Nathan Farrugia

Miles to go before I sleep

Miles to go before I sleep

Nathan Farrugia

Entrepreneur, Business Coach and CEO

About Nathan

Nathan Farrugia is an endurance athlete, business performance coach and entrepreneur, and has led organisations in technology, education, healthcare and hospitality. He is also the owner and representative of Vistage in Malta, a TEDx and Motivational speaker and philanthropist.

Nathan has completed some of the world’s toughest extreme challenges, raising thousands of euros for charity. In 2011, he ran a million steps to complete a world first marathon by running 27 consecutive marathons in 27 days in each of the 27 European union countries. He is married to Deirdre and has two children, Robyn and Keira and lives in Malta.



Take home these learnings

1) Exploring life as a curiosity of experience.
2) Explaining why bringing accountability in culture, is important for growth.
3) Defining flow from Nathan’s lens.
4) Explaining how playing with your strengths is fulfilling your role.

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Episode Transcript:

Intro// Gaurav: We all make goals at the start of the year and most of us break them within the first 15 days…have you ever wondered why? Goals when not linked to our values…when not linked to our purpose only feed into our ego….and sustaining anything with our ego is a mammoth task… In our today’s conversation, we are going to explore how to make, sustain and deliver on our goals… we are going to explore several aspects of physical and mental capabilities and what it means to stretch them ....I mean stretch them beyond imagination… “Kehte hain agar kisi cheeze ko dil se chaho; to puri kaiynaat use tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai”.. As mentioned in the book, Alchemist- When you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” Welcome ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of the podcast The xMonks Drive. I am your host Gaurav Arora, and our today’s guest is Nathan Farrugia. Nathan is an Author, An ultra Marathon Runner, An Entrepreneur, a Business Coach, a Philanthropist, a father a husband, and a dear friend. Without wasting even a second ….. Let’s get on FIRE with Nathan Outro// I had a great dialogue with Nathan. My key learnings are: Lesson 1: Creating something new, trying something new and failing is the fastest way to grow, because it's the fastest way to learn Lesson 2: Surround yourself with leaders who can take over when you are not able to.. It’s important for a leader to create an environment where the team can experience social flow. It’s a journey of exploration. By the way, What are your key take aways…Would love to hear from you.. Hey… please do take time, to review this episode and leave your remarks on the show, I would love to read them. I look forward to meeting you next week with yet another intriguing conversation. Till then take care… stay safe, see you soon. it's a journey of exploration. 00:03 Gaurav: Hey Nathan, thank you so much. Such a pleasure having you again on the podcast The xMonks Drive. How have you been today? 00:12 Nathan: Everything's good. It's early morning here. So not much of the day has passed, but I'm looking forward to the day. 00:19 Gaurav: And do you remember, the last time when you spoke to our community at the conference, The Coaching Conclave 2021, We got some amazing feedback. And this is primarily on the public request. We would wanted to have you back on the podcast. So let's begin for the benefit of people who have probably did not hear you or did not listen to your views, at the conference. What do you share an episode from your life from your childhood days? That brings a smile on your face today as well? 00:54 Nathan: Well, I think, you know, I had a good childhood. It was a long time ago. So there weren't many cars on the road. So we would spend most of our days playing outdoors, you know, playing soccer in the streets, going camping, doing hookups. So yeah, most of my fond memories, I've tried to do were spending it with friends and being adventurous and getting up to mischief. 01:19 Gaurav: So yeah, I've always been into adventure sports, and always been into doing something crazy. And you know, every time I look at your portfolio, Nathan, you are into running businesses, you are into philanthropy you are into running marathons and ultra-marathons, and all the crazy stuff that you do. Help me understand, What does life mean to you? 01:49 Nathan: Good question. I think life is about experience. It's about the curiosity of experience. To me, it's, it's this is why I tend to try new things all the time and want to explore, I'd want to adventure because there's this curiosity to find out about new experiences. So whether it's at work, or with family or with sports, life's always been about the question mark, of what would it feel like? What would it be like? What would the results be of trying something new? And that for me is? Is one of the reasons why I get out of bed in the morning. One of my good guy reasons. Also, I get bored very quickly. So it's a good thing I guess. 