Optimising The Health and Wellbeing Of Teams

Before teams can perform people have to be capable of performing.

Burning out staff through stress or overload of work means the team will crash. Each individual is also facing personal challenges. Now while they might not be strictly work related, they impact their ability to focus and contribute.

I gathered an expert on mindfulness and neuroscience, another on health and fitness and someone who’d burned out and recovered from addiction.

We talked about the challenges team leaders face and how they can navigate through them.



Rob: [00:00:00] One of the factors of teams is how well people are individually. I gathered you together because all of you have a perspective on how do we optimize people to be at their best?

Rob: If people aren’t operating at a hundred percent, then the team can’t, operate a hundred percent. And when people are low in energy or they’re burnt out, that’s going to have an impact.

Rob: So what I’m really looking for is insights or problems that you see of what holds people back from being optimized.

Rob: Niki, our discussion was very much in the meditation and mindfulness aspect of being mindful. mentally clear, mentally at your best. 

Rob: Priya, my perception from our chat is you’re very much focused on the fitness. Now obviously there’s some crossover between you both, but in my head, simplistically, I think Niki, mind Priya, body.

Rob: You’ve both had a journey in. in your your personal experience of how you can feel unhappy or out of shape or not at your [00:01:00] best just by default, by the way that most of us live. 

Rob: Saieed, I thought would go well here is because of your journey of being super high performer, super perfectionist, super driven and then Finding that you hit a brick wall at the end of that and then your journey in recovery.

Rob: If anyone has anything coming up about the problems that they see typically in people.

Priyamvada: I could speak on this, Rob. I have worked in many global companies across. many cultures and many organizations. And I strongly feel or seen such misalignment with what people are doing and what they want to do. A lot of them, when they start working, they just pick up what comes their way, which is fine because, you’re young, you have to learn only when you do a lot of things, what you want to do and what you don’t want to do.

Priyamvada: But over a period of time, it becomes so focused on just. committing to the Financial aspect of the job, to the [00:02:00] paycheck that comes every month and getting so addicted to that, that you lose track of what you really want or who you really are. And then you’re just doing things on autopilot.

Priyamvada: You’re not learning anything new because you’re doing the same thing over and over again. It’s not making you happy. 15 years down the line it doesn’t align to anything. that you value today in your life. So when all of these things start happening, there is a huge, misalignment between what you want and where you are.

Priyamvada: That I’ve seen in a lot of teams that I’ve managed or I’ve led is one of the biggest causes of, burnout, bore out both of them.

Niki: I’ll jump into that and actually continue what Priya was saying. From a possibly a bit unexpected perspective I’d say that actually one of the main root causes that people and teams are not functioning optimally is arrogance. That might sound really strange what do you mean?

Niki: It’s arrogance is this idea, like Priya was saying [00:03:00] where people want to be. And often people have this, that I’d want to be on top of the mountain, And I need to jump from here to here, and that is arrogance, because it’s like, we are expecting that we can do it.

Niki: Often that is accompanied by this idea that I’m not going to do the small things, I’m not going to drink enough water, or exercise a bit, or I need these quick hacks, and that blocks people from curiosity. Actually, in many studies, curiosity is the number one indicator for high performance.

Niki: Of course, there’s many other, let’s say, root causes. But I would say that’s the root cause, because what Priya was saying also leads to that, you are not actually learning new things, not being open to new ways of doing things. And then you get just bogged down into chasing the money.

Niki: You’ll get into chronic stress. And when you get into chronic stress, then it’s very difficult for you to get out of it. And if the leader of the team doesn’t understand how to guide somebody out of the [00:04:00] stress, then that whole team is going to get bogged down. So that’s my addition to that question.

Rob: What, then what should the leader do in that instance? 

Niki: The number one priority for every leader is to help the individual in the team to understand why are they actually there. What are we doing here?

Niki: And that’s directly related to dopamine. Dopamine makes us very curious, it blocks the stress impact. But how many leaders or individuals put as their number one priority, why am I in this role? Because even beyond good leader asks imagine that you’re successful in this role. How do you want it to impact your life outside of the work, your family and everything, because then in the mind of the person it now the role has a huge meaning in their life, and now they can relax because that’s what dopamine also does, but it also gives the strife or curiosity for learning, so that, of course, they can do many things, but I would say that’s the number one [00:05:00] thing.

Niki: To understand what is actually the meaning of this role to this person and how can I help them with 

Priyamvada: Niki has a very fair point. And I want to elaborate something from my own experience, two very different cases. So there was one person and both of them worked in my team at the same time.

Priyamvada: There was one person who came from a very affluent background, the private jet flying kind of background. And the only reason she worked was because she didn’t know what to do with her time because her kids were grown up. Her partner was traveling, working. So she thought it was just good extra pocket money which she could spend the way she wanted even though she had loads loads of money.

Priyamvada: There was absolutely nothing that could give her a dopamine hit that Niki was referring to. It wasn’t money. It wasn’t status because she had it. Whatever people seek in a job, fulfillment. She wasn’t looking for anything, any of that. She would just come because it gave her an opportunity to wake up in the morning, put on some nice clothes and just have [00:06:00] fun, so when I would tell her you’re not hitting your sales target, Yeah, it’s okay. You could probably lose your job. That’s fine. There was nothing that motivated her. And there was another person in the same team who had two kids who had moved from a developing country and he wanted to put his children into medical school, which is, a lot of money in the United States.

Priyamvada: And for him, that was the only thing that mattered. how much money I make, how much of my target am I going to hit? How much bonus I’m going to get? And he wasn’t very comfortable with English as a language in a country like United States, but he Saieed, I’m going to do, you tell me Priya, what I need to do, because I want this number and I want that bonus.

Priyamvada: And I want to put my daughter in medical school. And that’s all I care about. So if it means I have to work 10 days a week, I’ll do it. If it means I have to show up 24 hours, I’ll do it, but I want, nothing will make me more happy than giving my children that, that opportunity, which I never had for myself.

Priyamvada: And that’s my goal, which is to establish, [00:07:00] Niki’s point, like what’s in it for them, what gives them that hit it’s, and you cannot have the same rule for everyone. If you have 10 people in the team, you cannot say all of you go chase a sales target, this is what we need to do because not everyone gets motivated by that.

Rob: I really love what you said both of you. In, because I, what, how I see it is I look at people as being like a phone and you have the hardware, the genetics, and then you have the operating system. And I think most people don’t recognize the operating system. And what happens is we get programmed by other people, so our parents, our culture, all of the media, everything programs us into a certain way. Until and unless we recognize that we’re living by someone else’s rules, someone else’s why and this where I think each of you and your journeys has come to a point and you go, this isn’t what I want.

Rob: This is what my culture, my parents or someone else has programmed me to and it’s there’s a point where you have to overturn everything you’ve been told to, to become who you want to be.

Rob: And I think that may be [00:08:00] relevant to you Saieed in your journey.

Saieed: Yeah, absolutely. I think the question of why am I doing what I’m doing for me personally, my journey came at a time where you’d least expect. I’d just been promoted to director of sales operations. I had a large team, I had a good package. And it was during the time where I had more of a hands off approach than a hands on one, where I had time to think and reflect.

Saieed: And I thought, okay so why am I doing this? I got reminded of all the instances of the elevated stress, the experiences, the conditioning, the trauma the fact that it was stressed to me and drilled into me as a kid to, to achieve XYZ just to be taken seriously. not for your own achievement, just to be taken seriously as a person living in a society somewhere.

