February 2023 Recap
This show provides a recap of the last two episodes from February 2023, including Hemad Fadaifar and Michael Chu.
Welcome back folks. I've got another new recap show for you from February. This recap covers two episodes with Hemad Fadaifar and Michael Chu. Lots of great content with both of these amazing guests.
So let's start with episode 30, Lifelong Friendship with Hemad Fadaifar.
Hemad is my best and oldest friend. To give you some context, we go back 30 plus years, got countless memories together. He's the type of person that just gets me and I get him. So we're able to just be with each other. It's effortless, it's beautiful, it's fun. And we both celebrated our back to back birthdays at the end of January. So we decided to hit record and share some awesome time on air with you.
As I wrote in my writeup, Hemad is the type of person that changes the dynamic of space. He's likable, smart, competitive, extremely funny and highly adaptable among tons of other qualities. He shows up and people just smile. He inspires us to become better. He brings this organic presence of love, fun and strength. I could go on and on about Hemad , but here are some highlights from the show we did together.
So we started off with his ability to just make people smile and laugh. He has a infectious personality in that regard. He's quick, he's witty. He's just brings this humor that, like I said it's almost impossible to not laugh in his presence. And he attribute some of that to having a little brother as a constant audience.
So that was a really cool way for him to share that he grew up with this other best friend, younger brother, just with him by his side. And sure enough, he refined his skills because I can testify that to this day, he still makes his brother Hesam laugh often.
Then we talked about who he is today. So it correlated with a bit on how he grew up, how he was raised. Hemad is part of a beautiful family. They also moved around a bit, which required him to adapt and make new friends, and that lends towards his likability, towards his unique ability to just hold friendships and be that type of person to support you in your life.
We talked about how, at this stage, at least in this season, for him, it can be difficult to hold space for all the friends. So as he was able to make a lot of friends in life, responding, supporting, replying to lots of friends has its own challenges. Uh, he dropped to line. Drake says ,"no new friends." So he's kind of reached a point towards his late 30's , which I can relate to where we are gravitating towards people that really, have the same energy, the same interest, this, and not necessarily trying to grow, grow, grow friendships, but perhaps cultivating existing friendships.
Then we talked a little bit about space, the word space. Where is Hemad creating space? Right now, he's creating space in his business. He literally has a place called the space where he goes and runs a small business. He does this with his girlfriend, so he is also creating space for her and they're learning how to balance that in beautiful ways.
He's going to the gym, so he's, he's creating space for his, his health, which he's done for many years. And he said the only blind spot or or area where he feels maybe he's kind of lacking is more space for reading and knowledge and inputs like that.
Hemad had some really great insight on entrepreneurship. So I am surrounded by many entrepreneurs in my life. It's deep in my DNA as well, and Hemad is one of the few people I know that actually chooses to keep things small.
So he shared how this journey started in college. He read the four hour work week many years ago. And just hearing things like, "you don't want to be a millionaire, you wanna live the life you think millionaires live." Those types of statements just landed with him. And ultimately what business does for Hemad, what entrepreneurship brings is freedom.
So he also kind of defined that entrepreneurship is doing something that you think is important in the world, serving others while serving yourself and living life on your terms. I agree with a lot of that. I think lifestyle freedom is the main reason that I exercise entrepreneurship. And the type of quote he dropped as it relates to keeping things small and simple and refined is this powerful statement of, "not wanting it is better than having it." I thought that was awesome. It, it's something new in my world, and it goes back to just being able to keep things small, not needing much, and just enjoying them.
And to Hemad's point, that's where the lack of stress comes. That's why he's always happy. He's always full of life and, and serving others and, and giving them energy. So, kudos to Hemad for learning how to be an entrepreneur, to design his lifestyle and not get caught up in the status games of growing a huge business and scaling and all that stuff.
