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Scaling up leadership - Conor Neill [Interview]

Scaling up leadership - Conor Neill [Interview]

Sumitha Mariyam Raj
March 12, 2024
Scaling up Leadership - Conor Neill [Interview]

About Conor Neill

Conor is a Lecturer in the top-ranked Business School in the world, The IESE Business School. He is a leading keynote speaker in various global conferences including the European HR Summit and the HR directors summit. He focuses on leadership training and the psychology of mental strength. He is also the president of Vistage, the leading CEO organization, around the world.  A teacher, author, speaker, and whatnot, we are happy to welcome Conor Neill to our interview series!

Aishwarya Jain

Scaling up Leadership - Conor Neill [Interview]

We have the pleasure of welcoming Conor Neill to our interview series, I am Aishwarya Jain from the peopleHum team before we begin just a quick introduction of peopleHum, peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated Human Capital Management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work with AI and automation technologies.

We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month.


Welcome Conor, we’re thrilled to have you.


Thank you very much, Ash. That's a wonderful introduction. Someone once said that the more things you are, the shorter your introduction. When you introduce Bill Gates, you say this is Bill Gates. So, I have some work to do to reduce the length of my introduction. 


No, I think you've done wonderful work in your TedX talks and a lot of the public speaking, you know, lectures that you've given are very, very interesting. And you always have that eternal smile on your face, which is such a delight to see. 


You know, I think this smile is how I survived school. I remember when I was 12 years old, I just moved to secondary school. I was in Ireland and I don't know exactly what I've done, but I know it was wrong. I had broken some rule of the school and the vice-principal of the school had seen me do it, he came marching over into the classroom, straight up to me and he said, “Neal” and he said something,

I mean, he said, ”Never stop smiling. If it wasn't for that smile you would have gone into detention” and ever since then, I've realized it. It is for real having a reaction when you’re nervous, but it's a wonderful reaction to have when you're nervous that it looks like a real smile.

There's a thing in human beings. Emotional contagion and emotional contagion is we give back the energy that we received from other people. If you walk into a room and you're nervous and you're shy and you're waiting for someone to approach you, you could contaminate the room with a waiting to approach with fear.

If you come into a room with a smile and open curiosity and, truly interested in who these human beings are in the room, it's amazing how that just contaminates the room when they come towards you. 

Yeah, I've been working in the world of leadership as a leader in my own business. I've been an entrepreneur for 18 years. I've been teaching in a business school. Over 30,000 participants have gone through my rooms. Where I'm very interested in is how we convey emotion, convey a way of being in the world to other people.

I think we can be a resourceful state of mind or a victim state of mind. And the leader's job is ready to recognize the state of mind in themselves, and in others be aware that and know what tools they have to be able to move from an unproductive, uncreative state off being to an open, curious, creative state of being. 

There's never been a time that it's more important to be able to shift yourself and shift others into a positive, proactive, creative, resourceful state of mind than right now. I think right now, over three billion human beings are on lockdown of some type in India, across Europe, the United States is now beginning in Latin America. 

People are in homes, They’re not able to go to their places of work unless they are working in a hospital or in the food supply chain. This question of when there's this distance, physical distance, how, as leaders do we get people into a positive, resourceful state of mind and that you have some questions today just on leadership in general and leadership at times such as we're living right now. 


Absolutely and these are such unique times that you know mankind is going through, I think, we've never really been in such a situation where we're always so remote. And we're practicing something called social distancing, which is very, very unique, right?

And, you know, in this situation of a pandemic, it's really a wake-up call to enhance our workplaces, and how do we really match it with the future work? So, you know, what do you think are the changes according to you, that are inevitable given the situation of Coronavirus? 


I think there have been rounds of the Internet over the last 2-3 days from Simon Sinek. Simon Sinek is the author of the book called, why, or “first why?” If you start with why other things become clear. And I think this is a very powerful idea. Uh, if you get clear about why your business exists, if you get to know why you exist, it clarifies what to do, how to do it, with whom you're gonna do it. And Simon Sinek thinks this is not unprecedented. 

