Alain Hunkins

Cultivating Your Inner Leader

Cultivating Your Inner Leader

Alain Hunkins

Keynote speaker, facilitator, coach and author

Alain Hunkins

Over his twenty-five-year career, Alain has worked with over 2,000 groups of leaders in 27 countries, including 42 of the Fortune 100 companies. In addition to being a leadership speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach, Alain is the author of the book CRACKING THE LEADERSHIP CODE: Three Secrets to Building Strong Leaders (published by Wiley, March 2020).

Alain is a faculty member of Duke Corporate Education and serves on the Academic Board of Advisors for the New Delhi Institute of Management. Alain’s work has been featured in Chief Executive, Fast Company, Inc., Training Magazine, Chief Learning Officer, and Business Insider. He’s also a regular leadership strategy contributor to Forbes. Alain was recently named #33 on the Global Power list of the Top 200 Biggest Voices in Leadership for 2022 by LeadersHum. A father of two teenagers, he lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Take home these learnings:

1. The impact on Alain of growing up with two Holocaust survivors (mother and grandmother)
2. What younger workers are looking for—but not getting—from most leaders
3. Why leading with empathy is essential…and the benefits of doing so
4. What gets in the way of leaders communicating well
5. How to identify and acknowledge peak moments to create a positive workplace

Listen to the specific part


Episode Transcript:

Intro:// What’s the impact of where you are coming from has on your Leadership presence? Why is it important for today’s leaders to lead from the heart and show who you are? How not to compare self with others and learn to appreciate what is? Welcome ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to the podcast the xMonks Drive. I am your host Gaurav Arora and our today’s guest is Alain Hunkins. Alain is a dear friend, he is someone for whom I have huge respect and admiration for. He believes “How you lead is who you are”. In his 25 years of Career, he has worked with over 2000 groups of leaders in 27 countries, including 42 C-Suite Executives from Fortune 100 companies. He is a Speaker, a leadership consultant, a coach and the author of a book “Cracking the Leadership Code- Three secrets to build strong leaders”. He is also a faculty member of Duke Corporate education, and serves on the Catholic board of advisors for the New Delhi Institute of Management. So, let’s take a dive and explore the theme of leadership through the lens of a consultant and a practitioner. Thank you Alain for accepting our invitation and be with us today…☺ Outro:// This was pure gold. I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation and loved it when he said “You don't want to die with the music inside. You also don't want to die with the appreciation inside. In fact, he was not wrong when he said- Essence of life is LOVE. Hmmm.. And as we are coming to the end of this episode- I am pondering on the question- how can I be more vulnerable and kind in all my interactions with my team members? What are your key takeaways from this episode. Do take sometime to rate and review this podcast and share this episode with those who you believe might get benefitted from this conversation. You take care and stay tuned…looking forward to meeting you next week with another interesting conversation. 00:00 Welcome, welcome. Welcome ladies and gentlemen. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Whichever part of the world you're dialing in from such a pleasure having you here. My name is Gabriel and on behalf of text monks in the coaching conclave 2022 Girl, we are tapping into the true essence of coaching, we are tapping into the true essence of life. Let me welcome each one of you. It's such a privilege having you here. It's not for you, we would not have been here. Thank you. And our today's guest is a very dear friend, somebody. I've got huge respect for somebody that I learned from somebody I go back to when we have to explore deeper conversations not only about leadership, not only about the world, but about ourselves as well, because one of his favorite quotes is, how you lead is who you are. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome. Join me in welcoming la Hankins. Just a quick introduction about this gentleman, over his 25 years of career allain. That's how he pronounces his name, has worked with over 2000 groups of leaders in 27 countries, including 42, of the Fortune 100 companies, in addition to being a leadership speaker, consultant, trainer, and a coach. He's the author of a book, cracking the leadership code. three secrets to build strong leaders, is a faculty member of Duke corporate education, and serves on the Catholic board of advisors for the New Delhi Institute of Management. And we are going to explore the topic of leadership from a consultant. And from a practitioners point of view. And we are going to dig deeper into the sub theme of appreciation. Ladies and gentlemen, the session is going to be as I mentioned, 45 minutes, including 10 minutes of q&a. And in case you've got any question, please share that. In the q&a section at the bottom. You already have the q&a section. So in case you've got any questions, please do write it down. And I'll be more than happy to pull that out and ask the question from LA. And I'm sure you are scribbling and taking a lot of notes that you will be able to implement in your day to day life starting tomorrow, starting this moment itself in the learning journal, which has been delivered to you all ready. Alain, thank you so much for joining in. Let's crack the leadership go today in the next 40 minutes session. Such a pleasure. 