The life and times of Alix Montes are indeed filled with nonstop people interactions and a booked calendar stacked with side gigs which include, 6 A.M. yoga instructing, Thursday evening swim coaching and a office gig in one of DC’s leading advertising agency’s.
Those who know him well call him Alix or Montes for short. When he’s not putting in hours at Wunderman, Alix can be found writing about career advice for young professionals through Levo League, highlighting startups that are truly having an impact on everything from healthcare to fashion here at theartofperspective.co, to launching Young Restless Creative, or traveling somewhere exotic.
So keeping up with this Miami Native turned DC Ad man is a recipe for one tiring day. But recently, I caught up with Alix, prior to him teaching a 2 hour Saturday afternoon yoga class, to get perspective on how he he rises to meet the demands of his many hustles, while keeping it all in flow.
- Location: Washington, DC
- Current Gig/Project/etc: Currently a Senior Account Executive at Wunderman, where I leverage data and creativity to connect brands to their audiences. Also Yoga instructor at Core Yoga where I teach three classes a week and occasionally lead training programs for new instructors. Finally, I coach swimming once a week with a local club here in DC, Freestyle Swim DC. Recently also launched a blog, http://www.youngrestlesscreative.com.
- One word that best describes how you work: I would describe it as organized chaos. I’m usually working at night or on a weekend. From running my blog to preparing for my yoga classes, my days require me to put in late nights. I usually aim to give myself a realistic goal for my productivity within a given week and I go for it. It doesn’t always happen but I try. You have to be open on how the process can change.
- Current mobile device: iPhone 7
- Current computer: 2011 Macbook Pro
- First of all, tell me a little about your background and how you got to where you are today. I started selling candy for the swim team in high school, and I would always sell all my candy. I didn’t have time for a part-time job and I started for myself – by my senior year I was making $280-$290 a week and I had a team of three people. People found out what I was doing and they started to tell me that I can do this for a living. My friend’s dad from the swim team introduced me to business and entrepreneurship. He ended up giving me two books; How To Win and Influence Friends by Dale Carnegie; and Good to Great by Jim Collins. I went to college and decided to study business. I specialized in marketing and realized that agencies were the way to go. I was drawn to agencies because I figured they were good opportunities to learn so many different things in a short period of time. That also happened to be the first opportunity I was given post college.
- What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without? Apps – I still like Twitter a lot. It’s a great way for me to find information and keep a pulse of what’s going on. Google Apps and Microsoft One Note for keeping organized. YouTube for learning tutorials or anything else. A bit old school, but notebooks and pens – these are the one thing I always carry with me everywhere. On the music side, my go to apps are SoundCloud, Apple Music and Spotify.
- What’s your workspace setup like? At home my workspace is my bed. My laptop is either on the bed or on my lap. My workspace is essentially my environment. I can be very flexible. At work I put quotes up or something motivating. Whiteboard and sticky notes tend to layer my workspace.
- What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack? Using habits to enable my willpower. Having goals, turning things into habits. At CorePower we talk about setting yourself and your students (yoga/swimming) up for success. Try to set yourself up for success by doing the small things early on. Use the present to make it easy to tackle the more difficult tasks coming down the pipeline. If I want to work out in the morning, I pack my bag the night before. I strive to put everything on my calendar reminders with everything I need to do and go. I always aim to bring my lunch to work every day which takes advance prep and willpower to grocery shop on a weekly basis. In regards to money, I like to take 5 dollar bills and treat them like pennies; save them somewhere random so I have them later. I got this one from Levo League.
- What’s your favorite to-do list manager? I haven’t found a good one. The best I have right now is a pen and paper. Sometimes I use my iPhone notebook app. But most to all times I’m literally writing stuff out.
- Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why? I think my iPhone – and a notebook and pen, I don’t leave my house without these. I also love my Beats headphones, before they broke
- What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? Everyday thing that I’m better at then everyone else would be that I’m able to run on not very much sleep. That or connecting with people who are different from me. What’s your secret? Knowing how much sleep I need to operate and listening to that rather than the voice of others. Also, having a purpose. When you have a purpose, it’s much easier to wake up in the morning
- What do you listen to while you work? Depends on my mood, it varies anything from Zouk, dancehall, Kaytranada, sometimes electronic, and it could be Hip-Hop during the work day. Personal favorite recently is Drake’s OVO Sound Radio station on Apple Music — it’s been a great way to discover new music.
- What are you currently reading? I’m finishing the latest issue of Fast Company, also just finished up Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama; Shopping for Identity, the Marketing of Ethnicity; and Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, on how to win business investments. I’m now starting up, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
- How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work? I think work is a part of life; I try not to make it occupy a space that stresses me out. Yoga, exercising in general (i.e. working out, swimming, etc.). Spending time alone to cultivate my own thoughts has helped me get perspective on what I truly believe. Working on my blog provides me an outlet to cultivate and recharge. When it’s nice out, I like to jump on a bike and get to where I’m going while enjoying the weather. Also not immune to Netflix, sometimes that’s a good way to escape. History and indulging in historical facts/stories is a great way for me to escape from my professional interest — those who know me know I’m a high-key history nerd.
- Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos (CEO and Founder of Amazon), and Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks) answer these same questions.
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Best advice I’ve received were from my mother, she always made sure I finished things as a child. So finish things that you start and set out to do are a huge piece. Be on time, write shit down, and do the things you say you’re going to do. That came from Matt Farrell, the CMO of USA Swimming.
- Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans? I think we’re at an interesting point in time with the election of 45. Being better people isn’t as easy as “we don’t have slaves anymore.” We need to go beyond empathy. Following the 2016 elections, I think it forced a lot of people to rethink where they stand. It’s forced us to tackle questions on race in ways we’ve haven’t had to do in a while. You definitely see it through J. Cole, Kendrick, and Solange’s music becoming safe spaces. This all makes you wonder if white people and minorities can genuinely live together in harmony as equals. Overall my optimism is rooted in reality. I know that there are some people that will never change their minds about these issues. I don’t think it’s not my job to educate white people, but who else is going to do it in support of future black generations. The reasons why humans have survived for so many years, is because we’re social creatures. We have to figure out how to work together or else we’re doomed. I believe in multiculturalism and diversity, throughout history those have been the most successful societies. I think this is what we need in the world in order to reach our full potential.
The How I Rise series asks rising black millennial voices to share personal stories of success, hustle and more in their work to break barriers and change the world.
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Mariel Kanene is Founder and Editor of TheArtOfPersptive.co and lead storyteller with a focus on music, startups and travel. His passion for storytelling was born in Kinshasa, Congo and bred in Washington, DC where he resides. By day, Mariel spends his days slowly trying to change the world—one meaningful interaction at a time. He loves reading factual-fiction, good podcasts, traveling, health and fitness, foreign languages and good conversations over good coffee and even better rum. He hates talking about himself in third person.Thanks for stopping by. Always appreciated. Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Linkedin | Website.