Last year after having a bad WCOOP (World Championship of Online Poker) I realized that I was pretty unsatisfied with the way I was living. I was mainly working on Poker like crazy, watching TV shows or spending time on social media.

At that point I took a look at my life and I realized that my intimate relationship wasn’t where I wanted it to be, my family relationships almost didn’t exist, I had almost no friends that I felt comfortable talking about these type of things with and I wasn’t being the leader my Poker students needed me to be. I could say I had a reasonable amount of money but my financial situation was a complete mess. I didn’t know how much I was making each month or how much I was spending. I realized I wasn’t living the life I had dreamt of. I found myself living in a place I didn’t dream of and finally realized that I wasn’t living the life I wanted.

One of those nights I finished the season of a TV show I was watching (Orphan Black) at that time. I wasn’t sleepy so I posted on twitter asking about inspirational podcasts. People told me about Jason Koon’s, Fedor Holz’s and Bill Perkins’ podcasts with Joe Ingram. I watched all of them but Bill Perkins’ podcast really hit a nerve and he had mentioned the ChoiceCenter while he was sharing his life wisdom. I immediately Googled it and I remembered that I heard about it a couple of years ago from a Negreanu interview.

I read the Personal Development and Leadership overview and I realized that there experiential learning to elevate Emotional Intelligence contained everything I was looking for. Basically how to get extraordinary results in all areas of your life and become the leader of your life.

Taking this training meant I had to skip tournaments like BSOP Sao Paulo, WSOP Punta, WPT Bellagio and EPT Prague. So it definitely was not an easy decision. It took me like a week to decide whether to sign up for ChoiceCenter or go to play the tournaments. I realized and finally what came up is that it wouldn’t matter how many tournaments I played or how much money I could win if I felt I was failing in the other areas of my life, especially in the relationships with my loved ones.

I decided to take a “life risk” and to take a different path than my acquaintances, just because I was committed to my vision; To become the person I always wanted to become and to make my new dreams come true. This included increasing my confidence levels in all areas of my life, create powerful communication and relationship skills, learn how to influence and inspire other people and take action into everything I wanted to create instead of staying in my head.

I shared information about the training with my friend Felipe Pantoja and he decided to come with me in less than a day. Since then I haven’t stopped seeing him evolve, rise and shine and I am so f**king proud of him.

During the first part of this training I discovered the limiting beliefs that were holding me back. I realized how much I struggled to make decisions and saw this led me to follow other people’s dreams or to follow paths that someone else already made (like creating a poker team) instead of doing what I believed. This showed in my life in different areas. I just let myself get carried on and get influenced by the people around me which made my decisions easier or more comfortable. I realized that after my success in poker I wasn’t able to take risks in life or in other businesses because people saw me as a successful man and I was afraid to fail. How would that look? What would that say about me? Those fears led me to follow a safe way. Just do something I know how to do and emulate a business model were I knew I wouldn’t fail.

I realized that I was postponing other things in my life like becoming a life coach just because I thought I couldn’t do poker and coach at the same time. I didn’t believe in my own potential.

I was shocked by realizing that I had thought I was this confident, risky, successful man but that was very far from my reality. I realized this was only true in one part of my life, Poker. When it came to other things; I was not a confident man, or a risky man, or successful.

Also, I perceived that I was trained by Poker into hiding my emotions. I learned that vulnerability is weakness and that I am not supposed to show my weaknesses to people. However, I realized that whilst that might work for Poker it does NOT work for life.

The last thing I realized is that I was being selfish, disconnected and closed off; I wasn’t being a team player for my family or in my intimate relationship. It became easy for me to criticize others and I wouldn’t talk to people that I didn’t think had anything to offer me. I saw how I was presenting myself to others and that the reason I was feeling empty is because I wasn’t giving anything to the relationships around me.

After all of that I learned the importance of being a team player for my family, how important it is to be present so they don’t miss out on me and we all win. Not only with my family but also with my team. How good would it be if I crush poker this year and most of my students don’t? How good would it be to win a tournament if my family knows nothing about me?

I learned the importance of setting win-win relationships and situations at all times so we all get to celebrate in the end whether it’s in poker, relationships or life itself.

That shifted the way I saw my team, my family and my relationships in general. As a leader, I needed to create connections, to take risks, to see everyone as equal and realise that I can learn from everyone. I needed to show commitment, to bring everyone up with me, to care and to show myself vulnerable in life and in poker as well.

I got to breakthrough many of the things that were holding me back and since then I created a new vision and a new purpose where I get to have it all, to set myself up to win in every area of my life together with my loved ones.

I have been working on creating great relationships with everyone around me, especially my family. I got to work on my finances, on making a difference in my students’ lives and I took the first steps into becoming a life coach.

To transform my life in every area I need to access new ways of being. I get to be honest all the time, to be courageous and take risks in life like opening up to my family, to say something without caring if I look good or bad, whether I’m right or wrong. To show myself as vulnerable with people is a big risk for me, to show my students my leaks is to be vulnerable. My challenge now is to uncomfortably access those ways of being everyday to become the leader I want to become.

Many times I feel very emotionally stressed. It isn’t easy to be there for your family after years of absence. It isn’t easy to balance everything and try to make it work. It isn’t easy to be vulnerable. How many times did you hold back on sending a hand history to your friends cause of fear of what would they say or what would they think of you? Imagine since on this level this happens, what is happening in your real life! Where are you holding back? What opportunities are you missing because of that?

For years I wanted to write about life instead of poker and I didn’t realize that the only thing I needed to do is to be authentic and to show myself as I am! I make mistakes, my intimate relationship failed, my family isn’t perfect, sometimes I click buttons and make mistakes, so what?

Now I am awake! Now I see that all the work I put on my goals is worth it cause it is fulfilling. Now I feel complete and I don’t care about looking good. I am working everyday on taking risks and connecting with the people around me. I am working on sharing with you and everyone what’s going on in my life so we are there for each other, so we relate to each other and add value to our lives.

This is my first step of me making a difference into other people lives. Share with me if you relate to my message or if you learned something. Stay tuned because more posts are coming!

Feel free to leave a comment or add me on Skype if you want to know more about the training I am participating in or if you want to share your story.

With love,

Diego Ventura
Skype: diegoventurach

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