Saieed: And that is quite a massive amount of pressure and a label to put on someone, because if you’re not achieving, then it means that there’s nothing to tie you to something, whether it’s an academic education, whether it’s a profession, whether And [00:09:00] that’s what led me to a lot of the perfectionism tendencies, and eventually workaholism as well.

Saieed: So to answer that question, I think a severe lack of self awareness in terms of what I wanted, what was fulfilling, what it meant to me, where my creativity and curiosity led me to, trying to put a lid on all of those is what led me to that ultimate Burnout, let’s call it at the time.

Saieed: So whilst I thought I was working at optimal levels, I didn’t understand why. I was there physically, but I wasn’t there mentally a lot of the times. And I only got to realize and understand that when I was given that space. Anything before that was completely on autopilot for 15 years prior to that.

Saieed: That is a considerable amount of time to, to not know why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s such a massive question to be able to answer and pinpoint I would always start out with self awareness. Because I think until you understand yourself, it’s very difficult to be able to course correct or course set or determine what your trajectory looks like.

Saieed: Going back to teams and [00:10:00] what, how I see it, where individuals in teams are not performing at their optimum levels, it comes down to a few common factors and I say common because it’s not always the case. I think the first and foremost one that usually gets blamed is ineffective leadership because people can either thrive, or they could dive. Depending on if the lead is good or not. So that is a big one. There’s a lot around value misalignment. There’s goal confusion. There’s a lack of trust. Sometimes people have got the capability, they know why they’re there. Their values could align with the company values, but there’s a lack of trust prevalent in the team or with the leader, for example, that means they gradually start to decline in their performance and get deflated and demotivated.

Saieed: So lack of trust is a big one. Accountability issues is another one where that to me is a lot to do with communication and coordination and mixing those two together, where a lack of communication, both from the person and the leadership team means that Individual isn’t working at optimal levels because they may be focused on [00:11:00] something entirely different or sent into a different direction rather than leaning into their strengths and their abilities and their curiosity and their creativity.

Saieed: And that goes back to organizational culture. So we’re talking about everything now, but without the right culture, obviously, there’s not that environment for someone to be able to thrive and work out to my levels. 

Rob: Yeah, there’s lots of layers. 

Rob: I wonder if it’s worth looking at what are the foundational pillars. To give a frame, the way I always look at it. is what’s the first thing that’s going to kill you? And it’s lack of oxygen lack of oxygen, lack of water, lack of sleep then lack of food .

Rob: People often look at food, it’s important, but you’ve got many weeks of food worth before it causes damage. Something that can be more costly is lack of sleep. So, five days with really impaired sleep, I think can age you a decade.

Rob: Where people are pushing themselves to the limit is in, in working more and more with less and less, which means then, which then impacts their sleep. And then of course there’s breathing, which is more important. [00:12:00] So in terms of that, how would you say, what would you look at if you were working with someone?

Rob: What would be the pillars for their personal, so if we’re talking just an individual, how can they be, like a hundred, if we look at a hundred percent and zero, how do we maximize their energy? What are the practices that you would advocate? 

Priyamvada: Yeah, definitely, Rob, foundational health, but also, again, I think it ties back to what we were saying before as to what that person’s why is, and everyone is at such different stages in their life when they’re working, especially when you have a team, you could have a new mom, you could have 45 50 year old man who has to care for aging parents, or you could have a single mother who’s going through, something really terrible at her home in terms of separating from her partner.

Priyamvada: Saying all this because I’ve worked with these kinds of people in my team, and they all have such different energy needs. They have such different emotional requirements, which is what you know, as a leader, you got to identify. You cannot have a [00:13:00] one solution fits all, whether it’s in organizations or, whether it’s in health.

Priyamvada: So if you’ve got goals to achieve, if you want your team to hit a certain point, everybody can, they all have different strengths, right? Some can run longer, some can lift weights, some can meditate longer. You have to first figure out what their strengths are, but for that, you also have to know where the opportunities lie.

Priyamvada: So maybe I have this new mom who was, capable of running really long distances before, but now she cannot because she’s sleep deprived. She has somebody else to care for. Her needs have changed at the moment. And as a leader, it becomes important for me to identify those needs. And where do these things come across?

Priyamvada: These things come across when you talk to them more as a human being. Then as a manager, it’s not when you do your one on ones when you meet them. It’s not always about how are we working towards this goal plan? Tell me what you need in terms of, a promotion or tell me where I can step in and help you.

Priyamvada: Sometimes [00:14:00] you can just help them by Not saying anything, but not doing anything by making sure, for example, in this case of a new mom, you don’t give her really difficult projects to work on, you, you keep her life a little bit simpler because her mind and attention is somewhere else at this point of time.

Priyamvada: So what your foundation is. It’s very different at different periods in your life. Maybe someone like a Saieed who’s been through a tough phase, who’s realized what he wants to do. He’s built his self awareness. He’s probably at a different point mentally. And so his foundation will be at a different level compared to somebody else, which what I’m trying to say is as a leader, I think it really becomes important for you to identify.

Priyamvada: Where each of your team member is because it can never be everybody is going to pull all the horses together with the same strength.

Rob: I love that quote. 

Niki: If I think about almost if you build somebody from ground up to optimal performance, and that’s why I refer to Priya as about the health is because it’s very common that let’s say people come to [00:15:00] me like 10x my productivity, I want to be really focused and then they start looking at where they are.

Niki: If they’re not sleeping well, if they’re having this is not a moral comment, but if they’re having alcohol every third evening to relax, I know that how their brain works in that moment, they’re not going to be able to make big changes, because though I know that we are a lot more than our body and our biology.

Niki: I’m more into the spirit side. Still, I base my work on neuroscience and that’s why the why, like how big drive there is to change. That needs to be absolutely the first thing because otherwise, nothing’s going to really change. I’d say that many people want things to change in their life. Many people don’t want to change.

Niki: It’s one thing to want to feel good and be more productive. It’s another to want to drop your phone half an hour before you go to sleep and go to sleep half an hour before. For many people, that’s already a challenge. So actually, First [00:16:00] thing I always do with people is I approach their motivation from two sides.

Niki: One is really, going really deep into why they want to do this. Imagine that six months from now, you are disciplined, you are earning more money, you are a lot more calmer with your children. They see you waking up with a smile on your face. How will that, what will your children say when they’re adults because they saw their mother and father doing that?

Niki: If I get tears in their eyes, okay, now we are actually going somewhere. The other thing is to go to the opposite spectrum. Two more years living like this where according to the client, you eat this way and you have seven hours on your phone per day. If you continue this two years from now, imagine that version of you in front of you, like what are you seeing?

Niki: And that’s really, okay, let’s start actually doing. So that is always the first step. Like, where are we, where are you going and why do you want to go there? And then next [00:17:00] step is what I call is experiment, action of movement where okay, let’s see what we can start actually changing. 

Niki: What’s working well? What can we experiment with? Don’t worry about the failure. Usually this is quite a longer period in the person’s life where we look at what are the things now that we experimented with these new things, what are you liking? What’s working? What are you not liking? Let’s focus on what’s working.

Niki: And then whether they are leader or an individual in the team, now what you start seeing in this person is momentum. Their eyes are a bit more open, they’re smiling more, you can see it in their body language. Then, I usually help them to take bigger leaps. Let’s do something a bit more difficult.

Niki: The fourth stage is what I call habitual momentum. Okay, now we’ve been doing this for four months. Look at all the changes. How can we anchor them into habits? 

