1. The Mindset Needed to Overcome Challenges and to Connect with a Higher Purpose with Louis Salguero

1. The Mindset Needed to Overcome Challenges and to Connect with a Higher Purpose with Louis Salguero

Show Notes

You can reach out to Louis at https://louissalguero.wixsite.com/uxls

Links mentioned in the episode and resources shared by Louis Salguero


Graphic Design

UX Design

Product Design

Personal and Professional Growth


Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Loaf Fidelity podcast. I'm your host, Rizwan.

So a friend recently reached out to me after a few years, and the timing was just right because I was looking for my first guest on this podcast. His name is Louis Salghero, and he is a designer based in Melbourne.

In all transparency, this was the second time we spoke because I actually messed up the recording the first time around because I did not know what I was doing, and I didn't have the right setup. And so there were some really big challenges with the sound, so I kept trying to fix it, but it just was not working. And Luckily, Louis was generous enough to offer to have the conversation again. And so this was our second time around. In the conversation, we talked about how having various interests can help us become better designers. You also get a peek into what a learning experience designer does. And we also talk about mentoring junior designers and how that is a rewarding experience for them. We also talk about the importance of refilling your creative reserves and also being open-minded with opportunities you get to help you build a great career. So without further ado, here's the conversation.

My name is Louis Salguero. I'm a user experience gone into the dark side. I work as a learning experience for KBR, and it's a very interesting role because I get to do a lot of things that I'm not only related to Usability but graphics, engineering, drawings, and anything that the company requires. A multi-skilled. I started off as a graphic designer many moons ago, back in 2001, as a matter of fact. And then I learned web design, which was the logical next step in my career. I suppose I use software packages such as Micro Media, Flash, and Dreamweaver. So that's how far back I go in the arts. Then I learn how to do engineering drawing as well because we do a lot of contract work for the Australian Navy.

So I'm sort of like still in that military environment. I'm a veteran as well, so it's sort of like the military doesn't want to let me go, even though I'm a civilian, I am married. I have two teenage boys. And to keep my sanity, I do Spartan, Spartan, the obstacle course race, and we have a dog. And somehow the dog is not here with me today, which is fine. Probably chasing his mom around the house, your design journey. How did you arrive at learning experience? What was the path that you took?

I was thrown into it because our company when they get a contract, there's certain requirements that you gotta fulfill. And there was a couple of guys who left beforehand, and they needed someone to fill in the void. And my boss approached me and he said, how would you like to do some earning? Because there's a massive contract that we got for a new vessel in the Australian Navy. So I thought about it, and it was actually quite logical for me to do that because I taught as an instructor mechanical engineering back in the day, way back when. So that's something that I was familiar with. And I've been doing it for a while now, and I'm getting a lot of enjoyment out of it. Nice. So how would you say your background in mechanical engineering has helped you where you are right now because everything is technical, and there's a lot of manual-like user manuals that you have to look at.

So, for example, if there's a module about radio user manual that you have to look up and as you look, the content you read at all, things start to make sense, especially because I've got an engineering background. I usually work by keywords. Like, for example, if you're talking about frequency, you look up the word frequency, and then you start piecing it all together from there. But the good thing is that you usually go by storylines. You've got a storyline, and you don't need a persona because you know who your audience is going to be.

Generally, young sellers between the ages of 18 to say, 35. So the personas are already well established within the lesson or the plan. But you have to be very careful just going back to finding keywords. You got to make sure that those keywords actually correspond to the content that you're trying to bring into the lesson. Okay. So it's a fair bit of reading sometimes, and it has to be done fast if you know what I mean.

So is there any content design part of your daily work?

Most definitely, because when I'm giving the storyboard, sometimes I'm giving the written content to place and create hierarchies and chapters and so forth. But at the same time, the visuals that they give you are probably not really good. So that's where I come in. I find better resources or I having that graphic design background manage to better content. I'll give you an example, say, a small photo, right? It could be a very low rest type photograph, and you enhance it with Photoshop, or if it is a simple photo, you can also just not only enhance it, but you can bring in other elements by using other software packages, such as Illustrator. For example, if you want to say, okay, this is a valve and you can draft or you can draw that arrowhead pointing to the valve and put a word next to it.

