What’s your story?
After boredom with freelance work and a desire to contribute more, I founded Alpine Security, a cybersecurity company, in 2014. I quickly discovered in my entrepreneur journey that I was over my head, yet I didn’t admit it or get help. I finally got over myself and realized I needed to change; that my company’s growth was tied to my own. I shifted from chasing significance (achieving more with brute-force tactics) to valuing connection (becoming more with collaboration and strategy). The insights from this transformative experience became The Secure Methodology, covered in my book, “The Smartest Person in the Room”.
What excites you most about your industry?
My industry is cybersecurity. I find it both frustrating and exciting. The personalities in cybersecurity get significance by being intellectually smarter than everyone. This high IQ/low EQ mindset has largely been tolerated and greatly hinders the industry. It shows up with intellectual bullying, posturing, talking over people’s heads, and poor collaboration. This is the real reason we are losing to cybercriminals – it’s not lack of technology or frameworks; it’s the lack of people skills. My aim and excitement is to bring back the human element into cybersecurity, so coworkers and clients feel appreciated and understood, rather than intellectually inferior.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
I’m driven by growth. Growth comes from challenging the status quo, stepping outside comfort zones, and taking risks. I believe we must grow internally first – that our outer world reflects our inner world. With cybersecurity, we keep doing the same things over and over and nothing changes. I witnessed this firsthand. Rather than sit on the sidelines and complain about it, I decided to put myself out there with my brand and book “The Smartest Person in the Room” and do something about the issues in my industry. Through my own growth came the desire to contribute.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
I’ll narrow it down to the top 3. The first is communication. The meaning of communication is the response you get. Many of us forget this and keep communicating the same way, expecting different results. The ownership is on you to alter how you communicate. Number two is The Four Agreements (Don Miguel Ruiz) – Be Impeccable with Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best. Number three is to build a team (family, coach, friends, colleagues) where you receive help and offer value too. You will go further in life with the right team.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
One of the valuable things I learned from the Landmark Forum is that there is no meaning to life. The only meaning that exists is the one we attach to an experience. Many of us attach a meaning (our story) to an experience that holds us back and does not serve us. It’s important to see how the stories we tell ourselves result in suffering and stagnation. We need to reflect on our experiences and decide on a meaning that serves us and moves us forward. Once we realize we hold the power, the shackles come off.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by people that demonstrate the courage to transform themselves by taking the necessary and uncomfortable actions. Ultimately, I find it most inspiring when people are able to shift their identity to one that serves them. I believe to attract more success and fulfillment in life, we need to become more. It’s inspiring when people let go of who they once were in order to become more. Our ego does all it can to protect our identity. Making these shifts requires vulnerability and putting our egos aside. Most often our ego is not our amigo.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
I was blown away when I gained the awareness and learned that external challenges in your life will keep showing up for you until you resolve the underlying issues within yourself. This really got me thinking about the consistent problems I encounter. It’s almost like life is throwing a lesson towards us and it will continue to do so until we learn it. This awareness has really caused me to turn the mirror on myself and see my role in these consistent challenges.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have focused on personal development, self-leadership, and interpersonal skills earlier on. After a lot of inner work, I realized my drive to get out of my childhood environment (welfare, food stamps, drug-addicted mother, chaos, etc.) was necessary to achieve success. My “me against the world” mindset quickly caused me to hit a glass ceiling in life though – I was afraid to show vulnerability or get close to people. The lone wolf mindset will only take you so far. You can’t get help or make real connections if you pretend you have it all figured out.
How do you unwind?
I spend too much time indoors in front of the computer, so I spend as much time as I can outside in nature. I unwind by going for a hike (yesterday I hiked Mauna Kea in Hawaii, for instance), training for Ironman triathlons (a lot of swimming, biking, and running), listening to Nightwish, my favorite band, watching “Suits” with my dreammate, or sometimes just sitting outside and reflecting and journaling.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
A major mindset shift I had is that it doesn’t have to be “lonely at the top”. As an entrepreneur and former CEO, I used to think no one understood me and I had to go through everything alone. I since realized that we don’t have to go through it alone – that there are awesome supportive coaches, peer groups, and communities of like-minded people working on difficult challenges that support each other to make an impact.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish
Shameless plug for your business:
I help smart people become better leaders of themselves and others by shifting from hesitation, ambiguity, and friction to confidence, clarity, and cohesion using my proven and battle-tested 7 Step Secure Methodology. I developed The Secure Methodology based on decades of personal development, leadership, and coaching, combined with over six years of practical application and refinement in my company that I successfully founded, built, and sold. I use The Secure Methodology combined with coaching, NLP, and other techniques to awaken you and your team to get you the results you seek.
How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me via my website: https://christianespinosa.com/
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.