The next thing we talked about is a shared mentor of ours named Kapil Gupta. So Kapil is a unique human. When I say mentor, he's someone that Hemad and I have learned from, from reading, listening, observing. We have not interacted with him personally, but... we talked a little bit about what we've learned from some of his writings, his teachings, he's big on conquering the mind.
You know, I shared some things that really stuck with me in being introduced to Kapil by Hemad. And then going deep into as much literature that I could grab cuz Kapil is the type of person who only has published a few books. He works with amazing humans like CEOs, celebrities, people who've reached so much... I don't even know how to describe it, neither as Kapil. That's what's amazing and unique and mysterious. But some of the things that landed with me...
We have the power to become the God of our own lives.
There is no good or bad, there just is.
Parents don't raise children. Our children actually raise us. There's far more to learn from our children than we can teach them, which I believe a hundred percent right now.
And one of my all-time favorites. Nature has all the answers. It does not make mistakes.
Hemad weighed in with some of his learnings and something that he's taken from Kapil and and exercises is less fluff. So how do we get past the fluff and get direct, which is Kapil style? How much are we influenced by societal norms? Also known as status games, keeping up with the Joneses. You can't really have truth when you start to involve another human being in your life. So clearly this is an internal game. That's deep stuff, and if you really sit with these things, these mental models, these words, and find your own truth in them, that's the whole point of Kapil's work of his philosophy.
Hemad and I then shifted and talked a bit about comfort zone. How we get in and out of it. And this is something that's been important to Hemad. He doesn't exactly know why, but he did share, well, he gave me some kind words in, in honoring that I tend to get outta my comfort zone and bring him in. Like we did this fun cold plunge together on Colorado and just other ways to really test myself.
But I would reflect back the Hemad is, is living proof of that as well. And one of the things he shared is that, "I think you just feel more alive when you're done suffering or when you're done getting out of your comfort zone." And I agree with that a hundred percent. When we test ourselves, when we challenge ourselves, we suffer a little bit and experience pain. It really does help us grow. I believe that.
He also mentioned how he always thinks back to our primal self. He relates things back to the primal state of how things were back in the day. Our ancient ancestors, you know, everything then was about survival, longevity, and even today we have these same patterns just in different forms.
So I thought that was a, a pretty cool share. Is that even in social constructs, we're surviving, we're trying to fit in, we're trying to, you know, exercise, our ability to feel alive, and this is the same thing that our ancestors faced just many, many years ago.
That segued into talking a bit about mountains. So Hemad and I have had the pleasure of hiking together. We do fourteeners out here in Colorado, which means summiting mountains that are above 14,000 feet. They are nice adventures, especially if you like hiking and testing yourself.
And you know, we were playing with the metaphor, we were talking about how mountains are this journey of this thing that's so much bigger than us. And physically it gives us this height ranges of new perspectives. And we both shared some awesome thoughts around how like, being up there, you know, you can see different things. You also can't see different things.
So when you're on top of mountains, there's this release of attachments, this release of connection to everything that is below Everything that asks things of us, requires things of us, demands things . We also both shared ideas around how it's just blissful to be with the mountain, this amazing mass of energy and just honoring what it represents in nature.
So, a lot more mountain climbing for Hemad and I together. It was fun to riff on that.
We also talked about Hemad's love for food. So he shared some, some funny stories about growing up and loving McDonald's. He's got this whole story with a Big Mac that we didn't really get into, but. On a serious note, he really looks at food as a way of fueling his body, nourishing his body.
So , I've always admired that Hemad's been really strict as an adult about what he puts into his body, cuz he sees it as garbage and poison. And he also talks about how he wants to earn his food. So he loves the the workout before the lunch and, and just really earning what he puts into his body to thank his body for what it's allowed him to do.
There's also some really deep roots of food in our Persian culture. So we're both Iranian. We grew up in Iranian households and food is a huge thing. It's just part of the culture. It's how we connect. Iranians make amazing food. And Hemad shared how Thanksgiving is easily his favorite holiday because it's food, family, and friends, things that feed your soul and feed your stomach.
