“Ninety-eight percent of people take little to no action on what they have learned, no matter how valuable it is, unless they have a supportive group of people to experience it with.”
Stu Saunders founder of The EPIC community shared this thought with us. Thus I decided that I’m going to share what I’ve learned, and the actions I’m going to take, in hopes that sharing them will keep me more accountable.
Our first speaker Denise Jacobs shared critical strategies on how you can banish your inner critic. Jacobs shares how the inner critic is the primary source of your biggest blocks to performing at your best. She calls this inner critic your “judging committee,” a small panel of judges in your head always criticizing you on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.
Jacobs shares how your inner citric comes from 3 areas in your life:
1) Things that you are afraid are true
2) Negative things you’ve heard from authority figures when you were young
3) Things society has said about what you should/shouldn’t be or do
Your inner critic is hard-wired into your brain, coming from your frontal cortex, and its primary function is to protect you from danger. Yet, with no sabre-tooth tigers waiting to eat us at night, this negative bias causes fear conditioning and only remembers the negative things that happen.
I took note of how Jacobs made a distinction between your Inner Critic and your Inner Evaluator. Many people who seek peak performance and want to push themselves, may have had similar thoughts;
“But my inner critic allows me to push myself.”
“My inner critic allows me to learn from my mistakes and be better.”
The difference is that the inner critic is negative and says things like:
“You idiot Fahd, you should have never done that.”
“Who do you think you are, speaking to thousands of people on leadership?”
While your Inner Evaluator would be more positive and compassionate, as you would if someone else made the same mistakes you were making. We tend to be more willing to forgive others than to forgive ourselves.
Jacobs offers up three strategies on tackling that inner critic:
- Transform Self Talk
- This is as simple as changing a few keywords:
- I have to —-> I choose to
- I ought to —-> I want to
- I should —-> I will
- I must —-> When can I
- This is as simple as changing a few keywords:
- Own Your Expertise
- Many people don’t recognize their brilliance and play small to fit the expectations others have of them. This feeling is called “Imposter Syndrome.” The imposter syndrome is essentially what is known in psychological studies as they Dunning-Kruger effect. Simply put, you are more likely to experience Imposter Syndrome the more competent and skilled you are. You have to own the brilliance you have and not shrink it down.
- Show love and empathy to yourself. Take the things you would say to your friend and turn them on to yourself.
You all have grave fears that are holding you back. What would you do differently if they didn’t exist? As leaders, your own limiting beliefs and inner critic can end up projecting onto others, if not recognized and left unchecked.
My action take-away is to begin recognizing this fear for what it is. Though I am uncomfortable sharing it via this blog, I will do so in the hope that it may give others the strength to recognize their own.
I fear that I’m going to be a disappointment; a disappointment to all my friends, my family and all those who supported my journey along the way.
Also, from here on, I will show myself more forgiveness and compassion.
What will you do?
I recently heard Julien LeBlanc, North American President of BluePrint Management Consulting say, “Education is done for you, but learning is something you do for yourself.”
We all know that continuous learning is essential, but what are we doing about it?
Is it enough to say I’m learning on the job? I’m learning as I go? I’m learning from my mistakes?
It takes the intentional commitment to learning and improving that allows leaders to succeed. For anyone to achieve above average results, they must be avid learners.
As a Canadian university student, I recall paying approximately $7000 a year for my education. I found my university degree to be very intellectually stimulating and loved the time I spent at Carleton University. Yet, I found that many friends that finished university and took on full-time jobs didn’t engage in self-learning. They relied on the training provided by their place of employment to be enough.
When I graduated from university, I made a promise to myself that I would continue to invest the same amount of money I did in self-learning every year for the rest of my life.
To this day, I spend at least $7000 a year in self-education from attending conferences, seminars, online courses, books or hiring coaches to help me achieve that next level.
I was able to afford to invest in myself when I was a broke-ass student, why would I pretend that I can’t afford it now?
We can afford it when we stop looking at self-education as a cost, but an investment in out future selves.
Are you where you want to be? If the answer is no, then what are you doing to bridge your performance gap?
The next series of blogs are going to be short summaries of what I learned from amazing thought leaders that I got to meet at The EPIC Community Event in Vancouver, BC, this past week.
Are you aiming to be the best you can be or are you aiming to be the best there is?
See growing up you learned that you just have to be the best you can be.
So you push yourself to be the best you can be, but you thus inherently limit yourself by the mere words “best I can be.”
Because the best YOU can be isn’t necessarily the best, there is.
Hear me out for a second.
If you accept that there is a best that you can be, then you agree that there is a limit based on your abilities. You may never seek to learn beyond your current limits, or take more significant risks, or learn from others that have accomplished more. This occurs because you’re convinced that you’ve already done the best you can do.
If you aim for being the best there is, then you’re willing to look beyond your preset limits and set new standards and aims that are higher.
You reach the standards and limits you set for yourself, so why not look outside yourself.