Niki: Then I call it stretching phase. Imagine you did this in four months, what’s possible in 10 years? How would that be possible in six months without causing pressure?

Niki: So those are the stages that I see. 

Niki: [00:18:00] Direction, movement, momentum, habitual momentum, and then mastery. 

Niki: Taking into account what you’ve mentioned, let’s say spiritual, physical, psychological, and socializing. Nothing in us is separate. If a really important relationship doesn’t work, it’s going to impact everything in our life.

Niki: As an example, that’s how I look at how you can build somebody from ground up. 

Saieed: That’s excellent, Niki. I think you’ve gone over and beyond that and you’ve just explained the whole spectrum of how you would improve someone altogether. 

Saieed: That’s brilliant. I like it because it’s got elements of some life coaching in there.

Saieed: It’s got habit management and tracking in there. 

Saieed: It’s pretty comprehensive. I think the question you ask how leaders could solve identify people who are or trying to identify energy levels on. I keep going back to this. I think it’s pivotal for leaders to be self aware enough to be able to understand the signs and the triggers and the patterns they’re looking for.

Saieed: So I would say a lot of self work is required before you want to work on your team. Once you’re at that [00:19:00] level, which I don’t think ever ends or ever finishes but you’re better positioned to be able to identify that in a team member your understanding and it’s easy enough saying let’s understand your team members more.

Saieed: There was a post that was interesting today about this because even though we talk about say empathy and and trying to be empathetic as a leader a lot of empathy or a lot of authenticity in my view could hurt. It could hurt yourself or it could hurt others. So there needs to be limits on how you do that.

Saieed: So it’s not quite a clear formula, and I know Rob loves formulas, but it’s not a clear one to say let’s put X, Y, Z together and you’ll be able to determine the energy level, because humans are complex beings, they’re emotionally complex and unique in their own way.

Saieed: So I think if we try and rephrase the question, for example, from energy to say, how do you. Identify someone on their way to burnout for example, it becomes easier to compartmentalize because there are clearer signs towards that [00:20:00] and triggers that you can identify. Just to recap, I would say leaders have to develop and work on themselves and gain that level of self awareness and be able to help.

Saieed: And secondly is. He’s trying, looking at it from the other direction to say, instead of trying to determine energy levels let’s look out for concerns or worries or triggers.

Niki: Can I quickly add something just what Saieed, because I think Saieed mentioned so many important things mentioning about that we as leaders need to be very self aware and understand how things work. I mentioned about trust and, I would say opposite of trust is uncertainly leading to stress.

Niki: Side mention about trauma and how complex human beings are and one of your first questions was what’s getting in the way of self being like somebody being optimized. And I think Everything that Saieed mentioned there is the formula.

Niki: What I mean by that we understand how all these things work on the level of brain. We understand how human brain operates when they can feel trust. We know how the human brain operates [00:21:00] when it feels uncertain and stressed.

Niki: We literally know how it operates, affects cognitive abilities. We know how trauma works. We know how that can appear at a workplace. I think the thing that is a bit strange is we know all this, but we still easily disregard them as yeah, let’s get this thing done first.

Niki: While it would be here we actually know how human brain works. Of course, there’s a huge amount of complexity, like there’s no formula for everyone, but what I’m trying to say with all of this, that is really unfortunate. We know so much and yet we implement so little. I 

Priyamvada: think it’s safe to summarize that we are expected to work like we don’t have a life outside of it when it’s actually everything else that happens outside of work that makes an impact on how we’re actually working.

Rob: We had a group discussion on AI, which I thought was going to be about tech. But what became [00:22:00] clear is AI is all about what you feed it. And. If you look at business, the purpose, the why of the business is to make money. And it’s to make money for shareholders and the shareholders are separated from the employees.

Rob: They never, they don’t know who they are. They don’t see them. They have no contact. So they have no concern. Shares are bought by pension funds, mutual funds, all of these institutions that are purely judged on how they’re paid. And so employees, and so there is a level of care, but it’s a level of care of, is it, does it make us more money?

Rob: And when you run with that, mentality. So going back to AI, what AI will do is scale what’s already fed into it. And if we’re operating on that system, an economic model, where the only value, the only why of most like major public business is money. And so what we’re doing. is we’re trying to work within the system that is [00:23:00] soulless.

Rob: Because if all it is about money, humans everything you’ve talked about is about the why is about the emotions, how people feel. And we’re trying to make people work in an automated robotic system that is trying to strip humans. of their humanity, of their emotions and of their soul. Because the, so there’s a tension between When you’re a public company, it’s about how do you maximize return to shareholder? 

Rob: We’re then trying to balance that with employees, which is the point where it breaks. Which is why I think there is so much quiet quitting, great resignation burnout, because we’re trying to operate within that. 

Rob: So to a certain extent I like what Saieed was talking about about self awareness, but there’s also that requires the leader to have a lot of presence because if the leader is lost in their role, they’re not going to notice the people.

Rob: So what we’re, again, what we’re asking is, What it seems to me is we’re [00:24:00] asking of leaders to be superior beings that they’re aware of all of these things. 

Rob: Niki was saying about we have this choice and I think it is when you look at the economic system if we’re looking at maximizing money, Then what happens is all food companies go to how much they do look for the formula of how much salt, how much sugar to put in.

Rob: So it’s like chocolate bars. And then if you look at in, in money, it’s credit card debt is where, they’re advertising to people who are 30 percent credit card, repayments. So it’s easy credit, it’s gambling, all of those kinds of things. 

Rob: If we don’t make a conscious decision, we run as a commodity for other people, for this economic system.

Rob: And what I noticed in all of you is you’ve had an awakening and you’ve had an awakening and Saieed, this isn’t working and you’ve sought the light. And that’s the point I’m trying to make, based on what Niki Saieed is that each individual has to have that. 

Rob: So it’s about people [00:25:00] understanding that there’s better than like the mass media consumerist. model and then them understanding the why and to have the motivation to make that change. All of you are involved in motivating people, so maybe it’s worth looking at what works and what are the barriers to that.

Saieed: I think it’s a traditional clash between people and process and that’s never going to change because that’s just how the world works and how the world goes round. I think we need a bit of a sanity check though, because this, these conversations aren’t going to solve the whole is it even right to work for someone or not work for someone?

Saieed: Is it right to work for corporations or not? Because that’s a totally different discussion. But you mentioned the word motivation and personally, I don’t think you can ever truly motivate someone because it’s internal, it’s inherent. I think what you can motivate and influence though, is their willingness and intent to And I think that’s what Niki touched on when he was talking about people having different levels of change.

Saieed: Some people want to change, some people don’t want to change, some people need a nudge to [00:26:00] change, some people need that influence. But ultimately what you’re influencing is their their own inner voice and dialogue. And their own willingness and intent because without the right willingness and intent, regardless of how much you want to change at one point throughout that process, it will become difficult enough that you will fail.

Saieed: Because the common way they say that is you didn’t want it enough to change and that’s one we hear a lot as well. But in reality, and I think that’s backed by science as well, where we talk about habit formation and breaking. It does require a lot of effort. It does require daily effort and activities.

Saieed: If the willingness and intent behind it isn’t strong enough, Then the chances I’ll fail at some point and for each person, it works differently. So I think when we talk about motivation that’s what we should be talking about is how you’re influencing someone’s willingness and intent to change rather than how do you motivate someone in your team?