Do you know what I mean? So there are so many possibilities. It's so vast and diverse, and also content development or content creation can be from scratch. We use packages such as animate illustrator. You name anything we can get our hands-on, we use. I've had my own private clients when I was freelancing, and it was an interesting time. But because of obviously having young children and all that. I sort of just put it back on the back burner. I need to focus on my family. But at the same time, I was also studying that's when I did my interaction design specialization with UC San Diego via Coursera. It was one of those things that I had to get up at 300 in the morning on a Saturday and Sunday to do assignments. And that led me to other things. And I picked up some clients because once they know that you've been, you've got an education. People come and say, oh, can you do this for me? Can you do this for us? And they go like, it. Okay. So I've done work in the financial industries, the beauty industries, the fitness industry as well. So I'm sort of like, just familiar with those niches. Should I say, ideally, I like to get into probably? I like a lot of product design. And I did a professional certificate with Tu Delft online. Of course, all the studies that I've done are online through an online portal called Edx, and they've got so many courses that you can do. And I like to try product design on a higher level, but I'm more into the sporting side of things that will be interesting to see what happens in the next.

So you talked about Edx and Coursera, how are those programs? Can you share your experience with those? It's funny, though, because now that I'm on the other side of the fence, I'm the one designing the eLearning for students. Having that experience with EdX and Cossera has actually helped me understand how to develop intuitive and logical trading packages. Because when you're learning online, you find many pain points, and then because you find them and you're undead to find you try not to make the same mistakes. So learning online has actually helped me learn how to refine the process a little bit better, which is good, because the last thing you want is students not getting the content or not passing because it's something that you've done poorly, if you know what I mean, because, at the end of the day, you care about what you do. You care about them, achieving not only the results but doing it in a way that is actually.

Well, that's purposeful. That's the word I'm going to use for this purpose. Do you know what I mean? Yeah. Just pass the grade and say, oh, yeah. I just pass. I don't care. Move on to the next thing. No, you have to feel happy with what you've done.

Yeah. And I think that's what you're talking about mentoring is it brings a purpose to your life as well and helping others and seeing them succeed and change their lives. That is rewarding just to see that happen.

So it's definitely a great thing to help out wherever you can or however you can. Nice. Yeah. That's really interesting. I know you've also done some mentoring as well in your career and you're actually doing it right now. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Mentoring is my way of giving back to the community because I remember when I was studying, there was not a lot of guidance for me. I had to learn everything the hard way. And back in 2016, I think it was probably late 2016. There was an ad that come up on LinkedIn from a University here in Melbourne called RMIT, and they were looking for professionals from different industries to come in and help him guide their students to bring him up. I was talking to a friend of mine at that time and he said, Louis, you realize you'd be pretty good at this. And I said to him, I think it'll be worth giving it a go. So I applied and I was successful. And I've been helping students not only in terms of their technical skills, because sometimes you talk about techniques, you talk about procedures, how to do things on using software, for example, but also try to guide them and put their minds at ease, because obviously, when you're studying, sometimes to become worried about your grades or where you're going, whether you enjoy your course and I played the role of Big brother, I just sit down and listen to their concerns and try to bring a bit of perspective into the conversation. Does that make sense?

Yeah. Definitely. Can you share some of the concerns that you've seen or are there any common themes that you've noticed?

Yes. For example, I've had a lot of international students. They come from countries such as Malaysia, China, India. But not only do they have to deal with the fact that they're living in a foreign country here in Australia. Obviously, culture-wise is different. They're missing their friends and family back home. And also the coursework can be so overwhelming at times you're trying to get them to take a deep breath and say, okay, what's bothering you right now is there something that I can help you with that's when they start telling you things? For example, I'm failing in this module because this is not happening for me, for example, visual right. And that's when I come in and say, okay, have you looked at these resources and I provide, for example, links and other websites and content that can help them get past that difficulty they're having. And generally, they come back and tell me that what I showed them has actually helped them get over that obstacle that we're facing here.

How would you say that it has helped you? Usually, when you mentor other people, it's an opportunity for us to grow as well. Can you share a little bit about that?

