Posts in Human Connection
"When you Smile, Are you Happy or Pretending to Be?" - Chatting Photography with @rd.click
helene photoshoot
Witnessing my photographer friends lose sight was an eye opener to live in the moment & cherish everything that I have right now
— @rd.click

Link to the episode: bit.ly/Ratan_LivesDisrupted

In my spare time, I sometimes like to do some modeling. 

So back in LA, I got it touch with Ratan to plan a photoshoot downtown.

He had recently moved to town and needed some content for his portfolio, while I wanted some nice pictures for myself (and Instagram :) ).

Turns out we were both keen on in-depth conversations and got to know each other quickly during the shoot.

I was floating from one emotion to another as we were telling each other’s about our passions, vulnerabilities, fears and dreams.

Truth is, Ratan is specialized in female portraits, with a focus on raw genuine emotions.

He blends storytelling and photography to create unique portraits that tell a story through the eyes of the models he shoots.

He also has a superpower that makes his creations unique.

Find out what it is in the podcast.

Find you way in the episode:

0:00 - Chasing the light and telling a story

2:10 - Being colorblind as a photographer: turning a weakness into a strength 

6:00 - Getting laid off and picking one’s camera for the first time

10:00 - The street-smart way of learning photography

14:00 - Why smile is a distraction on pictures… Are you happy or pretending to be?

18:00 - Capturing expression through the eyes after having model share their story

21:00 - Witnessing a famous photographer lose sight

More podcast episodes on Apple Podcast under Lives / Disrupted

Fuck Fear / Skydiving with Sam Polyvyanny
sam polyvyanny

In this episode, I'm following Sam Polyvyanny to jump off a plane.

I met this crazy guys self proclaimed “not give a fuck-er” at a coffee place in Venice, LA. He was doing a headstand in the middle of a coffee-place and had to do a good deed to make up for a bad deed he’d done earlier that day.

He asked me what he could do to make me happy.

at the time I had just been let go of my job and was paralyzed by fear.

To leave the country. My friends. My life I had newly built.

To transition to Journalism…

So I wanted to try something new.

Do something so scary, anything beside it would seem ridiculously simple.

Get this “badass” feeling once and for all.

My biggest fear was to jump off a plane and turns out he was planning on doing a jump later that week. Coincidence?

At the time, he was doing a "30 Days of Rejection" challenge to get out of his comfort zone, so I decided to step out of mine and do something crazy with him, just 72h later after we met...

What’s the scariest thing you can think of? Would you face your fear?

Using the Lessons of a Plane Crash Trauma to Promote Empathy & Connections
Jennifer - talk to me

I met the bubbly Jennifer at a spiritual music festival in Bali, Indonesia.

In this new episode, we discuss how her plane crash survival has been a transformative experience that allowed her to deal with every trauma she ever experienced in life and reframe her purpose.

We discuss the feeling of being mentally prepared to die and survive instead, and how a traumatizing accident can push one to finally address (inner and outer) pain and discomfort in healing ways, rather than escaping it through multiple forms such as traveling, having sex, drinking alcohol and buying things…

As Jennifer used to be a school Psychologist, we also talk about the American school system, mental health issues and how to prevent it through empathy and connection, supported by technology and social experiments.

You Deserve to be Happy
— Jennifer, Plane Crash survivor

Find your way in the episode:

01:00 - Being a school Psychologist: the conflict of assigning labels rather than being a platform for real change

07:00 - The plane crash: seeing your life flash before your eyes and feeling at peace with dying

17:00 - Overcoming traumas

22:00 - Treating PTSD physically as well as mentally

26:00 - Becoming a Goddess of light and love without ignoring the shadow

31:00 - Creating ways to get people to reconnect through interactive social experiments

More Bali stories:

Why the 24 - 24 - 24 Rule Could Be Your New Best Advice
Estimated reading time: 5'

Estimated reading time: 5'

At my last job, we used to have this LED sign that said "Get shit donel".

If there's one guy that would fit most that description, I'd say it's my former co-worker Victor, who I had originally met in NYC.

He was in his twenties and he is an executive, with over 30 people under him.

He was incredibly dedicated, he worked really hard and when he taught you something, he was crystal clear and left no room for misunderstandings.

You always saw him running everywhere in the office, and you better plan ahead if you want to set up a meeting because his days are fully booked to the minute.

Of course, it raised my eyebrow.

 

"Back in New York, I was always really good at school, inspired by my very busy and successful dad. 

I always had shit to do, and that's where I got my work ethic from.

A typical day for me between 14 and 18 was: waking up at 4 AM, going to practice till 6, going to a different practice till 7.30, coming back home, making my sister breakfast, packing her lunch, taking her to school, going to school from 8 to 3, then going home, checking my sisters homework, making dinner, going back to practice, coming home, putting her to sleep, finishing my homework at midnight, then getting up at 4 AM to do it all over again.

At 21, I became the Founder and COO of an organic ice-cream shop.

I had studied Management, Finance & Marketing so my co-founders who did not go to school relied on me to create the revenue model, the business plan, organise events, deal with suppliers, vendors and distributors...