The Internet changed businesses. There are taxi drivers today. We're fighting against Uber and their way of fighting, it is the way some of us are fighting against the COVID-19, Coronavirus. But Ash, you and I have short lifetimes in regard to the total time humanity has been around. in the 14th 15th century you had a series of plagues and nobody played the black plague that moved across and wiped out anywhere from 25 to 50% of the population. And I'm sure, at times like that quarantining, seeing yourself into your home, closing off boundaries of villages and towns, are the ways that people responded.

What's different now is back in the 14th 15th century when you closed yourself into the village, there was no news coming in from China, from India, from the US and today you get a choice of what you feed into your brain and You confuse yourself 24 hours a day of bad news about growing infection

 If that's the choice of what you're allowed to come into your mind, you put yourself into a certain state and unless you're a very strong person with very clear who you are and how you want to engage with the world. If that's what you feed into your mind, you're gonna find yourself in a state where you're a victim or you feel that nothing is worth doing that it's hopeless.

I do something really as human beings, we cannot, we can't control what we think. You can't tell yourself to stop thinking about something, but you can begin to change where you pay attention. You can change where you look at. And, what I share a lot with leaders is while making decisions, what you focus on is a very important decision as a leader because it's gonna influence your state of mind. It's gonna influence what data you have to be able to make decisions while you're thinking about when you're evaluating the pros and cons of decisions

 And I like to say that way we have our five or six senses. And we’re matching what we see every day. We know for a fact, that there are animals that have senses that we don't have. Like, a sonar, dolphin have some sort of magnetics and pigeons have some sort of magnetic homing sense or for a factor, animals that perceived part of the universe that we were not physiologically capable of seeing. 

You imagine that we see everything and a really important step in maturing as a conscious human being, is realizing, you're a tiny little, part of the universe. It's like, you know, I I see out in front of us here what we're listening to. 

There are a million things going on, there we’re not seeing and to become aware that I'm seeing things like I'm looking through a tiny keyhole And if you're looking into a room through a keyhole you put the keyhole down, down so that you see just down As you walk on the street you're gonna find the dog crap you're gonna find dirt, you’re gonna find mud, you're gonna find stuff. 

If you actually hold the keyhole up with the level of faces as we walk along the street, you will see people that you know. You're gonna see people that remind you of an old teacher or your father, and you put it up into the sky, up to their eyes, you'll see something else. People's experience of one street will be different, but it's somewhere they decide to place this little keyhole and look at the world.

I mean, right now, more than ever, being conscious about what information you let come into your mind and if I could get a whole world to do one thing, it would be to start every morning with what we call 10 10 10. One of my mentors taught me years ago this way of beginning a day. And he said, 'When you wake up in the morning before you let email or life start to flood in, get control of yourself.' Read something inspiring something uplifting at the moment, I'm reading Ryan Holidays’ books on stoicism and being

These are books where you could just rip it open a page and this page has a power. You just read it, reflect on it. Sometimes in 10  minutes of reading, I mean, three or four, just reminding from the look. And  Some of them are from Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor from over 2000 years ago and he faced tough times. And how did he face it?  Something that just moves me from my I'm just a little human being living in this century to I want to be a better person this week. 

So the 1st 10 minutes read something uplifting. The next 10 minutes you think, this is my journal. The journal is full of writing ideas, people I've met. One of the things that I tried to do every morning, 10 minutes reading, 10 minutes, writing my journal, just reflections, thoughts, plans for the day.

And it was just so somewhere on my head for the last 10 minutes. Just sit and be grateful. Just go through some of the things that I'm grateful for. These days, one of the things that start to happen in that last 10 minutes is switching over to who needs me. Who needs me to show up in their life in some way today. 

I run a business here in Spain. On the first few days post quarantine, I was thinking a lot about me. It would affect me, how it changes my life and took quite a bit of effort, and quite a few mornings of connecting to we’re not the first human population ever to face a pandemic. We're not the first human beings who have taken up a challenge. And you can feel like that sometimes. And you have to read books and you have to speak to older people to get a sense that life has not been just this paradise. And this is the first stop of The paradise train and your life goes in cycles of up and down

 Uh, but to me, starting each day, getting consciously in control of what I feed into my mind making sure that the 1st 10 minutes are some inspiring positive things that ring me to want to be the best version of myself.

