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ForCollegeForLife Podcast Ep. 17: Cesar Cervantes

TRANSCRIPT:

Casey J. Cornelius (00:04):

Hey everyone. And welcome to the latest episode of the ForCollegeForLife podcast. My name is Casey Cornelius. I’m the founder and president of ForCollegeForLife. And I also get the distinct pleasure and privilege to get to host this podcast and get to interview our speakers and consultants and the people who make us great. I’ve had such a blast doing this series. It’s not ending. Everyone keeps asking, like, is it ending once everyone’s been interviewed that’s it’s not gonna end. It’s actually gonna take some different forms. The feedback has just been too good, too positive. If you haven’t yet, I invite you to please make sure you subscribe on your favorite platform. If you wanna leave a review. That’s awesome. If you also wanna let us know any ideas for future podcasts, we’d be happy to hear those because we wanna make sure to put out the content that you enjoy the most.

Casey J. Cornelius (00:53):

One of the things that’s really cool about these as well, is that every episode regardless of how long I’ve, I’ve known, the person I’m interviewing, I always learn new things about them. And I’m sure today will be the case as well. So whether you know, this person or don’t know this person, don’t worry, we’re all going to be learning together. So let me tell you a little bit about them before I bring ’em to the mic Cesar Cervantes served as a campus based professional for more than a decade. And if you count being a resident advisor, since he was 19 years old I’m not going to invite you to do the math on that one, but, but since he was 19 years old he has been assistant Dean at Colorado college Dean at United world college USA. He received his bachelor’s at St Mary’s University and his graduate degree at Southern Methodist University.

Casey J. Cornelius (01:38):

He was a college athlete. It is still a proud CAPA. Sigma Cesar is trained in standup in improv comedy and travels the country, helping colleges and individuals maximize their full potential. You can watch not one, not, but three of his Ted talks featured on the Ted website, catch him on comedy sys, open mic fight, or see him in the movie line of duty in his off time. Doesn’t sound like there’s a whole lot, but in his off time, you’ll find him on the tennis court or re relaxing at home in Houston, Texas. This is a new, this is a new one for you with his wife, daughter and their Australian shepherd Mia. So without any further, do you, let me allow you to bring to the mic? None other than Cesar Cervantes

Cesar Cervantes (02:22):

Wow. Oh my goodness. That was a wonderful intro. I have to, I have to add there’s another little one on the way I

Casey J. Cornelius (02:33):

Was gonna ask you if you wanted to share anything new <laugh>

Cesar Cervantes (02:37):

Well, I’ve got another, another daughter on the way. We we’re, we’re still playing with names. We’re maybe you can help me out with this. We’re we’re trying to decide between Fiona or Georgia, and we’ve been going back and forth on that. Do you have any thoughts, Casey, before we jump into anything else? This is, this is the most important question on my mind. So

Casey J. Cornelius (02:57):

You’re, you’re really putting me, you know, like in, in the spot here <laugh> so for those who’ve known me for a long time, they’ll know that whenever any friends are expecting, I always suggest the name. Casey <laugh> no one has ever taken me up on it. So I have to at least default to suggesting the name Casey. Mm. But I have to tell you, I like the name Georgia a lot. That’s a very, that’s a very pretty name.

Cesar Cervantes (03:22):

Okay. All right. I’m gonna, I’m gonna put a, a little mark next to that. We we’re ting them as we go. And so this is good. Well, it’s a good, it’s a strong name. Casey and Casey Cornelius. It’s strong. I love the initials. I’m I’m

Casey J. Cornelius (03:35):

I bet you do. I bet you do. Yeah. <laugh>

Cesar Cervantes (03:40):

It’s good though. I love it. I I’m gonna pass putting that you know, as one of the possibilities for my, my little one coming, but I appreciate you, you,

Casey J. Cornelius (03:50):

Everybody, everybody always has. Yeah. That’s one of these date, listen, if you’re listening to this podcast and, and you’re searching for a name Casey’s a good name. I just, I just wanna put it now. Okay. All, all joking aside, Cesar, there, there’s so much in your, your bio to unpack. There’s so many other questions that, that I want to ask you, but I think that probably one that is going to jump out to most people who maybe are just learning about you, you’re trained in stand up in improv comedy. Yes. Can, can you talk a little bit about that?