I love how you said that. Then we talked about an amazing experience that Hemad did several years ago. So he took part in this challenge. He applied for this Dos Equis challenge in becoming the most interesting man in the world, or at least it was along those lines.
And I remember supporting him back then. This was 6, 7, 8 years ago. He had to apply for the challenge and talk about what he would do if they granted him this money to be the most interesting man in the world. And he ended up doing this, what he called the male version of Eat, Pray, Love. So he would go around and challenge his mind, his body and soul.
This included summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. Then the second challenge is meditating in the Himalayas with a monk, and the third challenge is going to Japan and eating all types of exotic foods. So this is a cool story, it's worth a listen.
And he shared, it's one of the few things. That really has set him on fire because it included traveling, experiencing new things and just being in, in amazing cultures, testing his limits. So it was an extraordinary experience that Hamad was just privileged to have, but that he totally earned as well. So props to him for that.
Then we talked a little bit about people. So we came back to who Hemad is at his core. He's a people person. He loves human beings. He has that extrovert at his core. He's able to hold space for people. Relationships, give him energy by default. One of the things he shared, he's like, what are we here on this planet for? You know, we can't live without each other. We're here to serve one another and then serve ourselves. So I thought it was a really beautiful way of him sharing his outlook on being with people and serving them.
And we also had some final thoughts around the competitor in him. So while Hamad is so likable and funny, and fun and easy to be with, he also has this fierce competitor that comes out, especially during sports, competition, rivalry. I've seen it, I've been with it. It's amazing. It's this whole other side of him and he's able to kind of turn it on and off. We talked a little bit about that. You know, I have some similar characteristics. Same thing during intense athletics that comes out for me as well.
And one of the good quotes he shared is that, "the most well-balanced or the most fearful human in the world is the one that has the capacity to kill, but doesn't." I thought that was awesome.
Final thoughts here. Hamad, to me is a true representation of lifelong friendship. That's why I named a show that. He's always been there for me when I needed him. He's always able to make me smile, and so I would just ask, what else do you need from a best friend? This is probably my favorite episode of date, simply because it's Hemad and I'm a better human for having him in my.
Next, let's shift gears into episode 31, Emotional Transformation with Michael Chu.
Mike is a friend, he's a fellow Front Row Dad. He's someone I've had the privilege of sharing some profound experiences with. His energy and wisdom are dynamic. Mike is an awesome human if you get the privilege to meet him. He dropped tons of insights on his episode. We also moved kind of fast, so it's the type episode you can listen to and get so much knowledge, so much wisdom, perspective in a very short amount of time.
We started off with insecurity. So as Mike introduced himself, he was very vulnerable in saying that he actually felt insecure stepping into the container, the community that is Front Row Dads. He didn't feel like he fit in as a kid. He had this running narrative about why he wasn't good enough or wouldn't be loved, and he shared a really nice gift with me saying I was one of the first people to make him feel welcome in Front Row Dads.
And even to this day, he is the type of person that I look forward to seeing at our retreats in our event. So I'm very glad that , he got over that insecurity. His background. So he grew up Chinese American, grew up in a small New Jersey town. Started karate age three, won 10 national championships. Athlete played basketball, then took all that competitive athletic drive into the sales world in college.
He worked for Cutco, moved through their their ranks, and then basically got the entrepreneurship bug. It's also important to note Mike's family life. He comes from a family that is primarily teachers and rooted in education. So as he went through, his journey, and then Cutco led him into more entrepreneurial things that we'll talk about in a second.
His family was actually kind of challenged, right? Because they, they didn't know how to be with this entrepreneurship, but Mike fell in love with it, and he said that even though his family was a bit confused, they were supportive. You know, "dad didn't really understand what I was doing in my life" as something he shared, but that was okay as as he, he came to learn in time.
