Lessons from Nader's Corporate and Start-Up Success

Lessons from Nader's Corporate and Start-Up Success

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: Lessons from Nader's Corporate and Start-Up Success

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz radio, Biz. Talk for Biz owners. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right, welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radio, with me, Mr. Biz Ken Wentworth. And this week we're gonna talk about something that I know will resonate with you. I know you got, I say that to you all the time, but it's, it's so true. And that's why we strive to have the amazing guests that we have on the show. And this week as, as he's nothing short of that as well. But we're gonna talk about a lot of different things. But one of the things that we're really gonna touch on, especially in the third segment, is the idea and the concept of being a how, how to be a good conscious leader. And our guest this week is none other than Mr. Nader Vasseghi. He is an executive coach, entrepreneur, award-winning, mu musician and author of "Path to Freedom, Leading a Life of Joy, Impact and Abundance" in his forthcoming book on conscious leadership. Hello, <laugh>. He is the founder of Cnergist and executive coaching firm, committed to transforming and elevating the lives of business leaders and high achievers. Welcome to the show, Nader.


It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you.


Yeah, absolutely. So I've been looking forward to this. I know we talked a while back and been looking forward to having you on the show because, you know, we've kicked around this topic of leadership so many different times over the, you know, six plus years of doing the show. But I think from what I've seen, and when we talked before, you've got a little bit of a different spin on it, and I think it'll be interesting for, for our viewers and our listeners to hear that. Before we dive into all that though, Nader, tell us about your entrepreneurial journey. You've got a lot of, of really cool things that you've gone through during your journey.


Sure, yeah. That kind of leads into the concept of conscious leadership in its own way. So I started working in Silicon Valley, you know, the after I got my degrees in computer science and electrical engineering. And then I started working in microprocessor industry for A M D Silicon Graphics. And I went into graphics processors and then eventually network processors. And I started my company, my first startup company in network processors. And then that company was acquired by Cisco. So me and my team basically joined Cisco as a, as an acquisition and started a business unit there. And I ran that business unit for about seven years, very successful. And then after that, I decided to leave and started another company in the health tech business. And interestingly enough, it coincided with the 2008 meltdown. And even though we had a, a pretty interesting product, it was very difficult to get traction.


And that's where you know, things got difficult, lots of challenges. The more I exerted my willpower and determination, the deeper I got into this abyss. And then finally during one of my darkest nights, I was lying in bed and I realized the only way to get out of this was to go in. So I started my own journey of inner transformation, utilizing many tools, you know, from deep meditation, breathworks, psychedelics, all kinds of stuff. And that journey really took me to a new level of consciousness, consciousness and awareness, and really woke me up to a new reality. And I, I kind of discovered that to create a truly fulfilling life, you need to have these three ingredients of joy, impact, and abundance at the same time. It's almost like a three-legged stool where if one of the legs is short or weak, the whole structure is unstable, and it's really living inside the intersection of these three key ingredients that life of flow and fulfillment fulfillment is achieved.


So that's, that led me to writing a book on that topic, which is my, my first book, really sharing my insights, bringing out my gifts, and sort of helping people who might be on this journey like myself. You know, it's amazing. Each startup is different. I mean, the first startup was, you know, very successful. There's so many factors, right? And then the second startup, what, by the time I, I started to do the second startup, I had a pretty big ego. I said, well, I've done this and, you know, I know what to do. But then universe had other plans for me, you know, and, and that was a great inner transformation, as I mentioned, and lot of learning and insights both about myself as well as how to run a successful business. And, and that led to all of the stuff that I do now that kind of led me to the fact that, hey, I really, I really wanna do executive coaching. I wanna really help other CEOs and executives be more conscious, be more on purpose and be more impactful actually in the world. You know, bringing their life, bringing their gifts out to life. And and also kind of really find a way to live in this intersection of joy, impact, and abundance. And that's where where I, what I'm doing now, pretty much in a, on a full-time basis. And, and that's where the conscious leadership comes in.