Cesar Cervantes (04:24):

Well, I’ll, I, I guess I have to start by saying I was a theater kid growing up and I was in, you know, as parents do they recognize certain certain skills, right? And, and for whatever reason, they believe that I was a performer and must be on stage. So that I wouldn’t be performing so much in the house. So they put me in like, children’s theater from a young age, I started doing like commercial, like local commercials and stuff. I’m not even sure how that happened, but clearly I, I, there was something there and I, I kind of just, you know, ran with that. And I was in, I was in theater as a high school kid as well. And I just always, when I was on stage defaulted to, to humor and laughter, and even if it wasn’t intended, I would, I, I would somehow find a way to do that.

Cesar Cervantes (05:21):

And that’s, I think that’s what kind of hinted at, Hey, this is, this is something that is in you, you should pursue it. And when I was about 1819, I did my first standup comedy open mic. And, you know, it was terrible. I’m sure it was terrible, but people laughed and that was enough to keep me going <laugh> sure, sure. In terms of like, you know, the training for improv and standup, I mean, I certainly took courses and educated myself and a lot of it is based on, you know, experience and you know, just, just the act of doing it. But there’s also a sort of you know, there’s, there’s, there’s a whole side of, of humor. That’s really based on connect, connecting with people and based on a catharsis and of course humor can be used you know, in ways that, that aren’t always good or productive or fun. And so as I transitioned from this, you know, the world of kind of standup comedy and everything that comes with that, I think I was really, I, I was really focused on digging into what, what is the part of humor that connects us?

Casey J. Cornelius (06:44):

Hmm. You know, I’m, I’m thinking back to being 18, 19 years old, whether or not I would’ve been comfortable standing on stage for one, but, but two standing on stage to, to do, to do comedy. And it made me think, you know, my understanding is that in, in research and polls, that Americans identify public speaking as their number one fear mm-hmm <affirmative>, I would have to imagine that public speaking, attempting to elicit laughter and humor has to also be a little scary. Am I, am I close?

Cesar Cervantes (07:20):

Yeah. You know, it’s not, you know, it’s not something that people, you know, ask themselves like, can I, can I do this and will it be easy? Like, that’s not the answer that people come up with if, and, and if you want to be on stage doing that, it’s more of a compulsion. I find that people just can’t not do it. And you know, this is evidenced by if you, you know, if you go to a, if you go to an open mic you’ll you’ll see people working through some things. And I, and, and so I think that there is a compulsion that we’re, that we’re kind of drawn to it. It’s not easy. Comed’s, ComEd’s very difficult. It’s so worth it though. I just feel like when you’re up there and you you’re, it clicks and you connect with the audience and there’s laughter I mean, there’s, there’s nothing like it. And so I think it can be a little addictive as well.

Casey J. Cornelius (08:20):

I hear you. No, I mean, it makes complete sense. And in, I mean, the other thing that sort of is highlighted in, in your bio, and I know it’s really important to you are, are Ted talks. And I imagine that there’s probably a, a, a, a through line between your comedy and improv experience and being drawn to, to TEDS. Can, can you talk a little bit about that?