02:23 Alain: It's my pleasure. You know, I know our sub theme is appreciation, I'm already feeling very full of appreciation for you, Gaurav , and just thinking about how our relationship has built over time with so much mutual appreciation. So I'm thankful to be here with you today. Thank you so much. 02:39 Gaurav: Thank you. Alain we all have a past which has become who we are. And why am I asking this question because something that stayed with me. I remember a couple of years back. We were having this conversation. And I said Who you are is how you coach. And you mentioned, how you lead is who you are. And both these statements are intertwined. And that's where we spoke about who you are is how you father, who you are mother who you are is how you, sister who you are is how you live your life. 03:14 Gaurav: Now would love to understand who is Alain? And if you may reorient our audience, our guest to take a quick glimpse of who is Alain, apart from the consultant, the authority, the coach, that is , who is Alain? If you can just take us on this beautiful, right? 03:45 Alain: So I think what you're getting at Gaurav is as I to kind of frame the the answer to this is, you know, you said Who am I apart from the consultant and this and that and so much of the labels that we have, that's the doer, right? It's the doing, I do this, I do this, I do this. And I don't know about you. But I find that for myself, it's so easy. And I look at so many peers and colleagues and clients and people I interact with, so easy for us in the doing to look for validation in the doing that if I just do this, if I just do more of this, then I will be fill in the blank, right. I will be happy, I will be successful, I'll be good enough I'll be approved of I'll be appreciated. And it's all about the doing these labels these outside things. Whereas I think a challenging question is, Who am I when I'm not doing, you know, where's the being in my resting space and state? Who am I then and one wonderful exercise that a mentor taught me years ago was when we had to do this with a partner. So let's say it was you and I grew up we'd go back and forth. So you would ask me, You would say, you know, who are you? And I would say, I'm Alain and you say again, who are you? Like, I'm a man, who are you? I'm 53 years old, who are and you would ask me this question again and again, who are you? And it starts, after a while, you start to really peel away these layers of identity based on doing. And I had another mentor that really helped me understand that, at the core of our being, what is it that emerges out of you every day? Who are you know, if each of us has our own gift to give to this planet, I mean, just to think about all of the things that came into alignment for each of us to be born in this human form for what is an eternity, really just a blink of an eye? In some ways? I know we're going deep early here, in terms of our conversation, but you know, who are we and this blink of an eye? And to me, it comes down to what is your mission? You know, and to me? What is your mission? Or what is my mission becomes a core part of my being? So to answer your question, in a very roundabout way, who is Alain? Well, my mission is to create a vibrant, alive world, by kindling the fire of brilliance and people. And so for me, that mission is true, whether I'm speaking with you right now, whether it means I'm offering a keynote speech relating to training or doing a coaching, it applies whether or not I'm negotiating with my wife around our schedules for the next week, whether it's I'm helping one of my teenagers with their calculus homework, how I show up, I have the opportunity to try to kindle the fire of brilliance in everything that I do, and not just with others, but also with myself. So what am I doing, for example, I got up this morning, and I went to the gym, do I feel like going to the gym? I don't even ask the question if I feel like it, because I know that the habit of taking care of my body is going to serve me, because it gives me more energy in the rest of my day, to be able to serve others. And I know you and I have talked about this in the past too. But the clearest line to happiness is to make other people happy. And so you know, this is why I am just so overjoyed to be with you today, to share in this and to and to support the vision that you have for this, I mean, this 50 by 51 hours of amazingness. So who am I? It's comes down to my mission, which is again to create a vibrant, alive world by kindling the fire of brilliance and people. 07:47 Gaurav: Thank you for bringing that. And that's a question that I think we need to ask from all the leaders in the world who are they being beyond their actions beyond the task beyond their roles and designation that they hold so close to their heart, because the moment the role goes away, the moment that designation goes away, they experience a deeper sense of vacuum and emptiness. I've experienced that in the past. And I don't have the designation, who am I. And there's a sense of emptiness, which is extremely difficult to fill, unless I worked on that. And that's where I think the dependency on an act, the dependency on a designation, that dependency on anything which is external to you, leads to suffering. You know, tell us how your childhood has helped you. Get to where you are today. And I remember you often speak about your mother and your grandmother, and the lessons that you've learned from them. The concentration camp story that you've shared with me. How has that impacted you as an individually? 