Take a few minutes to get words down into this notebook to get myself, I've been writing in a journal since I was 14 years old and If I can, if I'm the second thing out, all of humanity. So if the first is to take control of the first moments of your day. If you could just put yourself in a good conscious state first in the morning, the whole rest of the day hits you in a slightly different way. 

The second is this writing your life down and I think the greatest book that you or I could ever read our own life, well documented. Our own life wrote down what we expect and what turned out. What were the questions we had when we were 15, 18, 20, 25? What we were, who we were with. What filled us often wonder where that's at each stage of our lives and I was lucky that at age 14 I Had a  teacher in my school, a teacher called Mr. Mats, and Mr. Mats the last five minutes of every lesson his rule, pen touching paper in your journal.

Every single day. I remember 14 years old in school being told that you're gonna put your pen to paper every day and write the first day. I don't know why Mr. Mats is asking us to do this. What's the point? Day 2,  He told us he's not going to read our journal and you know at 14. I'd figured out school. My objective in schools to do the minimum amount of effort to get the grades I need to move to the next level.

Nothing more and here Mr. Martz was asking us to write down in a book that no one else will ever read anything that we want. Uh, by day four, I started to write. My brother said that something to me today then my mother looked a bit destructive in the car on the way to school and ever since 14 years old, I've found a bit of time each day just to note down where I am, who I am with what's going on in my mind, where I'm worried about what doubts I have. Sometimes I take a lot of time and fill a few pages. Sometimes it's just where I am, who I am with, and on one line that is.

You know, I can tell you where I was who I was with what I was thinking about at 18,20, 33 and that resource right now. So you were facing tough times in 2008 was far tougher for me Then then right now, 2008 I was an entrepreneur leading a private jet airline that I had founded. Well, we had 16 aircraft on the books and July 2008, I felt like the greatest successful entrepreneur in the world targeting riches. and fame.

September 2008, The bank went into bankruptcy and people stopped flying private jets and by February 2009, I had to lay off every employee who spent the previous seven years hiring, training, motivating, cultivating a set of shared mission, vision, and values. It was because I had this feeling all through that process that I didn't do anything wrong. And that was the inner dialogue all the time. 

In 2008,2009 I did nothing wrong. I didn't cheat anyone. I didn't break my words. I didn't break any rules. Why is this happening to me? This is not fair. This is not fair. This is cruel. Why are people doing this to me and that that was a terrible state of mind to put myself in because there's no resourcefulness from that state of mind? There's no reaching out to engage with others. There's no using where I am to create something new. It's just anger, bitterness, and shame.

 I spent most of 2009 in that state of mind, and I think that the thing that has inspired me to teach was in 2009 I came to some sort of sense of lie this did happen. Um, answer for myself is this has happened to me so I can walk the rest of my life to make sure it never happens to anybody else that nobody gets as low, as I've got without someone out there, who can help them on that path and just stealing from getting us deep and negative as I did. 

And, the way I taught prior to 2008 was as a consultant. I showed up with my 60 PowerPoint slides, and I went through them slide after slide after slide. My great fear in the years of teaching up to 2008 is What do I do if I finish my PowerPoint and there's still some minutes of class? I'm so scared of this. I look at what if I finished all the contents and there’s still time with the class.

After 2008. I don't use powerpoints because I just thought I passed every test in school, have an MBA. How did I fail so literally, so it's not the lesson in the PowerPoint? It's taking responsibility for your life it's looking at what's possible for you. It's getting around people that want the best for you and asking good questions.

And it isn't just been nice to you. Sometimes you need around you, the people who are you to tell you the things you really don't want to hear, that they're painful, but the only feedback that is really touching, what you really need to change is something you really don't want to hear. 

So few human beings are skilled in giving good feedback that it's very easy to get angry about the clumsiness with which someone has given you the feedback and ignore the gold of truth that is hidden inside the clumsily provided feedback. Uh, I don't know if you have come across an organization called Toastmasters, but Toastmasters around World is an organization where people go along to get better at speaking in public.

It helps you become a good speaker, but I think much, much more fundamentally, every person that meant that has gone through more than a year or two of Toastmasters loves receiving feedback and  the more painful and horrific and crushing your feedback, you will get more excited. Because Toastmasters, as an organization, really, instills in people that the greatest gift that you can get is feedback, that hurts, cause that's what's gonna mean to your next speech is better on. 