Cesar Cervantes (08:43):

Oh, sure. So, yeah, for me, I mean, my first love, my first career really was, was standup comedy. And from the time that I was in college, I started performing getting paid to do it. And when, by the time I had graduated, I was already you know, doing USO tours and MWR tours for, you know, for the military and just really fell in love with it. And you know, did that for many years, lived in LA, did, did some acting. And and that was my first love. And for whatever reason, I started to feel like it, the medium was limiting in some kind of way. And maybe it was just my own progression, because I think it’s certainly possible to, to go deeper and to connect with your audience in this, in this form. I think, you know, when I look at people like Dave Chappelle or Richard Pryor and, you know, their vulnerability and their the magic that they create in, in really being able to go deep into topics, I, I think, I think not all of us have access to it in that way.

Cesar Cervantes (09:51):

And I certainly felt limited. And so I was asking myself, like, what is, what is this thing that I’m, that I’m searching for? And I’m, I’m a, I’m sort of a natural, I’m naturally drawn to teach and to coach. And so the, the common question I would get is, Hey, you know, how did you get in a standup? I’ve always wanted to try it. And so just naturally I decided to create a course and started teaching it at the, at the comedy club. And then from there, one of the faculty members of the college that I was working at at the time saw it saw, you know, my class. And she said, that was amazing. I can’t believe that those people eight weeks ago had never been on stage. And she said, you have to, you have to teach a course in the theater department.

Cesar Cervantes (10:42):

And so that’s what we did. And, and for years it was you couldn’t get in the class and it was sold out that the end at the, the show that we would do at the end of the semester, and that turned into a community class, and all of this is to say that I knew I wanted to do public speaking. And I knew Ted was just this sort of goal of mine because I loved Ted. And when I started teaching these community classes, Casey, I thought people would be coming because they wanted to, they wanted to, to do stand up, you know, like, oh, I want to be a comedian. And, and that was couldn’t, it couldn’t be further from the truth. They were coming for an array of reasons to say something, to conquer a fear, to, to be better leaders I mean, just you name it. And that was super inspiring for me, which led to the first idea that I had for a Ted talk, which was really combining this, you know, what is it that what’s the relationship between standup comedy and leadership, right. And, and that’s, and that became then, because I had the idea, I could say, all right, let’s, let’s move toward this, what, this is what I have to give this this is a go, and that was my first talk.

Casey J. Cornelius (12:05):

And now three Ted talks into it. And also I know that you’ve done a tremendous amount of coaching and so forth. I mean, it’s, it’s a medium that’s I think, I think many people are drawn to. And I also think that for many it’s intimidating, so it’s, it’s, it’s cool that you sort of have have you found the, not only the, the personal, like, I, I can do this, but then also equipping other people to do it as well. And it’s really cool.

Cesar Cervantes (12:30):

Yeah, I agree. And I mean, that’s, I, I, I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but, you know, there’s nothing more fulfilling than, you know, when you experience something transformative, if you can give that to others and it just doesn’t get any better. And, and when you’re in your element, when, when it’s all sort of like firing at all cylinders, it just makes sense. And that, and that’s how I feel about yeah. This platform, public speaking, and, and giving something.

Casey J. Cornelius (13:02):

So one of the speaking of speaking of speaking, did you see how I did that? I know, I know words, speaking of speaking you’ve also recently spoken at the world happiness summit, which sounds like the coolest event in the world, like sidebar coolest event in the world. Can you talk a little bit about that experience and then also sort of your thoughts and, and work in positive psychology?

Cesar Cervantes (13:28):

Yeah. So I, I have to agree, well, has the world happiness summit is just, man, if you, if you are into positive psychology, these, this is your tribe. You go, you go to this conference and it’s electric. And I, you know, I don’t, I don’t say that about many things. I, and, and, and I have to say like being there was just one of the best experiences of my adult life. It’s transformative. There, there are people there that are so focused on, on growth and giving you know, growth, growth skills to, to others that you can’t help, but be inspired. And, you know, when I posted, I have to share this when I posted about that I was going to be a speaker at the world, happiness summit, you know, as you do on Facebook. Sure. you forget how many friends you have. And there was, there was so many people from my childhood that ended up chiming in and, and saying things like, if you would’ve asked me what Caesar would be doing, <laugh> in his adult life you know, when I was a teenager or whatever, this makes complete sense, he would be, he would be at the world happy.