Saieed: The common advice and approach is understand why they’re there, what they’re expecting out of it. Priya’s example was a brilliant [00:27:00] one of someone who you will find very difficult to motivate because they just feel like they don’t need to be there. Kudos to them for taking a job because even though you say it wasn’t for fulfillment, I think there’s some element in there that has pushed them to that point to come and work, whether it’s for self identity, whether it’s something as simple as earning their own pocket money.

Saieed: Rather than taking it from wherever it was they’re taking it from, a rich husband or parents or whatever. But it does motivate someone enough to actually take that step forward and come into work. So there is some work that could be done with that individual to some point. But I think again, motivation is very unique and customized and personalized because it’s not simply let’s find out the why, and let’s work on that, because a lot of that process, in my view, could become unhealthy and toxic in a way that it could become manipulative where you’re as a leader You identify a certain reason for why someone’s at work and [00:28:00] you capitalize on that reason purely for Financial gain or outcomes and results and I don’t think that’s the right way to look at It’s more about how you could help that person thrive develop progress And feel more fulfilled and satisfied.

Saieed: And everything else is just a side effect and outcome of doing that. 

Niki: If I’ll continue from that on topic of how we can motivate someone, I fully agree with Saieed. We can’t really motivate someone, at least not in a sustainable way. We can inspire others. I can look at, for example, now Saieed and look how he speaks and I’m very clear and very Like this confident, humble way.

Niki: And by the way, humble, humility, I think is one of the best qualities. And that can make me think already that, Oh, I want to do that more, but it has to connect with some reason within me. So we can inspire each other, but then comes the that’s as far as we can motivate others, but we really can help others to connect with what’s most important then.

Niki: So when I work and [00:29:00] listen to people and to my clients is, I ask certain questions that are based on what I’m hearing them saying. I’ll give an example of reason to one of my clients says, I feel like there’s always something locked inside me. And those are the moments where okay, you pointed at your heart.

Niki: There’s something locked inside you. Like, how does it feel? 

Niki: There you can really start the person’s, because the person is not aware of it, because we are not often aware of the symbols we use. That’s really the subconscious mind. When you listen to people, oh, this really sucks, and this wasn’t good, but this is locked inside of me.

Niki: You’re like, that’s where the subconscious mind is really trying to bring up something. And when you start asking questions about that, Those things, they touch some part of them, some power that was hidden that is so powerful, when they touch it that’s where things start really changing.

Niki: The motivation starts coming to the surface, and I think eventually that turns into drive. We all have the experience of being in a flow state. [00:30:00] And when we are in a flow state, we never ask why I’m doing this. We are just like, we are there, everything matches. We are doing what’s important to us.

Niki: We are doing what’s clear to us. The ultimate motivation is to understand what gets me into that state. That’s what I aim with my clients. I’m not saying that I have 100 percent success rate at all, because that’s years of work. Because sometimes there’s even the, actually quite often, in relation to what Saieed was saying, that the process can become toxic, is that people are too stuck in their heads.

Niki: And they have difficulty connecting with their emotions. And then they get in this process, I need to find my why, but they’re looking for it in their thoughts. And that’s so frustrating, because You cannot find that fire there. So one of the things also in relation to trauma, which Saieed was mentioning, is that people need to first relax so they can connect with their body.

Niki: Because that’s where the fire, really, the emotions come from. Again, we know how to [00:31:00] guide people into motivation. I hope more leaders would know how that works. I almost started laughing when I started thinking like that who goes to work and think looking forward to make the shareholders more rich today.

Niki: I don’t think many people will get out of bed because of that. 

Priyamvada: I think you make a very interesting point that shareholder one really, yeah, that was funny. And it’s actually true. Nobody thinks like that, but what you and Saieed were also essentially saying is As leaders or even just as people, right?

Priyamvada: We don’t quieten ourselves or our mind enough to give us that space to think what we really want or why we really want it. And whether it’s in companies where you’re working for everything, Is so led by quantity or so led by hustle, right? So let’s say you’re in an organization, then it’s all about, like Rob said, let’s make profits for the shareholders.

Priyamvada: Let’s grow bigger. Let’s expand into more markets. And everyone’s just wanting to do that. Then you say, Oh, I don’t want to be working anymore. I want to be a [00:32:00] creator on social media. And then you come there and Oh, look at this person. I got. I don’t know, 100, 000 followers in 20 days and I’m making 5 million and I’m living my digital nomad life and people are glorifying that so much.

Priyamvada: And then suddenly you want that. And then one fine day you say, okay, I saw this person qualifying for the Boston marathon and I’m going to run the Boston marathon. And you start running and you’re doing all these things because you are just consuming so much and you just. believing whatever is being told to you without actually pausing and wondering why you want it.

Priyamvada: And then therefore that brings to what Saieed was saying, what Niki, you were saying is that at some point, whatever you choose to do will start demanding more of you will start becoming where you want to call it toxic, or you want to call it, upping yourselves. It will get to that stage where you will plateau and you will have to make that jump to get onto the other side.

Priyamvada: And if you don’t really want it, if you haven’t really listened to yourself and you’ve just been following what everyone else is doing, then you will break. And you will [00:33:00] say, I, this is not what I was looking for. I thought it’s going to be more fun, but it’s not what it is. And then you again, come back to this place where you are.

Priyamvada: I’m stuck. I don’t know what to, what I should do in my life because I thought I want to be running, but it’s not fun. I thought I want to be a creator, but it’s not fun. I thought I want to quit my nine to five job, but actually I don’t think so. So I think we really need to. Learn to pause to give ourselves the space to listen to what our mind is trying to tell us.

Priyamvada: We don’t do that often enough. 

Niki: Can I have one more perspective in relation to what Priya was talking about? There’s nine to five in there, owning a business. And I think these days there’s a like overly strong message about like when you own your own business, then everything will be so full of meaning because the corporate or the nine to five is equal and meaning like, that’s where the power of why really comes from.

Niki: Because imagine if as a leader, you decide Okay, I’m going to really want to understand myself. I want to understand the human mind and I work in this [00:34:00] company, in this team, like what a play field this is to understanding humans and helping others to grow. That’s, I don’t know what could be more meaningful actually.

Niki: And I want to say that because we sometimes think that why is like somewhere there. But actually the why needs to be right here, like probably for all of us, all four of us who are here, we are want to share here something that is meaningful that’s already connected to our why and that’s why it’s really enjoyable to be here.

Rob: when you said that, that brings to mind that often we all have a why. There is that motivation locked inside us, ourselves. I think what covers it is either the fear it’s not going to work out or not thinking what’s possible. But what immediately came to mind when you talked about the why the why I think people’s why is a handful of states.

Rob: It’s like people want status. People want respect. People want love. People want to feel cared for. They want a sense of security. They want control. All of those things are basically an [00:35:00] emotion. that drives the currency that their why is. But we can lock it in. So it’s like kids used to want to be Beyonce and now they want to be YouTubers and they think it’s only that. So they can get fixated on that, but actually what you were saying there, Niki, makes me think, you can have that why wherever you are. It’s just going to manifest in a different form. It’s not necessarily that we have to change circumstances, but I was thinking it was about, it’s not what we do, it’s not our doing, but our being that we’re really looking for.

Rob: For most people. It’s really about fear. And there’s this constant fear is the drivers. So when I think of emotion, I have a thesis that every emotion is a degree of fear, the more fear we feel, the more, the stronger the emotion, but even things like anger, jealousy any of those things have a certain degree of fear.