Well, it's interesting, and this happens so often, not, or when we have guests on and they talk about, you know, a lot of times, especially as entrepreneurs, there's something that happened to them personally. Sometimes it's something, you know, related, tangentially related. But oftentimes what we've found is it's folks that have something that's happened to them, whether it be a catastrophic event in their life, they lost a loved one, or, you know, they, they're going through this, this economic, you know, meltdown as a leader of a company. And oh my gosh. And, and all of a sudden you sort of have this epiphany of like, oh my gosh, there's this whole other thing out here. Cuz, you know, looking from the outside in, that's a big change. You know, you were an IT person, you were, and leading a, a leader, but an IT person primarily. And to shift into what you're doing now is, is it had to be a pretty big transition for you.


It is, it is a big transition, but at the same time, very much aligned with my with my joy factor and impact factor. Because even when I was running my startup and even post-acquisition, when I sold the company to Cisco, I was really running a lot of leadership development programs and workshops and offsites and strategic sessions. So that was really my, my gift in the sense to be able to sort of come, come up to a higher level and then helping others grow and sort of be the best that they can be. You know, bring the best out of people. So that, that really was very, I would say, very natural and organic transition for me to really do that. And, and in a sense brings all of my learnings and experiences from the field of psychology, from leadership, from technology and entrepreneurship, all into being a good executive coach and be able to help CEOs.


And, and, you know, the other thing that I did after that whole period was the music part of it, because music has always been one of my, I think a joys of life as well. I, I just feel music can be so powerful. And I decided to do an album that was my first album, and I just, I actually, I said, I'm, I'm gonna do this. So I put a lot of effort behind it. And to, to be honest, that was probably one of the most creative projects that I I've ever done in my life. And believe it or not, I had no expectations or intentions, but believe it or not, I, I got recognized to be the top five best new artists on 2021 when I released that. So it was actually a pleasant surprise to me. So that, that was an another part of really bringing what's inside like's self-expression. And that's what I always encourage my clients as well.


Well, it's interesting, Nader, I gotta tell you, I have always been a big lover of music. I listen to all sorts of music. I, I always, I almost always have music on at some, even when I'm working. I always have music. But I'll tell you, I envy you because other than drumming on my steering wheel and singing along off top of my lungs in the shower and sounding like you know, a, a sick, a a sick animal I don't have any musical talent whatsoever. So


Well, I, I, you know, people say that, but to be honest, it's just a matter of playing with it. You know, it's like a sandbox go and play and then something pops up. That's what I always encourage.


Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Well, guys, we're gonna hit a break here. We're gonna come back, we're gonna find out more about Nader's books and on Mr. Biz Radio.


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All Right, welcome back, guys. It is time for the Mr. Biz tip of the week, as we always do at the top of the second segment. This one is actually a quote from someone I admire a lot. I started, I saw her speak in an event, oh, gosh, probably I wanna say four years ago. Her name's Sarah Blakely. She was the founder of Spanx. She's since sold, I think, a controlling interest in that company. But if you don't follow her on social media, I, I strongly encourage you to do that. Her and her husband, Jesse Itzler, they're just even with all the success they've had, they're just very down tossed people. And I, I really appreciate the approach they take. But her quote was, and she used to, she talked about this in her speech, she said when she was a kid, when they would sit down and have dinner, her dad would ask her and her brother, what did you guys fail at today?


And it kind of goes along with this quote, the tip this week. He would say, you know, if you did, if you, if you didn't fail at anything, you're not trying enough. You're not trying enough new things. And that's kind of the gist of this quote and quote is, go ahead, make mistakes. The worst that can happen is you become memorable. And if you follow her on social media, you'll see she shares a lot of stuff on social media, hilarious things, very open and transparent about things, even when she makes mistakes and makes a fool of herself and, and things like that. It's, it's just it's pretty refreshing to see someone that's that successful that doesn't just show you all the successes and, and all the, the glitz and glamor of, of being as successful as they have been. But also shares the oops moments that we all encounter. No matter how smart we are, no matter how put together we are, we always encounter those inevitably. So that is the tip this week from Miss Mrs. Sarah Blakely. So let's talk here again. Nader, I wanna talk to you a little bit about, so you transition, so you have two companies. You transition, you're like, oh my gosh, I got, I got this epiphany, I'm gonna do something. What, what drove you, I always like to ask this of our authors. What drove you to write that first book?


