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#ItStartsWithConversation: On Creativity, Self-Discovery, the Human Experience, and Accountability

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Conversations are powerful – they connect us through the past, shape our present, and help us build a better future.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked three Highspot employees to share conversations that have changed the course of their stories, from mastering the creative process, to understanding the human experience. Here’s what they had to say. 

“Let that dirty water run out.”

I’m a musician in the Seattle area, so naturally, I think about the creative process a lot. There are so many conventions in music; the people who are remembered are the ones who break them. Working in that space is a constant dialogue with yourself, with your co-creators, and with your art. 

It’s not easy to break barriers in a way that’s not just true to myself, but unique to others. And it can be discouraging to see what things others are creating. It’s daunting. Is my work polished enough? Thought-out enough? 

I try to remember that creativity doesn’t have to be drastic. I give myself seasons: certain seasons are “input” seasons, where life is giving me a lot of material. Then there are “output” seasons where I transform those experiences into work. During that transformation, you’ve got to let that dirty water run out. If you can get into the habit of making a lot of bad stuff, you’ll eventually find that thing that is different, real, and important. 

–José Flores, Account Development Representative

“We are ever-evolving.”

Well, last summer I celebrated my 30th in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. We did a wine tasting tour and at one of the wineries we struck up a conversation with the owner. She started talking about the process of making wine and how it all comes down to the grape. 

Every single bottle of wine is different because the grapes will vary from season to season due to changes in wind, soil, heat, and so on. She was telling us how all of these external factors make the grape what it is and that is where we get all of those different flavours and textures. She said that every bottle of wine is a living, breathing organism, in that sense. And each is unique to itself – and it will change over time. 

That got me thinking about what it means to be a person. We’re also defined by external factors. We also don’t stay static, either. Like wine, who you are today may not be who you are ten years from now. We are ever-evolving. So just like you may celebrate or savour a great vintage, you should also take the time to recognise what got you to where you are – and celebrate where you are going. 

–Sandra Hernandez, Services Executive

“Humans are complex, emotional creatures.”

When I was 16, I moved from the U.S. to Spain. My uncle was able to get me into a soccer club to train professionally, so I packed up and started school and work in a small town in Northern Spain. At the time, I had no idea the impact this move would have on me. 

The experience was a reminder of how different other countries live. Spanish culture was all about prioritising the person. I truly felt like they worked to live, not the other way around. Keep in mind, this was back in the ’90s when popular culture was all about how much you could show off. Flashy cars, mobile phones – that sort of thing. It was a culture shock, but a welcome one. 

From that experience, I’ve embraced the notion that humans are complex, emotional creatures. You’ve got to stop, listen, and see what’s going on with us. It’s okay to have a little more patience with things, to slow down and pay attention, and to build real connections with others. 

–Hector Franco, Manager, Enterprise and Strategic Sales

“Fail in order to succeed.”

As a first-generation college student, I knew I had no safety net if I failed in my career. Right out of school, I went into sales, pitching data storage. It wasn’t easy. And I felt like I wasn’t in control of my success at the time. Luckily, I had a great mentor who helped me understand how to really succeed. 

After a particularly bad day at work, we had a conversation about ownership. The gist of it was, bad days can become stepping stones to good ones. The key is to have accountability for your actions – fix what you can control, own your mistakes, and grow from them. I won’t say it was an easy lesson to learn, but it’s one that has rippled throughout my life. 

If you can keep an open mind about your experience, you’re more likely to learn from them – especially when things go wrong. If you don’t reflect on shortcomings and blame the scenario, you’re going to find yourself in that situation again. But you have power – and you can end that loop. 

–Luis Novelo, Account Executive, SMB

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