Make sure all your gaps are filled

The staff of a restaurant operate in what looks like organized chaos. Everybody runs around the place like they’re going to run into one another at any time. Hostess, manager, bartender, they all have their job. If you went to a restaurant with a bar but no bartender, you’d die of dehydration before you get your Bloody Mary. That’s because the bartender has a set of skills that fills a role. Non any employee can fill that role. Even if one of them went to school, they might not have the temperament to be a bartender. Having a full bar requires a bartender that is good at his/her job.

If you think of yourself as a restaurant, you have many stations to fill. Chef, busboy, waiter, all these positions need to be filled with the right people. And as the owner, it’s your responsibility to do so. Also part of your duties as a manager is bring up areas that have deficiencies. You have to look at all your stations and let people go or fill positions ASAP.

It’s important to sit down with yourself and take an inventory of all the areas in your life. What areas are you lacking in? What areas are you completely deficient in? What are your strong points? You can then start filling these areas with knowledge. When you do this you get more efficient at other things and can build on what you’ve done.

A lot of people think that there’s a time limit on learning. They feel like once they get a certain age that they have filled all the spots in their “restaurant”. It turns out that they’re only serving breakfast with a skeleton crew when they’re set up to be a 24hr fine dining establishment. Fill your toolbox with as many skills as you can. There really is no limit to what you can learn. The only thing holding you back is time and effort.

Think of the person that you want to be and plan out what you have to do. You don’t have to fill all your spots at the same time. Make sure that you fill them properly before moving on to the next thing. Taking a methodical approach to this makes it easier and helps you stay organized. In the end you’ll be you’ll be running like a swiss watch.

Make sure you’re set up for success.

If you’re like me, you’re a jack of all trades but a master of none. Most of us a dabblers. We like to try a lot of different things until we find out that we don’t like them as much as we thought or get bored. How much time have we wasted during that time? How much money have we wasted on things we don’t like. What kind of person could we have been if we would have stuck to one of these things a little longer?

Hopping around from thing to thing is a bad habit that i’m trying to break. I never give myself enough time to become good at something before I move on to something else. As I write this, I have found out why. I player soccer from the time I was 8 years old until I was 31. I played as competitively as I could for all those years. I watched every game I could. I coached and refereed. Soccer was life. When my daughter was born (she’s now 9) I quit cold turkey. From one day to the next i was no longer as interested in soccer as I once was. It was such a large part of my life that I had to stop to make room for something more important. Since then I’ve been trying to find something to fill the void that was left and have never been able to find anything.

This might sound off topic but it’s important that I get this out and on paper/audio. The reason that I jump from thing to thing is that NOTHING will ever be as important to me as soccer. If I compare everything to soccer, nothing will ever come close. So I guess the big take away from this is that you should never try and replace some things. You should accept that you have to try and find something different for its own reason.

So if you’ve found something that you want to invest time into, do it. Find a place or a person that can teach you something new about it. Get yourself a mentor. That way you can become proficient enough at it so that you can benefit from doing it. Sometimes we waste our time beating out head into the wall trying to get better at something. We don’t understand that we do not have the skill level needed to get over the next hump. We need someone that’s been down that road before to help push us over.

Now you can find classes and conferences for just about anything. Invest in yourself and make sure you’re set up for success. Weather it’s a skill needed for work or one needed for recreation, being as good as you can be at something might amplify other things in your life.

Get into a weekly routine!



Do you fly by the seat of your pants most days? Do you convince yourself that you work best “on the fly”? You might be hurting your progress more than you think.

Could you imagine of an airport ran that way? We wouldn’t be able to get anywhere. They follow a “strict” schedule so they can get the most people to where they have to be as fast as possible.

You should use this philosophy in your day to day lives. Making a schedule is one of the most productive tools that I’ve implemented in my own life.

There are various ways to do this of varying detail:

Method 1 would be to take one day a week (I use Sunday) and write down all your high level important activities and assign them to a day of the week. Assigning the task is very important.