02:46 Gaurav: Yeah. Nathan, one word that comes to my mind when I think of you is somebody as you mentioned, that somebody who's willing to experiment with life, somebody who's willing to test new experiences in life. I mean, there are people that I personally come across who would look at doing who would look at looking at life from a very conservative lens. And here's another extreme that we have, in the form of Nathan. Where do you pick up all this courage? Where did where do you pick up all this, comfort with the uncertainty that continues to feed you to experiment with new stuff in your life? 03:39 Nathan: I think, on one hand, there is this curiosity around, you know what else is out there? Maybe my upbringing on a very small island in the Mediterranean was always one that encouraged discovery, because we know pretty much everyone on the island. So if you want to learn, if you want to have new conversations, you need to travel. So I think perhaps from a young age, you know, that sort of being outdoors. Experimenting, and being curious, adventuring is something that perhaps shaped my mindset. But I think you know, it's also about the finite time that we have on this on this planet, that implies that we need to spend as much time as we can discovering, because otherwise perhaps, we miss out. So maybe there is a fear of missing out that drives this curiosity. But it also has been extremely fulfilling to make these discoveries particularly about myself, sort of personal growth elements, so pushing my limits and seeing how far I can go physically and mentally in some of the challenges I've done, allows me to find out new things about myself. So I think as a you know, as a parent, you want to be able to give your kids experiences. So, you know, we've done stuff with them as well. And we want them to grow through experiences. So it's sort of a philosophy or a way of life, I think that that has become the way we do things. It doesn't mean that I don't enjoy sitting quietly on the couch having a nice glass of wine. So it's not just the adrenaline rush all the time. Absolutely not. It's really, you know, you can explore in your own mind, you can explore it in a book doesn't have to necessarily be adventurous travel or climbing a mountain or running a marathon. 05:41 Gaurav: Yeah, yeah. You know, you've written this book called A Million Steps. Every time I go to this book, it gives me a lot of inspiration. Because this is literally testing your nerves. This is literally testing your own limits. Nathan, you finished 27 marathons in 27 days in 27 different countries? Let's come back to the very basic question. This is absolutely a pause moment for me every time and I speak that because I get goosebumps. What does marathon mean to you? 06:26 Nathan: a lot of things, I think on one hand, it's a metaphor for life, in the sense that it has a start and an end. And, and you travel in between, there are painful parts, and there are joyous parts, and depends on your preparation, your success, or enjoyment depends on your ability to plan, also to set expectations, to also understand your own limits, in order not to push too hard to be able to make it to the end. So I think, you know, this aspect of math and life are parallels. But also Marathon, you know, in the way that I've run them has always been about fundraising and charity. So it's about been about giving. So a lot of the challenges I've done have been to raise funds for vulnerable people. And so there is that part of giving, that is clear to me when you say the word marathon or adventure. And that's, that's been a big part of my life, you know, both in leadership leading organizations that help persons with disabilities, as well as body volunteering and, and supporting organizations through financial giving as well. 07:51 Gaurav: You know, while I was listening to you, I experienced the shift when you when you said that. One is marathon and then marathon for fundraising. Something shifted in me while I'm listening is doing something for the heck of doing it that's on one side. On the other side, it's about doing something with a purpose. And that shifts everything right. Just curious, when you decided to run 27 marathons, in 27 days, in 27 countries? What was driving you? What was your why? What was your purpose? 08:32 Nathan: I don't think there was a central purpose. You know, as romanticizes, we try and make it you know, to push your limits, you need to have a really strong purpose, I think you can have multiple ones. And in the example of the 27 challenge, there was the philanthropic side, we wanted to raise funds and awareness for children with disabilities and children and care across the 27 states. At the same time, you know, I felt that it was a personal challenge I wanted to attempt and see, because it was a world record to see whether, you know, it could be done. And that was the curious side, which I've talked about earlier, can something like this be pulled off with a shoestring budget. A very small group of people has, a very short time to plan and, a very short time to prepare. And, and so those two parallels for me were what, what sort of drove me to, to attempt this. But the success factor was also the team. So as you know, I get the glory and I get to talk about it. There was a team behind us that had with the fundraising had the PR had the logistics, I had people traveling with me from country to country, who stood by my side when I was grumpy and upset and tired and egged me on, my wife and kids from home, you know, encouraging me so you know, it's not just about the physical aspects of Running a million steps, which makes the 27 marathons but also the whole ecosystem behind it. 10:08 Gaurav: But, you know, just a thought of running 27 marathon itself is a dare? How did you manage to pick up that courage? And that's one part of it. And how did you manage to convince your family member that it is doable? Let me make an attempt. 