Personal Development Podcast Post

The Power of Empathy with Faisal Hoque

George Grombacher September 29, 2022

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The Power of Empathy with Faisal Hoque

LifeBlood: We talked about the power of empathy, the value of giving our full attention to others, how to live a life of fulfillment, and how to get started, with Faisal Hoque, Founder of Shadoka, and Chair or NextChapter, best-selling author, Top 100 most influential people in technology, and author of Lift.

Listen to learn why finding your own joy is a prerequisite for helping others! 

You can learn more about Faisal at, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Faisal Hoque

Episode Transcript

Unknown Speaker 0:15
left with this Georgie and the time is right welcome today’s guest strong a powerful Faisal Hawk Hawk Faisal. Are you ready to do this? Yes, I’m ready to do this. Thanks for having me. Good morning to you. And good morning to you as well. Faisal is the founder of shadow Oka. He’s the founder and the Founding Chair of next chapter. He is a Wall Street Journal USA Today best selling author has been voted a top 100 most influential person in technology. His newest book is the lift, fostering the leader in you amid revolutionary global change. Faisal, tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work, why you do what you do? Oh, gosh, that will take hours. But

Unknown Speaker 0:57
in a nutshell, I’m a tech entrepreneur. I’ve been in the industry almost 30 years now. You know, in, I started my career in Fortune 500 worked for GE Pitney Bowes, and then started a series of tech companies, some winning success, some disaster, raise money from venture capitalist, got fired from one of them started all over again. And 20 years ago, I started writing.

Unknown Speaker 1:26
When I started writing, I was writing about organizational change and technology and organizational structure. And the writing is a passion. So it’s not, that’s not my mainstay of business. I’m a technology, product developer. And,

Unknown Speaker 1:43
you know, and as I’ve written over the years, you know, as I’ve grown older, my thought process has shifted, and evolved. So I now kind of live in this intersection of humanity and business and process and technology. So a lot of focus on mindfulness,

Unknown Speaker 2:02
transformational leadership, etc. So that’s International. Yeah. I love it.

Unknown Speaker 2:08
Exercising, both parts of your brain are all parts of your brain, trying to Yeah, I appreciate that. So. So humanities, technology, mindfulness, profit, innovation moving forward. That is that a natural thing for you is that something you work at?

Unknown Speaker 2:31
I would say that it evolved, and it has become natural to me, I would have said, that was the most natural thing for me, because, you know, when, when you’re in your early 20s, and you have an idea what your life should be, what you want to be, you know, either it takes you a long time to find who you are, or you get super driven and super focused on studying during everything else. So I was one of those people super driven, super focus, you know, and building companies and etc, right. So, but as time went by, you know, and I, I’m originally from Bangladesh, I have a pretty deep understanding of Eastern philosophy had a chance to travel through Japan and other other places. And this idea of connecting with yourself, and mindfulness and empathetic leadership, and how empathy allows you to connect with yourself. And that allows you to connect with other folks. And the context of, you know, what we have seen in the last five years, from pandemic, you know, with change,

Unknown Speaker 3:41
you know, etc, etc. It kind of, you know, saw my previous book, before left was wrote about six years ago, I didn’t have a, you know, I didn’t have a new idea what I should write about So, but all that changes kind of helped me to connect the dots between the current status of the globe as a whole. And what’s going on with technology, and how do we prepare ourselves individually and organizationally to go to the next level, that’s what lift is about is that the idea is that if you want to lift others, first, you have to lift yourself, you know, that’s kind of the underlying theme of lift.

Unknown Speaker 4:25
I think that that is it’s such a powerful, important and timely message.

Unknown Speaker 4:33
I strikes me that that I can be overwhelmed or approach overwhelm, by looking at all of the problems that that humanity is facing. It’s like, well, I can’t do anything about these things, but I am an empathetic person. So I want to be able to help. So what do I do and I think sometimes it just causes us to do nothing.