Rob: So our emotional journey is about our relationship with fear. The problems [00:36:00] in the barriers I see are either fear, or the fact of instant gratification versus long term gratification. Each of us, to go on the journeys that all of you have gone on, and that you advocate for, is we would all pay that price if it was money.

Rob: It’s that change. We would rather pay money than pay then actually change ourselves, because I think that’s harder.

Priyamvada: Yeah, I think at least for me, Rob, I relate to your point about fear, and that again ties back to social conditioning, right? So a lot of fear was about Being accepted, being loved, being seen, being heard. If I’m not making so much money, then I will not be accepted in the society. If I am not famous enough, nobody will like me or nobody will want to be with me.

Priyamvada: Nobody will want to see or be seen with me. And a lot of things, a lot of what we do initially, till you build your self awareness, until you realize what really is important for you, is driven from [00:37:00] that fear. And then it doesn’t matter whether you’re getting instant gratification or delayed gratification, because you’re not looking for it.

Priyamvada: The only gratification you’re looking for is someone saying, Oh my God, look at that shoe she’s wearing, or look at that back she’s carrying, or look at that house she’s bought. And that’s good enough. That’s what you’ve been, looking for. And when you don’t have it, you don’t know what you’re tied to.

Priyamvada: You don’t know who you are. You don’t know what you are or what your identity is and fear drives and therefore fear drive, at least for me, it did for the longest time for me, it was my parents acceptance. It was them. flaunting me to everybody and saying, look at our daughter, this is her list of achievements.

Priyamvada: And I would see that hope in their eyes and I would feel very proud. But then I didn’t realize that I wasn’t, feeling proud about what I was doing myself. And it was just making them happy. But It takes a little bit of learning. It takes that point that Niki mentioned in the beginning about curiosity.

Priyamvada: If I’m not this, if I don’t want this, what [00:38:00] else do I want? What is going to make me happy? What is going to make me feel proud about myself? How do I get there? And what happens then the other way of looking at fear is what happens if I don’t get there. What happens if I continue to be the same? What happens if I work like this for the rest of my life?

Priyamvada: What all will I get? And what will I not get? And then you flip the fear from what you’re getting to what you’re not getting, or what might be the opportunity cost of you not going after what you want. And that is the point where you make that switch that, Oh my God, I cannot continue to live like this because.

Priyamvada: I don’t know. I’m already falling sick. Oh my God. I cannot continue to live like this because I realized this is not how I want to be living my life, making money or whatever it might be for you. So it starts with fear. But then you also flip the fear to the other side which helps you get to whatever you’re looking for.

Saieed: I’m very suspicious of fear. I’ll tell you why is because [00:39:00] fear could mean different things to different people. And the way we react to fear is obviously very different as well. It’s like authenticity. It’s like how we’ve each got our own definition of what that means. To me, fear has always been, and this is something that I learned in the recovery world, and it’s been proven to me through personal experience, fear a lot of the time is false evidence appearing real.

Saieed: So if you write that down, and I think it’s something where again, our conditioning, our biases. Our lens has taught us to see certain phenomena, scenarios, interactions, behaviors, actions, that sort of thing, as something that we should be afraid of or fearful of. Whereas in reality, where we, when we remove the fiction from the fact sometimes it’s not scary at all.

Saieed: And that fear is false. Even though fear could be a motivator as much as stress is a motivator, sometimes it’s, that’s why I’m suspicious of it because sometimes it’s not real. It’s just a making in my own head and mind [00:40:00] that this is something I’m afraid of. It’s like where you go to a theme park or you want to jump off somewhere and you think, Oh, my God.

Saieed: And at that right last second, you beg and plead to that person behind you whose job is to push you to not do it. And then when they do, By the time you get to the end and the bottom, you’re like, can I go again? So that’s an example of how fear could actually distort your thinking and your belief system.

Saieed: Whereas where you actually go through it, it just makes it a different thing altogether. So hence why I’m suspicious. 

Rob: It always reminds me of the Wizard of Oz story of everyone’s on the journey and they all think that they’re missing something until they reach the point. So all of this comes very much up to the hero’s journey.

Rob: Are you all familiar with Joseph Campbell’s Hero Journey where it’s basically you go into the depth of your fear is where you find the reward. 

Rob: All that is about the narrative. Which goes back to both Priya and Niki, you opened up with about [00:41:00] talking about what I termed an operating system, the cultural conditioning, and I think that is, we’ve been given a narrative which slants the way that we act. 

Rob: Last year, like if I did weights, my shoulder locks up and then my knees were hurting from running. So I was away from the gym for a while. 

Rob: The narrative I run on then is you get unhealthy and you want the chocolate and you want all of these things and then it’s a real struggle to get back into it, to get, just to get back in the habit of going to the gym.

Rob: And it’s starting running again, it’s really difficult and, gradually working through the weights. And then when you get into that, what changes is your narrative and your narrative of what is pleasurable, what is healthy, what is good, what feels right. So it’s, it seems it’s all about a change of narrative.

Niki: I think the science point about, fear almost I would say, I would be almost even confident to say at a hundred percent of the time, the fear of the same narrative when you track it down, which I do a lot with my clients, because I’ll just give one [00:42:00] example. One of my clients was saying this while ago, I get so distracted by my WhatsApp notification.

Niki: Of course, she’s speaking about it as if it’s, that’s reality, like there’s no way around that WhatsApp notification exists. Nothing you can do about it. Of course, from outside you can just switch them off. But I know that there’s something like bigger behind.

Niki: So out of curiosity, we explore okay what would happen if you don’t immediately reply to that whatsapp notifications? I’ll be seen as lazy. Okay, imagine you’re now seen as lazy. 

Niki: What then? 

Niki: I’m not seen as good team member Okay, imagine now you’re not a good team member. What then happens?

Niki: I will not get so many opportunities at work. 

Niki: What then? I’ll get fired. 

Niki: What then? I don’t have enough money. 

Niki: What then? Then I cannot provide for my family. 

Niki: What happens then? My family will leave me. 

Niki: What happens then? I’ll be lost and alone. 

Niki: What will happen if you are lost and alone? I’ll die alone. 

Niki: And then she started laughing.

Niki: Almost everybody, when they come consciously to the [00:43:00] fear, it’s like, Oh, you’re saying if you don’t answer lots of messages now, you will die. And why this is so important to understand is that for every single one of us who has a fear that doesn’t logically make sense to us, it’s worth understanding that for the body and the brain, it’s like if you don’t answer that message, you will die alone. 

Niki: So that’s why it’s so difficult to resist it. 

Niki: If the body and the brain are like, you have to answer the notification and a little bit. 

Niki: I also wanted to mention, we’ve talked so much about why, and why can actually come a lot from fear, which is then not going to drive us.

Niki: I don’t know what fear was mentioned about like status or the or the why that comes from if I don’t get that I’ll be alone or I won’t be worthy enough we’ll never achieve that why or actually when we achieve it Like I think many has been there I’ve been there where I have just led five day conference for over hundred business owners.

Niki: [00:44:00] It was huge success I got bonus money for it. So admiration, standing ovation and money, and then I’m flying home and I’m like Yeah didn’t feel like anything. And I think where the real why comes from, it’s almost unstoppable. It’s there’s a huge amount of curiosity about life, or we are approaching life like an adventure.

Niki: Again, all of us have the experience of being in the flow or being happy. When we are happy, we naturally think of others. And it’s not even with a story of I’m helping someone, it just flows from us. And I think that’s really, I think, I’m not saying it’s true, but I think that’s where the real why is. I went in just flow with this curiosity about life and wanting to be beings flowing from us to do others.