10:24 Nathan: But to be honest, I think there was an element of blind faith there, most people didn't think it was possible that the physiological element of it, you know, had never been proven before. Particularly the fatigue of travel. Yeah. So, the, the skepticism, and this is a lot of the around the event was clearly there. But people who cared for me didn't show it, they hid it, and they just said, you know, we believe in you. And if you think you can, you can make it, you know, go ahead. And so obviously, that helped. And I didn't pay heed to the naysayers. I sort of just put my head down and said, you know, let's have a go and see what happens. 11:07 Gaurav: This is so interesting because on one hand, you're talking about naysayers. On the other hand, you're talking about people who encouraged you, who would provide you the necessary fuel, when, as you mentioned, when you will be feeling grumpy or upset or tired, or lacking some kind of confidence or fuel, right. I also believe that when you attempt something like that, there is a selfish part to that. Right, because once you do something you will be news that will give you the kind of recognition that you might be aiming for, or the precision that you might get. How do you ensure that whatever you're doing is driven by a deeper purpose. And not just the surface level recognition that of course, you will get as a byproduct? 12:04 Nathan: Well, I'd like to reframe that because actually, I don't think there's anything wrong in getting a platform. Simply because it depends entirely on what you use the platform for. If you use it for your own fame and glory and financial remuneration, unless it's your job, that you are an adventurer that perhaps, you know, we misconstrue that as something that's selfish. However, if you have a platform that allows you to have a voice to be able to talk about the issues that we are talking about, and in this case, it was the inclusion of persons with disability, then absolutely, you know, if you have to climb a mountain to get into the news, so you can talk about an issue that needs to be talked about, then do it. If the side effect is that you get some recognition, and you can use that by being invited on TV to talk about it, and at the same time, raise awareness. Why not? 13:00 Gaurav: And as you mentioned, it actually inspire other people as well, to do something which they think or which they did not think possible. Why not. So in that space, right? I'm sure there were a lot of people who are trying to pull you down as well. How did you manage to deal with them? Or, if at all, you pay any hood to them? 13:30 Nathan: Well, to be honest, I didn't have that much negativity, Malta as a race to the close-knit community. I also was relatively well known because of the work I have done with philanthropy and nonprofits. So there wasn't that much cynicism around sort of the cause. And the reason why I was doing it, you know, there were a few people saying, well, he's doing this to become famous or whatever, which clearly wasn't the case. But, but I think, you know, generally people when you sort of going out there and saying this, and I'm doing this for a good reason, most people you know, humanity, I maybe I'm a sort of an optimist, but I think humanity is such that when someone is going to attend something at their own expense at their own physical and mental cost, and their own, at their own resources, that then you get respect. You know, and obviously, because our events all self-funded, this sort of removed any thoughts around whether, you know, money was being misappropriated or things like this, because that tends to come up and charitable events and activities, you know, how much of the actual money is going to charity? Is a question that a lot of people ask. Unfortunately, it's the people that are sitting on their couch doing nothing to help anyone anyway, who make these comments, but they are there. Yeah, 14:47 Gaurav: yeah. You know, let's shift the gears Nathan, and let's talk about because on one hand, I personally known people or I have been one of them, that running one marathon a day is a Herculean task. I've never finished one marathon. I've done few half marathons. But I've never been able to dare to even think of running a complete marathon. And here is somebody who did not even think. But he finished 27 marathons. And it's not that, that's the only thing that he's doing, right. He's running his family, he's running his business, he's a CEO of an organization, in in Malta. So there's enough and more that Nathan you are doing. Now help me understand what kind of mindset required to get into that groove and that's the