Gabriel Lacerda is a world traveler. He was born and raised in Brazil, spent several years as an engineer in the energy industry and now lives with his wife and daughter in Switzerland. Gabriel has been a MorningCoach® member since 2018. He is determined to make happiness a vital part of not just his life, but of his client's as well. You can find his business, Gabriel Lacerda Coaching here.
John Cunningham: We are here with Gabriel Lacerda. Gabriel, thanks for talking with me today.
Gabriel Lacerda: Good to be here with you.
JC: Yeah, so tell us a little bit about yourself.
GL: Okay. So if you had asked me this question 6 months ago, I would have said I’m a Brazilian, currently living in Switzerland. I’m a master coach and I worked in corporate for 14 years as an engineer. For 10 (years I worked), in the oil and gas industry as a project manager. But today I would say I’m a father of a 6-month-old daughter and a husband. Actually, I’m an entrepreneur who is working to build a better life for myself, my family and my clients. I’ve been building my business as a portfolio career, working multiple careers. That’s what I do, like having eggs in different baskets, you know what I mean? Nobody’s doing that, and it's crazy. I'm trying hard to do that. I think I’m learning day in and day out, through the ups and downs of how to build this type of business and understand the journey.
JC: I can relate to the different baskets concept. I was talking to someone today, and I was explaining how I have four different branches and one of them is going to bear fruit. I’m just working and waiting to see which one will have the best fruit.
GL: So people ask me, what is your job? I just say I’m a coach because that is the easiest to describe.
JC: Going from a career as an engineer to becoming a coach seems like a big switch. As an engineer, you really focused on specific details of a project whereas being a coach you need to have a more wide-open approach to listening to people. That’s a big change.
GL: Yeah, I think as an engineer I was always a generalist. I used to be that person who was listening to people; employees, partners and friends. That is where the coaching came from. And then I got a certification in Brazil in 2016 and I started to work in parallel to my corporate job.
The order of focus is health, family and work. Never reverse that order.
At some point I quit my corporate (job) and my business grew from there. I got a Master Coach certification in 2020. Then, I did a Master Coach at IDC (institute de coaching) here in Geneva, Switzerland with specific training hours by the ICF (International Coaching Federation). I am living in Switzerland right now.
JC: Some people think getting a coaching certification is important, and others rely more on experience. What is your opinion?
GL: I don’t count on the certifications. It’s nice for the CV. I’m not sure if JB did a certification program, but he knows coaching better than anyone else. You can become a coach without a certification program, using self development skills and books, you can learn how to apply the techniques, but you have to apply the tools day in and day out to really develop them. You apply what you believe. Then, you have to understand the root of the problem, so I started to read self development books in 2008 and I became a coach from that point. I started working on my self development, working on soft skills and things like that, and the certification was a way to consolidate my learning.
JC: So is there some specific area of coaching that is your foundation?
GL: Yes, for me one subject that I love is happiness. In my dissertation for my masters, I talked about happiness as a science. It is a mix of spirituality and science. I think it's super interesting for me, and I like to talk about happiness in my profession. Because I think at the end of the day what everybody wants is to be happy.
JC: Have you seen the Ron Gutman Ted Talk about the power of smiles? It’s amazing what a difference a smile can make in your life.
GL: It it's not about just being the optimist, Oh I’m a positive guy, I’m rich, I’m handsome, no it’s not like that. You have to put some good things (out there) and understand your presence. You have to understand your path in a good way because you are creating your path right now.
I love to start the day with a positive routine
and MorningCoach is part of that.
Even though it may not be the best, you can create a better vision from today and into the future. The father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, did the happiness formula, it’s called authentic happiness. It says that 40% of happiness is how you interpret your past, present and future. 50% is genetic. If your family is negative and unhappy, you have a 50% chance to be like that. The good thing he discovered was that you can change 25%. The other 25% is out of our control.
JC: That reminds me of one of JB’s sayings about being positive and moving the needle 1%. Our goal is to be 51% positive.
GL: So I really focus on the 40% that relies on your interpretation and like 10-20% of that happiness quotient is based on the place you live, your income, family, and race. For example, now I am living in Switzerland and you’re in Tokyo. Some people in my country say, “You are happier than me because you live in Switzerland and I am in Brazil.”
No, it’s just 10% of the formula.
JC: Even if you live in the poorest neighborhood, but you have a family that loves you and you feel like you're making a contribution, that’s paradise.
GL: Exactly, that’s it. People are looking for different things, different countries to find this happiness. But it comes from the inside out. For me, it’s super interesting. That is what I am passionate about.
JC: How has Morning Coach benefitted you?
GL: I found MorningCoach five years ago, in 2016, before I did my certification. JB did an interview with a Brazilian guy, Erico Rocha, and this guy is a Brazilian digital marketing guru. He brought Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula to Brazil. They were both part of Jeff Walker’s mastermind group. This guy is super famous in Brazil and I’m following his course. I did Jeff Walker's course, but in the Brazilian version. When I watched the interview, I really enjoyed JB and what he was saying.
At that time, I was looking for some coaching channel to develop my skills and also I wanted to find this kind of channel in the United States because I wanted to practice my English. I was struggling to follow Tony Robbins because he has difficult English for non-native speakers. So I started to listen to JB at that time. I listened to him and Casey Neistat. I was practicing English with them and observing the content. I really enjoyed it, but I didn’t become a member. I waited for Monday to get the content.
You have to understand your path in a good way
because you are creating your path right now.
