We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Vincent Infante a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Vincent , looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. We’d love to hear about the things you feel your parents did right and how those things have impacted your career and life.
My parents put in the pillars of the foundation that would ultimately give me the ability to build myself into the strong individual standing here today. Growing up I always wanted to be a firefighter because it was my dream job, I wanted to be a hero. I also wanted to be a therapist, because my dad was a therapist and I thought he was the absolute coolest. So I would tell everyone I was going to be a therapist and a firefighter, and I was always told I had such big ambitious goals to want so much out of life by everyone I told this to. My father was extremely intelligent, and you were never able to win a game scrabble against him, and he would constantly call out the answers to almost every question on jeopardy. I still maintain he should have went on the show and could have brought home some serious money. He was also an extremely impressive worker, my dad would leave the house everyday around 6am, before I woke up, and get home around 9pm after I would go to bed. He worked 3 jobs, as a dean at a school, a psychotherapist in his own practice, and a director of a program in a hospital. On sundays was his day off and we would go out, play video games or just watch some tv. My father didn’t preach much about hard work, but it’s extremely hard not to notice that his value was to be the best he could be, and work harder than anyone else. He held high standards and would settle for nothing less than what he was capable of, and would spend time reminding my brother and I just how much we could achieve if we put effort into everything we do. My father always did his best to not only tell us about how we can make the most out of our lives, he showed us what hard work can do, and the rewards he received from it. My dad became a massive role model for who I wanted to become.
I’d also like to shine some light on my mother. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another woman replicate the mother she was. While we were young she stayed home to raise us and maintain the house. She set a standard in the home for what our living conditions would be. She made sure that our house felt like a home, with fresh laundry, hot meals, and a clean tidy space. As we got older, she became even more impressive. She worked full-time, came home cooked, helped me with my homework, and then went to night classes to pursue her master’s degree. She would then spend the weekends doing house hold chores and maintaining the standard for what a home should look like. I don’t think I ever heard her complain, but she did like to remind us how we should be more mindful of our messes because if she ever stopped cleaning, the house would be a pig-sty! My mother also set an extremely high standard of what it meant to be a mother, a wife, and a woman in general. She showed not only love but ferocity in conquering each challenge that she came across. One thing she told me and has been an echoing reminder in the back of my head whenever I feel lazy is this: “If you’re going to do something make sure you give it your 100%, because if you don’t, it’s like not doing it at all” This would be a reminder that would shape me in times where I felt tired and was willing to be average and settle for less than my true capability.
My parents also had a way of treating others that entered our home, that no matter who they were, they were greeted as family. They were given love and preferential treatment. Hugs, and kisses with loud heart filled hellos and goodbyes. My parents always made it a point to welcome everyone with open arms and show that the best way to treat others is as if you knew them your entire life and was excited to see them again. It wasn’t a false greeting either, which was probably the most inspiring part of it all, they were always so genuine in their interactions. It has been a major influencing and guiding factor in my current coaching business as well. In my mission statement my favorite line is this “Clients become friends, and friends are family” If you’re with me, you’re family and I love you.
Overall watching my parents not only fulfill their role as parents, but show me how powerful the human spirit could be, and how much it could endure, as well as overcome has been a constant inspiration. It’s been a constant reminder as I strive for newer and bigger challenges, with greater battles and bigger demons, that I come from a line of warriors. That their legacy is a part of me, and to live through the trials and tribulations of life is what I was born not only from, but for. My parents are the warriors you read about in the books that immortalize the stories of great knights who would slay dragons. Knowing these are my parents and where I came from, whenever I feel a little down or tired, or weak, I just think about who gave me life, and the power they carried, and suddenly I am back in action.
