On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Arash Arabi about defeat the enemy within, being a scrum master, servant leadership and the wise enterprise.
We also delve into systems thinking, emotional intelligence, leadership, organisational design, and how we can inch together towards the goal line.
Arash Arabi – Defeat The Enemy Within
Arash is a Taekwondo World Champion, Agile and Leadership Coach and a person with a passion for Emotional Intelligence. The author of The Wise Enterprise, Arash Arabi is a systems thinker, and a man who loves trying new languages and technologies.
He studied a Bachelors and Masters in Information Technology from Monash University, and a Professional Leadership Program from Motivation Matters. His career has included IT software and engineering roles with companies such as Oracle and Intrepid Travel, and has been an Agile Coach and Trainer for companies like ANZ, and nBn Australia. Now, he is the founder & CEO of Sprint Agile and is an Agile Coach for IOOF Holdings.
Arash talks about
Growing up in Iran during the war.
What’s my role in the universe
What would you do with all the time and money in the world?
Becoming a Taekwondo World Champion.
My superpower is endurance through everything I have done in life.
It’s what really makes me satisfied internally that really counts.
Realising that a successful person needs to understand everyone.
Scrum Masters being servant leaders.
Economical war versus a chemical war.
The Wise Enterprise.
Decision making is influenced by our emotions.
Leadership is a skill not a rank.
How everyone perceives the world to form their opinions.
An answer is only as good as the question
“I couldn’t defeat the enemy within, because I was stressed, I wasn’t able to use my skills to the best of my abilities. I had all these tricks up my sleeve that I would easily be able to beat the other person. I couldn’t, as it went 10mins overtime. I couldn’t defeat the enemy within.” Arash Arabi talks about Defeat The Enemy Within, on the active CEO Podcast.
On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Dr Amir Rashidan about The Stressproof Life, early signs of compounding stress, why living homeless was scarier than living in Iran during the war, and how dyslexia taught him to think in auditory.
We also delve into the success dilemma, the four stages of stress, the power of chiropractic in treating young children in distress, and if you look for it, you will find it.
Dr Amir Rashidan – The Stressproof Life
Dr Amir Rashidan is the author of The StressProof Life, chiropractor business owner, advocate for drugless health solutions and promotes health is your birth right. A remarkable man, Amir serves on the Board of Habitat For Humanity, has survived growing up in a war torn country and overcoming financial crisis, and enjoys quality time with his wife Brandi and three beautiful children.
He has a BSc. Chemistry from The George Washington University, BSc. Human Biology from the National University of Health Sciences and Doctorate of Chiropractic from the National University of Health Sciences. His career has included Chiropractor roles at Injury Center of America, Woodbine Chiropractic and has owned the Mid-Atlantic Clinic of Chiropractic, since 2006
Amir talks about:
Growing up in the Iran Revolution and hearing the high pitch whistle of a bomb.
Scariest moment was moving to USA with $500 and being homeless.
You are not doing it for you; you are doing it for them.
What can governments do to reduce homelessness.
Deciding to become a chiropractor.
Choosing to believe that the human body can do amazing things.
How aligning his newborn son’s spine saved his life.
Your health is dependent on how much it can handle stress.
The Stressproof life.
Stress is a force that causes change in your life.
If overtired and not sleeping it is telling you something
Take care of your body, it is the only one you are going to get
“Your body knows what to do in every circumstance. In the right environment it can react and respond to the stress in your life properly, and increase your chance of survival and in fact you can thrive.” Dr Amir Rashidian talks about how stress increases your chance of survival, on the active CEO Podcast.
“7 years old and you are in this dark place, the bombs are dropping and you are scared. You look to the person you depend on the most, and this person was dad.” The power of positivity with Dr Amir Rashidian, on the active CEO Podcast.
#140 – Dr Amir Rashidian (Mid Atlantic Chiropractor) The Stressproof Life Link #139 – TRUST Through Healthy Confrontation Link #138 – Kine Corder (Presidential Lifestyle) Finding Your Money Mission Link #137 – Clarify PROCESS For Commitment Link #136 – Steve Rodgers (IGI Principles) Overcoming The Indulgent Life Link #135 – REWARD, Recognition & Reflection Link #134 – Julie Masters (Inside Influence) How Gravity Shifts Influence Link #133 – GROWTH Through Creative Risk-taking Link #132 – Ron Carucci (Navalent) Rising To Power With Influence Link #131 – Influence COLLABORATIVE Leadership Link #130 – Alison Hill (Pragmatic Thinking) Building Leadership Potential Remotely Link
On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Revital Golan about an Entrepreneur State Of Mind, mentoring female leaders, how Anemone Ventures supports tech startups in Asia and why Taiwan offers a unique opportunity of a business friendly environment.