09:06 Alain: Sure, I'm happy to share the story because I think you know, so much of who we are comes out of our experiences, and then the stories we tell about those experiences. And then, you know, the then the, the way we frame that moving forward. So yeah, just for those that don't haven't heard this story before. So I, at the time, I didn't think it was particularly unusual or unique. I just thought that's just life. That's just my experience. Because you know, when when you're a child, you don't necessarily differentiate experiences from each other. But I turned out I had a fairly unique childhood. So I was born and raised in New York City that's not unique. I was raised by a single mom, again, not particularly unique. Lots of people were raised by single mom and my grandmother, again, not very unique. But the unique part that Gaurav is alluding to here is the fact that both my mother and my grandmother are survivors of the Holocaust of World War Two. They're both Jews, originally from Poland. But my grandmother moved to Belgium and my mother was born in Belgium in 1935. And so the Nazis invaded Belgium at the end of 41, beginning of 42. My mother is seven years old. And she is basically put in hiding through the Belgian underground, she is separated from her mother, and then spends the next three years moving from to foster families living in a convent having her hair dyed blonde, given a fake name, again, seven years old doing this all from the ages of seven to 10. And miraculously, both of them survived the war, my grandmother was actually arrested and put into a concentration camp, she was liberated at the end of the war, they were reunited in a displaced persons camp. And you can imagine that after having gone through that kind of trauma, the bond that was so unshakable between the two of them. And so, again, growing up my mother, and my father divorced when I was one year old. And so my grandmother moved in. So basically, I had these two Holocaust survivors. And that experience of that trauma, deeply imprinted them, and it taught them a lot of lessons around. Who do you trust or not? I know, are you willing to put yourself out there because they were literally in hiding for their lives. And so I, through osmosis through being in that environment, it was not a joyful place. Honestly, it was not a joyful, like, hey, you know, how lucky are we get, which is a different choice they could have potentially made, right? How lucky are we to be alive, let's celebrate every moment. But for whatever reason, that was not something they were able to do easily. And so I quickly found out that the vibe or the mood or the culture at home, was quite different than it was at school, or let's say at my friend's houses. And so I quickly had to learn what's going on. And again, I didn't have words for this when I'm 8-9-10 years old. But I sensed it, I had that deep emotional sense of that. And I think early on recognizing that there was a difference that split, put me on this path to be more curious and sensitive about human behavior, more sensitive and curious around. Why is it that some cultures, people thrive and enjoy and other cultures seem much more like gloom and doom. And so that experience really got my antenna and sensitivities up around. And I think about the work that I do now, I think is incredibly informed by the fact that I thought, gosh, you know, on the one hand, my grandmother and my mother were liberated, right from the camps from being in hiding. And on the other hand, psychically, even though the war ended, I saw how the legacy of the war kept them stuck in that cage, for most of their lives the rest of their lives. And to me, that's fascinating, you know, obviously, one of the seminal books on that experience is Victor Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning where he talks about his incredible experience, being a young man and adult, going through the concentration camps. And one of my favorite quotes out of that book is, Frankel says, Between stimulus and response, there's a space. And in that space, lies your power to choose. And in that choice, lies your freedom. And so I think of my work of helping to kindle the fire of brilliance and people, so much of our lives tend to run on automatic pilot, right that unconsciousness and I think, so much of my work feels like it's giving people an alternative and an option to first of all feel safe enough to examine, and slow down enough to see the spaces in between things to recognize what can I do differently? Is there a different choice in this moment, that could be more generative that could be more loving, that could be more appreciating of others? One that is going to create more sustainability moving forward. So you ask the question, like, how does that impact me? Oh, it's impacted me considerably. 14:12 Gaurav: Thank you, you know, a few points are coming to me. One, I believe all of us have got traumas. And as you mentioned, you refer to Viktor Frankl. And when you spoke about the stimulus and the response, and in between lives, our ability to choose our choices. And as you mentioned, freedom. Now reminds me of a conversation where I spoke about somebody asked me what is the essence of coaching and I said, coaching is transformative and progressive in nature. And as a coach, it's my responsibility to hold space for the other person whether the person can experience freedom. And that's, possible, only when one is willing to live from a space of expression, connection and contribution, the freedom that was to that, that you spoke about and You spoke about generative future, you spoke about love. And in my conversations, I often share that we just need one person in the entire family who can let go of the past patterns and release the traumas that one is suffering from and gift, the generative future to the next generation. Who has been that one person in your life that has allowed you to let go of that past traumas and gift that generated future to you and to the next generation? 