Casey J. Cornelius (14:55):

Oh, see, I thought you were gonna take that another direction. I thought you were gonna say he was the most miserable version of world, but then that would be so offbrand that wouldn’t, that wouldn’t make sense that wouldn’t no, I think,

Cesar Cervantes (15:05):

You know, in high school I was voted like class clown, and they just always knew that I was into at least humor and laughter and that sort of a thing, but I just, yeah. You know, I, I I don’t know, it’s, it’s, it sounds really simple, maybe a little trite, but I think I was a happy person growing up. And I think I, I wanted to, to, to spread that and for, for that to be infectious. And so anyway, it, it was really nice to see an affirmation that, that this has been a part of me. And so my focus in going there and, and wanting to give was really about how we create connection through humor. And and, and so that was my session. And, and what I do is I essentially use improv exercises to extrapolate ways in which we can be connecting with each other, where, where we think that connection isn’t available.

Cesar Cervantes (16:04):

And, you know, we spend so many of our waking hours at work. And so few of them are spent actually connecting and enjoying the folks that are around us the job itself. And so there, there’s some tools that, that I think are, you know, really, really kind of simple, but, but the, the gist of it is, is that we have to be willing to, to put ourselves out there. We gotta be bold. And, and we have to create environment, an environment in a space where that’s, where that’s allowed. And, and if you can be a part of creating that, if you can be vulnerable enough to kind of put yourself out there, create a space where like failure is expected. That’s, that’s where the good stuff comes from.

Casey J. Cornelius (16:54):

Mm. If, if you’re listening to this right now, and you’re not yet familiar with Caesar’s work, please make sure that you visit ForCollegeForLife.com/caesar learn about signature programs and all the great stuff that he’s doing. You, you had referenced the concept of connection. And I know that during the pandemic years sound like we’re, you know, <laugh> a hundred years old during the pandemic. You <laugh>, I know that, that you had identified and obviously it still persists the, the need for more in depth, purposeful, meaningful connections for organizations, for, for student organizations, for student groups and, and so forth. Can you talk a little bit about, and I think you referenced it in your last answer, but can you talk a little bit about the value you see in that, and also maybe, maybe what we skipped or what we, what we lacked or are, are missing because of the pandemic years?

Cesar Cervantes (17:57):

Oh, goodness. Yeah. I mean, certainly the value of it is without question, and I’ve been, you know, for those of us who have been in the space through this, through this time, it’s, it’s it’s much more challenging and, you know, I think look, college campuses are, are already a place where we are developmentally, where we are, you know challenging, changing our worldview really kind of finding our way. And so it’s already a place of, of discovery. And I think with discovery can also come uncertainty and, and what we, shouldn’t, what, well, sometimes uncertainty comes in forms like a pandemic, right. Of things that we can’t control. And, and that adds to sort of the, the already difficult space of uncertainty, of growth of this time of development and creating, you know, a new worldview or developing a worldview. And so to be able to, to work with folks, to ease some uncertainty to be able to get in a different mindset that allows for celebration of failure that allows for celebration of vulnerability.

Cesar Cervantes (19:40):

And that, that really is a space for, for enjoyment. I think like, you know, the, the value there is inherent but that much more important when you add uncertainty things that we can’t control into the mix on top of that, Casey. Yeah. We live in a tumultuous time in history. And then, you know, I think it’s, it’s a place where we feel as though we must, we must choose a side and that we must vocalize aside in all things. And then, and, and or if we don’t, or maybe we’re not involved in a conversation, perhaps we feel like there’s nowhere to go. We can even be called out rather than called in to a space. Right? So all of these things going on and yet what is, what I believe is most what gives us most satisfaction fulfillment is still other people is still connecting with other people. It’s not that we should be avoiding other people or only finding certain people, but it’s, it feels impossible to do. And so for me, we have to start at a place where it’s really just, it’s, it’s fun. And we, and we learn from these really simple exercises that are rooted in humor and, you know, play.