Yeah, it really was out of that inner transformation that I felt I got access to a lot of insights. It's, it's interesting in the first preface of the book, I mentioned how the book actually came about, because at that time, I was primarily connecting to my, I would say, inner wisdom and sort of responding to whatever wants to come out. I did a lot of paintings, I did a lot of music. And in fact, one of the paintings is on my book, on the cover of the book, right? Right there, the butterfly mm-hmm. <Affirmative> as, as soon as I painted that, the words came out. So I started to write and capture whatever is coming through. So in a sense, I was a, you know, I was a receiver almost like just, and also sharing the experiences that I've gone through. And I love the code that you mentioned, because I, at least in my life, I learned a lot more from my failures than from my successes. And it sort of compliments each other, so it really holds true for me that cope.


Yeah, and I think it's important too that to mention it's, you know, and I'm sure you've experienced this as well, Nader, I is, it's, it's how you take it.


Absolutely. I think a lot of people, how do you Exactly, yeah.


How do you, how do you accept the shortfalls? Absolutely. Do you curl into a ball and, and you know Yeah. Or do you say, man, this is a great learning opportunity. You know, the quote I think it was Thomas Edison that said, you know, I know he was experimenting. And he said, I know you know, it took me a thousand tries to, to be successful. And they said, well, how did you not get discouraged? He said, I found out 999 ways it won't work.


That's right. Exactly. And, you know, the other thing is sometimes when we get uncomfortable when they get out of it, but growing up is uncomfortable, evolving is like the, the, the reason I did a butterfly is actually, it's a pure example of transformation. You know, that silk form goes into this cocoon and gets transformed and the original identity gets dissolved, actually, there's nothing there. And imagine how uncomfortable that could be for that state of being. And then all of a sudden, after a certain amount of time this thing breaks out and there we go, A new butterfly, which is a a new transformation process for, for that you know, sort of silkworm. So it, it's amazing. It's, it's a great symbolism for me.


Well, it's interesting you mentioned, I can relate to, you know, you said you painted the butterfly and that was your cover and, and everything sort of opened up. Although I'm not as artistic as you, and I didn't create my own book covers my second two books, that's exactly what I did. I had to have the cover first.


Yes, exactly. That makes a lot of difference. Yeah.


And, and some people look at me and they go, how do you do a cover first? You gotta write the whole book to determine what you


Want. Yeah, yeah.


And not, I'm just the opposite. And, and obviously we have that in common because I, I had to have that cover to really, I don't know, formalize it a little more.


Yeah. Like, I would say just the vision gets formed around that cover, right?


Yeah, absolutely. And that's, that's exactly what it was for me as well. So I can definitely appreciate that. So, so, and I'm also curious about this. So you're obvi obviously have your, your next book coming out soon. You've had some time since the first one. I think the first one was released in 2017, so it's been a while. Yeah. What, what, where did you come up out and say, I, I've got another one in me, cuz I, I've, I've gone through this process too, so I'm curious to hear how, what, how you


Thought. Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean first of all, the, in one of the, one of the most important aspect of the the books I write is it needs to be practical. It needs to be useful, it needs to be impactful. So even the first book after each chapter, I have certain practices that, that I encourage people to really go through. It's a lot of sort of exercises on their own or practices on their own. And then of course, during that period, after my first book, and I'm, up until now, I worked with a lot of clients, lot of companies, lot of entrepreneurs and CEOs, and these ideas gets even more polished. And s similar topics just keeps coming up with every CEO with every company. It's almost like you know, a a list of things that seem to be the limiting factors or the blockages or you know, things that slow down or a lot of frustrations.


So I'm now putting all of that together and, and again, those are all under the heading of conscious leadership. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> because I really think the whole leadership needs to be redefined. And and of course the whole movement of conscious leadership started maybe about 10, 15 years ago, but it's still at its very infancy. So I really wanna dig into it a bit even more, really make it very practical and let people understand by being a conscious life leader, not only you will be a lot more happier and impactful, but you'll also be profitable and, and strong as a business. So it's a win-win scenario for me. And, and it all starts from the self, you know, it's like you start transforming yourself first, then your team, cuz it kind of emanates out. And then your business as a result of that, the business will get transformed. And, and it's, the whole notion is very holistic. It's not one-sided because again, I come across to a lot of ego-driven CEOs that are very one-sided, very sort of focused on just the profit piece. And that's where the conscious leadership comes in because it's not just about profit it is, it's the people, it's the purpose and it's the planet, right? So it's really a holistic sort of expanding the way of looking at the the business and looking at yourself as a leader.