15:35 Alain: It's interesting for me, it's been less, a one person thing. And there's been a numerous role models for me and that specifically for me how that came about was. So when I was 25-26 years old, I was in graduate school, I was actually going to theater school, I was going to training as an actor. And one of my one of my classmates had gone through a intensive men's weekend, in our first year, his name, my friend is a classmate, his name is John. And what I saw in John over the next couple years was literally transformative, and just seeing how John was able to express himself and we can call it stepping into his power in a very clean, clear, authentic way. And I thought, I need more of that in my life. Because I hear I was on the clock. 25-26 years old, I had this thought, Okay, I'm an adult, I'm in my 20s. How come I don't feel like that. So John suggested, maybe I should check out this organization and go on this weekend, and the weekend was actually modeled on an archetypal initiation, as you probably know, grew up many cultures around the world have been initiating boys into manhood, out of the out of necessity, right? The fact is, in so many tribal cultures, the idea is, you know, teenage boys have all of this energy, this testosterone, it needs to be channeled in healthy ways to serve the community. And of course, in the Western world, specifically, you know, we've lost touch with a lot of those, we'll call them ancestral and archetypal rhythms. And so this training was built by some modern men in the 1980s. Originally, it actually to be two therapists and an ex- Marine, put this training together, it was really modeled on this archetypal initiation. And for those that are familiar with the work of Joseph Campbell, and the hero's journey, it really does model that whole sense of separation of what you know, going through some kind of an ordeal or challenge, and then coming out the other side and being integrated. And so I went on this training, and it blew my mind, and it opened my heart. And I found there were so many men there, not all of them, but certainly many great, wonderful role models that I think have helped me and given me the safe space, to heal. And, and to be completely candid with you. One of the pieces of my healing was I didn't realize how much grief I had been holding. There were buckets and buckets of grief, that took a good amount of time to let go of I hadn't realized how much on so many levels. And there was something that being able to know that you have a place that is so safe, that you can show up with anything, and that there are people who can hold space for you and you talked about the coaching relationship, and I think a wonderful coach can mirror that safety as well. For me, that was that was the place where I went, Oh, and there's something that is so cleansing of those tears, so much cleansing that comes along with realizing that after the grief, comes the next Dawn, right, it's the next day, and it's like, I'm still here. And I've made it through that, because in the middle of it, it can feel overwhelmingly scary and terrifying. And incredibly sad. And yet on the other side of that there is this amazing lightness and recognition of the possibility of something new and different. Because until I let go, you know, it's what is the old proverb is like you can't drink from a full cup, or you can't fill an empty, you get the idea. I'm getting the metaphor wrong. But the sense of it is when you were so full with holding on to the hurt, the trauma, the pain the wounds of the past, there's not a lot of space for transformation, you know, and which is why I don't think, you know, WE CAN’T SHORT CIRCUIT THIS PROCESS THROUGH A HEAD GAME, THAT ULTIMATELY, THE HEART HAS TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS PIECE, YOU KNOW, AND SO IT’S AGAIN, IT’S VERY HARD TO APPRECIATE WHEN THERE’s NO ROOM FOR APPRECIATION, RIGHT? IT’s VERY HARD TO FEEL ABNDANCE, WHEN ALL I EXPERIENCE IS LACK AND SCARCITY AND FEAR. And so that's why I say that you know, who you are as a person is how you are as a leader because it's got to be from the inside out for it to really be authentic and sustainable moving forward. 20:00 Gaurav: Yeah, allegedly, I tell you that I can listen to you, the whole day did I tell you this? It's so magical. Because every time every word that you choose every sentence that you frame, every sentence that you structure, I think it speaks to every single cell of my body. Whether you're talking about the trauma, or you spoke about, that you cannot serve from an empty vessel. Or when you spoke about holding that space, after the grief, the dawn appeals, I think if you can just find that one person in your life, that's a blessing. And every time and I speak to you, I find that one person and I think I personally believe that how a blessed soul that you are, because you can hold that safety space, that safety net for the person who's talking to you. And when you spoke about that you come from art background. Right. And you invested several years in art and education. Just curious, how has that discipline influenced and impacted your approach to leadership? Both as a practitioner and a consultant? 