Casey J. Cornelius (21:25):

I, I, I love it. And, and I, you know, I, I know that this is a conversation that folks are having recent, you know, in, in recent months and, and so forth about the membership experience for students right now. Right? So you kind of have for many organiz’s three membership experiences happening simultaneously the the students who maybe started in 2019 or 2020, and everything was going, I I’m using air quotes, no one can see me of course, but air quotes, normal. And then everything was disrupted those students who started in 20, 20, 20, 21, who were coming to campus during a time of disruption, and those who have come since in these, you know, new normal times, all, all three of those groups are simultaneously occupying the same organizations. Yeah. So I, I don’t want you to give away the entire program certainly, but like what, what tip, or what strategy would you give to a, to a student leader? Who’s like, I, I just, I want, I want our folks to come together more, to be more engaged. What, what would you suggest?

Cesar Cervantes (22:37):

Well, I, that’s a great question. I, I mean, I, I do think that ultimately we have to find common ground and, and empathy, and there are ways to do that where, you know, I, I think it doesn’t, it doesn’t feel like, you know, trite or just like you’re, you know, inauthentic. But I think, you know, again, all of the, all the things that are going on in the mix right now, it, it can be, it can be difficult, but if you can work things in, into routine or into part of culture or space or an environment where you again are, are, are celebrating things that maybe aren’t typically celebrated that really just make people feel included is, is a big part of this because communities can feel very fractured right now. And and sometimes for good reason, and, you know, I don’t wanna minimize, I don’t wanna minimize that, but, but I, but I do think that wherever there is common ground, we need to highlight that.

Cesar Cervantes (23:52):

And in some ways that come to mind, you know, whether it’s an organization like a student organization or whether it it’s really about what, what the college stands for, how do we work that mission, that goal into in, into, into routine, into, into recognition, into bringing us back to, to purpose. So I think, you know, starting from that place is, is, is really important because we lose sight of that right away. When things get tough, we go, it almost feels like, you know, we forget why we’ve come together in the first place.

Casey J. Cornelius (24:36):

That’s really fascinating. I, I, you know, in listening to you, I was, I was thinking about the notion that, of course we would already have these common bonds and understandings members of the same organization, but really recapturing some of that enthusiasm for the common bond as well might be first strategy in recapturing, you know, the, the engagement of the organization, regardless of the membership experience.

Cesar Cervantes (25:05):

Yes. Yes. And, and I wanna say that that organizations should change. Right. And, and so sometimes the the adversity that might be coming up is a signal that we should be re-looking at what our purpose is, what our mission is. And that should be really be done regularly. And I think that it’s, it’s kind of always a question, but I think, especially in times where things are feel fractured, that is one way to build common ground to say, do we do, do we still agree on why we’re here? Mm. And you know, I think colleges have gone have gone through this now, maybe multiple times, especially when you say diversify your student body. Right. And so often that is the first thing that that happens because it’s the first thing that that gets approval. But also it is shown as a way to actually create change is you gotta bring people to the table that are different, that look different, that bring different skills and assets and all of that. Right. But then that also means do we fundamentally have to look at why we’re here and I think that’s missed. And, and that continues to be why the fractures or the, the tumultuous of everyday campus life can persist.

Casey J. Cornelius (26:59):

There’s a lot of, there’s a lot of depth to this. Again, if you’re, if you’re listening to Caesar, if you’re familiar with him, or if you’re just learning about him and his work, invite you to, again, please visit ForCollegeForLife.com/cesar. I need to ask you this question. I’m not sure if I’ve ever asked you this. I don’t even know if you know, we have this connection, speaking of connections, <laugh> my first job on a college campus was as a resident advisor as well.