finishing line? 15:43 Nathan: Well, I think the mindset, it needs to be one that is constantly self-aware. And you need to be checking on yourself to make sure that you are treating yourself properly, whether it's in your training or preparation, you're understanding the fact that if you push too hard, you're going to get injured. If you don't push hard enough, you're never going to improve. So this self-awareness around, you know, finding the sweet spot when it comes to preparation, but also balancing and managing everything else in your life, you know, to put everything on hold to run a marathon or an ultra-marathon may be okay, for some and some people may need to do that, because it's all-encompassing, but actually, for me managing to, to balance work and life is important. And, you know, the self-awareness to say, okay, you know, is something suffering because of something else? And how do I rebalance that equation, is important. So the mindset for me is positive, absolutely. But it's also about being realistic about what you can achieve, you know, running a marathon is, you know, you talked about finishing a marathon, you can finish a marathon, you can walk a marathon, and you can finish a marathon, it's not about the distance, it then becomes about the speed. And how fast do you want to run that marathon? Because that's the typically the limiting factor from a physiological perspective. 17:02 Gaurav: Yeah, so tell me more about that. When you talk about self-awareness, you brought in a couple of other concepts, you brought in the concept of, you know, balancing, making sure that you don't do one thing at the cost of another. So balancing is really important to you. You also spoke about finding the sweet spot for yourself that how much should you stretch yourself? And how much should you retain the energy for tomorrow as well? Now, a couple of points. One is, one question is, in order to do something as huge as running 27 marathon, I don't think that it's only one person who does that you require a team? Right? What was the contribution of the team, which was working with you, in helping you build that machinery to deliver on this end result? That is one. Second one is- How did you manage to bring that balance so that you don't invest extra hard on one thing that might cost you another? So these are the two questions that I have, whichever you are comfortable with to pick up? And then we can move to the next question. 18:10 Nathan: I think, you know, the first one, the concept of a team, is that the team has different roles, the team members needs to have their independence, but also be interdependent and work together to be able to achieve the common and agreed mission. So in our case, everybody had different tasks, and responsibilities. And to each, their way of doing things. So my leadership style is empowering. It's encouraging people to find their own way to get the results that we've agreed we want to achieve together. So for me, it was about playing to people's strengths. And whilst there was the sort of technical skill required from the logistics, and the planning, and the PR, there was also the emotional support I needed from my partner, my wife, and kids and friends. And people around me, so I, you know, I made sure that I had a few really good people that I trusted, that were there to support, support me, perhaps, you know, it sounds a little bit selfish. But essentially, the success of the challenge was, you know, was a team effort and was due to them, although, you know, my face gets the one that's super put on the newspapers. And so, you know, the same analogy I've used in all my businesses is exactly the same. It's finding the right people that have that unique strength, as long as they with that strength contributes to the ultimate goal, and then they should be part of the team. So for me, it's very similar. It's about getting the best out of people. Which actually then allowed me to get the best out of myself because if I'm getting stressed out because I'm carrying responsibilities that are too much for me or not allowing me to focus actually reduces my performance. So for me to be at my best, I need to know that, you know, the areas of the organization are in good hands. That way, I have clarity of mind to be able to focus on putting one step in front of the other. 20:14 Gaurav: Yeah. But, Nathan, in this case, you are not only the one who was the performer, you were also managing the project. And how did that balance, 20:25 Nathan: mostly planning, I knew that I was going to be tired, you know, every day, for a month, so I needed to make sure that we had a really good plan, with alternative plans when things go wrong, as predictable as you can be with these things. And so when I was not in the right mindset to lead, everybody would just step up and take responsibility, you know, so, for me, the proof of a good leader is in their actions. And, and, you know, not to say that I was, you know, an exceptional leader, but when you surround yourself with people who are also leaders, it becomes so much easier for them to take over when you're not in the right mindset, or you're too tired, or you're exhausted. 