then, I’m a member of a networking group called BNI, which is called Business Networking International. And I’ve been in that group now for almost five years and they’re all over the world. And the motto is “Givers gain.”. So, being a part of a networking community that’s all about giving, I think is a great space to also locate yourself. So, specifically people who are pivoting and they have new projects, they have new businesses, they’re going to business, perhaps for themselves or stepping into entrepreneurship. I think something like a BNI and  there are also programs that are for women only identifying businesses.

 I know sometimes those spaces can be really masculine focused and not necessarily always super welcoming or spaces that women identifying people may feel very comfortable in. So, there are circles that are like that, that are for women identifying people.

I think that that is a great ecosystem to start being in the space of getting really curious and interested in other people and the work that they do and then oftentimes in that landscape, you’re not just networking, but you’re also networking your network. So, that is where there’s a lot of abundance. Right. 

Meghan Houle: [00:29:58] Once you get a conversation or if someone’s applying for a job, what advice would you give to somebody to really stand out in this crowded market space and crowded voices of everyone trying to connect with everyone and network?

How can somebody really stand out in your mind? 

Eduardo Placer: [00:30:12] I’m going to go back to the three G’s, grace, gratitude, and generosity.

Right? I think being really mindful that if someone gifts you their time, that you be prepared for that conversation. So, not to treat it casually, but to really honor the person’s time, come really prepared with questions. And I think also coming with curiosity, not with a, “I need”, but like, I’m actually really curious to learn how you got to your position.

I’m really curious about your journey. I’m really curious about your story, right? I think that that, stands out. Again, because people don’t remember what you say or do they remember how you make them feel. Maya Angelou very famously said that. So, I think you want to ensure that you’re leaving the person feeling, wow, that was really beautiful, or that was really powerful, or that was a lovely conversation. Because then that sentiment is going to carry. You’re not leaving them with a feeling of like that was lame or that was stupid, or that was a waste of my time or that person was really rude. So, you also want to be considering what is the feeling that you’re leaving the person with and being extremely generous and extremely grateful, for anything, any advice, any resource that they give you, like all of that I think has you stand out. So, it’s not about you, it’s about how you make them feel. 

Meghan Houle: [00:31:33] That’s so powerful, gratitude is everything.  We all talk about it so much these days really thanking somebody, leaning in, being appreciative of whatever is coming your way and all that you also have, and for anyone looking for a career pivot, what advice would you give to somebody in this moment? 

Eduardo Placer: [00:31:52] I would offer, there’s pivoting from force and there’s pivoting from flow and I think you’ll keep hitting barriers and walls if you are pivoting out of force. Now, I want to acknowledge that we’re in an economic downturn, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic and the want and the need for resources and money and income is real. It’s not like this is a lala dance. And I think it’s a real opportunity for people to think about what do I really want to do? And what may present itself as maybe casting a little bit of a wider net and trusting, where is the energy coming from? Where are the opportunities coming up? And leaning into, wow, that energy is telling me something! Because you can want something from your head, right? I want that job because of the title and the money and the status and all that other stuff, but you show up there and it’s not a match. You hate it, you’re empty and if you take perhaps a different route that may be lower money, initially, it could actually start creating the abundance that you want a little further down the line. It’s an investment in actually the life that you want to create for yourself in doing that. So, I think that there’s an opportunity to think about the bigger picture. The quality of life that you want,  what you want work to feel like, your, colleagues, how they show up in the work environment.

Right? So, sometimes we get a little hung up on the salary and the title. And think that because of the salary and the title, everything is going to align, but then you end up in a place and you’re just like, I have the title, I had the salary, but this sucks. Like I hate- 

Meghan Houle: [00:33:29] It’s not a good work environment.

Eduardo Placer: [00:33:31] It’s hostile, it’s toxic. People are terrible. People are mean. People are gross. The clients are a nightmare. You’re like, “Oh, like I want to on a run!”. And I think that part of that is having the courage to just dream a little bit, to think a little wider, take a moment, and to say, where is the energy coming from?

Where are the opportunities presenting themselves? And oftentimes people find that those things fall on their lap. That’s when people say something just fell on my lap. I think a lot of that is them-a-festing, as opposed to saying manifesting it’s them-a-festing the stuff that is coming and actually being in alignment.

And I think pivoting in alignment, pivoting in alignment with your purpose. I think taking the moment, not the first thing that presents itself, but actually really looking and saying, wait a second, what is the energy like? It’s a path this way looks sunny and bright and great, and that one looks really murky and dark and gross and messy, you know?

I think I’m going to go where the energy is driving, and knowing sometimes that can be deceiving and sometimes you’ve got to pivot and go in another direction, right? I think if there’s something that’s true is if you’re going to pivot and they’re going to be lots of pivots and I think invite the pivot, welcome to pivot.

Don’t resist the pivot. 

Meghan Houle: [00:34:43] And that my friend is the heart of this podcast. So, with all of that, how can our listeners find you, Eduardo? We won’t come to your home, we promise. But any tips, videos, we can watch, any on YouTube? What’s the best way for people to stay in touch with you?

Eduardo Placer: [00:34:56] So, one easy thing is people can follow me on Instagram @standforfearless. Our website of course, is fearlesscommunicators.com. And I have a special invitation to all the listeners. So, the first Thursday of every month we have an event that we call the Thought Leadership Forum and it’s free.

And it has three intentions. One, is an opportunity for people to center their own thought leadership. Two is to elevate their skills, and three, is to intentionally network. Intentionally network with their future collaborators, colleagues, and champions. So, it’s an hour and a half. There’s a lot of opportunity to be in breakout rooms and to build relationships with people.

The first one we did on how to build trust with an audience, the second one was about vulnerability. The next one that we have coming up is around authenticity. So, again, I think topics that are top of mind to people on how to show up in the various spaces that they’re looking to be in the space of speaking.

And again, we say there’s no such thing as private speaking all speaking is public people can hear you, it’s public. And again and we’ll put a link  for people to register for that. And again, it’s free and we would love for you, anyone who’s listening here to step into and be a part of our Fearless community.

Meghan Houle: [00:36:05] Well, thank you for that generous offering. One last question, what was your favorite part you’ve played as an actor over the years? 

Eduardo Placer: [00:36:11] Ooo, there are no simple answers and there are no simple answers. So, I had the privilege of playing Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream in this very Jimmy Hendrix inspired 1960s. And then the other one was my dream, dream role was playing Angel in Rent. And I had the privilege of  playing Angel in Chicago. And there’s the song “I’ll cover you. So, live in my house, I’ll be your shelter. Just pay me back with 1000 kisses. Be my lover and I’ll cover you, 525,600.

Meghan Houle: [00:36:51] Thank you so much Eduardo for this powerful conversation, deep diving into some very important meaningful topics. I appreciate  all you’re doing in the community and beyond to really make this world a more positive and inclusive space while  also teaching people how to embrace who they are, their story.

And as you say also speak from a place of power, not panic. I am looking forward to seeing much more from you in the future. And thank you again for being here, with us.

Eduardo Placer: [00:37:16] Thank you, with a lot of gratitude for you and for all the listeners. Thank you so much. 

FC Podcasts: [00:37:22] Pivot with Purpose with host Meghan Houle is a Fashion Concert Production, and part of the FC podcast network. It is produced and directed by Phil AKA Corinne and a special thank you to Spencer Powell for our theme music, learn more at pivotwithpurposepodcast.com and be sure to follow us on Instagram @pivotwithpurpose_podcast.

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