Niki: It seems like unstoppable source of energy. 

Rob: That’s how I envision the force of life is like a hose force of life or a light, and then fear, becomes like a kaleidoscope depending on how much fear. And what fear does is [00:45:00] close that down. And that what Saieed said about, false evidence appearing real, is that the fear is predicated on the narrative that we have.

Rob: And when we change the narrative, we take away the fear. 

Rob: But the real why has to come from what is the life force within us? And I love what you said there, Niki, about the if I don’t answer WhatsApp, it goes to I’m going to die because in my work in relationships, people are devastated after a breakup.

Rob: And actually, if you really analyze it, it’s because all of their future, they saw tied up with this person being there. When the person’s gone, they don’t feel they’ve got a future. And when you really get to it, it’s the fear of, okay, if they didn’t love me, no one else will love me. I’ll always end up alone.

Rob: None of my relationships will I’ll end up destitute, and it always goes to destitute and alone. 

Rob: It’s the same thing like someone gets a bill come in and they go, Oh my God, I’m not going to be able to pay this and I’m going to be destitute. I’m going to lose the house. 

Rob: That’s a really great insight that Our fears [00:46:00] are not rational, but because of this unconscious loop behind them they’re massively powerful and we don’t recognize it. Oh, a personal anecdote 

Priyamvada: got laid off from a job because of the way business was going. And it happened.

Priyamvada: Five days after my performance appraisal, where I was told, you’re amazing. You’re so great. We value blah, blah, blah all those things that you normally hear. So the performance appraisal gave me like an exceeded expectation rating on a Friday. And then on a Wednesday it was, you are one of those people we are letting go.

Priyamvada: I couldn’t make sense of it. And when my manager who delivered the news, he said, okay, we need to talk about how we’re going to make things happen before you leave the team. I just told him, I’m just not in a place to talk about this and we will discuss later. Let me just take the news.

Priyamvada: I shut my laptop and I cried. For an hour, like how could this happen to me? Why was it me who lost the job? I was such a good performer. I gave my everything, the usual narrative. [00:47:00] Then I went out for a run. I came back and did the dinner, everything else. And then I opened my journal and I started writing, what are the things that are going to happen to me now?

Priyamvada: And it was shocking for me to see that I was only able to write the good things. I’m going to spend more time with the kids. I’m going to have more time off to do this. I will finally be taking a break from the corporate world after 16 years of working nonstop. Like I was, wait, there has to be a downside to this.

Priyamvada: And I could not put down the downside. I could only write all the good things that were coming out of this. And I, then I asked myself, so why is it that I cried really after? Because it was a rejection that hurt me. Someone said no to me, it was the ego that was hurt.

Priyamvada: Obviously reading and watching everybody else being laid off had prepared me to feel that when I get laid off, it’s because something’s wrong with me. But when I actually gave it time to settle down and when I actually wrote about it, when I was having a conversation with myself, none of that came to the forefront.

Priyamvada: It was, there was all my fear [00:48:00] and all my tears were baseless. It was one of the good things. One of the best things that actually happened to me and it brought me so many more opportunities. And after the point, I never really wondered what am I going to do next? What if I don’t get a job?

Priyamvada: Yes, I had bills to pay. Yes. I have kids to take care of. Yes. I have my mortgages too. But after that evening, when I wrote down in my journal, not once did I think, How am I going to make this happen or what am I going to do? What now? It’ll work out, it will always work out. That kind of self confidence, it can only come from knowing your why.

Priyamvada: It can only come from you being self aware of what really matters to you. Tying it back to where we started from. 

Niki: That’s a really powerful story. Can I just quickly ask especially for my Rob’s audience, interesting. What do you think? Internally or what conditions have you created before or what kind of helped you to, that’s not the most common thing to be able to do, actually, to write down the court thing.

Niki: So what do you think, what did you lean on internally? What helped you do that? 

Priyamvada: To [00:49:00] be honest, Niki I don’t think I consciously went in with the effort or with the mindset, right? Let me write down what are the good things. , when I usually work on my journal, it’s just vomiting my thoughts out there, if I can say so.

Priyamvada: So I just said, okay, I need to be able to talk to myself and process this feeling. This has never happened to me. And I just started writing and it happened in a state of flow. It was only the good things that came out and crying anymore. I was actually fighting, but I think by this point, whether I was accepting it or not consciously, I had reached a place where I wasn’t.

Priyamvada: Really enjoying what I was doing. I was doing more on autopilot. And there was so many other things outside of my job that I was doing that I actually liked that actually put me in a state of flow that actually made me happy that maybe this kind of person, like you said, who wants to help others just for the sake of it, not for wanting something else from them.

Priyamvada: And I, because I was doing all of that, I also knew whatever I was doing in the job was because I don’t know what else to do because I [00:50:00] didn’t know that I wasn’t accepting that you can also quit and you can also be happy. You don’t have to be working to be happy. That kind of acceptance, maybe I was not having it at a conscious level, but my subconscious had already processed it for years of, I don’t know what.

Priyamvada: But I think that’s what that’s what happened. 

Niki: Sounds like you really connected with yourself in that point. You pointed to here. So thank you for sharing. It’s a really 

Priyamvada: scary place to be because then, I don’t know what happens to all these things that you’ve learned up while growing, like you need to have a job, you need to have this, you need to have that.

Priyamvada: So occasionally I’m like, I hope I’m doing the right thing because I’m not scared. I’m not feeling left out. I’m feeling fine and I’m feeling good about myself. So yeah, hopefully I’m doing the right thing. 

Saieed: I think that’s the power of writing, isn’t it? Sometimes where you write something down and then you think either that’s very me or for me personally, a lot of the times it’s, that doesn’t sound like me at all.

Saieed: So why am I thinking this? And then it helps you course correct and adjust. And that’s [00:51:00] when I often use. An exercise that I use with clients is, you’re telling me all this, but write it down, spend some time, reflect, write it down in the evening, and then come back to it tomorrow.

Saieed: And let’s see if this sounds like you or not. And oftentimes they’re like, I just don’t know. This doesn’t sound like me at all. I don’t know why I’m thinking that and then that’s probably enough of a nudge for them to shift their thinking. So it’s an interesting one. 

Priyamvada: Yeah. Or like Niki, you sit them across and you pay, peel the layers one by one and say, so what happens if you don’t answer the notification then one and then one.

Priyamvada: So you either make them see it right then and there and then you’re laughing about it or you ask them to, write it down because a lot of people do struggle with something that. like meditation, they have this image of, I need to be sitting in a quiet place where there’s water flowing with my eyes closed.

Priyamvada: And that’s great. That’s amazing too. But it can be something as simple as really just talking to yourself by writing, because when you write, you see the stupidity in all of this, in all, in whatever your thoughts are imagining in the problems [00:52:00] that you’re creating. 

Niki: I think, it really seems to me that writing and speaking is a way of, we are actually processing our thinking, like when we are speaking something consciously.

Niki: Then all of a sudden we are actually realizing what’s going on inside and then we can start choosing and filtering as long as it’s inside us it’s just mixed up and entangled and quickly tying to Rob’s point about fear and that, for example, when I peel down the layers, peel back the layers, get them to the fear, And recognize it.

Niki: Then, of course, there’s a really important question. How would you want it to be? 

Niki: Like, how would you want and it’s important to ask people what they want, not what they think they should be doing, because the other, they get very quickly limited. Immediately, they think I cannot do this.