21:11 Gaurav: And how did you manage to bring that accountability aspect in this team, that we are going to hold each other accountable because putting together a system or putting together a process in a team is not that easy. And especially, we can't afford to make any mistake, because the moment we make a mistake, it's going to break the entire cycle for 27 days. 21:38 Nathan: Yes, there was the risk that if we missed one day, then obviously the record is impossible. But, you know, what we found is that when people are under pressure, as long as they have a common goal, then sort of people sorted out, you know, we had our disagreements, we had our fights out of tiredness, or we had upsets, because of the constraints of space, trying to live in a box on wheels for a month, because we traveled and I can't prevent. So you know, these are the expectations that we are going to have these arguments, but we predicted them, we said, look, you know, when we're going to start arguing, let's take a deep breath, let's go for a walk, let's recalibrate and focus on the big picture. And, and so sort of these things were discussed openly beforehand, we didn't, you know, within the skirt around the competence, difficult conversations around what happens when we have an argument. 22:31 Gaurav: So that was the team charter that was if not written down, at least that was agreed upon, before the start of the project itself. 22:42 Nathan: Yes, and I think because we could observe what was going on with each other, you know, when I think when I see, when I think back, and I see that the team saw me in pain and suffering when I had, you know, some strain you know, they realized that they needed to step up when I wasn't functioning properly. And, and I think there's this goes beyond teamwork, it's also friendship. And, you know, Cliff, who was with me for, every day, throughout this, you know, as a good friend and, and he's been through it himself, I selected him specifically because he had done Ironman races and pushed his own limits, so he knows what pain feels like. And, and it was very easy for him to understand that he needed to step up and take over when I wasn't functioning properly 23:37 Gaurav: Hmm. So, we have spoken about the marathon that you have done, the marathons that you have done, we have spoken about the preparation required. Let's take the next step. The next step is Nathan, you do a lot of work with business leaders. You are a CEO of an organization, you run several masterminds with the top leaders in the organization in your country. Just curious, what are the parallels that you have been able to draw from the experience of running 27 marathons and when somebody is running an organization, how to bring out those learnings and bring it here. 24:23 Nathan: As I said earlier, I think you know, the marathon is a bit of a metaphor for life. So, running an organization is a selfless act, because you are there to serve you know the people within that organization, your leadership team directly and eventually your customers through your employees. So the idea of self-sacrifice is similar to the mindset you need to run a marathon because you are going to put yourself through pain and discomfort and accepting to lead an organization whilst maybe on the outside looks glorious essentially as also stressful, you know, sleepless nights when things aren't great. So I think, you know, what I've seen from people I've coached top CEOs, Olympic athletes, high performers, they have this sort of deeper understanding of why the pain and the discomfort is worthwhile, why the easy life is not an option. And, and some are dogged about the result, you know, they want to achieve something, be the best, be the greatest. You know, it's typically not about money at that level, it's more about sort of their perception of what success means. And another is, it's also about the journey, it's also about the fact that they are continuously growing and stretching themselves. And, and typically, what you see is that they move into bigger and larger organizations, or if they've started their business, they diversify it and grow the business in different ways. The good ones, the successful ones are the ones with a growth mindset. They're the ones that stay curious. And typically, they asked themselves the question, What's next on a regular basis? 26:18 Gaurav: You know, when you're talking about Stay curious. And I was, we were doing some work for an organization where we were talking about helping organizations create an adaptive culture. And we spoke about being curious and operating from a space of not knowing a lot. Just curious, from your perspective, Nathan, how does this mindset of being curious or how does this, this mindset of operating from not knowing manifest in terms of behavior, a leader demonstrates on day to day basis? 