Yeah, I love that. And I completely agree with you. I think there's so many different, you know, during my corporate career as well, the leadership training you go through, so many of them I feel like are, oh, if you wanna be a great leader, here's a checklist. Make sure you check these boxes every day or every week or every month or every quarter. And it becomes too robotic. It's not


Absolutely what


You were mentioning, like more of a holistic


Holistic Yeah, exactly.


Yeah, yeah. Becomes more of your, your normal approach.


Yeah. And it's almost like a, like a two wings, you know? It's a skillset and a mindset. It has to come together.


Yep. I agree a hundred percent. Well, guys, this week again, we've been talking with Nader Vasseghi. He is going to tell us in the next segment, we're gonna hit a break here and he's gonna talk to us about being a better conscious leader. You can find more at, and we'll put this in the show notes, but cnergist.com, that's his company, it's letter C cnergist.com. Again, we'll put it in the, in the link. And then LinkedIn and Facebook, you can follow him in there as well.


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All right, welcome back, show guys. And as promised, we are going to pick Nader's brain a little bit and get some tips and insights from him. Now Nader, I, again, I don't want you to give away too much of the secret sauce of the book but what are some things that, you know, again, you mentioned practical, impactful type things. What are some things that, you know, as a leader whether you're in a corporate career, whether you're an entrepreneur, you're a, you're a business owner, et cetera, what are some things that we can all do, some actions we can take to become better conscious leaders?


Beautiful. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think probably the, the very first topic that keeps coming up is listening. I call it conscious listening. You know, believe it or not, we really don't listen much. You know, we, we listen everything through our own filters, our our own pre-conditioned mind. And a lot of times we already have the answer and we're just listening to get more facts and figures to sort of protect or even, you know, make our perspective more stronger to sort of, you know what I mean? It's like coming, coming mm-hmm. <Affirmative> coming off. We're not really open to learn something new. We're not really curious. We're just listening so that we can get the ammunition we need to go back at the other person, especially in business meetings. So, so that, that is the, the one area that I think it just keeps coming up.


It all starts with the communication, the authentic communication. And the big part of it is conscious listening. And, and conscious listening really means being able to step outside of your filters, your preconditioned mind, your programming, and be able to open mind to learn something new, to really understand the other person's perspective before judging is almost like putting curiosity before judgment, suspending judgment, at least during the time of conversation. So that's, that's one piece. And then they're all tied together. But I would say another tip that keeps coming up is, especially in businesses and startups and organizations, is how do we create a culture of accountability? You know, there's a lot of people come across with a lot of expectations, right? And the problem is with expectations, there's always disappointments because a lot of these expectations are not spoken. It's very one-sided and it's very hierarchical.


I expect you to do this and that, right? So, so I always invite you know, clients I work with is to turn all of those expectations into agreements. Agreements by design is two-sided. It requires a conversation and it requires conscious listening because you need to understand the other person's point of view in order to come up with a sort of a win-win agreement. And once you have an agreement, there is no expectation. It's a, it's a very clear sort of committed agreement on both sides. So I mean, this is a long discussion, but I'm just sort of giving you the, the highlights there. But the whole concept of shifting the mind from expectations to agreements, turning every complaint into requests and then into agreements, that really makes a lot of difference in terms of creating a culture of accountability and clarity. So that's, that's another one.


I would say the another one that again, keeps, keeps coming up is this whole conflict is again, is ties tied to these two. I've, I've been in meetings over and over where, you know, somebody comes up with an idea, then the other person disagrees, and then very soon it turns into clash of egos. It's like, who's right? And what I always encourage is get away from clash of egos and come to clash of ideas. Clash of ideas is very healthy, is actually the seed for creativity, right? But the minute it takes the personal sort of aspect of it, you, you, you take it personally and the ego is getting involved, the whole thing goes sour and, and nothing positive comes out. A lot of toxic environment starts to sort of get formed. So, so that's another area to navigate conflicts, is really be able to shift that mindset that, hey, clash of ideas. It's not about me. It's not about ego, right? It's, it's just, again, raising awareness in, in at a higher level.