21:13 Alain: Yeah, great question. So if you think about the idea of an artist, the nature of the artistic or creative process, is it's never a straight line, there's nothing straight line at linear about it, it's messy, and it you know, generally has to do with trying a lot of things. You can call it divergent thinking and just trying a bunch of stuff, and then figuring out what works, and going oh, well, of the 18 things that is tried number two, number seven, and number 14 are really good. Let's take those three pieces. Let's put the other 15 to the side. And let's combine that, and that's what we'll put out in the world. So in terms of my artistic background, I actually started as a musician, I come from my father's family are all musicians, and I was a violinist from the time I was five, through very seriously until I was 18. I played with the Youth Symphony Orchestra in New York, I played in Carnegie Hall. And we've performed there many times starting when I was 13. And and then when I got through college, I started acting in plays. And then I went to graduate school, went to a theater conservatory and have a Master's in Fine Arts. And for me, this sense of trying to find the right answer in an artistic framework is different, I think, from finding the right answer in let's call it a scientific or mathematical framework. For example, if I say to everyone here, who's listening, how much is three plus two? There's one answer, it's five. We all know that. Whereas when we get into, you know, what's the right answer for Hamlet? What's the right answer For King? There's multiple, I mean, there's the script. But in terms of interpretation, there's a lot of possibility. And for those that are familiar with the, the concept or the the discipline of improvisation, there's a general rule. And it's used in coaching now to a lot, this idea of Yes, and right, so not negating things. And I think that for me, one of the pieces of being an artist, a performing artist was actually a few things. But one particularly is the sense of how can I stay open and curious to finding the next, right notice I put that in air quotes the next right answer, because the fact is, there's many ways to get to the right place. But I have to be open to that and let go of my ideas of right and wrong again, as I think about if you're coaching someone and you're so concerned with, are they are they right or wrong, or I want to fix that's you're playing the wrong game. This is not a right or wrong game. This is a listen, be curious, help the person find what feels best in this moment for them. Not that the other things aren't good, but what feels best and resonates most strongly for you now. So that's one big piece for me that came out of the world of art. The other thing that when you are, let's say playing an orchestra, you have a conductor, when you're acting in a play, you have a director, and you get notes, you get feedback consistently, you know, that's too loud, that's too soft, or whatever in the orchestra. And, and I think one of the important things, which is such a valuable life lesson is that as an artist, and I think just as a leader, as a person in life, it is really useful to learn how to separate yourself from the work, because one of the challenges that I see with so many people when it comes to receiving feedback, is that we take it personally, like no, you're actually giving me feedback on my work. You're not giving me feedback on my self worth and value inherently as a human being. The fact is, we are all children of God, we are all belong, we have a place for this. And sometimes the music's too loud. You got to be in the scheme of this. And so I think You know, you know, people have asked, you may have asked me this too, you know, what can we do to accelerate our leadership development, I think one of the most powerful things we can do is ask other people for feedback. And so this, the sensibility of an artist really comes in handy because it's a paradox because on the one hand, we have to have a thick enough skin, so that we don't take everything personally. Or, on the other hand, we have to have a thin enough skin, that we can be receptive and sensitive and adjust and flex and fluid to what's going on. And that is a paradox, right? Because we're asking what seems like two very different things. And yet, they are completely interrelated. Because the more open, I can be to feedback, which means having the hard, tough shell means that I can apply it and then shift and progress and move more easily and more flexibly and have more facility with what I'm trying to get to. 25:58 Gaurav: Thank you. It's not about this, or that it's about this, and that you spoke about, what's the next possible step forward, you know, reminds me of my conversation with a man, mentor, or teacher and a friend, David Sibert. I remember my conversation with David, and David mentioned that Gaurav every time when you're stuck, it's not the right, or the wrong step, it's always the next possible step forward. What is it that you can do right now, and just do that, because while you're walking, you will find the direction. And once you find the direction, you will reach at a decent place for yourself, that's one. And second thing when you're talking about being thick skinned, and being fluid at the same time, right? It's like, you know, anything that you identify with is going to dominate you. And while you are receiving the feedback, remember, as you mentioned, the feedback is for the act that you just demonstrated, and not who you are. So behavior is very much different from who you are as an individual. Alain in the complex world that we are a part of, and since we are talking about appreciation, that's the sub thing that we're going to dig deeper into, how can we learn to appreciate ourselves when there's a tendency in human beings, at least I have this tendency to compare myself with the person that I'm assuming that I'm interacting with. I've always admired you for the wisdom that you bring in. I admire you for the resilience that you bring in. I admire you for the voice that you have. I admire you for the talent that you have. And when I look at myself, I don't think that I have those talents, those traits, and thus, at times, I tend to underplay myself, how can one learn to appreciate who one is? Because as you mentioned, at the end of the day, we all are the children of God. So I understand that at the cognitive level. 