We also delve into growing up in a Kibbutz and serving in the Israeli military, pushing the human limits, failure is a part of learning, living your own life and balancing adapting and influencing.
Revital Golan – Entrepreneur State Of Mind
Revital is fascinated with technology
start-ups, aspiring future female leaders and being an active CEO. Known as a
tenacious and determined leader, who loves the great outdoors, cycling big
mountains and embodying diversity. She studied a MA Finance from the City
University of New York, an Executive Master of Science in Finance from Zicklin
School of Business and a BA Economics & Business Development from the Max
Stern Yezreel Valley College.
After a career in the Israel
Defence Forces, she moved with her family to Asia. Her roles included Project
Manager & Assistant to Commercial and Defence Attache at the Embassy of
Israel in Singapore; Country Manager Korea, Taiwan, HK Business Development
Asia for Berlitz International; and Sales Director Asia for MassiveImpact. She
founded Anemone Ventures in 2009 to help tech start-ups and SME’s establish in
Asia. With a huge passion in supporting
the next generation of entrepreneurs and women business leaders she is the
Women Professor Rank technical Expert at Providence University, Asia Pacific
Desk Chief Representative for the University of Haifa Israel, and Chair of the
Women in Business Programme for the British Chamber of Commerce in Taipei.
Revital talks about:
Military taught her discipline, decision making
under pressure, teamwork and hardship.
Difference in leadership between Asia and Israel.
Having an entrepreneur state of mind.
How Asia taught her to be humble, be a better
listener and observer.
Having a team that you can trust and build a team
you can work closely with.
Her passion to bring start-ups and innovations into
Opening a company during the global financial crisis
Why being an entrepreneur is a journey.
Now corporations are starting to encourage their
employees to think as entrepreneurs.
Proven that companies that have diversity achieve
better bottom lines and profit.
Being passionate about women in business and
promoting more in senior positions.
Live your life, don’t live your kids life, husbands
life or parents life.
Inspiring and empowering women in business across Taiwan.
Coping with low emotional times as an athlete or entrepreneur
Becoming a vegetarian at age of 16.
My continuous passion and will to challenge myself
physically, mentally and emotionally.
Growing gap between the rich and poor, educated and
CEO Performance Tip
Free Your Mind – We
need to be very disciplined and attentive with our focus currency. It has become
challenging to remain focused, be present and be attentive with globalization
and technology driving constant contact 24/7. We can easily be bombarded with
attention grabbing information, which can provide stressful emotions and be
challenging to filter. Our workplaces have become custom-built to destroy both
individual and team focus. We are exposed to constant chatter and noise in
collaborative working and open plan workspaces. Ever growing number of
scheduled meetings and internal emails can lead to overwhelm and scrambling to
get “real work” completed before and after work, as well as the weekends. How
temping is the lure of social media and social networking streams, status
updates and instant gratification? It is important that you actively free your
mind each day. This can be through exercise, meditation, walking in nature,
listening to music, spending time with your children, breathing patterns,
visualising positive and relaxing thoughts and for others it can be a walk in
nature. How are you going to free your mind today?
“Learn how to be your own cheerleader. Nobody is
going to give you a tap on the shoulder, oh my gosh, you did a great job. You
have to do it by yourself, you have to find your own mentors, you have to be
very determined for what you do and have to know how to adapt and change to the
circumstances.” Celebrating the small wins in entrepreneurship with Revital
Golan, on the active CEO Podcast.
“Don’t think that you are sacrificing anything for anybody else. Your kids never ask you to sacrifice anything for them. When they become 18 you can’t say that you sacrificed your career for them.” Revital Golan explains why it’s important to do it for yourself, on the active CEO Podcast.
#81 – How A Leader Can Recover With Purpose Link #80 – Jonathan Rake Launchpad To Go Beyond Borders Link #79 – Free Your Mind Link #78 – Hillary Poole Leading Healthy Sustainable Systems Link #77 – Tips To Fuel Your Leadership Performance Link #76 – Paul Veric (BTE Consulting) The Peaceful Warrior CEO Link #75 – How Exercise Enhances Leadership Performance Link #74 – Lucy Bennett Baggs (Just Challenge) Just Challenge Global Impact Link #73 – Four Basic Fundamentals Of Being A High Performing Leader Link #72 – Azran Osman Rani (Naluri) – Power Of The Human Mind Link #71 – How To Be A High Performing Leader In 2020 Link #70 – Miles Stewart (Triathlon Australia) A Lifetime Chasing Results Link
CEO loneliness is a real problem affecting our society. Have you ever felt lonely, isolated and there is no one you can speak to, as a leader? Well, you are not alone!
