About the book

starting over a way of life View demo
of the book

Ten years ago, when I was told I only had a short time to live, I began writing this book to record my philosophy and the lessons learned along the way. I also wanted my children and grandchildren to know more about me.

Something I discovered a long time ago is that the world is in great need of leaders capable of turning their ideals into reality. But those leaders are only forged outside their comfort zone.

That’s the main life lesson I want to share with you. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve come up against obstacles; it doesn’t matter if you sometimes doubt your ability to achieve your dreams: the only way you’ll be able to conquer the slavery of your fear is to overcome that fear.

I began realizing this when I left Cuba at 15, a year and a half after Castro came to power. I went to live in the United States, a different culture with a different language, and I decided I didn’t want to take refuge in the microcosm of the Cuban community in Miami, that was predestined for me and my family. I wanted to integrate into the society where I had arrived. That was the first time I left my comfort zone behind, and I took the risk of getting more.

After graduating as an architectural engineer, I worked in construction for my father in a small real estate business.

Three years later, the company went out of business, and, by that time, I felt I had enough experience to start off on my own adventure as a general contractor. I did some very successful deals, but, again, I felt the need not to fall into a rut and to make a new leap.

My chance came in 1979, when my father-in-law proposed a new business opportunity in his family business: no more and no less than Bacardí.

At the start, I was willing to accept a fraction of my previous salary because I saw the unlimited possibilities that that job would open up for me in the future.

So, that’s how I faced my biggest challenge in the company: pulling it out of the comfort zone that was hemming it in in the face of vibrant competition. The company climbed out of the hole and sales rose substantially.

I’ve had many successes like that along the way, and also several setbacks, but I’ve always been at the helm of my own life, moving beyond what being comfortable would have allowed. I’ve learned that the world needs leaders who don’t become slaves to their own comfort and who take risks to leave that slavery behind.

Ten years have passed since my terminal diagnosis. I’m alive and I feel alive, particularly because I give myself over to what I do, risking 100 percent.

I want to share these experiences with you, in the hope that you find in them the motivation to try to break with the comfort of routine that prevents us from advancing and exercising our maximum potential.

Luis J. Echarte

All rights reserved Luis Echarte - 2013 ®