Today if you fast forward, Mike runs a company called Champ Dev, among other entrepreneurial endeavors. It's a 5,000 Inc. Fastest growing company. They have two main branches. They, they do coaching, peak performance. Growth. It is an extraordinary company. Mike is a leader and he teaches people about not just the ability to grow their business and their capacity for that side, but he also helps them take their passion for health, fitness, personal growth, and really cultivate that.
And so it's this really cool blend of business, health, you know mixing it together. And so props to Mike for just bringing that energy into the world and acknowledging that it can be easy to balance one or the other, but to bring both of those is an amazing challenge, an amazing mission to get behind.
He shared a little bit about his coaching journey. Um, he hit an interesting challenge where he was really winning at the business game, but he was putting in 50 to 70 hours a week and he realized that he couldn't sustain this, which is exactly how he brought the health side into the mix.
Led to a path of how do I run seven figure organizations and build wealth and be financially successful in business and win with my health. So that was the question that started to drive him. And he also hit this point, sort of what he defines as a low point in his life, where he was asking, how do I give back to the world at a higher level?
You know, one of the things he heard from mentor, when you lack it, give it. And so he felt like he was lacking purpose at that stage in his. And he felt just lacking the passion. So he put out this cool Facebook post, asked for some feedback, and he said comments started pouring in, which essentially led to his signature program, the Health and Wealth Academy.
And then another thing that he learned from one of his early mentors and a mutual friend of ours, Jon Vroman, is that "an abundant life starts with the power of and, not or." So I thought that was a really cool insight to be shared. Also, a cool thing around the law of the lid. You as the leader, oftentimes the lid in how much your business is expanding or not expanding or growing.
So I thought that was a really cool insight for all of us in leadership roles. Just the awareness, the humility. We can totally block things instead of facilitating them and letting 'em grow.
Then we started transitioning into Mike's interpretation of space. So he brought this cool dichotomy that there can be this professional realm of how we define space in our lives, and that's like what's in focus? What are we giving energy to? What are we driving towards?
And then there's this personal realm of creating space. And that's for human connection, for allowing people to be fully seen, welcome and accepted. So I thought that was a, a really beautiful answer when I asked him where he is creating space, he said, in which realm?
We then dropped into one of the powerful parts of this episode around grieving. Mike and I had, Very sort of intimate but short experience at a Front Row Dad retreat where we just got out of this somatic breath work as a group. And then as we were grabbing water together, we sort of locked into some quick conversation and I shared about how I literally just saw myself at a funeral as part of the, the breathing experience at my own funeral.
And so he gave me some cool tips and explained what that could mean. And we started talking about grieving and letting go of identities, which is some powerful stuff. Mike has history working with somatic therapists. He still does to this day, so he's learned a lot. He doesn't claim to be an expert in this realm, but I certainly look to him as someone who has a lot of insight.
And some of the things he shared is little did he know that somatic work for him would be the most transformational work that he's ever done? What else? When you can connect the mind and the heart at the same level, what you're feeling emotionally and what you're thinking mentally becomes a superpower. That was extraordinary. He shared about, you know, as it relates to this concept of a funeral and letting go of identities, that it's hard to leave old identities behind.
So we're sometimes motivated by the new version of ourselves, but we're often very much attached and comfortable with the old version of ourselves. So this whole process of letting go of an identity where identities can be challenging, I felt that in my own life.
And so to his point, if we can allow ourselves to grieve an old identity, then we can really fully step into the next identity we want to become.
Then we talked a little bit about personal growth, transformation. A really nice way that Mike defined that was growth is the process. Transformation is the outcome. I thought that was cool. People attach to personal growth because it feels more heady, which I agree with. Transformation feels more emotional, more spiritually heavy, which I also agree with. That's part of why I do this, this podcast, this work, everything.
Then we had a final extraordinary story around cellular connection is what I call it. And to give you a little context. Mike had a very interesting and challenging relationship with his dad, who has now passed. You know, they butted heads a lot when he was alive. Through most of his adult years and teenage years, Mike felt like his dad never really understood him, which I'm sure a lot of people could relate to.