Yeah, I like that. I, I like that. And, and, you know, I, if I can real quick, I wanna go back to the conscious listening. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I think that's so critically, critically important, and yet it's in, at least for me, it's at times it's difficult because very difficult, I think, and, and the way I think about it in my head, I think if I, if I'm, if I'm understanding how you're explaining it, is when people are listening too often, we listen to respond.


You Got It. Not listen to learn


Absolutely. The case. Yes, very much so. And, and because see, one of the most important things is we, you know, as you know, everybody lives in their own stories, right? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, everybody. I mean, you and I have a different view of the world, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And for me, that story is based on certain beliefs and truths that I think is true and real, but it may not be right. So for me to open and truly listen to what you have to say, I get to evaluate my own story and say, oh, you know, that that was not quite correct. Because people make assumptions so quickly and, and start judging the, the minute you make assumptions, the judgment gets formed. And once the judgment is formed, the conscious listening is out the door. Because once I have a judgment, as you mentioned, I'm just reacting. I'm just trying to get facts and figures so that I can prove my point even stronger,


Right? Yeah. So, so Nader, I got a request for you. Can you go to Washington DC and present not only this part, but even more importantly, the clash of egos versus the clash of ideas? I feel like, oh my gosh, all three of these things you've mentioned are at the heart of a lot of the conflict that I see and you hear about, at least amongst the politicians in, in Washington DC and this side versus that side. And you know, it's interesting to me, I've found it sometimes difficult not, or when I'm, when I have a differing opinion about a particular issue, let's say, I think that you, you know, my tie is, is, is blue and you, I know that you think it's red. I want to have a, a, a really good conversation about why, why not, or how do you see red out of this tie? Exactly. Not because I'm trying to confront you about it, not cuz I'm trying to prove you wrong. It's because holy crap, how do you look at this and see red? I'm really curious. Yeah. Because maybe I'm just not looking at it correctly and I, it's so difficult nowadays to have that conversation because I think most people just assume when you ask a question like that, that you're like setting them up or you're, you're gonna try to do battle with them or debate them about it.


Absolutely. You know, that, that you said it perfectly well. Conscious listening leads to understanding, and understanding is the very first thing that needs to happen to build a kind of a meaningful relationship. We need to understand each other first. And just knowing that each one of us live in our own world, maybe we're all colorblind in our own way, that goes a long way. You know, just that understanding will lead us to be more open, to be more receptive, to be more curious even, right? Cuz we, we think we have all the facts and figures, but you know, again, the, the wise leader knows that there's always growth. It's a, it's a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset.


Yeah. And one of the things I always talk about often I think that ties into this really well is I talk to people that I mentor and I tell them, when, when an employee comes to you or anyone comes to you, a customer even comes to you start with Yes. The first thing in your head you should be thinking is yes. Because I think again, too often we automatically are like the answers you start with no, you start to come up with re this won't work because we tried this before this, that, and instead of saying, okay, wait, so we did try this before, however, there might be a new approach we can take, there's a new software we could use. There's some new automated way. There's, but starting with yes. And you may still come to the same conclusion that it won't work, but at least to start with, yes. To have that open dialogue conversation I think is critically important.


Absolutely. And, and again, along those lines is being in a creative stance as a leader, not reactive stance. Because a lot of times we just react again since ego gets involved, ego by design is reactive. So the key is to be creative, to be able to make a choice that is based on a lot of wisdom.


Absolutely not our awesome information. We're out of time here, unfortunately. When, when does the new book come out?


My intention is ended this year.


Okay. End of 2023. Okay. Awesome guys, we've been talking, thanks so much Nader, for coming on. I really appreciate it.


It was a real pleasure. Thank you very much. And hope to see you more.


Yeah, absolutely guys. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening and have a great rest of your week. And as always, don't forget, Cash flow is king


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