The greatest gift my parents gave me that set me up for my future was watching them live their lives with integrity, morals, wisdom, and high standards. I wish it didn’t take me about 20 something years to learn and tap into this, but I am grateful I learned it and have been able to utilize it to cultivate change in my life. I am extremely blessed and privileged to have the parents I was given.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I started off with a desire to be like my dad, but it then evolved into so much more. I always knew I would go on to serve and help others, with a desire to provide an end to suffering and show people the best parts of themselves. It was not only something I was working on within me, but something I wanted to help others with as well. At 18 years old I started my first job as a mental health worker at a hospital. At this time I was helping facilitate group therapy sessions, as well as providing 1-1 interventions with the patients. This was a clinical summer camp with all of the children ages 7-21 diagnosed with some form of mental health diagnosis. This would be my first foot in the door of really stepping into my role as a mental health professional. I also was a personal trainer at this time as I was looking to learn to help people push past physical limits the same way they pushed past their mental ones. I continued with both of these jobs for the next 4 years as I graduated with my undergrad degree and accolades in Psi-Chi national honor society. I then had my choice to go to any masters program I applied to and went to Hunter to complete my masters in social work to complete my masters degree in social work with a clinical focus. I graduated at 23 and became a fully licensed psychotherapist.
From the time of 21 to 28 I worked in multiple settings as psychotherapist. I was in out-patient units, clinics, hospitals, homeless shelters, in-patient units, ABA therapy, home visiting psychotherapist, and lastly I worked in a private practice. Through all of these settings I realized though I loved helping others I wasn’t finding any place that was a true right fit for me. I also began to feel that therapy as great as it was, was significantly lacking something, and thought to myself why is therapy the only model in the world that we basically just accept being in it for 10 years without resolution to our problems? I felt there had to be another way and I found one. I stumbled upon life coaching, not just any coaching certification however, I received my coaching training through Tony Robbins RMT coaching certification program. I immediately saw the validity in the work. I did however feel there is still one aspect missing, and I realized it was the piece I had in me all along, the therapeutic practices I already knew.
As I discovered the synergy between these modalities I was also pursuing a new venture, I was finally called at age 28 to live out my dream as a firefighter and had the opportunity to join the ranks of the FDNY as one of New York’s Bravest. Going through the fire academy was rough, it was intense and is run like a paramilitary organization. For 5 days a week we underwent grueling training meant to break your body, mind, and spirit. As you break down you are rebuilt as something entirely new, and even better than you previously were. On the weekends I spent an additional 10-20 hours a week building my coaching practice where I was essentially testing my theory that psychology, mentoring and a mix of life coaching would lead to powerful transformation.
As my time in the fire academy came to a close the C19 pandemic hit, and shortly after that so did the protests and the riots. Things continued to lead to all days being long at the fire department. However on my off days I was building my business, I would spend everyday finding ways to get clients and get results for them in the process. After about a year in total with the FDNY I had finally built my business to a place where I felt it was time for a pivot. I jumped full time into coaching and resigned from the fire department. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life still to this day, as I basically chose between two childhood dreams, and let my heart decide where I would be of best service to this world.
The fire department taught me so much about leadership, ownership, standards, accountability, and dealing with life in general. These teachings have actually been foundational in the leadership work I do with many of my clients still to this day. As I said my goodbyes to FDNY, I was ready to show the world what I have been crafting which was my unique hybrid service. I began and still utilize a unique combination of psychotherapy, mentoring and coaching which has lasting transformational effects for my clients. At this time I also realized by 29 years old, I successfully had a masters degree, held two different careers and launched a business, while stepping into my third career/profession.
Currently I am 31 and I run my coaching business full-time and I cater to high performing entrepreneurs, founders, executives, and CEO’s. I also run a side business and have a few advisory roles in some companies I am an angel investor in. Probably my most important role however is father, I have a 6 month old daughter who I owe the entire world to, and I plan to make good on that promise.