Harvard Business Review reported that 61% of CEO’s feel that loneliness hinders their job performance. The higher you move up the ladder the greater the responsibility, pressure to deliver results, expectation to remain calm and the level of confidentiality, increases. Has CEO loneliness invaded your life?
CEO’s may find it difficult to speak about their biggest challenges, complex problems or strongest fears with their boards, senior executives or colleagues. They also struggle to confide in their friends outside of the organization as they feel they don’t have the depth and breadth of understanding the challenges that they face. There is also the risk of sharing information and doubts as it could catalyse rumours.
The lack of privacy that has occurred, as a
result of technology, has opened the door to greater public and media scrutiny,
and therefore a grey area of what is and isn’t private and public life. To
compound this, there are also developing expectations that CEO’s should increase
their transparency, vulnerability and openness to become a better leader.
“With great power comes great responsibility”. SPIDERMAN
As a result, CEO’s quite often experience
social isolation as the number of people they can confide in shrinks. Sometimes
the number of people CEO’s confide in reduces to a level where they don’t feel
comfortable speaking with anyone about the important topics, things that keep
them up at night and the tough decisions that need to be made. This occurs
because they find it difficult to make it relatable to people who are not
experiencing the same challenges and also the risk of confidentiality being
When pressure comes on and issues arise, many
CEO’s will try and fix them without reaching out for help, both internally and
externally. Poor decisions and escalated problems can occur, and it is at these
times when you need to depend on people you have built trust and relationships
over a number of years.
According to a study completed by the
University of Chicago, social isolation affects human behavior and how the
brain operates. fMRI scans showed there is a decrease in the activity of the
parts of the brain associated with rewards and a seeing things from other
peoples perspectives in lonely people versus non-lonely people. The research
suggested that loneliness might be accentuated as lonely individuals may seek
to “find relative comfort in nonsocial rewards”. (Cacioppo et
In the PNAS Journal in 2015, research by Cole
et al, identified how flight-or-fight responses triggered by perceived social
isolation (PSI) and loneliness can lead to illness and premature death. PSI and
loneliness can adversely affect sleep patterns, stress hormones, inflammation
in the body, production of white blood cells, and executive function, learning
and memory (Bergland, 2015).
As a CEO, it is critical that you learn how to overcome the feelings of loneliness to improve your health, home-life and work productivity. It is important to proactively build and develop emotional connections with a broad range of people, as it leads to increased collective positive emotions and well being.
The important question is – Who can you speak
with when the going gets tough and the challenges become overwhelming?
Here are 4 Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness:
1. Build a Team of Mentors
These are the people whom you can consult with when faced with challenges and problems where the answer may not be clear. They are people who are curious, like to ask questions, be prepared to listen and at times make you feel uncomfortable by challenging you to consider other approaches. It is valuable to have a diverse range of mentors, who aren’t just like you. You want people who you trust their advice and opinions, but most importantly will provide the hard truths and perspectives from a different angle. Personally I ensure that my mentors come from different industries, cultures and age ranges. Having a mentor who is younger than you is just as powerful as having someone older with lots of wisdom. Who are the 4 to 8 people you need in your life that give you the confidence, clarity and perspective you need.
2. Create Work-Life Integration
Successful people are congruent with their values and character whether they are at home or in the workspace. Work is part of life, so the theory of work-life balance may not be the best approach. Work-Life Integration is all about understanding that work is part of life and we need to effectively manage the boundaries between when we are working and we are doing other components of our life. Your body and mind needs the space to recharge, rejuvenate and reimagine. Having space in your life for relationships, exercise, freeing your mind and other passions is important in providing opportunities for an outlet, growth, success and diversifying your perspective. It also can provide motivation and inspiration not only to yourself, but other people when you have a passion or two outside the workplace. The relationships; whether family, social or work-related, in your life are important. If you have a partner and/or children then it maybe useful to leave the office before dark and create a cue to ensure you are present when spending valuable time with them. What changes will you make in 2020 to ensure that you have an outlet and focus outside of work?
3. Join a Support Group
Having a support group or mastermind is different to a team of mentors who you are likely to consult and confide in individually. Support groups meet on a regular basis, whether that is weekly, monthly, quarterly or even yearly. It’s a group that is likely to be diverse in nature and provides the psychological safety to discuss, brainstorm and challenge solutions to problems, ideas or challenges that people in the group face. These groups provide a sense of belonging; an honest feedback mechanism where they act as a nurturer, mirror or provider of truth; and can also function as celebrator, motivator and inspirer. They enable you to find clarity and most importantly perspective. An extra bonus is that support groups allow you to form connections that help alleviate stress, anxiety and improve mental health. What mastermind or support group will help you go to the next level in 2020?