Cesar Cervantes (27:26):

Is that right? <Laugh>

Casey J. Cornelius (27:28):

And I argue, and I’ve argued with college presidents on this before. I think it’s the hardest job on a college campus. What’s your take?

Cesar Cervantes (27:37):

I think that there’s actually a study done. I, I don’t know about hardest. I, I, I it’s, it’s hard for me to, I don’t know, measure that, but what I’ll say is I, I remember a study that was done about the most influential person on campus. Mm. And, and you know, of course, oh, well, that’s, that’s the faculty. Oh, no, no, no. It’s, it’s the staff who work within this department. Oh, no, no, no. It’s, it’s peer to peer. Yeah. And it’s yeah, often the RA or the the orientation leader or the, the peer mentor and students for forget sometimes how much power they have in influencing their peers and, and, you know for better or worse. It it’s a very strong force. Yeah. I will say as an RA, since the, I’ll try to answer the question more directly, I, it was, it was definitely, it was definitely difficult to manage the, the job right. As a new, you know, I didn’t have a, a lot of jobs before that, and I certainly didn’t have one that, that had that responsibility.

Casey J. Cornelius (28:53):

Right, right.

Cesar Cervantes (28:55):

And then all of a sudden you’re managing, I mean, everything, like, I mean, it’s mental health yes. Substance abuse. Then you have a supervisor who’s a professional. And so I think it’s interesting because I think as students, we ask for a lot of autonomy and freedom and, and, and as staff administration and faculty, I think we want to provide that because that’s where growth happens at the same time. Yeah. You can see student leaders, you know, just burn out very quickly or struggle very quickly, or, or be tasked with things that, that are, are much too soon. Yeah. yeah,

Casey J. Cornelius (29:44):

I, it, so, so the word hard obviously is a little playful in this context, but, but my my perspective was always that I remember RA training, I’m sure you had the same experience where it’s like, now we’re going to spend 30 minutes on how to put out a fire <laugh> and then we’re gonna spend 30 minutes on conflict resolution <laugh> and there’s, there’s 10 minutes on blood born pathogens. And it’s like, I, I mean, talk about drinking from a fire hose. Right, right. It it’s a lot of information. And then what I always said to college presidents was, and at the end of the night, you get to go home, but the RA doesn’t, <laugh> like,

Cesar Cervantes (30:19):

They’re,

Casey J. Cornelius (30:20):

They’re still there. But I’m, I’m also amazed at how many people they’re connected to colleges and universities. Of course, their first job was that was as a resident advisor. And I think that there’s, there’s something special about those who, who choose that, especially at a young age, like, like 19.

Cesar Cervantes (30:37):

Yeah. Yeah. I think I certainly was connected to the community and I, I, I, I, I, I was drawn to leadership roles. Right. I think that I was also, if I’m being perfectly honest very attracted to free housing. Yes. And yes,

Casey J. Cornelius (31:04):

<Laugh> in a meal plan in a meal plan. Yes.

Cesar Cervantes (31:08):

But you know, I’ll you say free, but man, do you work for it? Boy, do

Casey J. Cornelius (31:12):

You work for it? I, so my joke was always like being a first generation college student when they said you can live on campus for free. I’m like, Hey, tell me more <laugh> but then when they said we’ll also take care of your meal plan. I, I, I was sold. I, you, you could tell me I was gonna do anything. I was, I was sold. That’s true. This is fascinating. This is fascinating for, for those who are listening, who have that RA experience. I think that it’s a special bond. And I think that we understand each other in, in ways that others may not indeed. Especially as I use the phrase bloodborne pathogens <laugh> so with that, see, so you want to move on to, to some rapid fire questions, some get to know your questions, get you hear on something

Cesar Cervantes (31:55):

Little. Yeah. Give to me, give it a

Casey J. Cornelius (31:56):

Little, little fo so I, I, I know your schedule and I know that this is a wild concept, but here we go. Let’s imagine for a second that you have an entire day to binge watch anything you want. What do you choose?