What really sets me apart as a mindset coach is my deeper understanding and background of psychology. Many coaches do not have the same qualifications, and more still will say there is very little use or relevance to go into the past. Not to mention they aren’t qualified to take you into your past either. I’ve created this hybrid service to really help clients gain a deeper understanding of their past, and the way they have been programmed subconsciously. So many people struggle to achieve lasting change or even cultivate change in their lives, due to mostly a lack of understanding of their deep inner workings.
The way my service works is in a 3 part approach: As your therapist I aim to meet you where you’re at and understand you and your unique experiences/views in life. As a mentor I will teach you tools, strategies and share insights with you to help you grow and learn along the way. Lastly as your coach I will challenge you to raise the standards of your life and help hold you accountable to becoming the person you can and want to become.
The problems my service aims to solve are behaviors that no longer serve you, negative mindsets, anxiety, depressive episodes, panic, fear, limiting beliefs, self doubt, imposter syndrome, leadership issues, communication issues, relationship issues, and disorganization. The key way I do this is with 1-1 coaching sessions, I also offer intensive sessions that can last between 3-8 hours depending on what we are working on. I know the best way to get results is to help someone really hit a break through moment, and that came come with consistency, intensity, and most importantly deep immersion. This is why in addition to my standard sessions I promote the intensive sessions as a way to collapse months of coaching into a day. These days typically yield a minimum of 1 break through for a client if they are receptive and ready for the journey we will embark on!
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
Funny enough the biggest pivot in my life wasn’t one of the three times I started a new career, rather it was in my own personal self development and growth as a person. After struggling for so many years in my life with depression, anxiety, panic attacks and suicidal ideation I was at a major point of frustration. Where I knew the things I was suffering with weren’t serving me, and though everything looked amazing for me on the outside, internally I was a mess and the mental break downs I was having were so frequent I was ready to quit school and life all together. At 23 after some how completing my masters program I quit both my jobs as a personal trainer and mental health worker. I didn’t pursue another job, and I lived off my savings account spending the cash like it was ice cold water and I was thirsty! I would later analyze that I was partaking in a form of spending therapy, which meant as long as I spent money I felt good. However in the moments where new items and experiences couldn’t be bought I still felt the deep internal struggles. I’ll never forget the day that changed my life however. It was a summer afternoon and I was frustrated, angry that I’ve achieved so much and none of my pain seemed to go away. I went into the bathroom, and I was crying, but I was also so angry, I punched the counter with both fists and pretty much just yelled at myself like “what the hell is wrong with me!! I have everything I could want why am I still so miserable!?” Because you know society tells you if you have certain things you should be happy, grateful, and don’t know struggle. However this wasn’t true for me, which made me not only frustrated but feel almost guilty for feeling so crappy while having so much, which didn’t allow me to process my emotions properly either, and I didn’t want to share with many people how i felt for fear of being judged or called “ungrateful” for my abundance.
But I’ll say in this moment of mass frustration major clarity came to me. I looked in the mirror at myself, I smiled, and I felt such a moment of clarity and peace as I realized what was wrong. As I stared myself in the eyes I took a deep breath and then muttered the words “You’re Vincent” this was such a pivotal moment for me because I hadn’t said my own name in 7 years. Before I went to college part of reinventing myself to try and overcome my pain was writing the name Vincenzo on all my college transcripts as I thought changing my name would change my problems and solve everything. It didn’t in case you were curious.
In this moment in the mirror however it was the first time in a long time, that I accepted myself for who I was. It was the first time I embraced my name, and all that came with it, the good & the bad. This moment of raw clarity, honesty, openness and finally self love was what had been missing for so long. This moment of acceptance, created a massive paradigm shift in my life and put all the power in my hands for the life that I wanted to live. Where as before my unwillingness to accept myself and my life left me with massive depression, anxiety, and fear. Reason being when we feel we have no control we are fearful, when we have complete control we are powerful.