Niki: Be in a situation where I don’t reply to the message. But so that’s always necessary. What do you want? How would you want it to be? And then again, the why question. Imagine you start, imagine you don’t react that way anymore. Imagine that’s your [00:53:00] response. What do you think will be, how will your relationship to yourself change when you see yourself having a boundary?

Niki: And that’s how we are connecting behaviors with motivation. That’s maybe very useful so far. When we want to see individuals perform is we need to, yeah, the why has been such a big topic. I’ll very briefly, when the leader of the team or company knows the why of everybody, they can constantly tie their behaviors into that.

Niki: Okay, if you would be successful in this, how do you think it would affect your this goal of yours? Because then the brain literally ties that behavior into motivation. That’s that is powerful. Yeah. I 

Saieed: think that’s what empowerment means for leaders to be able to empower their team members. That’s the process that they should be following ideally is it makes it less about the outcomes processes and how’s and makes it more about the why and how can you relate those, like you said behaviors, actions, even processes, if you can find a way to relate those to [00:54:00] the ultimate why you make it just a much better and easier place for the person to work and thrive in and develop as a result as well. So leaders need to take an emphasis away from themselves and place it on the team member. And if they can focus on doing that, I like to use a ladder energy that John Maxwell uses where he says it’s not about climbing the ladder.

Saieed: It’s about extending the ladder and then eventually helping your team members build their own ladders. 

Saieed: So that to me is the ultimate goal of empowerment. Because there’s a lot of talk about, you see all these visual representations of either a leader that’s stood somewhere on the top of a mountain and the team are below and it’s a very lonely place up there.

Saieed: Or you see a leader that’s guiding people up the mountain. What you don’t really see is. A leader that is helping someone else, they start at the bottom of someone else’s mountain and that person’s going up their own mountain. Do you know what I mean? And that’s, I think it’s the ultimate sense of empowerment and development that you can give to somebody.

Priyamvada: I think that also comes back to what you were first saying [00:55:00] when we started this conversation, saying that self awareness as a leader is important. And it’s only when you develop an awareness about yourself, you can actually help somebody else get to the same point. That also makes you as a leader aware of, your flaws and what you can do and what you cannot do, because somehow it’s become this narration that a leader or a boss should know everything and should have all the answers, when in reality, that is not true at all.

Priyamvada: If you knew all the answers, then why do you need a team just to execute? Then you can just hire freshers or college interns will just do the job instead of understanding why they need to do the job. So I think it all ties back to that self awareness point you were making. 

Saieed: I think you’re right.

Saieed: I think one of the hardest things for leaders to admit or use in their Vocabularies is, I don’t know, or maybe I’m wrong. And if you can find the courage to use those two as a leader, often it works wonders because it provides a sense of, there’s a few things that happens when you do that.

Saieed: I think first of [00:56:00] all, it shows it humanizes your position massively as a leader, shows that you’re on that level. It builds trust because people like to then relate to you on an emotional level where you do that. And then it empowers because it’s basically telling someone that I don’t know.

Saieed: So that means go on, find a solution. You’re delegating effectively at the same time because you’re developing that person in the process and you’re providing autonomy as well, which is because I don’t know, you’re going to do it and I’m not going to chase you or stand over your shoulder and see if you’re doing it right or not, because I’ve already admitted that I don’t know.

Saieed: So you’re doing a lot of things by using those statements, even though it’s simple, you’re doing a lot of things behind the scenes. Yeah. 

Rob: But in order to do that, you again, need to have a lot of presence, a lot of humility and a lot of patience to, and trust in your team. 

Saieed: Absolutely.

Saieed: Can I ask a question from the group.

Saieed: What do you guys think about a why changing? And why do you think about individuals who go through the process or leaders who go through a career, for [00:57:00] example, then they come to a point or they come to multiple points where their why has changed?

Saieed: Do you see that as acceptable? Do you see that as A a problem or do you see that as totally okay for it to happen? I did. I’m basing that question on the question about values and beliefs changing because some people believe value sys belief systems and values shouldn’t change, specifically core values, others believe it, it can and it should, because a lack of it would mean that you’re basically biased and you’re rigid. So now I’m flipping that. I’m talking about the why, how do you deal with someone or how, what do you think about a why changing for someone? 

Rob: Okay. I’ve got one immediately. What I’ve always done in that kind of process of what you might call meditation is I’ve broken down what are the facts and what are my feelings.

Rob: When I break down the facts, it’s they’re like Lego bricks and I need to build them. 

Rob: This is my understanding now. Okay. 

Rob: So I’ve always been very good at reframing. So when I felt like when I had a problem, I would go through this process and I would [00:58:00] break it all down and I would take away the fears.

Rob: So I’m very logical because I learned to strip the emotion from the logic. And so I look at, okay, what are the facts? 

Rob: And then I will put these together. This is the best model I can make now because I have a obsessive kind of mind. And if I still got questions, I still need to and the way I shut it down is by making a model.

Rob: And this is the best I know now. So for me, it’s all about continuously, you make a model. You have a narrative, but as soon as new elements come in, then you have to pull everything apart. You put all the Lego bricks down and now you can build a bigger model. So I think, so for me, I think there is a sense of a core narrative, like there is something deeper that we tend to have the same values. 

Rob: We tend to have the same why, but they just become expressed in different ways. So I think there’s a theme that runs throughout our life, but values are probably due to our experiences or our culture. Something that [00:59:00] had a very strong emotional impact on us, which is laid down in our neurology.

Rob: So it’s rarely gonna change. That’s not to say that it couldn’t change if it’s a strong enough impact. So for me, I think there’s a consistent why. The, our level of awareness. shows us that why and the deeper the level of awareness, the more clear the why becomes.

Rob: And so as you strip back these layers, you get more and more into the real why. So as Priya said at the beginning earlier like initially your why could be being seen with a Prada handbag or whatever. And then that’s about the person you’re becoming. And then it’s about. something deeper. So the narrative continually changes.

Rob: I think a lot of the beliefs change, the fears change. And I think there’s, it’s a more clear version of the why and of the values that we have. 

Niki: I really resonate with that. To me, it sounds like you talk about, actually, like [01:00:00] we expand instead of change. And of course, it’s a very big topic because we could even talk one and a half hours easily about what is actually value, because some people would say we’re going to work on family values, and I would say that those are not values.

Niki: They are like, they can be, we can express values there and then also resonate. From what you said about the deeper layers, I’d say that there’s a point where we don’t anymore even have why. That it’s, that you use the word flow of life, like the whole, like it’s flow so much through us that and also we trained our mind, trained our, because the amazing thing about having a why is that if it’s clear enough, it literally puts everything into context because it’s a part of the brain called RAS, which has two, it has two functions, allowing information in the conscious mind that has to do with our safety and allowing information into our mind that we have, expressed as important emotionally.

Niki: For example, if they think I really [01:01:00] don’t want something bad to happen, I really don’t want to lose my job and I’m really worried about it, that’s what that part of the brain is going to let a lot of information about that into our mind. But if it’s, for example, that we want to grow and use every situation in order to be benefit to others, we can literally, this is my experience from dishwashing, I can’t imagine anything more boring than dishwashing.

Niki: But then I decided that I take dishwashing as a way to train myself to boring things. And funnily enough, it became more enjoyable. Because now there was a meaning in washing dishes. Here I’m practicing in being in this dull and bored state. So that’s also what why does. It just puts everything into context.