Unknown Speaker 4:55
That’s very true. And you know, and a lot of us have

Unknown Speaker 5:00
His idea is that impact or making a difference, you know, the definition of this is that you have to change the world, you know, and the way I have kind of look at it now is that you don’t, you know, change yourself and change your immediate community. By community, I mean, the people you interact with, you know, the people you work with whatever the case may be. And that is, that is an impact, because collectively, if we did that, then I honestly believe the world would be a better place. And, by the way, I mean, when I was thinking of writing left, I was very purposeful, to find optimism, because, you know, sort of wrote it for my son’s generation who is now 20. And I wanted to give them an optimistic view that there’s lots of opportunity, and there are a future generation. So we looked at lots of different industry, you know, education, health care,

Unknown Speaker 6:03
you know,

Unknown Speaker 6:05
the technology, and public sector, I’ve been doing a lot of work in public sector, you know, with our federal government. So, now I can say, I do have a bit of experience in public sector. So there’s opportunity everywhere, right? So the question is, how do you, how do you look at yourself, find your strength and your calling, and apply to this opportunity? You know, and if you do, then you may have a ability to have a meaning and an impact, and it doesn’t have to be all about financials. In the sense that definition of impact and value is different for different people. You know, as I said, I was, I was in my 20s, you know, I wanted to build big companies and work with big customers. And that’s not the goal anymore, you know, so like, everything I do I want to make a difference, whatever small it is, you know, it’s not a, it’s not a,

Unknown Speaker 7:04
you know, comparison or a yard scale to see, okay, am I doing better than somebody else? Or am I making better impact than other? Whatever I am making an impact that has an impact? And that’s a positive impact.

Unknown Speaker 7:17
That’s all really well, sad.

Unknown Speaker 7:20
It’s a

Unknown Speaker 7:23
it’s hard to grapple with that, right? Because it’s like, what, what is enough? Am I doing enough? Is just working on me and taking care of my family? And then maybe my community? White? Why wouldn’t that be big enough? And I, we just need to ask ourselves these questions and, and grapple with it.

Unknown Speaker 7:48
For sure. You know, and, and, you know, I think we all suffer from, you know, the 234 different kinds of people, personality, right, there are people who really don’t care, they just just just living as it is, and, you know, whatever. And then there are people who are constantly putting themselves down because they’re not doing enough, you know, am I doing enough for my children? Am I doing enough for my spouse? Am I doing enough for my friends and family, whatever I’m doing is meaningless, etc, etc. But there is a middle ground, you know, and the middle ground is that, find whatever gives you joy, and then try to take that joy, and try to apply that to other people’s benefit. Right. So So, and that’s in my mind, you know, that’s enough. You know, I mean, that’s really enough. I mean, we’re all not gonna be Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, and, etc, etc. Like, for example, I’ll give you example.

Unknown Speaker 8:56
I’m a big fan of Chef, Andre, Jose Andreas and was doing remarkable work, feeling, you know, people who are in crisis all over the world, right? And, and so my way, I mean, I love food, I love culture, my way of contributing is that I make charity donation to his organization, right. And I’m a fan. I cheer him on, like social media. And that’s, that’s okay. You know, I remember. And I don’t want I don’t need to be another Jose Andreas. And that’s my calling is my calling whatever I can do, I can do and, and there’s enough at least that’s how I feel. You know, I mean, I was asked a couple of days ago, where would you be if you had a choice? And I said, I’m exactly where I want to be. And that’s unfortunate that I can I can say that, you know, because that means that you found a containment regardless of adversity. We all have adversities, right? I mean, great adversity, family adversity, health adversity. You know, whatever the case

Unknown Speaker 10:00
I mean, none of our lives are perfect. But, you know, you you We have to try to live with that and kind of look at it, you know, optimistic way, but in a pragmatic sense, right. I mean, there’s there is there’s

Unknown Speaker 10:16
pragmatic optimism and there is baseless optimism, right? So we can be, just say, world would be a better place. If none of us do anything. That’s the way it is. But it’s not everything record requires efforts and devotion and ritual and

Unknown Speaker 10:33
discipline, nothing happens without that. But I think there is a lot of cases

Unknown Speaker 10:40
for optimism.