In Brazil, it’s a challenge to make recurring payments because of the volatility of the currency. So, a monthly payment of $100 could be $100 in one month, $500 in the next or even $1,000. So it’s not the best thing to pay monthly. And then I became a member in 2018. So I think I’m off topic.
JC: You actually told me two ways that JB helped you (improved English and increased positivity).
GL: Morning Coach helps me every day to start with energy and a positive mindset. I love to start the day with a positive routine and MorningCoach is part of that. Also, to organize myself and see my company as a real business. You know, you have to plan, check and forecast. I think Morning Coach gives me these.
JB reminds me of things I had forgotten and introduces new things I have never heard of. I am able to research those and share them with my clients. He also helped me to change the concept from selling sessions to monthly billings.
The ILD concept was really interesting and helpful. JB puts into words the things I’m thinking every day, things I know I should do, but don’t always get to.
JC: Yeah, I agree, you can get what you need whether it’s a DIY, do it yourself, solution or meeting with other people who are building their businesses and developing professional skills, there is a program for you.
GL: Yes, you can get as much detail as you need. It’s a very good place to be. I do the Sacred 6 process every year. Focusing on my goals, details, mission, and values. I actually do that in my coaching business as well. It’s a system. It’s more than just a point of view. I put those 6 projects in place and focus on how to get them done. I do the PDCA, which I did as an engineer. I spend a month planning then I do, and sometimes I am not doing well, but I can’t just change I have to wait. JB also helped me to focus on the long term. If I focus on the long term, you can’t make changes after one month, that’s nothing. I need to try a bit more. I am not checking to change what I am doing (the project) but how I am doing it and make slight adjustments. That’s the way I’ve been doing it.
You apply what you believe.
The Get It Done-Now journal, I work with once a week. I tried every day, but it was too much. So I use it to plan the week. Then I add these ideas to my notes. I really like to use Google Keep too.
I taught my wife to use google keep, and it’s a big problem because she keeps adding things to my list and sharing it with me. For example, here is my list for the supermarket and it keeps growing, even while I am in the supermarket. Maybe I shouldn’t have taught it to her.
GL: I plan my week on Sunday and Monday mornings with Get it Done – Now I move the activities I want to do to my notebook, then I track them with Google Keep and also keep track of the habits (like health and meditation) I want to keep. I am a spreadsheet kind of guy. My dream is to have a vocabulary review in a spreadsheet.
JC: What's something that's a bit of a challenge for you right now?
GL: So a challenge for me in the coaching business is to get out in public. You know public speaking and networking, building an email list. To have a system to get more clients. I am a backstage guy. I like to go along and do my thing. To work on that, I focus on internet marketing and helping people to build their lists, increase their engagement and grow their businesses. I develop things and build things with them, building their system. I still depend on the experts, rather than myself. That is the challenge.
When you work on your life and understand that business
and work are just one pillar, everything starts to shift.
One thing that was valuable to me recently was the book study about Mastery and the point about enjoying the plateaus. For me this was an ah-ha moment because sometimes we are building our business and sometimes it is hard to get to the next level. (You ask yourself) What am I doing wrong and why am I not progressing? You have to understand, it is what it is.
To become better, you have to go through the valley (from time to time). You have to do that to get what you want. It’s the price. Everything has a price. When you start to look at your business as a real company, you start to have a view of it from the point of annual revenue and keeping track, and then you start to be more comfortable about it.
It becomes a motivation point to drive you more and more. When you start to have this shift in your mind, getting a job just for the income is hard. When you see the value and the mission, you have to give up your Plan B and only have a plan A. There is no more Plan B.
JC: Right!? Everything will fall into the master plan if you have a strong focus on that.
What is something you are working on at the moment that you hope comes to fruition in the next six months to a year?
GL: I’m helping people in their personal and professional transitions. Some are career transitions, like a new position (or promotion), others are life transitions, moving to another city or country. Developing leadership skills and sharing concepts of happiness (is also an area I help people with.
I am working with two experts to build marketing and social presence for their business. One of them is a parenting expert and is really focused on creating a positive environment in the family. I have been helping her since 2019. We’ve worked on building courses, a list and a community and growing her business.
The other expert is a photographer in Brazil. He is an expert in Lightroom and Photoshop, and I am helping him to build his community,
I started working on digital marketing just for fun at the beginning. Now, I really like copywriting, building community and launching courses. I am still a beginner in using paid traffic like Google ad words, but I am learning more and more. It’s like working as an engineer, managing data. It’s difficult because they keep adding platforms and making changes. It may be great today, but two months later it may not work at all. The challenge is always attracting the right people.
JC: It’s an art.
GL: Exactly, it’s an art.
JC: Is there anything you’d like to say as we conclude the interview?
GL: So, with all these things I am trying to build. These transitions all come from two principles – 1) build your life, not your business. When you work on your life and understand that business and work are just one pillar, everything starts to shift. I used to be this workaholic guy, doing 12 hours a day in corporate. Then I paid the price. Unfortunately, this work is killing people. I have a lot of clients at different levels and with different skills who are just killing themselves, suffering from burnout. Something is wrong.
I was reading an article from HBR about insecure overachievers (If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours a Week? ) That is many of my clients. People think that when they learn this or that things will be easier, but the opposite is true. You need to keep working hard to maintain that level of productivity to keep your job.
JC: Yeah, in Japan, life balance has become really important as office workers die of overwork.
GL: My other principle is the order of focus is health, family and work. Never reverse that order. Sometimes I have to do something for my job and for my daughter or my wife. I solve the family problem first. I really focus on this. I am building my life and my business on these concepts.
JC: Thanks for your time, Gabriel.
GL: Thank you too, John.