Cesar Cervantes (32:11):

Oh, I, well, I’ll, I’ll answer it this way. I just finished stranger things. Ah, there you go. Yeah. And I’ll oh, actually a better one comes to mind. I love on the spectrum is what I just binged as well. I could not get enough. I, I, I cried more in that than I did in all seasons of queer eye. And that’s another one that I, that I binged as well. Every time they come out, I binge, I binge those. I don’t know. And, and what does this say about me? I don’t know what it says other than Netflix apparently is my,

Casey J. Cornelius (32:55):

<Laugh> your rec the recommendations in Netflix. They know you very well. Yes. I think that’s the,

Cesar Cervantes (33:01):

Yeah. Yeah. But wait, but wait, within your question was, was kind of like, I may, and maybe I’m reading into it, but, but is there something that I could watch over and over again? And maybe this makes me a simple man, but I love, I love watching Forest Gump. I could watch Forest Gump you know, every day probably. And I’ve seen it more times than I care to admit

Casey J. Cornelius (33:24):

<Laugh>. That is a fantastic, see, this is something I always say in these interviews, I learn something new every time. So that’s one of those movies that, you know, if you’re mindlessly flipping through the television and it’s on, I will stop every single time.

Cesar Cervantes (33:39):

<Laugh>

Casey J. Cornelius (33:40):

Every single time save saved. Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s, that’s awesome. The other thing sidebar, the fact that the name is going to escape me, that the song that was featured in stranger things from like 1986, then skyrocketed to the, the top of the charts again. Yes.

Cesar Cervantes (33:57):

That’s

Casey J. Cornelius (33:57):

Fascinating to me. I

Cesar Cervantes (33:58):

Love it. It’s so cool. Isn’t it? Cuz it’s like, oh man, I, you know, that’s part of my childhood. Or maybe it’s, I mean, I was born in the early eighties. I don’t know if I, if I could say it, but I remember that song growing up. Right,

Casey J. Cornelius (34:10):

Right. Awesome. Okay. So Cesar, what is the most used app on your phone?

Cesar Cervantes (34:16):

Oh, well my phone doesn’t lie and it’ll tell me. And I’ve actually looked at the usage, which is a healthy thing to do by the way listeners go look at your usage and see what you’re doing. It’s, it’s definitely Facebook. And I think that, you know, there’s a couple different reasons for that. One is it’s engineered to make us do that, but also because it’s part of my work and part of engaging and creating new connections.

Casey J. Cornelius (34:45):

Do you think that sidebar, we, we wouldn’t have anticipated this question, but do you think that that goes back to your particular interest and connection as well? Like not only is it engineered to keep us paying attention, but that, because we crave that connection, you’re more likely to be dialed in.

Cesar Cervantes (35:04):

Goodness, I I’ve gone back and forth on how I feel about the virtual space in creating real connections. And, and I I, I will say this, if you’re intentional about how you use it, you absolutely can create authentic, meaningful connections change people’s lives. Like I, 100% believe that, but I think that it requires some, some really strict discipline to, to make that your focus.

Casey J. Cornelius (35:44):

I think we could do an entire podcast just on that. <Laugh> more to come to be continued. Okay. Next one Cesar. Yeah. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Cesar Cervantes (35:56):

I’m gonna say you know, I had an uncle who lived with us when I was in high school and and he’s, and he has since left us and I, he, he had a good, he had a big influence on me, but I, I, I always regret or wish that I, I could have been more done more. I just was, you know, I was a teenage kid and I, I didn’t spend that time or I thought I had all the time in the world, I think is the better way to put that. And so I think, yeah, I would have, I’d have dinner with my uncle Leo.

Casey J. Cornelius (36:43):

That’s very cool. Thank you for sharing that Cesar, what do you do to wind down? Do you have any like rituals or things that at the end of the day that you do that, that signal to you, Hey, the day is done. It’s now time to wind down.