27:58 Alain: Yeah, so you bring up such a great question. And before I answer it, I want to frame the answer by the fact that how we are dealing with this today is very different than we may have dealt with it even 20-25 years ago, in that our ability to compare ourselves to others, has exponentially multiplied. So when I was growing up, again, I was in elementary school in the 1970s. And high school in the 1980s, I was comparing myself to the peer group of people that I saw in real time in real person, right? The people in my junior high school, elementary school, high school, so I'm comparing myself to maybe a few 100 people, well, enter social media enter the internet. And now you have the opportunity to compare yourself to millions, if not billions, of people. And the nature of the human mind is we have a negativity bias, which means that if you're looking for someone who is prettier than you, you're gonna find them. Because you know, on the bell curve of seven, or eight or 9 billion people, there's probably someone who's just a little bit prettier than you are, you're looking for someone who's a little bit more athletic than you, you're gonna find them, you're looking for someone who's got better six pack abs, you're going to find them looking for someone who is wealthier than you are smart, you're going to find them. And basically, all that is going to do is make you feel bad about yourself, so I think we have to be very judicious with this technology. And I like to say, you know, technology is a wonderful servant, but it is a lousy master. And I'm recognizing what is the emotional impact that all this technology is having on me? Because one of the first places you know, when I ask people, you know, do you appreciate yourself they say, I just don't have time. It's like, but you have time to spend all this time on Instagram, checking out other people comparing yourself. That's so I think part of it and goes back to your theme of awareness is you can't appreciate what you don't notice. So are we willing to say lowdown and this is where it's great to have maybe a support team or group or some structure. You know, some people have a gratitude journal, you know, so that in the course of the day knowing that at the end of today, I'm going to write down three things that I appreciate about myself. Or maybe you do it with your family at the dinner table. You know, I know some people use a technique they call it roses and thorns, you know, from the day what was a thorn from today? What was a rose, you know, lots of different ways to call it right. So the idea is that you start to have a sharper focus on looking for the things that you appreciate. And the amazing thing about bringing that intentional focus is it activates that part of your brain, it's called the reticular activating system. Because when you start looking for appreciation, you find it, right, and when you don't, you exactly, and you can't know that you can't change what you don't notice, but you've got to notice it. So start noticing it and saying, Alright, I'm gonna seek out actively, what are you appreciative for. And if we want to cultivate that practice even more, the more specific we can get with appreciating things in ourselves and in others, the more connected we are, because the goal of appreciation isn't to, oh, I'm gonna appreciate three things every day, check, check, check, and I can feel good because I can put it on my to do list, the goal is to actually start to move some strong aspects and strong emotions through the body when you want the feelings, those wonderful feelings and the hormones that come along with appreciation. And so the more specific we can be with ourselves and with others, I mean, like you just said to me, I appreciate this about you and your voice, that makes me feel warm, I think, Oh, I mean, I feel like you see me and isn't it at the end of the day, we all want to be seen, we want to be valued, we want to be recognized. And I think the best place to start is with ourselves, because we can practice that. And then the next place is recognizing so many of us appreciate things about other people. But then we have to take the action of moving the thought into word and deed and actually getting it out. So the other person hears it and closes the loop. You know, sometimes you've heard the expression that you don't want to die with the music inside. You also don't want to die with the appreciation inside. All those things. And all this example, I may have talked about this with you last year. So my father passed away in the summer of 2021, after a long fight with Parkinson's and one of the things thank you and my children were not able to be with him. I went out there I was there when he was in Ohio, I live in Massachusetts, I was able to be with him for the last three days of his life as he was transitioning, but he was unable to speak. So any closure, verbal closure that he was going to have with me had already happened, which we had to had some of but he'd already been ill for some time. And and what it made me come away from that weekend when I came home. And my kids who