Well, they say that the best way of learning is teaching someone else and by teaching them or showing them things that I've already learned or things that I know. It's a form of validation that I'm on the right path myself, and that my journey is actually meaningful. I don't know whether that makes sense. You know what I mean when you've been there done that right. And you're sharing it with someone else and then you see that they are succeeding. It actually validates all the effort that I put in, and that makes me want to do more for them. And also it makes me want to grow more by learning new skills, maybe or refining the ones I've got. I feel that that kept me hungry for knowledge because I've hit the books and I'm learning many other skills. Like, for example, one of my favorite things at the moment is architecture in urban development, and I'm still studying and doing short courses here and there in order to learn. But what's funniest is the fact that all those design skills, like from urban development or architecture are transferable to the user experience, graphic design, visual design, web design, and a lot of other niches in the design industry.

I'm sure you've come across a lot of challenges in your design career. Are there any that stand out to you? And if you are open to sharing their challenges? Yes, there have been quite a few. One of them will be because of the ever-changing nature of the work I do. I had to learn different software packages. I had to go out of my comfort zone a few times in order to not only learn the tools of the trade but also learn the methodologies and make sure that what you're delivering is above expectations. So yeah, the learning curve is quite steep at times. I guess. Also, being in a place where you have to deal with different types of personalities, you have to learn how to not take things personally and also try to bring humor into your interaction with other people as well, just to diffuse any potential misunderstandings. I guess because sometimes people perceive things differently depending on how your personality is. For example, there are people who are audible, phonetic, or kinetic, or I don't know whether that's the right word, but anyway, just making that up anyway, just making it sound good, but we have different learning styles as well.

You talked about not taking things personally. What are some ways that we can overcome taking things personally? Because I feel like that's a pretty big block that designers have when they're starting out. They're so close to their work that any critique or feedback feels like it's an attack on their work. Any thoughts on that? Yes.

Number one, just see there is a stepping stone. People are going to be throwing rocks at you. Right. But instead of throwing them back, just use them to start building that platform that's going to take you higher. And Secondly, people generally comment on your work, not on your personality. Taking a deep breath and stepping away from that helps you keep perspective. If you know what I mean?

Like if you're too close to the fire, you got to get burned kind of thing. So when someone says something that you don't quite agree with, take a deep breath and ask them to give you more feedback, because maybe the initial statement didn't come out right wasn't right. But if they elaborate more on what they mean, then you go, okay, so that's what they really mean. So it's about asking questions as well. And generally, when I get up in the morning, I always ask, what's the best way to show up in the world today? How can I make my day and someone else's day better? So you got to ask yourself these questions because if you do it regularly, your attitude will change. You start getting to know yourself on a deeper level. And that means that when someone says something that you don't quite agree with, you won't take it personally because you know who you are. You need to develop that security within yourself. And also, I guess once you start feeling more self-assured, it'll show out in the well, you won't even have to open your mouth. And people would know that you know who you really are.

Yeah, definitely. I think that's a great way to build confidence and not to take things personally, to be able to filter the feedback as well, because you don't always have to take the feedback that other people give to you. You can take what you need, and then you can leave the rest. And you also have to be in the right mindset to receive the feedback as well. So making sure all that is aligned. And if you're not in the right mindset, maybe you wait a few days or however long you need to and come back to the feedback to address it and to take what you need from it.

One example is when you get written feedback, say, via email, and the words that were chosen were not exactly in line with your idea of ways of communicating right. And instead of shooting back straight away, that's the perfect time when you go. Okay. I'm not going to respond. Not now. I'm going to get myself a cup of coffee, I'm going to take a break, or I could even go for a walk. But I would not respond. And if it takes a day or two to respond, so be it. But find a way to be kind, because you don't know whether the person on the other side had a bad day or something horrible happened to them, and that could be a cry for attention. Maybe this is something that I learned myself because I used to go, I'm going to fire back kind of like a missile, you know what I mean? And that's how you start a war. But in reality, if you become objective and give yourself that distance and that time to sync it over, not only are you showing your shoulders, say class and style in the quorum, but also you're not creating a new enemy.

You're creating someone who could potentially bring so many good things into your life with their honesty. Also, there's something that I need to say. This one. When my students are in the funk, they're feeling low. I tell them to get moving. I always advise. Okay. If you're feeling frustrated, if you're feeling that you're not achieving the things that you want, all the results that you want, do something physical, dance, sing, go ask for a walking exercise because that helps them clear their mind.