Unknown Speaker 10:43
Appreciate that a lot of good stuff. So somebody asked you, where would you be if you had a choice? You could be anywhere, like, right here? You know, my, my life is as I want? It, is? Is that a good question for everyone to ask themselves? And if the answer is totally different than what I have? That’s, that’s okay. And then it’s a function of we need to now go to work and figure out how I can get closer to that? Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I don’t think I could have said, I would have the exact same answer. If somebody asked me 10 years ago, or five years ago, or 15 years ago, and by the way, that was not a reflection of success, you know, I have plenty of success. That was not because I was just struggling with my career, and I wasn’t doing things that are meaningful, it was just not fulfilling enough for me, right. So. So.

Unknown Speaker 11:42
So it’s really about fulfillment. It’s not just about, you know, success or failure. And so if your answer is, you know, no, I really, this is not where I want to be. That means that something is missing, you know, it could be that you don’t have you’re not doing what you want to do, it could be that you’re not in the right relationship that you want to be, it could be that you don’t have the right set of friends is, you know, it’s maybe you don’t have the rights of co worker, that that inspires you, you know, whatever the case may be, you know, you do have to figure that out and, and go to work. And that’s where, you know, the finding yourself, you know, the authentic self, which really comes from mindfulness and having the empathy to realize what’s going on around you, and be able to take your unique value, each one of us have unique value, and apply that unique value to the world around you. That’s where you know that the definition of transformational leadership, the way we described it, is the fact that it’s comes from empathy, it counselor influence it comes from inspiration. And so you have to find all that within yourself first, and then you you can relate to the world and definition of the world, again, is whatever you define, as you know, I mean, it could be that your little company, it could be your multibillion dollar corporation, it could be your, you know, the State Department or DOD, you know, I mean, whatever the case may be, or it could be that the soup kitchen that you’ve cited support, right? So it really doesn’t matter. That’s your call. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 13:21
So you used a couple of words that I don’t know, that are commonly associated with empathy, ritual and discipline. Tell me more about that.

Unknown Speaker 13:31
Look, I think everything requires ritual and discipline. So I mean, we associate with ritualistic behavior and discipline, when we talk about, you know, we think about athletes, that they’ve constantly practicing themselves to make themselves better we think about musicians or we think about author, the creative people, the painter, you know, they have ritualistic pattern or behavior business, the business leaders have the same thing. Technology designers, product developer has the same thing. But I think that, you know, what we what is less talked about, is that it actually takes an enormous amount of effort, and practice and ritual rituals, to practice empathy and practice mindfulness, right? I mean, we think that mindfulness is that we sit in a, you know, a quiet place and meditate or but it’s beyond that, like, so for example, it takes like a conscious effort to have a conversation with somebody else, and totally be in tune with that particular conversation and with that person’s energy and siphon out what they’re trying to say and communicate, and then respond to that right. I mean, so that takes effort and you know, and if you practice you will see that you will get exhausted faster than going for a jog. You know, and because it does take enormous effort, you get better at it, you know, you you train yourself you

Unknown Speaker 15:00
get better at it. But it takes effort. And if you don’t do that, then you know impacts everything it impacts, to find out who you are, it impacts how you’re in, you know, your relationships, personal professional. And then it also impacts how you find your path, whatever the path is, you know, I mean, and there’s no destination, either. I mean, it’s just a journey. I mean, we go through, we change, we evolve and our calling changes, there’s nothing wrong with it. I mean, that’s how life is supposed to be. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 15:32
It’s, it’s fascinating, human thing that the, my generation will look at the generation coming up, and then that generation will look at generation coming up and make certain judgments about them. You mentioned you have a 20 year old and you want them, you want to paint an optimistic picture. I think that a 20 year old today has so many more challenges than I had when I was 20. I’m in my 40s.