4. Embrace the Inclusivity of Courage and Vulnerability
In the past vulnerability maybe seen as a
weakness, when in fact it is actually a strength. We grow through adversity,
changing our environment and challenging the status quo. Courage and
vulnerability are inclusive. Without vulnerability we cannot be courageous and
without courage we cannot find the strength to speak up and be vulnerable. As a
CEO it is ok to say you don’t have an answer, that you were wrong, are feeling
a lack in confidence and that other peoples answers are better. Having
vulnerable discussions helps to build psychological safety within your team or
between stakeholders. Vulnerability cultivates trust and respect from others,
while creating the space for others to speak up about problems, issues or
feelings they have. It fosters discussion about key problems and allows people
with different perspectives to provide solutions that may not have surfaced
before. As a CEO you need to lead by example by taking the first step to
showcasing that vulnerability is positive and a key pillar to growth in your organization
and life. How will you let your guard down, put your ego to the side and create
a space for vulnerability and courage to flourish in your work environment?
It is important to remember that we do not
succeed on our own. There is no instant solution or cure to CEO loneliness, and
it requires patience and time to create a strong support network and
environment. It is important to that as an influential leader that you identify
and build strong team of mentors and support group for valuable guidance when there
is uncertainty, difficulty confronts us and we need to celebrate successes in
life. Take the time to reflect and then recognize how the 4 Ways To Overcome
CEO Loneliness can you help you rise up and become a better leader in 2020.
Cacioppo et al. (2009) What Are the Brain Mechanisms on Which Psychological Processes Are Based?Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2009; 4 (1): 10 Link
Bergland, C. (2015) Loneliness: Perceived Social Isolation Is Public Enemy No. 1 Psychology Today, 23rd November 2015. Link
Comerford, C. (2018) Loneliness: The Executive Challenge No One Talks About. Forbes, 7th July 2018. Link
On this episode of the active CEO
Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Diana Rau about Board Of Mentors, the
remarkable backstory of Veterati, her better every day framework and striving
for high performance. We also talk about lessons learnt at Georgetown University,
her grand entry into the American Chamber of Commerce and how her time as VP of Growth and Innovation
at Double Dutch was a game-changer for her husband Daniel Rau.
Diana Rau – Board of Mentors
Diana Rau is a young,
creative and powerful leader who was named in the Forbes 30 under 30 Social
Impact Entrepreneur and Top 25 Military Influencers in 2018. She is a game
changer for Defence veterans, an innovation leader who is dedicated to solving
social challenges and a connector who loves building tribes.
Living in New York, her
education has included a BA International Political Economy and International
Business Diplomacy at Georgetown University. Diana began her career as a
journalist for the American Chamber of Commerce before taking on roles as CEO
of BUNDSHOP, Director of Creative Social Strategy for BluBlocker China, and was
a founding partner of League X, an independent storytelling and narrative
In 2015, she cofounded
Veterati, which is the #1 mentoring platform for the military, and is now the
CEO. Our guest was the VP of Growth and Innovation at Double Dutch, which
powers business and social movements through its award-winning live events
platform, before it was acquired in June 2019.
Diana talks about:
Being a high-energy child who loved reading books
and being involved with music.
Studying politics at Georgetown University
How Professor Mark Bush challenged her in international
The power of YES.
Why every 10 minutes of her life at school was
The reasons why Georgetown alumni’s James Wiseman
and Carl Wegner are still her mentors.
Why are Veterans not getting their dream job when
they come back from service?
One in Three Americans has never had a conversation
with a Veteran.
Veterans dynamically evolving so fast so need
different mentors as they transition and grow.
On average the Veterans have 3.7 mentors.
Why the Board Of Mentors matters and removing
barriers in the mentoring process.
What environment makes you thrive and makes you
Bravery is really valuable in founders to be able to
hold to their value system.
One thing better every day.
Better Every Day Framework.
Best memories are transformational activities.
Love the movements of extreme complex and difficulty
in the start-up world.
Most interesting conversations are when you are
co-creating with someone.
CEO Performance Tip
Childs Play – Sit back and enjoy the feeling of
just playing rather than just being so focused and diligent on specific tasks.
Try things, play things, do things a little bit out of the norm. Test it and be
a little bit creative. Be like a child, play, have fun and allow your creative
juices to flow.
“80% of jobs come through personal networks
according to the Department of Labour.” Talking about Veterans
re-engaging with the workforce,
on the active CEO Podcast.
“An on-Demand digital mentoring platform for veterans and military spouses
to be able to secure their dream jobs.” Diana Rau talks about
Veterati, on the
active CEO Podcast.