So let me ask you again,
Are you aiming to be the best you can be? Or are you aiming to be the best there is?
I simply roll the dice more often.
Success comes from a mixture of the following things; pure talent, resiliency, proximity to success, and timing.
Let’s break those ideas down and see what weight they each play.
Pure Talent – this you’re born with. This is the raw talent that you have always had, your natural ability to sing or draw. Your brain’s ability to understand math, and sciences, or your athletic superiority. For me, this was my ability to communicate a message well, speaking to large groups came to me naturally.
But you know as much as I do that pure talent is never enough.
Introducing resiliency. Call it grit, hard work, perseverance, it is merely the ability to push beyond your limits, to get back up when you’re knocked down, and not to take ‘no’ for an answer. Resiliency is a function of your mindset, your energy, and emotional rigour. It’s about how you guide your inner thoughts (mindset). How you physically and mental generate and exude energy. And your ability to have emotional awareness and live through your emotions – I’ve heard some people start to call this ‘heart-set.’
Resiliency is the single common denominator in the character traits of the most successful people. Combined with raw talent, you begin the development of a champion.
Next up, proximity to success.
This is the reality of our circumstances. Of course outliers in the situation exist, but give me an extraordinarily talented and resilient child in rural India right now, and he or she, will most likely not amount to success if not provided education and work. Those are the extreme cases of proximity to success. What I want to bring notice to, is the proximity to success and power in the context of who you surround yourself with.
You’ve heard the saying “your network is your net worth,” you’ve also heard sayings that you’re the average of your 5 closest friends. There’s a lot of merit to these simple sayings. We’ve seen it time and time again, from the Paypal Mafia to all the actors who went to the same schools and Olympic athletes whose parents were Olympians. There is typically a concentration of power and wealth in geographic pockets or within families, and this is due to the effect of proximity on success.
Your proximity to other successful people becomes a critical factor in higher levels of success.
Lastly, there is timing. Timing is otherwise known as ‘luck.’ There are countless examples of technologies that came out a few years before their time and utterly failed, while remarkably similar products coming out a few years later and succeeding.
Here’s the thing with timing, those who stick it out longer, merely have a higher chance to get the timing right, or in other words to get lucky. They simply roll the dice more often and as such increase their odds or rolling 6s.
Here’s the weight I perceive each of these factors playing into success.
Pure Talent – 5%
Resiliency – 25 %
Proximity – 30 %
Timing – 40 %
Therefore, I simply roll the dice more often.
What do you think?
Yesterday was World Book Day! As an avid reader and someone who loves his Audible account and I want to share with you, my top 5 favourite reads from the past six months!
1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight Memoir
Shoe Dog is the memoir of the founder of Nike. One of the most compelling stories of entrepreneurial history. Knight takes us through the detail anguish of a budding 24-year-old entrepreneur. The details of struggle, perseverance, risk, and making shit up as you go, truly embodies the life of an entrepreneur and this book does it justice. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is currently an entrepreneur or is thinking about giving that world a try.
2. The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure by James Redfield
The Celestine Prophecy is a journey of spirituality that predicts the future of humanity — written just as a fable on the nine insights of the spiritual awakening. It has some poetic lessons around living life, protecting our planet and reaching our highest level of energy, but most of all it is a captivating story about uncovering the hidden secrets of our own lives. If you’re religious, spiritual, or believe that coincidences happen for a reason, then this book is for you.
3. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depends On It by Chris Voss
A new perspective on old-age practices of negotiation, Chris Voss shares his secrets as an FBI negotiator, who learned very quickly that when working in the terrorism unit, you can’t ever split the difference (I’ll take four hostages, you keep the other 3 – deal? )
With tips on how to negotiate, Voss leaves us with two everlasting points.
1. Negotiating is all emotional not rational.
2. Use How Questions to bring them into solving your problem for you. A must read.
4. Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
He shares the 7 step framework that makes up every story. Miller shares how utilizing the art of storytelling in our brands capture our clients’ attention and brings them into the story, rather than us just telling them about us. Inviting your client as the hero of your story (Luke Skywalker), and your brand as the guide (Yoda) is effective in having them reach their ultimate goal.
One of the best tactical marketing books I’ve read.
5. Work Rules: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock
Work Rules is my number #1 recommendation for anyone who is recruiting, engaging, retaining and developing talent. The reality is that we are all in the business of people. While many entrepreneurs think that they have a product or marketing issue, they likely have a people issue. Bock shares how Google has used data and social experiments to attract better and retain some of the worlds best talent.
Well there you have it, my top 5 reads from the last six months.
What books would you recommend I read next?
I was at breakfast one morning with the late Max Keeping when he bestowed some wisdom on me.
He said, “Fahd when you live a life of service, you will always get back more than you ever gave.”
This conversation came at a time, where I found myself volunteering so much, for so many different organizations, but struggling to pay my school tuition. I had felt burnt out and stressed, and I complained to Max that it felt like I was always giving, and getting nothing in return.