And there was some stuff that happened right before his father passed that got Mike to a place where he was ready to write him off. So he had reached that level and he actually started the process of grieving the spiritual death of his father at that time.
So this is where this gets really deep, and for some of you this may be hard to grasp or identify, but I just encourage you to listen and hold space for this with an open mind. And so, Mike started doing some of his work with Somatic Breath work with other tools to really grieve the spiritual connection that he needed to let go of his father for the various reasons.
And he said that he did believe that grieving his spiritual side made the grieving of his dad's physical death, the true death , not necessarily easier, but more heart-centered, more heartfelt. So allowing himself to feel those feelings first did help with his relationship to actually losing his dad and all the emotion that came with that.
And aside from the story that Mike shares, there's just this really strong current of how we process emotions. Mike is living proof of this. You know, he shares that like most of his life as an oldest son of an Asian family was to make his parents proud to have honor, et cetera. But he was always questioning that internally.
And then that manifested into the, you know, am I good enough? This internal dialogue. Guilt, shame, confusion, et cetera. And he felt through somatic breath work, through processing his emotions, he truly felt his dad's pride in being proud of him and his presence, which like I said, is an extraordinary story.
Where it gets really wild and really exciting for me is that he also, in getting deep into this work, was able to process his dad's emotions. So imagine going up your lineage and being in a state where not only you can kind of feel your emotions , and even feel some of your father's emotions, but even touch into what it felt like to be his grandfather.
So like I said, this is a little bit hard to keep up with, but if you really believe in the power of energy transfer and that we all have this lineage, the same cells as some of the same energy and DNA as as our parents and their parents. Then to me, a lot of this stuff lands in a really beautiful way.
So he shared being able to zoom out and see his dad as a child and his relationship with his grandfather who maybe didn't see him or wasn't proud of him. So all this amazing stuff, again, encourage you to listen, especially to that part. And what came out of that is that Mike really found this amazing way to process the trauma for generations. Not just his own healing, but to really feel what his father and his father had felt.
Some finishing thoughts. So Mike shared that what unfolds when you start to do this type of work, this emotional transformation, this healing, is that you learn to love those around you more deeply. And most importantly, you learn to love yourself more deeply.
He talked about how "you can't heal what you don't feel." I think that's powerful in itself. He realized that he couldn't heal just by talking. He had to feel this stuff. So I think that's true for a lot of us is that there's talk therapy and there's being able to express ourselves verbally.
But feeling something in your body and your soul is a whole different story, and it requires getting out of your mind. He started to use the reframe in this season of life that learning to feel his feelings is true strength. I love that. And he also shared the he had to be patient, you know, and just enjoy the process of learning to develop this new muscle of feeling his feelings. It was easy for him to do this stuff in his head to strengthen the mind, whereas this has been an, an ongoing journey to really feel his feelings and, and process emotion.
And so a beautiful gift at the end. He shared if there's even one man that could hear this, hear his episode, who said, ah, I've been suicidal or depressed, I'm burnt out, or overwhelmed... and you've done all the reading, read all the books, listened to all the things... maybe you just need to slow down and actually feel whatever it is you're feeling. I thought that was a beautiful way to end his episode.
And in summary, I'm still very much blown away by some of Mike's stories, his wisdom, his truths. I even had a hard time explaining some of that for you. But I truly believe we become better when we really tune into our emotions. Sit with them. Process them. And then pay attention to what they're teaching us. Mike is living proof of someone who's modeled that, so I'm deeply grateful for Mike creating space to share parts of his journey and everything we covered on that episode.
And as for February, that's a wrap. I hope you enjoyed this recap.
Ali is a creator who's passionate about coaching people through desired self transformation. That's a fancy way of saying he wants to help people do their inner work. He's a father, husband, podcaster, blogger, technologist and many other things that inspire him to stay curious and learn. He's also a huge advocate for nature, hiking, adventure, testing physical limits and experiencing the natural world.