Niki: Literally, so hopefully I’m not taking too much space, but I think this is a so important point imagine that your child gets sick, and they actually they need medicine fast, and your car doesn’t work, the pharmacy is 500 meters [01:02:00] away, and you are going towards the pharmacy, there’s cars going on the street, in that moment, the cars are huge obstacles to you.

Niki: Because they are standing in the way of your, the health of your child. The moment you get the medicine, the cars are no longer obstacles. So everything really in our mind, everything appears in context. Everything is can be as a learning or useful experience, or everything can also be an obstacle.

Niki: It really depends. What is what is important and how we can see the world, how flexible we are in seeing the world. But I think that’s one of the most important realizes in life to realize that I’m seeing everything in the context of what’s important to me and I’m responsible for the context.

Priyamvada: I also feel your upbringing and the conditioning, the place where you grow up has a lot to do with this. An example I could give is when I was growing up as a child and the schools that I went to while writing, if I made a [01:03:00] mistake, the teacher would be standing right next to me and she would tap my hand really hard with a wooden, a ruler or a scale.

Priyamvada: And that was meant to hurt. And that was meant to say, Hey, you made a mistake. You’re not allowed to make mistakes. Yeah. And then it, and so the only thing I’m learning is you cannot you’re bad if you make a mistake, don’t make mistakes, you will get beaten, nobody’s going to like you and so on and so forth.

Priyamvada: And then I’m here in the Netherlands and my son starts going to school. And the first thing when he starts writing, we are sent a notice by the teachers that says, please do not send erasers with your children to school. We want them to make mistakes because mistakes are how they learn. And so When my son writes something, or if they told us if they’re writing something at home as parents, your job is not to correct them.

Priyamvada: You are parents. Your job is to love them. Your job is to make them feel cared for. And you do that. We are teachers. Our job is to teach them, how to write, what to write, when to write, whatever that comes along with [01:04:00] it. But it. At no point are we going to say, hey, you made a mistake, erase that and write the right thing.

Priyamvada: We are going to let them make mistakes and let them understand why it’s a mistake. It could be like a spelling, they’re in like grade one or grade two, what big life mistake could they make? Literally nothing. But that’s the condition which my son is growing up with. And when he tells me as an eight year old, Mom, it’s okay to make mistakes.

Priyamvada: I don’t know why you get so, worried about it. I’m like, when I mess up cooking, I’m like, Oh my God, I burned the food. I cannot. He’s it’s okay, mom. It’s just food. We’ll get it from outside. You see the difference for me? I am already, I burned food. How did I do this? Now I got to be cooking again.

Priyamvada: And he’s it’s just food. So you burned it. Big deal. That’s the difference that upbringing and conditioning can do to you.

Rob: Thank you. That’s that’s such a vivid story. I really like that because sometimes we’re judgmental of other people and we don’t recognize that they’ve had an entirely different upbringing, which has shaped the way that they see the world [01:05:00] and the way that they react to it.

Rob: Okay, so how I like to end these is by just going round of what came up for you, what are you thinking, what are you feeling any thoughts based on this discussion.

Rob: So for me what’s really clear is how important the why is and how it all, and I suppose when you think about it, health it’s quite logical that if being is the force of life, the more clarity and the more that we allow that to flow through us. 

Rob: One of my favorite quotes is there’s various different ones, but the one from E. E. Cummings is, the hardest thing to be in the world is to be yourself. Because everything in the world wants you to be something else. The world is trying to push you to be a commodity as in the economic mindset is trying to make us buy stuff.

Rob: Work tries to make us fit in. So we’re a good little worker, school, all of these things. So yeah it’s, for me, it’s really about the curiosity [01:06:00] to find the why. And when we have that motivation, that’s. That taps into something deep in us. That’s how we find wellbeing. 

Priyamvada: You know what I think about wellbeing, right? I advocate for that being the foundation of everything you do, whether you’re working, not working, whether you’re a leader, you’re not a leader, and it doesn’t start and end with just working out or exercising or going to the gym. It’s all that we discussed today, right? It’s building your self awareness. It’s figuring out who you are, figuring out what you want, figuring out why you want it. And the more you explore that side of you, the more it translates to every other aspect of your life, whether you want to succeed as a leader in the corporate world, whether you want to succeed as a runner in the racing world, it doesn’t matter.

Priyamvada: When you know your why, when you build your self awareness, and that can come through a lot of practices, like we discussed writing, meditation talking to yourself, talking to a therapist. It can [01:07:00] come through so many ways, but as long as it’s coming, and as long as it’s coming continuously, Your mind opens up.

Priyamvada: You’re learning new things, not just about the world, but also about yourself. And all along, then you’re making these tiny little connections, you’re connecting all the dots that keep that you keep encountering in life. And that is well being. 

Niki: Brilliant three things come to my mind. First one is just personal, curious looking at myself, what I’m observing. I think personally for me, for being with all of you here and noticing Okay, Priya is really good at telling stories, I can tell more stories. 

Niki: Saieed, you have such a warmth it’s so easy, nice to listen to you.

Niki: And so that, for example, okay, I could probably be a bit more that on Rob your curiosity and you’re condensing things and you’re picking all that we are putting out here, you are putting them together. So that’s probably for me, on a personal level okay, I can do more. Those three things more.

Niki: And even though the why is [01:08:00] always what I talk about. Again, it was just three. What does that strengthen? That is, if somebody would ask me for one thing, if they want to transform and change their lives, like that, it needs to start from there. And then maybe a third thing for the listeners, I think one thing We did touch it and Rob you at the end mentioned about it is that, that people are different and we might be judging people.

Niki: And I think they’re also people to understand how I often really wish people wouldn’t judge themselves so much. 

Niki: All that we talked about here, for example, the answer in the WhatsApp message, if people can understand almost every limitation they have. Yeah. It’s just their body and brain trying to protect them in a very limiting way and to understand that those are so powerful that it’s not like people are lazy or stupid or they just can’t change but that they are dealing with very powerful things and with humility, let me [01:09:00] change one small thing then that’s a really good start instead of like how come I didn’t run marathon after the second day that I started running like how can how is it so difficult for me to meditate five hours I only started meditating two days ago that people don’t that I wish people would be a lot more kind of would treat us adventure and be a lot more compassionate towards themselves those are the things that came up for me

Saieed: for me is Some of the key, the topic of conversation was getting people into peak performance. And I think we’ve perfectly covered that because we’ve talked about all the human elements involved and we’ve talked about the most deeply rooted one, which is the why, the purpose, and then how that’s achieved, which is through self awareness, various processes and methods.

Saieed: I particularly enjoyed Niki’s version, which is playing the movie to the, I like to call it to the bitter end sometimes to then be able to remove the fiction and what people actually think versus [01:10:00] what the reality is. I like Priya’s revelation of putting stuff down on paper, writing it down and then understanding and realizing that this is a figment of my imagination or distorted way of thinking.

Saieed: And in reality, this is going to work out much better. And I feel renewed and revitalized almost. So that is an exercise I recommend that everyone does. I didn’t get the answer on whether a why can change or not, but I think we could leave that for another episode. I feel we’ve got a lot to talk about that.

Saieed: And finally, it was a pleasure to meet you and see you and look forward to. To doing this again. So thank you. Thank you. 

Priyamvada: That’s a secret, openly telling you that we need another 90 minutes to discuss. 

Niki: Yes, I will. Yes, for that. 

Priyamvada: Yes. 

Rob: I think there’s a lot more to discuss. Thank you.

Share the Post:

Related Posts