And I'll give you an example. One of my latest students was really feeling the lockdown here in Melbourne because obviously we've had the longest and harshest lockdown rules in the world, and she was feeling a little bit enclosed. She was in a jail cell and she couldn't see her friends and all that. And I said to her, we are still allowed to go after 2 hours of exercise, get out of the house, get some sunlight, get some air. Okay. And you will see that your mind will slow right down to the point that all the troubles that you're experiencing will become less and less. But you need to move.

You need to focus on yourself. And that's what I'm doing also because it's something that we need to do as designers because we are always creating. We are always coming up with ideas. We are always finding solutions. So we're just excluding that energy. We at some point need to get some of that back. So you talked a little bit about some of your personal philosophy and how you approach life.

Can you share a little bit more about how you approach different situations?

Maybe it's your mindset that you're in and something that would help others to approach their work, their life. When I grew up, this is going to be very personal. When I grew up, there was a lot of trauma in my life, and I was a very angry young man growing up. But through a little bit of introspection and self-awareness, I found the source of anger. So what I'm saying is that you have to get to know yourself.

You have to understand what triggers you. Okay, so when a situation arises, you know how to handle that with kindness. And you got to give that inner child because everyone's got an inner child that's gone through so much. You have to give that inner child that hug and that encouragement and that love that he or she deserves. There's no maximum charity begins at home. So you will never get that charity unless you start giving it yourself. No one else will give it to. You have to start giving it to yourself and you start building from there. So what I'm trying to say with difficult situations because I'm still dealing with a lot of potentially hostile situations. That's when I take a deep breath and then I just remind myself that violence or anger is not the way to deal with it. And I'm really, really winning the battle one step at a time, because the world needs kindness. We've been fighting, we've been disagreeing, and we've been finding reasons to be hostile to one another.

And I guess humor. I always come back to humor because if you can make someone laugh, they won't be your enemy. Just bring that element of light. People love that when you're in the service. That's a good way to make friends. If you're in a tough situation, you click a joke and you give everyone laughing. No one can say mad at you.

You mentioned that the pandemic has hit Melbourne really pretty hard. How has that affected your work?

Well, obviously, because we couldn't go to the office, we had to do everything remotely, so we needed to develop methodologies in order to deliver that work on a daily basis. KBR gave us a laptop and many bits of equipment to take home. But one of the biggest issues that I found is the lack of communication because if you are talking to someone via email, there are so many ways the conversation can go. Teams is also a very good tool to use for conferencing and so forth to stay connected. But not being able to get up from your desk and going off someone else for advice was probably one of the hardest things, because if you're doing a job for someone who's in the office, you got a question, you get up, you go and see him, you talk to them and they can tell you straight away. But when you communicate via Zoom or you ring them on the phone, sometimes I found it a little bit difficult because there were so many things that could be misunderstood. I guess asking questions and asking relevant questions has actually helped me deal with any possible misunderstandings while working remotely.

Isolation is probably not an issue for me, because obviously while in lockdown, I could see my son walking through the fridge. I could see my other son just jumping up and down in his bedroom talking to his friends and dancing, oh, my dog just next to me or my wife telling me about a recipe that she found or something that she wants. So I wasn't alone during the lockdown. It was actually quite nice having my family together at the same time. So in that respect, it was good. But knowing that I couldn't go anywhere. For example, there's a Lake here in my side of the city called Liszafield Lake. There's Hills, there are bands, there's so much foliage in wildlife. I love going to Field Lake for a long run, and I couldn't do that, and that really messed me up. And I'm still trying to recover fitness-wise from not being able to go there.

So psychologically sort of put me back a little bit because I always went there on a Sunday morning to run with my friends. We would do like six and a half, seven and a half 11 km, 10 km, and just being around other people was really good. And I found that that cleared my mind because your mind is like a bucket. If you keep putting things in all the time, it's going to overflow, you won't be able to put any more ideas in.

But by running and clearing all those things out of my head, I got new ideas and inspiration and actually, I'm trying to get back into it again. Yeah. I think you mentioned how we empty our minds and because of the work we do, so we have to refill our creativity and mindsets. You also have to make sure that you're filling it up to not just using it up and doing these activities, whether it's running, meeting people and talking to them, and rejuvenating yourself. I think that's a great way.