26:58 Nathan: I think, you know, humility comes to mind here, because if you don't have an experience on how something might play out, you have to accept that you are vulnerable. And great leaders are the ones that show vulnerability and tell their team that they don't always have the answers, and that it's a journey that they are going to have to travel together and discover together. So I think, you know, this is an interesting part of creativity, because it actually sets you up to be vulnerable. And, and to not be in the know, and not to rely on experience. And I think this is a very important part, of leadership. You know, it's, I would say, I don't, it's easy, but it's easier to run an organization simply based on your experiences. It's much more difficult to be creative. So I think that's an important factor. I think also the people you have around, you need to be of the same mindset. Now, if you have people that are scared all the time or afraid of change, then it makes it more difficult for you to move things. So choosing the right talent, choosing the right people in the right, people, the right attitude is extremely important for leaders who are involved in change. And yeah, I think, I think, you know, we always learn much faster through failure. So creating something new, trying something new, and failing is the fastest way to grow because it's the fastest way to learn. So, again, you'll find that organizations or leaders that create change are the ones that typically become more adaptable and build more resilience because they've had to go through more discomfort. So, you know, there's 101 reasons why creativity and curiosity in leadership is the way to grow. 28:52 Gaurav: I love it when you're saying that your ability to reach out to your team members saying that, look, I don't know, I don't have the answers. And drawing the parallel and drawing the analogy of when you were managing the project of running 27 marathons in 27 days and being a performer as well, using the same analogy, you are being a CEO at the same time, you have a very critical role to play in the organization as well. Now, you also mentioned Nathan, that it's extremely important for a leader to surround himself or herself with similar kinds of leader who are willing to operate from a space of curiosity, who are willing to operate from a space of it's okay to not have not to have all the answers all the times. Now, at the same time, I'm sure you would have come across members in your team who are somehow not been able to get into this mindset. And they always have a reason. They always have an excuse for not delivering on the promise but at the same time. Those 27 marathons in 27 days is what we are focusing on. How do you ensure that we bring accountability in the culture so that people start to grow in that culture and get better? 30:17 Nathan: For me, there is a psychological contract, you know, when you say yes to a responsibility, then you have to carry it. If you think you cannot carry it, if you feel that you said yes too quickly, then then you need to have a conversation and, and bow out. And it's fine to do so, you know, I much prefer someone who has aspirations to bite off more than they can chew. And realize that, you know, either they need help, or they're not up to it than someone who just says no, all the time and never experiences, you know, discomfort. So, you know, I give a lot of space for people who are cocky and want to want to stretch themselves even beyond what they are capable of. For me, that's a negative thing. It's the way to grow experience. You know, I think about being accountable, I think, again, it's really an accountability, part of understanding what it is that you're in for accepting the responsibility and the targets and the goals. And what the collective have agreed, is going to be the effort that is required. But for me, the most important thing is the intention. Like I said earlier, if a person with good intentions, says yes to something that they haven't really calculated, and therefore find themselves in troubled waters is someone that I, you know, I would definitely go in and help. For me, the intention is the most important. But if the intention is positive, then it's fine to make mistakes. The attention is negative, then, that's a non-starter for me. 31:55 Gaurav: This is really interesting, because, you know, as I'm just listening to you, the more and more I'm picking up is that you're talking about things which are not even visible to the world. You spoke about mindset, you you spoke about curiosity, you spoke about the intentions which are no way visible to the world. Right, that's where a person operates from. Also, in your book, a million steps, lessons from the limit of the physical and mental endurance, how to light the fire. Everyday in business and life, you have spoken about the fire philosophy, where the way you've been able to define fire is flow, impact, roles and responsibilities, and excellence. Tell me how do you define flow? 32:47 Flow is an amazing feeling, it's when you are at your best when you are totally immersed in, an action or an activity, you're 100% focused, there is no distraction. The world outside of that does not exist, you may be in totally in your own head, listening to music, you could be out on a run, going beyond your physical limits, you could be in a deep conversation where you're so engrossed in peeling the onion of the layers of that conversation. So flow for me is, when your mind and heart are connected. And, and it feels great. It's a great feeling. Flow for me is something I look for on a regular basis. And I create as many triggers as I can around me in my day to be able to get more