He said, “When you stop doing it to get something in return will be the precise moment it begins to give.”
At the time I dismissed it’s validity and took it for one of those “life sayings.”
Today, I claim it to be one of life’s universal truths.
Create genuine, tremendous value for others – as a leader, an entrepreneur, a community builder and you will get back more than you ever imagined.
I tour Canada speaking to young leaders today, because of the time I spent building my community here in Ottawa, and helping make the lives our youth better.
Thought I’d shoot a behind the scenes for you, as I go on tour speaking for five days, in South Eastern Ontario!
It was on my journey of leadership at the Carleton University Students’ Association that I stumbled on a simple yet profound truth.
We cannot solve tomorrow’s problems using yesterday’s methods.
Today, we face the world’s greatest refugee crisis. Topped by rising socio-political unrest, and a helpless global environmental crisis. Our world is changing at an unprecedented pace, undergoing its fourth revolution; the digital revolution.
Leaders who are stuck solving new problems using old methods will be quick to fail. We need leaders who not only put out fires but start them. We cannot get caught in thinking small. Leaders must seek to scalably and sustainably solve human problems. To do so, we must question old ideologies that have limited our scope; and explore a new sort of leadership philosophy.
Our leaders must become realist-idealists.
While in our traditional understanding, an idealist and a realist may seem like opposites. It is the combination of these two leadership attributes that inspire and mobilize people. Alone, these qualities are limited and ineffective.
For example, an idealist may have the necessary optimism and great vision to believe in the idealism of people. However, they ineffectively take into account the behavioural economics of our capitalist system. And the power dynamics of the democratic system that thrives on the fear and greed of people.
In contrast, a realist may understand how to navigate the political system and its underlying subtleties. They have their pragmatic focus on practical objectives that are achievable. However, they limit themselves by their pessimistic view of how things are instead of how things could be.
A Realist-Idealists’ vision can motivate and lift the people. Engage them with fiery passion around a future that could be, but takes a pragmatic approach. That acknowledges the reality of the challenge and its current obstacles. For our leaders to achieve the impossible, they must be able to work both agendas simultaneously in an effective manner. To thrive in the digital age, all leaders must adopt this philosophy. They must set audacious goals and find pragmatic tactics that lead to revolutionary results.
The Realist-Idealist understands that even though some goals are beyond reach, its the daily commitment to the unreasonable that makes it reasonable.
Leaders give people stories that they can tell themselves. In fact, they give them new stories to help replace the old, out-dated, and self-limiting stories.
Much of our actions and our beliefs come from the deeply entrenched stories we’ve been telling ourselves for years about how life “should be” and what we can and cannot do.
These stories in our minds are otherwise known as limiting beliefs.
“The stories we tell ourselves can serve as straitjackets for stagnation, or scaffolding for transformation.” -Seb Paquet
See we all struggle with having limiting beliefs. We all have stories, sayings, or generalizations that we’ve adopted from our childhoods, and we’ve reinforced them by finding selective evidence to reaffirm these beliefs.
I struggled with my limiting beliefs for a long time, and I have continued to work on rewriting the stories in my head.
Here are a few that I thought I would share in hopes of having you become more aware of yours.
1) I’m too young to…. Speak and train on leadership and team dynamics…
See far too often our limiting beliefs are moulded in fear, or idea that we’re not “good enough” to do what we want. Even though I know, I have the knowledge, first-hand experience, and track record, I still question my credibility due to my age.
2) I don’t have enough money to … build and scale a full business…
See our family grew up with very little money, and so we naturally adopted a scarcity mentality about money. We always believed that you had to have money, to make money. Or as the saying goes, “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. ” This belief at first kept me from investing my money into growing my business.
Here are a few typical examples of limiting beliefs, see if you recognize the voice in your head repeating these lines:
– I’m not smart enough to…
– I’m too young to…
– I don’t have the experience to…
– I need to have more training to…
– I’m too old for…
– I’m not funny enough to…
– I don’t have enough money to…
– There’s not enough time for me to…
– My cultural background means that…
– I can never catch a break at…
– With my luck…
– My childhood experience means that…
– The constraints of my life don’t allow for…
– I’m too scared to…
– I’ll look foolish if…
– I’ll look like a fraud if…
– I’m too ugly/fat to…
– I’m not good looking enough to…
– It’s just not me to do that…
Whatever we give our focus, will grow.
Here are the three easy steps to getting on your way of overcoming your limiting beliefs.
1. Bring it from the subconscious to the conscious. All you have to do is recognize the narrative you’ve been telling yourself.
2. Write out a new script for yourself, one that is empowering, that stands in its truth and comes from a place of self-love.
3. Stay aware, and when you catch your limiting beliefs creeping up, remind yourself of your new narrative.
Remember that your mind has been engraving those limiting beliefs for many years, it will take time and effort to rewrite the stories.