Do you know, I just the spirit with which I teach my classes today. The spirit with which I run my businesses is a belief that challenge is the most important thing that we can find for our lives.Your life is empty of challenge and for money adolescents, their life really is empty of meaningful challenge.

Your life is empty of challenge and for money adolescents, their life really is empty of meaningful challenge.

Which videogames become so wonderful. Video games, a meaningful challenge. It's school is as meaningful as fortnight's and mention how well adolescent boys in Ireland and Spain on an India will be doing. But you know what we've failed to do for kids at school is conveyed to them, how valuable, meaningful the subjects that we learn in school are. No one has to motivate a young boy to play for tonight.

Uh, yeah, that was a question on managing millennials, which struck me. I have very little experience of managing millennials, my teaching, and my business. My business really works with CEOs of businesses over five million euros. Here and the average age of the group around me. And my business is over 60 because I'm a looking for experienced mentors, That have been through three or four crisis, they lived through something like this. 

Maybe not on this scale are not caused by the same cause. But they lived through the internet. They lived through the financial crisis. They've lived through a company going bankrupt. Yeah, I think I lived through a company going bankrupt. The way I take decisions now is different than it could possibly have been.

Your education on going bankrupt is as powerful as living through it in your own life. So you know what I think it is, the people. The classic millennials I can't talk too much about, but I can talk about my 13-year-old daughter and my four-year-old daughter. And they grew up in the world of the iPad. Very often in classes, one of the speakers. Well, we're gonna talk about how they should remove technology from the home, remove technology from their kids, remove i-pads from the dinner table or through the night, but it's about influence. 

An iPad a wonderful indicator that your life is boring. If your child finds more interest in playing with the iPad, rather than banning the IPad, I’d look seriously at your life. Is your life a shining light of inspiration? You have hobbies that when we do it, the people around see you growing because you're doing something that you love or has your life becomes so empty of hobbies and meaningful work that you have to ban i-pads tonight to get people to pay attention to you.

The real danger is being a looter around people who are politically correct, a meter around people that even if it's uninspiring, what the company does, even if you don't take the time to get to know them to show up anyway. It's a wonderful thing that we're starting to have generations of people that say, 'That's not enough for me'.

It's a wonderful thing that we're starting to have generations of people that say 'That's not enough for me'.

I don't want to work just to pay the bills. I want to do work with people that care about the work with people that care about each other with people that care about our clients. As real human beings with issues, not sources of revenue.

Also one of the powerful things that I see is when I first started as a teacher, I felt that I was the one with information, and I shared information with the participants. When I realized with my daughters and what I realized in my classes, is if someone really wants to know it's on rules on YouTube, it's two million different places they already know.

So the only reason today why someone doesn't know how to do something is that they're missing two things. One, belief that it's important and two beliefs that they are capable of. I'm a teacher in business school is to put two beliefs into every person in the room during the progress of our time Together. 

And the first is a belief that this story is important for my future. The second is a realization that if I choose to do the work, I could be skilled than anyone around me and I couldn't get much more skilled than I am right now.

And if I finish my program and, you're terrible at the content right now, but I can see in your eyes that you're gonna make this a habit the rest of your life you're gonna do practice, you're gonna do the work. Gonna put yourself out there, You do homework. And to me, and what is the work you don't have to do?

One of the things that will distinguish the gig economy, which the project-based economy is dedicated time to work that they don't have to do. You only do work that you have to do. But I'm kind of going on motor mouth flow. So if you want a pull me back to stuff that works for you.


No no, this is beautiful.


 Yeah. So I think as a leader, whether it's a leader, classes a teacher, a leader of other human beings in a company, a leader of a family. Being the one that knows the answers is a terrible state of mind to approach other people with.

I think around the world that has any type of technology, which was just pretty much yeah, it was for there to be connected to facebook for connecting to the Internet in some way. One billion on Facebook and I'm sure these numbers are two years old.

Good access to information is not what makes a leader. It's people that believe, that there's a future that needs them to put some effort in. If you could get that sense out to people, I think as a leader, that means we worked very hard in Vistage,  in my company here, in Spain, which is part of a global business called Vistage. 