were teenagers at the time, they were 16 and 13. I just said to them, I just want to remember to tell you all how much I appreciate and love you every single day. And that's something I keep working at and look, the other thing I want to build on grew up, you know, when you said you can look at me and you compare this, the other thing that we do is we thin slice. So we see certain aspects of someone, and then we assume that the rest of their life must be as magnificent as what we're seeing. You know, so you know, I know that we just recently had the royal funeral of Queen Elizabeth the second. And so you can look at all these, like, you know, what you don't see are the heart aches and the headaches and all of the the angst that is going on behind the scenes because that is not curated for public consumption. And so what you have is you have a bird's eye view into all of your words, and your, your pain. And so the assumption is other people don't have that other people are feeling that too. And I think the more we can remember that, which is why it's so great to have honest conversations. You know, I'm always amazed. I'm still in a men's group that we meet. And when I'm with them, it just reminds me because it's so easy for me to get stuck in my own head of like, I'm the only one who's dealing with this. Everyone else has got their act together. I'm I suppose when you start hearing other people, and we're all sharing, honestly, it's going, Gosh, it's hard being human. Sometimes it is hard being a human being on planet Earth. And we're in this together, and how can we support each other? And all these tools and techniques that you're having over 51 hours, are all designed to help us, you know, basically make this journey while we're this these specs in this monumental journey? How can we do a better job of feeling better for ourselves and making other people feel better and be as as helpful and as loving as we can? 34:41 Gaurav: Yeah, absolutely. I think we all need to be a part of a tribe that you can call your own. And for the longest period of time, I was searching for that tribe. It's only a couple of years that I started thinking and then we put together a tribe. And every time I'm in the company of those people I feel so safe, so secure. If, and when I joke around with them that know what I was looking forward to a set of 50 to 70 people who would be with me on the last ride to provision round. And when I started looking for them, I could not find that that's the reason I said, Hey, come be a part of the tribe. And as you mentioned, about the precision part, as it is, one prayer that I recite on daily basis is to Quran like, how thankful I am how grateful I am, to be alive, to breathe, to interact, to be with the family that I've blessed with to be with my friends that I've been blessed with, to be with my older brother, my sister, my mom, my dad, my little daughter, my wife, my colleagues, the team that I have, to LA, the friend who's sitting in a different part of the world. I think it's such a blessing to be alive. Just shifting the gears Alain, you know, you work a lot with different leaders. And as you mentioned that your work with over 47 Thought Leaders 47- C Suite executives from 100, Fortune, Fortune 100 companies, what do you think one of the common assumptions about leadership that can get people into trouble?, 36:15 Alain: Great question. So I'll keep it brief. I know, we want to leave a little time for q&a Two, is the biggest assumption I see. And this has a lot to do with leaders who are still holding on to what I call the inherited leadership legacy of the Industrial Age of the 20th century. And the assumption they make is, I have to know, that's the assumption I have to know I have to be smart, and be right and be the decider, I have to know all those things. And I think many of us can recognize that, right? It's about the sense of like, if I have power, I need to exercise my power by showing you how smart I am, how authoritative I am, how decisive I am, how direct I am. And those leadership qualities, I'm not saying they're bad, is they need to be tempered. They need to be tempered, it's great to be decisive. But any strength overused becomes a liability. Right? It's great, to be honest, but honesty, to the point where it gets overused, becomes cruelty. And so I think the sum the thing that gets people in trouble, and and underneath all of those things that I just mentioned, that's ego, right? It's this ego that believes that if I wasn't all these things, then you would not appreciate me, when in fact, just the opposite is true. In fact, it takes incredible strength and courage to be vulnerable. And in fact, vulnerability is a super power connector to make other people feel that you are human, and they lean in towards the relationship, as opposed to look at, you know, the old model was your strong look at you know, you're on you know, never let them see you sweat, right, the new model is I'm human, I sweat like you want to see right here. Take a look. I'm a human just like you and there's so many things, you know, I write about this a lot in my books and stuff. But there's so many factors that have shifted the equation as to why people are looking for a different role model of leadership than they have in the past. And I think it's important that, you know, in 2022 and beyond, is that leaders catch up with where the followers are, because the followers, and they're speaking out, we talked about things like the great resignation, the great reset, people are leaving their jobs. If we don't follow their lead, right? Then we're going to be you know, if you want to find out who's following you turn around, and