Cesar Cervantes (36:58):

Mm. Well, it’s, it’s, it is my family. And when, when, when I’m done with work and, you know, I’m, I’m blessed now to, to mostly work from home. I, I just can’t wait to see my little one Issa and my, my wife and, and the one on the way. And it really doesn’t matter what we’re doing. And so 100%, I will also say that tennis is how I spend my I, how I get that other, like wind down, like if I need to clear my head and it’s, it’s important that it’s regular. So I do it a few times a week and I’m, that’s my flow. That’s what I wanted to say. That’s, we’re using our positive psychology terms. That’s my flow.

Casey J. Cornelius (37:48):

And, and you played tennis in college, is that correct? I did.

Cesar Cervantes (37:51):

Yeah. I was a scholarship player and I played, I got to play some professional tournaments as well. And that was, that was probably, you know, tennis being a professional tennis player was probably my very first dream. And then it became stand up and, and now, and I have arrived now in, in doing the work that I do and, and love it. But yeah, tennis is, has been a constant in my life as well.

Casey J. Cornelius (38:17):

So we’re off the rails now, but I need to ask this question. So I, is there a moment at which, you know, when, when you rise to a certain level of, of success in, in a given sport that you hit that next level and you’re like, oh, there’s another level to this. Oh, like, like, does that, does that happen?

Cesar Cervantes (38:36):

Oh yeah. So I that’s, and that’s such a great question because that that’s a metaphor for, for life, isn’t it? Like you can always level up. And and I think for me, yeah, I, I played, I played division two college tennis, and we were like top 25 which was pretty solid. And I remember going to the national tournament and we played, we played these guys from Barry university and they were <affirmative> and they were Moroccan players and it was, I, I played doubles and it, it was a level I’d never seen before. Like it, it, they were, they were bored and

Casey J. Cornelius (39:25):

<Laugh>, and

Cesar Cervantes (39:27):

At the time I, you know, I, I was, I was playing some really solid tennis, the best tennis that I had ever played in my life. And to watch myself like, be in this sort of, like, I can’t even figure this out was like, yeah, it was like, it was a moment where you go, ah, I, how do I level up here? And you learn like, even in the moment you learn and that’s really you adjust. And so it’s not just that you learn after it’s done and you can reflect, but I also think you can be in it and learning on the go.

Casey J. Cornelius (40:02):

I love it. I love it. All right. Final one. But before, please make sure if you haven’t yet ForCollegeForLife.com/cesar connect with him about his programs, consulting work so forth really, really great stuff. Final one. How can listeners best connect with you?

Cesar Cervantes (40:19):

Yes, I, I’m mostly on Facebook as I confess. And so I would love it if you connect with me on on Facebook. I, you know, Cesar Cervantes is the Mr. Cesar Cervantes is my sort of handle for everything. So I’m on Insta LinkedIn. And I have a Facebook group as well, but Mr. Cesar Cervantes,

Casey J. Cornelius (40:44):

But here’s where you don’t want to connect with Cesar and that’s on the tennis court. <Laugh> cause you don’t wanna see him

Cesar Cervantes (40:49):

On the tick kind.

Casey J. Cornelius (40:51):

I made a comedian laugh. Look at that Cesar. This has been fantastic. This is, this has been so fun. Thank you so much for, for the time, but also going deep on these topics. I really, really appreciate

Cesar Cervantes (41:01):

It. My pleasure, Casey, thank you.

Casey J. Cornelius (41:03):

And to the listeners. Thank you so much for giving us some of your time today. I hope you enjoyed this podcast. I hope that you’re compelled to like and share and subscribe and all that kind of stuff that you’re supposed to do with, with podcasts. And we look forward to bringing you more content like this. Please let us know what you’d like to hear. Maybe some combinations of folks. We’ve got some creative stuff in the works until next time be, will we look forward to it?

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