I had to do all of this myself while studying full-time, and when I did not know certain things that they don't teach you at school, like negotiating a distribution deal, I had no choice but to get on the phone and work it out.

Also in business, you gotta be quick. It's not school anymore, you don't have all the time in the world to Google around, or ask your classmates for help. if you're not fast, you're potentially losing thousands of dollars every day.

I was trying my best but I was young, inexperienced, and did not get any help, so we ended up losing all of our original investment.

I then started another business in the food industry with three of my best friends.

Same situation, they relied on me for every single thing, but that time, I knew exactly what I was doing and had make clear and reliable financial projections.

Thing is, after a year, we still weren't making any money and my co-founders lost patience and refused to stick to the original plan, which was to wait another couple months and see the results come to life.

They did not understand the numbers, they did not get the point of investing in marketing and operations, and because my previous business had failed, they were scared to see the same thing happen before their eyes and their savings go up in smoke. On top of that, they were coming from a low-income neighborhood and this was basically their only chance to have a better future, so they decided to fire me. My own best friends.

I did not want to go through that hell and mediate with lawyers. I had to pay back my salary and worse, completely disassociate with the company.

My name was erased from every single piece of paperwork, my face was scratched off the pictures, etc, when I'm the one who made every single business decision. From the color of the sofa to the items on the menu, that are by the way still unchanged today.

Years later, after following my business plan and projections to the letter, the business turned to be a success and my old friends and partners admitted their fault. We reconciled and they sent me a check with the money I had to pay back. I really needed it at the time, but I ripped it apart. 

They still call me every once in a while for business advice, and we hang out..."

Surprised, I teased him about his calm and mature reaction.

"I am not mad. i have a lot of emotions, but I am not easily mad.

Growing up, my mum used to teach me to breath and calm down before making judgments or decisions in the heat of the moment. I learnt to put my ego aside, move on and not carry bitterness around. 

My friends got my back two hundred times, but when there was 6-figures of money involved, they turned their back at me, that's completely understandable. I forgave them, even though I always want them to remember what they did.

In the book The Art of War, Lao Tzu says that if you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

Thinking about the past is a waste of time and energy. I like to figure out what I've learned from tough moments but I don't need to know why. I just care that I'm doing the right thing."

 

Interesting. I ask what he means by "the right thing".

"The biggest learnings that I've made sure to implement since then, were that:

1. I have to separate business and friendship. When I talk business I care about the money. 

2. I cannot do everything by myself. I need a team, and a team that's involved.

3. Transparency is key: you show your team how you do things, they understand it and you can move on. i always make sure to communicate.

4. It is about the journey, I have learned so much, grown so much, and despite rough times, my life had evolved so much since then, and turned into a blessing. So I am thankful for everything.

5. When something really bad (major) happens to me, say I get dumped by a girlfriend or fired from a job for example, I use the first 24, next 24, next 24 rule:

During the first 24 hours, after my raw emotions come out, I reflect on my mistakes, my learnings, what I have to do to move on, my biggest takeaways, and then I don't think about it again for the next 24 days, then I do the same thing 24 months later!"

 

A week later, something major happened against my will and I had to put that saying into practice.  

Are you ready to try to first 24 - next 24 - next 24 rule, let go of your grudges and live in the moment?
Leaders Feel the Fear, then Take the First Step Anyways

Find your way in the episode:

01:00 Emotions are the key to content

02:00 Working for a startup is not all rainbows and sunshine

07:00 The importance of genuine connections: relationship businesses rather than transaction-based

10:00 Peace, love and purpose

14: Leaders are not invincible, they just internalize fear better

Reading time: 2’

Reading time: 2’

“I’m addicted to fear. People think leaders are invincible but the truth is, we have the same emotions as everyone else, we just process them better”.

Josh Fechter is without a doubt one of my inspirations as a founder.

You rarely see people as passionate as him about their business.

He does work incredibly hard, like most founders, constantly finding innovative solutions to disrupt the marketing industry, but what always stroke me is that he cares about people more than he does about cash.

The three words “Peace, Love and Purpose”, tattooed on his arm as a reminder of what guides him, lead the way to both his personal and professional decisions and I believe that the value he attaches to ethics stands behind his success.

By success, I could refer to the societal definition of success, stamped by multiple awards for his marketing, content & growth hacking expertise (Top Quora Writer , Forbe’s 12 Innovative Founders To Watch And Learn From, Maxim’s Top B2B marketing influencer, etc).

But I won’t.

That’s not what we discussed in the podcast.

I’m interested in the less talked about, nonetheless crucial definition of success which is, in my opinion: building strong and genuine human connections.

Josh Fechter has now formed a winning duet with his partner Houston Golden and co-founded together the “Badass Marketers & Founders Media” agency and of its associated Facebook community of 20 000+ people .

His secret to other entrepreneurs?

“Feel the fear and take the first steps anyways”.

  • When you choose to keep hustling despite facing rejection and realizing that having a startup isn’t all just rainbows and sunshines…

  • When you keep going because you’re led by your heart…

  • When you wake up in the morning excited because you’re making a true impact in people’s lives and businesses…

That is, the real definition of success.

What’s yours?

Do you use your emotions as tools in business or do you shut them down?