Unknown Speaker 16:02
And I agree that my undivided attention is one of the greatest gifts that I can give to somebody, and it is challenging. And so now it’s even harder when we have so many more distractions for a young person. But even more important, for sure, I mean, I mean, you know, the increasingly, we we

Unknown Speaker 16:24
live in a distracted world, but I mean, and our mind is easily a shaped by a lot of things that we really have no control over, right? Look at all the social media stuff, the not bombard you know, that bombarded with 100 different apps and, and streaming, you know, shows and crazy news, you know, what, it’s all distraction, right? So, it’s, it’s increasingly more and more difficult to make that human connection and to be able to, in tune with, with, you know, whatever is around you. And if you’ve seen this, I mean, it’s like, you know, not just a personal life, I mean, you know, in, in professional settings, you go to meetings, and everybody, you know, they’re listening, but that half of the time, they’re not listening, because there’s so much busy with their smartphone, or bad or computer or whatever the case may be, right, and you see this in a family dinner setting 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and then they just all open up their phone and starts looking at each other. I mean, there’s, like, 1000s of meme on, you know, making fun of this kind of behavior. But so it is difficult, it is difficult. So those all take practice, and you know, and so, so you know, in left, we talked about fourth industrial revolution, in terms of technology, and there’s there’s a ton of positivity from technology, because technology has converged. So you’re you’re seeing a medical science, working with robotics and robotics, working with artificial intelligence. You know, there’s nanotechnology and it’s all helping all various ways from security to healthcare,

Unknown Speaker 18:22
you know, the, the Information Technology, where we communicate on work, collaborate, etc, etc. But, but there also are, you know, so he talks about a disability, these does take discipline, to siphon what’s really useful and what’s not. And how do I, how do we guide ourselves to do that, right. And so, so from discipline, you know, it requires a execution pattern, which I call the systemic, it’s not my word, but you know, it’s a system thinking system make execution that gives you the enablement how you execute your life, but also if you’re a business leader, and you’re trying to grow a business or build something or whatever. And then all of this, whether it comes from experiential learning, you know, everything I just, I just talked about, that you are you’re relating to or

Unknown Speaker 19:15
if you talk about your life, you’ll, you’ll see this as well. But a lot of this is not learned from books or attending schools. It’s experiential learning, you know, it’s what we learn from our own journey, but also from seeing other people’s journey and and social and geopolitical changes and, and and the social interaction that happens around us right. So, so these three things you know, meaning that that transformation on leadership, behavioral patterns, the you know, the systemic execution and and experiential learning is kind of my thoughts on

Unknown Speaker 20:00
around how do you tackle these? You know, mega changes, which are some positive which are some detrimental

Unknown Speaker 20:08
love it?

Unknown Speaker 20:10
Well Faisal, thank you so much for coming on where can people learn more about you? How can they engage and where can they get a copy of lift fostering leader in you amid revolutionary global change?

Unknown Speaker 20:21
The books are everywhere. I mean, you can get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, if you’re traveling, pick it up from airports, wherever you can find books there, it’s available. There’s also you know, the audio books and there’s some digital courses. By the way, I pledged all proceeds from left and my other books to cancer research and, and Jose Andres is,

Unknown Speaker 20:47
you know,

Unknown Speaker 20:49
world kitten for charities so, so if you are buying it, it will enhance your knowledge, but it also will help those charities so that’s one and the second is if you want to learn about me, you know, all you have to do is just go on my website you can Google me and you’ll find me on on various social media especially on LinkedIn and on Twitter, but personal site is the best place which is Faisal, which is FAI sl HOQ So that’s, that’s where my blogs our books and other stuff are excellent. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did show Faisal your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas pick up a copy of lift fostering leader in you amid revolutionary global change wherever you buy your books. And that’s an awesome thing that you’re donating all the all the proceeds to those awesome worthwhile causes. And then go to Faisal FAISALHOQU II E, and find them on social media and check out everything that he’s working on and thinking about. Thanks, good Faisal. Thank you so much. And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by

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