Lessons from Changemakers: Pathways to Success

The “Pathways to Success” episode of Blue Sky Talk shares plenty of valuable lessons to those looking to live a successful and fulfilling life.

The episode’s star interviewee, Julian Placino, is a changemaker with three core values: faith, family, and business. In this interview, the successful entrepreneur explains how he has managed to stay true to those values on his pathway to success. Before we dive into the lessons Julian has shared with us, let’s get to know him more.

Who is Julian Placino?

After graduating with a degree in marketing from the University of North Texas, Julian was job searching for eight months. During those eight months, he was rejected from thirty-seven employers. Julian’s thirty-eighth attempt to find a job was with Robert Half International. They offered Julian a position as a sourcer, essentially a Junior Recruiter. Julian accepted the offer and took his first step into the corporate world as a talent recruiting talent in the technology sector.

Placino found instant success in a competitive work environment. He was promoted three times in two years, something that is not common at Robert Half or anywhere else. Unfortunately, Julian was later laid off by the corporation due to its poor economic status. Kforce would then swoop in to hire him as a recruiter. Two years later, Julian found himself transitioning to the corporate side of the business, as he was hired as a recruiter for Bottle Rocket Studios, a job he would keep for seven years before resigning to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.

As an independent entrepreneur, Julian created “Pathways to Success”, a podcast where he interviews different leaders about their different paths to success. 

“I’ve always loved meeting interesting people, understanding their best practices, to see how I can incorporate it into my life. So I figured, why not just capture these conversations? And share them with other people, to see if they’d also benefit from them.”
- Julian Placino

Today, the podcast has 160 episodes and counting, an audience in 12 countries, over 70,000 downloads, and a perfect 5-star rating on iTunes. Along with a successful podcast, Placino is also a public speaker and a mentor of dozens of salespeople who wish to improve their craft. Now that you know the man behind the mission, let’s look at three important takeaways from the episode.


Self-awareness was the most mentioned skill throughout the episode. You can see Placino early in the episode talk about the importance of self-awareness during one of his speeches to a crowd of aspiring entrepreneurs.

“I built a personal brand by following my passion and doing work that I loved. What exactly is a personal brand? A lot of times, people get it confused with social media. Although social media is an important tool to communicate your personal brand. That’s not where it starts. It starts with self-awareness.” -Julian Placino

Being successful starts with knowing your strengths and weaknesses, then creating opportunities for yourself that leverage your strengths. Placino is a believer in stewardship, a belief system where God or any other overseeing entity gives us our talents and where we must find what those talents are, develop them, and use them to help others.

One of Placino’s hardest-hitting points on self-awareness was at the 19-minute mark of the episode, where he mentioned a sobering metaphor:

“Just imagine if you were born a formula one race car, but you were born into a family of minivans. Your life would make no sense. People would say, why are you going so fast? Why do you drink so much gasoline? Why do you rev so loudly? But the moment that you step onto a racetrack, your life will never be the same... and once you figure out what you’re naturally good at, your areas of interest, and what creates value for other people, that’s where you win. That's where everyone can win!”- Julian Placino

Have The Right Support System

In the episode Placino shares how hard it was to convince his family that he could succeed in the entrepreneurial arena. His family has been unable to share his vision until he started to accrue wealth from it. After seeing tangible results, his family started supporting his business ventures and believing in him. 

Julian saw the pushback he received from his relatives first as a form of protection. They would’ve hated to see him get hurt if he were to fail. That is a good support system because they had his best interests in mind, even if they didn’t necessarily match how Julian felt.

Your personal relationships may be one of the biggest parts of your support system. Julian told us that someone so close to you should pick you up, not put you down. “A person is not supposed to be jealous of your success, they’re supposed to be proud of it. They’re supposed to enable your strengths, not dismiss them. They’re supposed to make you better, not worse.”

Julian continued by describing the relationship he is currently in and how much his significant other supports him in his business and beyond. That special someone in your life should only enhance your values and be one of if not the most important piece in your support system. Ensuring a solid support system is available in your life can enable you to reach further heights than you thought because no matter what, you know there are people who care for you and have your back.

You Can Never Force “Want”

The final takeaway I would like to share from this episode is about forcing feelings. When working as a mentor or teacher, you can never force someone to want to do something. This topic came on toward the end of the interview, as Julian shared a metaphor about the idea of “want”. He referred to the effects that advertisements have on people who end up wanting the advertised item. He explained that someone may “want” that item now because the advertisement gave them a vision of what the item might do for them. The same goes for anything in life.

When mentoring someone, it is your job to find that person’s “want” and then give them a clear path to achieve their goal. Without motivation to act on your ideas, it’s hard to act. This lesson on “want” is paired with the first lesson we touched on earlier, self-awareness. Self-awareness is a constantly evolving trait according to Placino. You find out more about yourself not only before and after taking action, but during it as well. “I didn’t start learning about the things that I was good at, until I started chasing this passion.” Through ups and downs, you gain better vision, deeper self-awareness, and a clearer idea of what you want. Eventually, the self-aware individual with the will to act and a solid support system is bound to live a successful and wholesome life.

You can watch the full “Pathways to Success” episode on Blue Sky Connect.