The four core values of Vistage, we trust growth, caring, and confrontation and trust is the foundational block. Growth is the purpose and, caring and challenge are combined tools that they do.

What do all the work and this is a  balance of, Well, I care deeply about you? Gonna challenge you more than anyone has challenged you before. If I think about my teacher, Mr. Matt, that was the best teacher I ever had. He wasn’t good.  

He was just permanently positive. He probably told me when I let him down in a much more harsh way than many other teachers. I would never deliver a low quality work to Mr. Matt.  He wouldn't say anything, but I can see his eyes, his disappointment.

And I remember my feeling with Mr. Matt was a sense that he saw a much bigger person inside me than I had ever seen and what he got out of me when I was 14, Wasn't the work of 14-year-olds,  that that was me was capable of. It was what he believed I was capable of. 

I hope in some way I have a tiny part of what Mr. Matt was able to convey to me, to the students that I have the luxury of having today, that they through my eyes, see not the image of them as they are today, but a bigger version of themselves.

A person is capable of much more than they have done before, but that comes with you. I care about what's important to them. I want to connect with why they're motivated to do the things they do. At the same time, I'll challenge him on bullshit. So when I ask a young person, why they want to work in a company and their answer is well, I know it will be stolen from a website, answer.

You know, this is not their answer. This is the answer that they think the world should give. I will challenge them on that bullshit, and I will grind them down until they start to go. Actually, I have no idea what I want to do. I don't know who I am. I don't really know how to distinguish between this company or that comes your way to go into the world. Good. But now we can begin. 

Until now, you were lying to me pretending now you can begin from the base that we can both agree and Socrates would say that the wisest struggles that know that they know nothing and it's such a hard thing these days.

Bring yourself back on the open it is curious. I think that things that I don't understand, it's probably not because the other is stupid it's because my eyes aren't ready to be able to appreciate it. Uh, it is a wonderful story that I need to find a better way of conveying in a class.

Maybe ash and peopleHum. You could work with me on how to convey this idea in a more meaningful way. So the story 20 years ago there was a tribe that had never before had contact with the outside world. 20 years ago, they were discovered. 20 years ago, a group of psychologists bought six members of the tribe down to Singapore, so they let them out of their hilltop village.

They showed them the city of Singapore. They showed them skyscrapers, they showed them offices. They showed them electricity, airports, airplanes, homes, ovens, fridges, commission heating. They saw supermarkets.

They saw how agriculture worked and After seven days, they took the six members of the tribe back up to the mountain. I mean, being cheap in the last bit off the dirt track before they arrived at the village, the psychologist asked them, what struck you? What is this one thing that struck you? 

There were only six members of the Mornin Hill tribe who were very passionate. They came to see something that really excited them.  After a little bit of discussion, together they turned. They tell the psychologists, and they say the wheelbarrow.  

Anything that is beyond our current level of problem is magic. You just don't even see it. So they saw Skyscraper. They didn’t say building. The wheel barrow was the one thing that connected directly to a real problem that has been part of their lives since time eternal.

And the six members of that tribe we're going back up to the village thinking we’ve seen power.  All of our lives we’ve carried weight upon our shoulders. All of our parents and ancestors have carried weights now passed to our children. 

That great paradise, the wheelbarrow, everything else is just beyond us. I try to remind myself that I'm not a psychologist. I'm a member of the Borneo Hill tribe. When someone who's fitter than me talks about how they stay fit.

I'm hearing the parts of their story that resonates with my own capability of understanding. I'm not getting the full depth. It won’t matter if they ask me to come and sit and let them teach me everything about investing.  I probably only understand 2%. The rest will just be all with my head and seem like magic. 

I think teachers who are able to get students to appreciate how little we know and how beautiful that is, how wonderful it is to know so little. And the role of the leader is not to know more. How better answers are more clear.

The role of the leader is to remind everyone what we don't know, but that's where we are. There are two things that will never stop being true. It will always be important for you to be the best version of yourself. There will always be important for you to get good gifts that you've been given and what happens in the world with this crisis or no crisis.