of it. 33:47 Gaurav: Talk to me about the triggers that you're speaking about. In fact, that's the bridge to the next question, how can you actually tap into that flow? 33:55 So we know from research that to trigger flow, which is a typical sort of brain state, we need to have a number of things aligned, we need to be extremely focused, we need to be slightly uncomfortable. And there needs to be a level of newness so we don't use our brain and rely on experience and memory. And we need to make sure that we, therefore, remove distraction, that we don't multitask, that we find space to develop and get into flow without feeling rushed to move on to the next thing. And so, therefore, we need to engineer it. It's something that we can do in our day to be able to be at our best. 34:43 Gaurav: Again, I think this is all about finding the sweet spot where you are experiencing that things are flowing through you. You have some kind of stretch and you have been able to create an environment where you are totally connected, and there's a connect between your mind and your heart. And there's some kind of newness in the same is my understanding, right? Nathan: Yes, spot on! Gaurav: So does that mean that I can create flow in everything that I'm doing? 35:19 Nathan: Yes, pretty much as long as they fit a certain criteria. You can find flow in anything you do. If there is a fundamental understanding that this is going to get you enjoyment or satisfaction, then obviously, that's a bonus. It's very difficult to find flow in something that you don't like doing. Let's say that. 35:43 Gaurav: Of course, of course. And also, you spoke about that, focusing on one thing at a time and not getting distracted with multi-tasking. How can we allow a manager? Or how can we allow a leader to tap into the flow when there are so many things going on? A leader is responsible for his stakeholders, including his customers, the investors, the employees, the consumer, at the same time he has to manage or she has to manage 10 different things going on? How can we, 36:18 Nathan: that goes into, you know, the second part of the fire approach, and that is really understanding how best to make an impact, how to add value, with the time that you have, you know, whether it's me, you or the billionaire, we only have 24 hours in a day, no amount of money can buy us more. So essentially, it's about what we do with that time. And we know for certain that in flow, we are going to perform at our best, we're going to be delivering more value, we're going to be more effective, more efficient, faster. And so, therefore, engineering, our day to be in flow is going to create more impact. Now, if I'm a CEO with multiple responsibilities, essentially, I can still only do one thing well, at once, I can multitask, but that would, that would probably create mediocrity in the outcomes, to really be good at something or do something well, you need to be focused. And all CEOs know this, you know that the fallacy of multitasking has been, has been proven many times. So if you're doing something important that needs your full attention, then you need to create the space to do that, which means that you need to find quiet time. In your day, listen, as a CEO, you're responsible to think you're responsible to plan strategize, you're responsible to come up with solutions when other people cannot. And that's your job. Now, if you spend your time answering emails and running around the office, and you know doing things that other people should be doing instead of you, then you're not functioning as a CEO. So essentially, whether you're the CEO of a big organization, a small organization, or your own business, or the CEO of yourself, you need to focus on the things that are most important for you at the time and engineer your day around those, you know that the fallacy of time management also comes into play. You cannot manage time, you what you can do is really focus your time on doing the things that are the most important. They could be urgent. They could be important. They could be enjoyment. They could be all three. Wow. 38:29 Gaurav: Wow. So I think what I'm listening is one of the most important thing for a leader is to manage distractions, and manage his energy and how well does he choose? Or where does she choose to invest the time the 24 hours that we all are given? Right. And also when I'm also listening is as a team leader. It's also one of my responsibilities to ensure that I reduce the distractions from my team as well so that we can focus on the top priority and all of us are aligned with the North Star is my understanding, right, Nathan? 39:03 Nathan: Yes, absolutely. Especially if there is, you know, a collective task that needs to be done or collective responsibility that needs to be taken. Having said that, you can also get social flow, which comes from familiarity, candor, transparency, and openness. So, you know, a good team, take an example of a sports team will function much better when they have social flow. You can see a group of people that today play sports, and are at the best of their abilities. And then the week after, they look like they've never played that sport before, and you're scratching your head going, What the hell happened? You know, they haven't lost the ability to play, they haven't forgotten how to deliver their particular skill set. That's clear. But something's wrong. And that is the social flow, the connection between each other. So whilst you know, performing a function as a team is ultimately about getting the result. The element of social flow is also the connectivity between people. And that doesn't necessarily have to be a goal-oriented activity. 