And yeah, it was my experience too, when we had the lockdown over here, not being able to go running with the group of runners and going to the trails and all that. So it was definitely affected me as well. And so slowly we're getting back and getting back to the routine of running and still haven't been able to run with the group. But it's slowly getting there. But I know Melbourne has been hit pretty hard and it has a stringent lockdown.

Hopefully, you're able to go out and go for a run, go for a walk and do that more often.

And hopefully, it gets easier for you. Yeah, we are coming back to life slowly, but being almost kind of felt like being on the health arrest. It will be a while before we get back to an element of normality if that makes any sense. But also you have to be optimistic and you have to look into the future and wherever you are in your career, you need to know that that's not always going to be where you're going to be. In my case, I mean, looking, I'm doing learning experience. You're learning now. Who's to say that tomorrow I might be doing something completely different, like product design. I mean, my dream job will be working for someone like Nike. Do you know what I mean? Or working in architecture or developing apps or smart systems. Who knows? I mean, never place any limits on your ability. Don't think that this is your little square that life is giving. You don't place any limits on that.

Just ask yourself, how good can it get? Go out there and make it happen. Don't sit at home and feel sorry because you've been cooked up at home because of a lockdown. Yeah, it's been hard, but hey, think about tomorrow, man. Good stuff is going to happen, but you got to keep bringing it back into your life by thinking about it. What you think or what you focus on is what you bring about. Yeah, I think that's a great way to put it. And even though this is, we're talking about the pandemic, similar thoughts and feelings happen when you're not happy with where you're working. You feel like you're stuck you're in these walls and you can't see your way out. So it can be also applied over there where there are other opportunities, other companies that are a better fit for you.

So you shouldn't just think that this is it. And this is the way it's going to be. There's always a better opportunity out there. We are all born with incredible amounts of genius. When we're born, we are limitless, right? Society has a tendency to just reduce that as we go along. I think as designers, we use imagination. We got to start thinking outside that box. Man, we got to start thinking about crazy stuff. Hey, you never know you could be working for NASA or something like that. Why not? Someone else is doing it. Why not you? Why not me? Yeah, definitely. We need to open our minds and think of limitless possibilities instead of thinking. Okay. This is my lot in life, and this is what I'm going to be. We need to break free of that kind of thinking. And maybe we need to put in more effort, learn some new skills, and try some new ways of working and try new ways to approach life, new opportunities, and always be open to possibilities and opportunities. So I like to say yes to any opportunity. And I think being open, if you're open to opportunities, I feel like more opportunities will come for you or come to you in your life.

Can I say something to this one?


I was feeling pretty low this morning, and I'll be honest with you. I felt like that dreaded imposter syndrome just hit me this morning. I'm thinking, who am I to log on and tell everyone what to do? Your mind just plays tricks on you. And you know what I did? I just picked up the vacuum cleaner and I started vacuuming the house. I was moving. Yeah, exactly. A bit of carpet getting cleaner and looking better. My whole persona, my whole aura just changed because I've achieved something so mundane because instead of just sitting on that bed or on that chair feeling sorry for myself thinking, who am I to say or tell anyone what to do instead of thinking along those lines? I'm just going to bugger it. I'm going to do something. I'm going to get up in my chair and I felt 20 times better action. Man, I know I've fallen into that. The negative thought patterns, the imposter syndrome, the inferiority complex, and all those things that we get attacked with on a daily basis. And that's a great reminder to take action, whether it's you're changing your thinking and not continuing in that thought pattern, whether you're moving your body, whether you're changing, where you are moving around, or even taking action and challenging yourself, learning something new to get out of the situation you're in instead of like you said, feeling sorry for ourselves and continuing in that negative thought pattern. I know you've had some really great advice.

What would you share with designers who are just starting out in their careers?