Those two things will always remain true. I try to cultivate a motto in my company, any classes everywhere I go on, much as we do hard things and, go off when I'm in the process of recruiting someone to come enjoy in vestige in Spain, at a certain point in time, I say, almost jokingly, reading hard things

I tell them what you were gonna come and do with Vistage is probably gonna be one of the hardest things you have ever done in your life. Years from now, you're gonna look back on this first year with us and think that was one of the most gruesome years of my life. Let's be really tough.

And I looked in the eyes and said And I guarantee two months from today you're gonna want to pick up the phone, call me and say, Connor, it's much harder than you said. Passed it. When you call me I’ll smile and I’ll say Ah! .Because I know,  you are learning and growing faster right now than you've ever grown in the last decade.

And I hope you never stopped doing hard things. So as we come to the last few minutes here to make some sense of what we've been sharing, our emotional states, you know, just choose to be angry or choose to be sad. You choose when you look at, which is what it means. You get to what you look at it and sometimes that's something interesting right now. Sometimes there was a practice of, paying attention, practice what types of things, you're gonna pay attention to.

I’m thinking in Spanish right now.  The gratitude exercise is a practice of choosing what you pay attention to. If you sit down tomorrow morning and spend 10 minutes in the morning choosing to pay attention to a memory of things that you feel grateful for your teaching mid go Aha! 

Ash is interested in seeing more things she’s grateful for. During the day and you'll see more things that you're grateful for.

 So this the status, this fundamental idea that we see this time, tiny, tiny percentage of what is actually going on in the universe around us, we have some degree of choice on which of those students who decided to pay our attention.

We can't see it all. So we gotta decide. I'm gonna see the things that are painful and bad and put me in a state of victimhood. Do I want nothing to do the things that are positive that raised me up that remind me of the greatness of human beings that want me to connect to other people as true human beings, not as vehicles or obstacles from my own goals?

 If you commit the choice to look and, pay attention,  that puts you in a different state of mind. Once you're in a different state of mind emotional contagion, we're going to touch people with your way of being. In Vistage, we talk a lot about it is not what you do. It's how you are. How are you being yourself as full, effective human beings in a much more powerful effect on others in terms of leading them, than following scripts or covering the 10 rules?

And, what I tried to do with people is deep down, get down, to a realization that every single one of us is incredibly powerful. Every single one of us has the power to give a compliment to another human being about something that matters to them. And to this day, it amazes me, the reaction I can have in a student or a peer, or someone in my team when I acknowledge how good they are at something that I know that they're good at and what I’m doing is stating the obvious, but they look at me as if it's the first time anyone has acknowledged how good they are at something. 

I'm very thankful that Mr. Matt came into my life when I was 14. I feel to some degree he handed over a light. Um, it's my role in life to just keep sharing this light with as many people as possible. What we have with Coronavirus or Covid-19 is a crisis that forces us to stop. There's an Indian Sage called Sadh Guru. I came across the last few days on the internet.

Yeah, I don't know too much about who he is or what he represents, but he was saying that, for thousands of years, the gurus have been saying, Sit still, do with yourself in your home and you'll find the truth in there for thousands of year the worlds have worked and finally with a tiny little virus, It’s so small we can’t even see it has come and You're now following the lessons that for 8000 years, Indian gurus have tried to share with people that you find the right answer inside here, not outside.

But we live in a world where we’re taught to seek validation., I think exams at school or the beginning of seeking validation. My 13-year-old daughter, yesterday, she said to me, I only got seven on the test. I said It's English. You speak English. She said she’s pretty much frustrated. My teacher gave me seven. I'm much more interested in the number you have about the frustration felt about your teacher giving you seven than that you got seven. What is it about this frustration that we can learn from?

She said Dad, stop talking, that leadership stuff. It's me that I deserved to get a ten. Then I leave the question of deserving or undeserving out. So we've covered quite a range of stuff. This is the only specific question I do you like me to touch on our expansion? 


No, not really, I think you know, you've covered most. It's been very, very insightful. And thank you for sharing.

You know, all these broad details, but just what is it that you know that you would want to convey to our audience at this point in time? 


