Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez is a prime example that even the most successful people have had their share of hardships to get to where they want to be. The world’s leading champion in Project Management and Strategy Implementation gives plenty of advice that you can take away from his podcast and how the toughest moments in life, if seen from a learning perspective, are an opportunity to make you a much stronger person as a result.

Antonio did not grow up aspiring to be a guru in strategy or project management but in fact like many young boys, he wanted to be a footballer for his local team Real Madrid. However after university, he found a passion for understanding why things happened and sharing concepts in very practical ways, mainly as a reaction to the traditional way of teaching he had experienced over his studies.

A lot of my guests have said over the past year that it is the tough times that made them the person they are today and Antonio is no different. He started working on different projects which would be a small step on his journey to becoming the number one expert in his field. He does not shy away from the fact that he failed several times; he was even fired at one point in his career. Even the most successful people have made mistakes throughout their journey. No one is perfect.

He overcame these tough times by continuing to believe in his ability and following his passion. In the end, all his hard work paid off. Antonio is regarded as one of the best speakers in the world, delivering inspiring speeches at more than 150 events worldwide, including the European Business Summit and Tedx. He was also recently nominated Thinker of the Month by the prestigious

You can listen to Antonio’s podcast at this link, while it is also available to download on iTunes.

Here are four key learns to take away from Antonio’s podcast:

1. Work towards your passion. Antonio is a great believer in that you should work towards what you are passionate about. At university, he came to realize he enjoyed understanding why things happen and began working on projects to help him become the world’s leading expert in Project Management and Strategy Implementation. If you have two or three ideas, he believes you should pick one you are most passionate about and commit to it. As he said in the podcast: “If you work in the job that you love, you don’t work a day in your life.”

2. Failure is like a free MBA, an opportunity to better yourself. Antonio is very successful in his field of expertise, but it did not all go smoothly for him. He describes that he also had many down moments and was even fired at one stage. Antonio is not ashamed of admitting he failed several things and believes these the hard times are where we learn the most about ourselves. No one is perfect and even the most successful people had tough times throughout their career. At first you may question your choices when these things happen but once you figure out what it is you really want, it is time to move on. Keep focused on working hard to achieve your goals.

3. Turn your ideas into actions. When Antonio decided to write a book he only had ideas for ten pages in what was meant to be a 200 page book. It also took him double the time that he originally planned. This goes to show that whatever project you are working on – an essay for college, your studies, a small venture, etc –  you will need to persevere against all the adversities you find on the way. 60-80% of projects fail because people give up along the way. You can have your own ideas and dreams jotted down, it is important to try them out. It is great to have ideas but putting them into action will require courage, hard work, focus and determination. When your initial objective is achieved and your dream is met, the satisfaction of accomplishment is gigantic, one of the best feelings on earth.

4. Believe in yourself. If Antonio could go back in time to chat with his 18-year-old self, he would tell him to ignore people’s opinion, be more confident and believe in himself. At this age, we are trying to please everyone and afraid of receiving critics from family and friends. We are also trying to figure out who we are and what we want to do with our lives. No one can decide it for you but you need to trust your gut and your innate abilities that you have developed by then. Work on what you are passionate about. As the years go on and the hard work pays off, you will become more confident in yourself and people will admire you for your sheer effort and dedication. Once you have the belief that you are going to work on what you really like and that you are good at, regardless of whether you want to become the very best or not, nothing will stand in your way of success, personal satisfaction and happiness.

Do you agree with my key learns from Antonio’s interview? Was there anything different in the podcast that grabbed you? Let me know my leaving a comment below.

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