Be open-minded. And I guess the design is like a river. You're just going to let the current take you. It's good to have an idea as to where you want to go, but it is never a straight line. There's got to be things that are going to happen in your life, whether that's personal or in my case, it's career-wise because obviously there were requirements from the company to do certain jobs. So keep that ending in mind. Just be open and meditate and clear your mind. Just learn new skills. Whether you do a short course. Udemy is always good to do those little courses that eventually add up to something bigger. Nx is always great. That's always been one of my favorites, of Coursera, is always good too. It doesn't matter even if you log on to YouTube and look up how to draw or how to create a user flow, but that is moving you forward. Youtube is great for learning stuff and nothing. You don't pay a cent and people are out there sharing their knowledge, man. So hey, the possibilities are endless, but it's up to you. Keep your mind open, learn your skills, be positive, and just listen. Listen to not only what other people are saying to you, but listen to yourself. And the only way you're going to listen to yourself is by quiet. I think that's great advice. Speaking of meditation is such a great way to again understand that the thoughts we have are not who we are, and it carries that separation between our thoughts and ourselves. And so, for example, where we talked about taking feedback, we don't get hung up with what was said. We have some space to look at it objectively and see what we need to take from it. And so there are definitely some great applications for the benefits of mindfulness within the design. Poetry is always helped me as well. I'm a bit of a hobby writer. Oh, nice, because one day I'm hoping to write a book, but because on Netflix, damn near Netflix.

Can you talk about a book that has had an influence on your life? Or maybe some person.

There is a motivational speaker by the name of Dean Grazzioza. He's generally on stage with Tony Robbins, and he came from a very humble background in upstate New York. He tells us of a time when he was growing up. They had to sleep inside the bath stuff because they were so poor they couldn't hate the house during winter but because of his personality, which is something that I really want to emulate. He had this magnetic personality, and he started to sort of like finding ways to learn new skills, like, for example, he bought his father's auto shop and he started making money, and he started saving that money to buy real estate, to the point that he became really big in real estate. And then obviously he wanted to share his knowledge with the well, he put a training course together to help people, obviously achieve something in their lives. Lo and behold, as I said to you, sharing a stage with Donna Robins, which is one of my favorites. I really like his stuff. And when I read him or when I see any of his posts on my social media, that reminds me that that's what I need to aim at. It doesn't matter where you come from. What matters is where you're going. And the only way you're going to get there is by constantly reminding you that that's the direction you want to take. There is another offer that I really like. And his name is Greg Braden. He's more into spirituality, and he's on stage with Doctor Joe Dispenser. He broke his back and he was told he couldn't walk. And he went inside of himself, like meditation, introspection, and all that. He found a way to cure himself. And the third Amigo, because they call themselves the Three Amigos is Dr. Bruce Lipton, and he talks a lot about your thoughts, how your thoughts create your reality, but not only in terms of physical wealth and so forth, but also attracting people and circumstances that can help you achieve what you want in life and achieve a higher state of consciousness as well. So those are my four favorites. I haven't read anything lately. I've been watching a lot of documentaries, and this is a good segue for my favorite called Enlightenment documentary. It's called Enlightenment Documentary, right? It's by Anthony Sheen or Sheeny. It's on YouTube. And that documentary. I probably played it at least 21 times already. Every morning. When I'm feeling a little bit, I listen to it. And these are people who he interviews and they speak about quantum jumping. Do you know what quantum jumping is? No quantum jumping is when you, for example, you're stuck in your job and you're stuck in this little box, right?

By meditation introspection all that you can get to the point that you get that, AHA moment that can actually propel you to something higher and something greater. And that's the reason why I listen to this. Or I watch this documentary while I'm working. I've got the laptop and I'm working away because you always pick something new. Just no matter how many times I've watched it, I always learned something new from it. You have to stay motivated. You have to stay hungry. So that's the sort of stuff you need to put into your mind, because what you focus on your attract. Yeah, exactly. I think that's exactly right. What we think about is the way we move towards that and having a strong mindset, it will help us get through the challenges that we face. And so the more we are aware of ourselves and our strengths, weaknesses and how we go about our day, the better it is for us to do our work. And the more we can show up the right way and do our best work.

Cool. So how can the listeners find out more about you?

I am on LinkedIn. If you look at Lewis Salguero. I am on Wix. I think that's about it. I've been very lazy. This one. I mean, I'm supposed to be updating my CV and putting all this new flashy stuff that I've been doing, but just by the time the weekend comes, the last thing you want to do is be on the computer.

Thank you so much, Louis, for joining me on the show. It was a pleasure speaking with you. And I know I've learned a lot today, as I'm sure I listen to. So thanks again. And hopefully, you can come back, and we can have some more conversations. That's it for today's episode of Your Fidelity. I'm your host. Rizwan. Javaid.

Till next time, stay strong!