Yeah, I think I was pushed by a 13-year-old relative of mine, she asked me a year ago. What's the most important lesson that you've learned in your life? We're on holiday. We're in France on another, she asked me, I could see in her eyes, she's not looking just for the new jerk answer. I was about to answer.

I said, Give me a day or two to think about that because that's a question that deserves a proper answer.  Two days later, I went back to her and I said, I've got my answer. The most important lesson that I have learned in life I said, It's the wisdom prayer of St Francis of Assisi. The wisdom prayer of st. Francis of Assisi is giving me the strength to change the things that I can change. 

Give me the patience to accept the things that I cannot change. Give me the wisdom to tell the difference. And I think, you know, as individual human beings if each day we go, what can I change? I can change my state of mind. I can change what I look at. I can change my way of dealing with those that are directly around me. What can’t I change? Coronavirus. The morbidity statistics. Whether there's a hospital here, are there can't change it. 

Uh, how did I get the wisdom to tell the difference? I think there is where mentors radio play. A role in mentors doesn't have to be people that could be booked. They can be biographies. You know, we were saying here we've never lived through a time like this.

Well, there's notes set in the 14th century. And where there was the plague, I look at What that model gives about how those people, you know, some die some life. So we're not the 1st ever to face any problem we face.

Whether you're a business person, whether you're an 18-year-old trying to decide which university to apply, what to study, whether you're a 23-year-old deciding to marry this person, that person will go for a trip around the world. You're not the first person ever to face this decision. 

I would say there's no new human problems problem you face, no matter how unique and individual it feels for you, there is another human being on this planet or was on this planet that has already passed through that challenge and maybe they may have succeeded.

For a mentor, someone who's truly screwed up their life can be a wonderful source. All wisdom. Yeah, I very often think I had my father had two aunts and I remember when we went up to Markham Island to visit my father's family sometimes go and visit these two random two ladies who lived together when I was 12 13 14.

 They're already in their eighties and I could just remember, even at that age when I came into their house, they just had this look on them of waiting for life to begin. In their eighties, They were living together. The man had never shown up as the Prince has never shown up. And they were still waiting.

They were waiting for life to begin all of life they were just waiting. It never came and it never did begin. And as a 12, 13-year-old, seeing them, I'm coming back home and thinking, No, I'm not linked for life to begin. I don't know where the girls I don't know what I'm gonna do, but I'm no waiting at home for life to begin. I'm gonna connect to people.

I'm gonna reach out to people and ask for help. I'm not gonna be 80 years old just sitting there waiting to see if the door opens and someone comes in. I'm here for you. You can reach out and connect a lot of people in Linkedin without leaving your home, you could listen to a lot of podcasts and videos without leaving your home.

There's a YouTube live string sessions from all over the world. So much wisdom being shared. So you connect to some of that. Listen to some of the things. Then remember what doesn't resonate, get a notebook. When things don't resonate, write them down, and get ready to write them. 

Uh, someone once told me the best book that you could ever read is one that's so bad that you think I could have written a better book. A book that is so large that you know, you could publish a better book because that's what's gonna inspire you to start writing.

Not all the books you think, wow that’s so good,  I never write one that well, the book this it's published. But you look at anything I could do there. I have that book over here. I'm not gonna tell you who wrote in which book it is, but I have that book. Every time I look at it, I'm gonna write a book.


Wow, that’s wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing that. It’s been a really enlightening experience because so many concepts that you spoke about right? It’s more of, when you talk of Maslow's hierarchy, for example, you know, you realize you’ve conquered the first few stages and now id the time when you think of self-actualization and your self-esteem.

So a lot of these things that you spoke about they start cropping upright? And it's a beautiful concept. Actually, it's like lighting a candle and the lighting many more candles from your candle. So I think that's what's stuck with me.

When you spoke about how you can really help others, you know, being a teacher, that's very important as well, to motivate others and being there to challenge them so that they grow better in life. And absolutely I love that philosophy. And really thank you so much. I think a lot of us are going to benefit from what you just said. And it was wonderful talking to you Conor.


Really it. Pleasure, Ash. Thank You guys for reaching out, giving me this opportunity to share some ideas


 Sure. I would love to stay in touch with you. Thank you so much for your time. It was a pleasure hosting you. Take care and have a good day. 

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