ABC Family, what is going on! How are you today? We hope that you’re having an amazing week, and you’re chasing those dreams of yours – because we definitely are.
We’re here with campaign #meetourparticipants. We have an awesome human whose story is jam-packed with lessons that we want to share with you.
Ladies and Gentlemen, help me welcome, the one and only, Mr. Massimo Simons!
Who Is Massimo… what’s your story?
[Massimo]: I was born in Leuven, Belgium. Having two parents who were in accounting, I was fortunate to be brought up in an environment that teaches the value of money at a very young age. Having those high mathematical interests and problem-solving skills, made me decide to study Business Engineering after graduating from high school. Even though I ended up not finishing my degree at the University of Leuven, those 5 years were probably the most instructive in my life.
SIDE NOTE: I traveled to Belgium a while back, and have to say that this country (is beautiful, of course) but their fries, waffles, beer, and chocolate is…..I can’t even find the words to describe. Check out THIS article, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Ok… back to Massimo.
If I may ask, why didn’t you finish your degree?
[Massimo]: Once I started at the University of Leuven, I figured that I can’t just take it for granted and that I’ll pass all my classes without effort. All of my free time at this point still went to playing competitive soccer and video games (on my free time), so I didn’t pass all of my classes and my life was slowly starting to spiral. Failing in school lessened my confidence in other facets of life, like soccer – where my performance was worsening. I realized that I needed to make a change.
I quit playing soccer in 2015 and decided to study something different as a fresh start, Logistics Management. From then on, I was more focused on what I wanted to achieve in life and started to explore the world. Now, I wanted to combine traveling while learning something new and getting more life experience. In 2016, I was chosen to represent my university for a summer school in Ulsan, South Korea. During the whole month of July, I met lots of people from around the world, as well as getting more knowledge about the culture, economy and even the Korean language. This was what made me realize that my future will be outside the walls of Belgium. The next year, I joined the Toronto Business Academy during the summer of 2017.
Wow, it’s awesome to see the positive progress you’ve made after deliberately deciding to make a conscious effort for change in your personal/professional life. This reminds me of a great book, in fact, my favorite book of all time – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (I literally recommend it to any and everyone). Check it out HERE – PS, we’re not commissioned to market the book, but it really is awesome to read and quite life changing.
So…now that your life is back in order, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
[Massimo]: I see myself living and working abroad in international business. I have already traveled a lot in my life and visited many different places and continents. That’s also the reason I became an ambassador for TBA, to meet people from all over the world, but to also help push a great curriculum for students looking to start living life on their terms. Whatever I end up doing, whether it’s working for a company or building a business myself, my hope is that I’ll represent something I believe in, work towards something I’m passionate about and have the responsibility to execute something meaningful.
What advice would you give to someone reading this?
[Massimo]: Do not underestimate yourself. You are capable of achieving a lot more than you might realize yourself. Everyone needs to start somewhere, so do not get discouraged by failure. Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm and the dedication to achieve your final goal. Everyone is different and some need more time than others. However, what matters is the final result. You are still young so whether it takes you 1, 3, 5 or 10 years to be successful in your eyes, you will still have enough time to work on it and live the life you want. A goal without a plan is just a wish.
That is AWESOME advice, thanks for that. HERE, you’ll find a structure of how you can go about setting goals.
Toronto Vs. Belgium, for entrepreneurship?
[Massimo]: I feel like you can barely compare the entrepreneurial ecosystem between Belgium and Toronto because Belgium is nowhere close to Toronto’s level at the moment. A lot has to do with the culture and interests of the population. Toronto attracts ambitious entrepreneurs nowadays because they have done a great job to put in place the proper infrastructure that enables startups to succeed. And thanks to Toronto Business Academy, I had a chance to experience and see that in person!
What did I tell you! Mr. Simons is amazing, with a super cool story. Thanks again for sharing these insights Massimo – you have many valuable lessons to share my friend.