if there's no one there, you're not a leader. So it's important to be able to consider where you've been and where you want to go. 38:46 Gaurav: Yeah and I think the line between the leaders and followers is merging. I think it's getting diluted now. And I think the interconnected world that we live in, is a network that goes together for as long as you are connected to the right set of people. If all of all of them can grow together, I think that's where the growth is, you know, as we are marching ahead, would love to understand what is your understanding of what is the true essence of life? 39:18 Alain: What is the true essence of life? So to me, it goes back to Mission, it's about discovering one's own mission, and finding ways to live that mission. And again, if we think about a mission is an equation of here's the vision of the world that you want to create. In my case, it's to create a vibrant, alive world. Plus, what's the action that you take to make that vision a reality? So for me, it's kindling the fire and brilliance. So I think the more that you can look at how do you combine your vision, your action because I think when you find that and you show up in that every day, the natural congruence of that creates love. And I think at It's core. And as you say that, you know, what is the essence of life. I'm thinking back to my dad's death, I'm thinking to his funeral, I'm thinking about, actually, interestingly enough, the experience I was with my father, you know, for the hours before he died, and there was no priest, my father wasn't a religious person, there was no priest, there was no rabbi with him. And I felt like he needed a blessing to let go, I could see he was time for him to go. And I realized, right, well, I guess I'm the person to do that. And so while I was with him, he's in the bed, and I put my hand on his head. And it was a very transpersonal moment. What I mean by that is, it wasn't like a lag, son of Paul saying this, it was more like archetypally, I was stepping into the role of blessing a man who's ready to take the next step on his journey and his adventure. And that's what I did, I put my hand on his head. And I said, Paul, you've done well, in this life, I bless you on your journey here. And I just stayed with him in the sounds just me and him in the room. And I felt in that moment, my heart opening, just opening up, and just being with us. And that feeling of heart opening and the love pouring out. I had only felt that feeling twice before in my life, when that was when both my kids were born. So there's something magical about these moments, these emerging into life, emerging out of life. And so to me, what I noticed in these moments, what is the essence of life, if those are the bookends, and the rest of everything happens in between? I think the reminders for me is the essence of life is love. It's ultimately it is love. And how can we love more and more and more, while we're here. 41:45 Gaurav: You know, reminds me of one of the quotes from the Santa Mirage, where wisdom says, I'm not saying Love says, I'm everything. And between these two wings, life exists. Beautiful. I love that I thank you for taking us to this beautiful journey when we spoke about how you lead is who you are, and sharing what you shared those, those seminal moments when you experienced what it means to live from a space of love. Let's take one step forward. There's a beautiful question from a good friend Ruth. I remember meeting Ruth in the US. She's a part of the issue. She was a part of United Nations. And the question is, is who you are constant Or does it change in your life's journey? I would love to hear from you. 42:44 Alain: I love that question. Thank you, Ruth, who you are change. I want to go back to what we talked about earlier, I think yes. And yes, it changes. And there are pieces that stay the same. And as I call it come and I know that sounds very oxymoronic or paradoxical. I do believe that there are core elements that keep showing up. And yet the surface elements, the surface, it's like, again, what's coming to mind is this analogy of an onion at the core, and these layers keep changing. And it's a different layer, different layer. But there seems to be some fundamental core that I can never completely escape or run away from. There's part of that and I think that's the nature and nurture piece in all of this is that you know, in the course of nurture, I can have many different layers I can peel away, but with nature there, I think there is an essence that we do not ever leave, Truly, that's where I would go with that. 43:45 Gaurav: Shukrana, Shukrana. Always a pleasure speaking to you, my friend. It's such an honor to be in your presence all the times, genuinely appreciate your presence. 43:57 Alain: The honor is all mine. The honor is all mine. Thank you. It's such a pleasure to share this with you. And I look forward to continued conversations. And for everyone watching. Thank you. I know you've got many hours ahead of you. And thank you for sharing this time with us here today. 44:12 Gaurav: Thank you. Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen. In the next two minutes, we are going to jump into another beautiful conversation with somebody who's a great friend, somebody I've had the honor of sharing platform with on several occasions. And she's going to talk about a pathway to build lifelong connections. She's definitely one of the finest connection connectors. I know of somebody who genuinely believes in building long term relationships, a pathway to build lifelong connections in next two minutes. Thank you. Take care. Stay tuned.

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