In that defining moment of looking in the mirror I became powerful. It allowed me to begin the true self work journey that I needed to embark on to go from being a victim in life to being the hero of my own story. I began to take ownership and accountability for all things that occurred not only to me, but around me. It allowed me to realize I have control over every aspect of life, by having control over myself. This would be the defining moment that created the shift that allowed me to learn mastery of mindset. This is the defining moment where my inner leader was unlocked and I was able to begin building the man who sits here and writes these stories today, and helps inspire people to live their fullest lives. Without this massive shift in my interpersonal world, I wouldn’t be much of anything, except for a victim helpless to change their life circumstances.
I attribute the possibility to have achieved all of my growth over the past almost decade to that one moment in the mirror and will forever be grateful that the moment of grace that I experienced in the bathroom that day changed the trajectory of my life forever.
Training and knowledge matter of course, but beyond that what do you think matters most in terms of succeeding in your field?
I have a few big takeaways on this one, so let’s jump into the good stuff here. First is to be good at this field of work is to really spend the time getting to know people. People aren’t transactional by nature, humans seek connection first and foremost, we are social creatures and we have a deep desire to be accepted, loved, and feel like we are good enough. Approach people with a genuine desire to connect and understand them and the relationships you build will propel you forward. A good friend of mine named Nick had told me once “Relationships are Rocket-ships” and that really stuck in my mind as I thought back to the fact that I’ve grown my coaching business for over 3 years on just word of mouth and referrals alone. Take the time to really get to know people, especially your clients. Everyone has a past that’s impacted them, a present that they wish to change, and a future they have yet to cultivate. I see my job as a therapist/coach is to meet them at all 3 parts of their unique journey in life. I spend a lot of time being involved with my clients, and being a part of their life. My favorite part of my company mission statement is that “Clients become friends, and friends are family” I believe if I am in your life I’m fully in it and you’ll get that from me. I don’t take on clients and look at them as we meet once a week and disconnect until our next meet, I take on a client and look at them as my biggest commitment and treat it as such. This can be seen through my levels of involvement and access that they have to me.
A quote I learned a while back really stuck with me, and it said “People won’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” And this quote was a big definer in the way I approach people. I believe the reason I help people get great results is because they know I speak from a place of love and come with a desire to be here to truly serve them and see them succeed. I don’t believe in working with people for a paycheck, I believe in working with them because of their potential, if I don’t believe it will be a good fit, I won’t allow them to work with me, it will save us both time, energy, money, and frustration.
I believe self work is extremely important as well. Over the years in additional to my classical schooling I’ve spent over 6 figures on my own self education/growth. I’ve invested in coaches, mentors, seminars, workshops, books, courses, classes, and experiences. I believe it’s so important to clear space within yourself and understand your own internal workings before helping lead others through theirs. It gives you a deeper understanding of someone else’s struggles and helps with navigating them through it. I don’t believe you must 100% have gone through what the client has, but I believe you need to have done enough work on yourself and produced results within yourself to help guide others without struggling with imposter syndrome. Also it is important to be a person of their word, you can’t say you value self development and ask people invest large sums of money into you, when you yourself are not willing to do it.
Lastly I think one thing that has really shaped my success in the field is I am committed to excellence. I hold a very high standard for myself, this translates into my desire to get clients results, and not allow things to stay the same. I am curious about how I can help more, how I can serve better, and how I can guide people through problems. I am not attached to the outcomes of my clients, but I am determined to find ways to reach people and help them develop their understanding of themselves and their lives on deeper levels. I am deeply committed to the ideology that everyone is capable of change and I don’t like to give up on people. I believe there is always a way to reach someone, and I’ll do whatever it takes to find it. I have a masters degree from school, but I am working on achieving my PHD in results. If you believe with your heart and soul that everyone is capable of creating a better life for themselves, you will become relentless in the pursuit of achieving it. For me I’ve noticed that when clients can’t believe in themselves they can borrow my belief to start leveraging their ability to push past their limits. This will do wonders for someone who’s struggling to see a better vision of who they can become, and the life they can live.