40:06 Gaurav: Yeah. In fact, when you're talking about the goal-oriented activity, it connects to the next part of the fire that you speak about flow impact. The third one is roles and responsibilities. The last one is excellence. Tell me more about the R and the E part of the FIRE philosophy. 40:26 Nathan: So roles and responsibilities, as I said earlier is about playing to your strengths, it's also accepting the responsibility that you have taken on. Not necessarily always, because you are the best person to do it, you may have said yes to something that is completely out of your depth, but you have to carry that responsibility. And again, it's the intention of carrying that responsibility. We are as human beings, we are teleology. So we think about the future, we're also aspirational, we always see the best version of ourselves, our ego drives us to improve. And so, for me, role modeling, or being a role model is about being the best version of yourself. And so those two together are an archetype, taking responsibility, and being the best version of yourself are key to living a good life. Because then you can look back at yourself, look back at your day and say, today, I lived up to my own expectations. So for me, the you know, the fulfilled life is one where you are living to your own expectations, and playing to your strengths. And, you know, having that sense that you as a role model have made some sort of added value, you know, you've made a difference. 41:47 Gaurav: I think that's one of the biggest challenges with most of the organization where people don't have the clarity of the roles and responsibilities that they have. You know, one of the questions that I often ask from the leaders that I work with is, Hey, tell me, what are your what's your core responsibility? And very often I find them fumbling, not been able to articulate their core responsibility. What's your piece of advice to them? How can they identify their core responsibility in the role that they are playing? And how can they stick to that? 42:19 Nathan: I'm not sure I agree with sticking to it. Because I think as a leader, your roles and responsibilities change according to situations. So my role and responsibility on one day may be to lead from the front, because people are in disarray, and they need someone to guide them, and to set the direction. But then other times when, you know, I want to help my team grow, I need to sit at the back and lift them up. And so my role changes. So I think you know, the answer is, that's the consistency of your role is to make sure that you are making people better, or helping people become better, or better versions of themselves. 42:52 Gaurav: How you do it. 42:53 Nathan: That's the exact thing. Exactly, absolutely. Right. 42:58 Gaurav: But the responsibility continues to remain the same, making sure you take care of the people and people become the best version of who they are. Yes. Gaurav: Fantastic. So thank you so much, Nathan, I think it was a pleasure talking to you, as always very, very inspiring. Now help me understand. I remember, during the last conversation, you mentioned that every marathon leaves you to become a better version of your own self. You also mentioned the way you start a marathon, you don't end up at the same place. Just curious, what's your next marathon? That you're looking forward to run. 43:42 Nathan: Yeah, I'm curious around exploring, again, sort of the aspects of human limits from a physical sport perspective and mental perspective and endurance. It's trying something I haven't done before that may be switching sports, including something different. Changing the topography of where I take on the challenge. Is it ice, is a desert? Is it mountainous? Is it? Is it flat? Is it the sea? You know, so I'm not really sure yet where, where that'll take me it's a journey of exploration. I do have other priorities at the moment, which are related to work in succession. So that, for me is a metaphorical American Burnie to overcome when it's finished. It started a couple of years ago. You know, we're on the road. And we can see the finish line. So it's working towards that. But at the same time really enjoying the journey itself. You know, it's not for me, it's not about the finish line. It's really about enjoying the journey and having the time to look around and appreciate the beauty of what's around us. 44:54 Gaurav: Yeah, as they say smelling the roses as you walked upon So thank you so much, Nathan. Always. It's always so inspiring talking to you. What I'm taking away from this conversation is that how can I further continue to stretch myself and yet finding the sweet spot for myself? So thank you so much, Nathan, and I look forward to interact with you again.

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