25 Oct, 2016

Crain’s Miami: Eddy Arriola “If I Knew Then”

About the company: Apollo Bank is a locally-owned and operated community bank based in Miami, Florida. The bank provides a full spectrum of financial products and services including commercial and personal banking.

The Mistake:

I didn't appreciate the importance of having a mentor in my professional career.I started my own business at age 24, as most of my friends from college were settling into their first jobs. I had a lot of responsibilities to manage, and I was always the boss. Because of that, I always felt like I needed to present myself as either having the answers or being able to find out the answers on my own, and I didn't seek out mentors. I didn't know to do that.I would look for answers either by reading or researching, but I wish I had found people that already had success or already made mistakes. That way, I could have learned from their mistakes, and in turn learned more, learned better and moved on differently. That's especially true not just from the perspective of financial success but of life fulfillment: I wanted to be very financially successful, but I wasn't necessarily considering my own scorecard. If I had a mentor, I may have been able to more quickly identify the value of having dinner with my family every night, versus working 20 hours a day to achieve success in my business. In short, I wasn't looking at things and asking myself how I could improve them because I wasn't actively seeking advice.

“It doesn't necessarily have to be one person that's guiding you. It can be several people.”

The Lesson:

In movies, there's always this one mentor: Luke Skywalker had Yoda; Katniss Everdeen had Haymitch. But, I think, it doesn't necessarily have to be one person that's guiding you. It can be several people who you borrow and bounce ideas off of, little pieces that you take.I like to take advice on a semi-formal basis from the people around me who most closely resemble both my business successes and personal goals. I wouldn't say I have a mentor in my life, but there are half a dozen people that I follow, look to and spend time asking questions. I take components out of their life and learn from that.In taking different components from different people and not just having one mentor, I'm able to really define and better understand what my ultimate objectives are. I often ask myself, "What are my own personal goals?" I want to have dinner as often as I can with my wife and kids. So if that's the goal every day, that means I'm not working 20 hours a day. So for example, rather than choosing to focus on a highly successful entrepreneur that spends the majority of his time working, I look to various entrepreneurs who have achieved a work-life balance. It's really taking notes from other people and also defining what success means to me and what my own scorecard is. To me, that's the ultimate value of having several mentors I turn to for advice.

Stay in touch with Eddy on Twitter at @EddyArriola or follow @ApolloBank.

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