Method 2 is to assign your tasks a day AND time. This is scheduled into your calendar (digital or paper). You then review your day every morning so you know what you have to do and when.

Both of these methods give your task importance. And by doing so you give them priority in your day. Until you get them down on paper, they are just ideas and not actions. Whichever method you come up with on your own, making a schedule make you aware of how much time you need to get all your tasks done for the week. You’ll be surprised about how much time you really have and how much you can get done.

Write yourself a letter.


Sometimes when you have to tell someone something bad, you opt to write them a letter, email or text. This way you don’t have to be there when you see their reaction. The fear of making someone angry or sad stops us from telling them the truth. Being able to tell them without having them in from of you removes all fear and you’re free to let them know exactly what you think.


With that in mind, you should sit down and write a letter to the most important person you know…yourself. Listen in and find out why using a pen and paper will give you the freedom to be honest with yourself.

Fear is public enemy number one.

Hello everybody and welcome to The CTE Podcast. Thanks for tuning in. I’m your host, Andres Paniagua. This podcast is brought to you by Cafe Tres Estrellas. CTE is a small batch, craft-coffee roaster that specializes in fair trade organic coffee. If you need a good cup of coffee, visit them at Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with the show.
Most of the time fear is just a set of limitations that we put on ourselves. FDR put it best when he said “the only thing to fear is fear itself”.
Are you afraid of speaking in front of people? Does asking someone out on a date make your palms sweaty? Why? What’s the worst thing that can happen? What other aspects of your life will get better if you overcame your fears?
The power of fear is one of the strongest forces in the universe. It has the power to stop great people from doing great things. Fear of the unknown has put out more people’s internal fire than you could imagine.
I ask again, why? Aside from a sure thing, not knowing the outcome is the best case scenario. If you knew that things would turn out bad then not doing or starting whatever it is you’re thinking about would be the correct option. But not knowing means that 1) it could turn out in your favor 2) you could fix things if they go south 3) you could learn things if things don’t work out.
The fear of rejection and failure is stopping you from great things. You will never realize your full potential until you understand that rejection is possibly one of the greatest things that someone can experience. Knowing what works and what doesn’t  is the only way to make yourself the best you can be.
So that’s the show for this week. Thanks for listening. If you  have any comments or questions on the things I spoke about today, please leave them in the comments below. You can email me at if you want more information about the show or its sponsor.

Can We Manage Life and Starting A New Business

There are 24 hours in a day and we might need to use every single one of them. If life wasn’t busy enough for us, we’ve decided to add more responsibilities to it. Starting a new business can consume you. You are the ultimate decision maker. Success and failure are yours alone. If you’re not careful, it won’t leave time for anything else. Our situation isn’t unique. Many people have started a business with more responsibility than we have. Full time job, children, marriage all require lots of time to succeed. The trick is making time for all of them.


It was important from the get go that my wife and I agreed that if this was going to succeed we would have to put the business first. Most people would say that family should be first and they would be correct, kind of. Our underlying reason for starting the business is family security and happiness. All the hard work and time we spend on the business is by default for our family. So for us, our business success will be to benefit our family’s future.


Our main issues with this are changing our paradigms on security and time. We like that we have “9-5’s” that pay us on a regular schedule and we also like that we can schedule our lives around our “9-5’s”. This is not the mindset you need to start a business. When you start a business, the lines between personal life and business life are blurred if not erased. You have to become your business and to some level let it engulf your life. You are the business, and it depends on you.


Since we have 3 small children, we have to limit this time so we can be together as a family. And because we are currently employed, we have to make time for that too. What this means is that with the time left, we have to make it count. We have to use our time that is left over very wisely. We have to burn the candle on both ends.


This might be difficult in the beginning. Making sure you make time for everything and using your time wisely is tedious. Delayed gratification is boring. But giving up something now to get something better later is the way successful people operate. Good things are a result of hard work. I’m sure it’s going to be tough in the beginning. I’m positive we’ll want to give up at some point. Knowing that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and keeping our eye on the prize it what’s going to keep us going. We’re not sure what’s going to happen but what we do know is that we’re not going down without a fight.