We’re back on track with the monthly interviews with today’s chat with Luigi Matrone. I know Luigi from my time at Procter & Gamble, having worked with him in the digital network and staying in touch since then. I’m always impressed and inspired by Luigi’s energy and by the sheer scale of his ambition. At P&G, I remember that he always started projects with a rousing presentation that included a vision for the team: we’re going to win this award for best brand, best campaign, best team… It’s this vision and enthusiasm that drives him and the people he works with to achieve great results, whatever the project.
These days, Luigi can be found on screen talking about personal branding or digital marketing, meeting World Economic Forum leaders to shape the future, or curating gourmet food for his latest venture, Edmond’s Cuisine. Read on to find out how he started his personal and professional journey back in Italy aged 18…
Entrepreneurial everyday life
Having grown up in the famous town of Pompeii, Luigi always wanted to expand his view of the world, to live in an international city and to break the paradigm that a corporate job is the only option. Growing up in an environment that valued security, stability and a job for life, however, he started out in a corporate job after all, joining the only company that he believed could give him the possibility to stay anchored to his dream: Procter & Gamble. For seven years Luigi enjoyed the corporate lifestyle, constantly striving to build his career on the edge of the traditional path and with one goal in mind: staying true to his dreams about an alternative life. Today Luigi has defined his five core passions as People, Education, Business, Technology and Food. His two companies, the eBusiness Institute and Edmond’s Cuisine, alongside his Personal Branding training practice, allow him to cover all of them.
1) At what moment did you decide it was time for a change?
At the age of 18. Yeah you heard me right. I left Procter & Gamble at the age of 29 but I decided I would do so 10 years earlier. I still remember that moment: I was in my bedroom in Pompeii and I had just turned 18 a few weeks earlier. I was always thinking of the future and dreaming of what it would be to live abroad…. That felt so far from where I was that I needed to take intentional steps towards it. Somehow this thought came to my mind: I know that I will need to find a job after university but by the age of 28 I will decide if I will stay in a company or if I will fan the flames of entrepreneurship that I always had inside.
So, you guessed it, when I turned 28 this forgotten thought came back. At that moment I got promoted to Brand Manager, an important goal to achieve before leaving, and I had enough experience in online marketing to take the ten-year-old question and finally answer it: corporate or entrepreneurial life?
2) What was the biggest challenge you faced in making the change?
I’d say the environment. As long as you’re hanging out with people who think differently from you, you won’t get the support you need to go through with the big change. I believe that we are the reflection of the five people we hang around with the most. So I had to change the environment to feel more comfortable with my decision; but it took me a long time and a lot of internal debate to reach the point of feeling truly comfortable.
3) Where did you get the support you needed to make it happen?
I understood early on that I couldn’t make it by myself. Thanks to new people I welcomed in my life, I started to understand that the key to owning your life and your career is to take charge of your own education and personal development. So I started attending trainings and the very first game-changing event was a Tony Robbins seminar, Unleash the Power Within, in Rimini, Italy, in September 2011. That four-day training helped to break down previously created limiting beliefs and address my life with a completely new and open mindset.
I’m so grateful to Tony that whenever I can, I organise groups to attend his events. This year I will take 15 people to London for the same training that helped me change my life. (Editor’s note: the London session takes place at ExCel 26th-29th March. Read more and get your tickets here.)
4) What’s the best part of your lifestyle today?
Freedom. I get to choose what I want to do, who I want to listen to, who I want to work with. When it gets ugly, I can decide whether or not I want to keep that business activity or if I want to get rid of it. This doesn’t mean that it is easy but it feels like freedom to me.
And, yes, I get to define when I work, where I work from, what else I do with my life besides work. Don’t get me wrong though, I work 12-14 hours a day, but the thing is – I love it!
5) What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering making a big career or lifestyle change?
Get yourself into personal development. We are so used to thinking that someone else should provide us with education (the government, your parents, your company) that we forget how important it is to drive your own life and career. If you let others choose for you, you let others own you. If you understand the power of self-development, you will become more self-aware. The more you understand who you are, the easier it will be to get passionate about something in your life and to turn that into your career.