Founder of "Results Partners"
When Saiyyadah was 7 years old she made 3 decisions: (1) Learning will always be part of her life, (2) Relationships are important and need time, (3) she was determined to live life on her terms, in service to others.
Those decisions anchored her for the last 40+ years and still serve her today. She's in my 5th career, she has far too many degrees and qualifications, she loves what she does and always aims to stay focused on what is important: people and the impact that they have.
Let's just say she's doing the work she was born to do and totally loving it!.
Connect with her:
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 00:03
Oh my goodness. Hi Saiyyadah, how are you?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 00:07
Hi Cheri, I am so excited. Honestly, it's crazy.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 00:11
I know, I know, I am so excited. This is my dear friend Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi. And she is calling in, it's Friday afternoon in London at five o'clock, and she has found the energy and the enthusiasm to talk with me and record this podcast. At that time of day, that just speaks volumes about you and volumes about your energy about what you're putting out in the world. So thank you.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 00:36
You're very welcome. And it's such an honor and a gift to have any conversation with you, Sherry. So to do this one, it's just like it takes all of that to another level. So I'm so pleased to be here.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 00:48
I can't wait. So just I've told you a little bit in the introduction about Saiyyadah, but I also just want you to know a little bit more on a personal level, we've been a part of a community together, we've had an opportunity to sit in virtual rooms and have conversation, we've had opportunity to overhear each other as we've, you know, shared in those environments. And then we've had several one on one conversations. And every single time I sit with you, my friend, I go deeper, I get challenged, I learn something I leave kind of buzzing. Did you know that?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 01:23
Yeah, well, possibly because I do exactly the same. And I remember distinctly one conversation that we had, where I kind of, ended up having to go out and show you, look, Sherry, this is what the sky looks like in London, and I'm just walking along the street.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 01:38
You were walking through the street, I'm like, I'm walking through London with you, as we were trying to have our conversation. I love that and it feels so intimate in a weird way. Right? We've never been in the same space together. But that's really the power of being intentional and wanting and coming to the same space together and saying, you know, I really want community and I want to be intentional. So today, I have a couple of goals, Saiyyadah. I want the listeners of this podcast to learn about you and learn about your work. But I want to start with really about you. I have a hunch that you have some stories, some experiences in your life, where you have made some really deliberate choices about the life that you're creating. And so when I say that, what story, what part of your life pops to your mind when I say it's deliberate decisions to live a certain way?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 02:35
Gosh, I mean, there's so many, I think one of the most profound actually was after I had my car accident and I was just about to qualify as an architect, it takes seven years of study, university and practice. I'd finished work, was driving to the gym, and it was slightly raining, the car in front of me stopped, I stopped and a white van went right into the back of my car, wrote my car off, almost wrote me off. And the rehabilitation process from that was really quite challenging. And I remember distinctly waking up one day, and several months later, watching in the UK, we have kind of a program called Jeremy Kyle, I forgotten the guy's name in the US who does that, but it's like, you know, morning TV, when they bring on people and they talk about their lives.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 03:36
Was it like Jerry Springer?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 03:39
Jerry Springer, that is it. Yeah, I was just watching that and I you know, eating trash because I was feeling fed up and depressed, and all of those other things that you do after your life just completely turned upside down. And at the time, I didn't have the skill set that I have now. And just thinking, you know, I'm really, really certain that God does not want me to live my life like this. And if God does, then with the greatest of respect to a much higher power, I'm going to challenge it. Yeah, and I know it sounds really disrespectful. And I don't mean it to but I just thought there is no way that I have been through all of the other challenges in my life to get to this point, and then just give up. And I've often thought what instigated that? Like, I can't unpack it. I just know that that thought landed in my mind, and that was the beginning, I think of the rest of my life. Because I decided to get Therapy and Rehabilitation in terms of physically. I even had to learn to drive again. I mean, intellectually, I could drive. Could I sit in a car and turn the engine on? No.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 04:48
No, you were paralyzed. Okay.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 04:53
Yeah, it was really crazy.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 04:55
So, I was getting ready to ask you so what happened right before you had that moment but you just said you've like you've actually looked at that, and you don't really know. Right? Wow. But there was just this moment of what I've this, this is the feeling I got is like a fed-upness, I'm just fed up, just not going to sit here maybe was fed up or frustrated or what was the emotion?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 05:19
I don't know. I mean, the word that's coming to my mind is I think I was angry. And I was angry at my situation, because, you know, I just overcome so many other hurdles. Like when I applied to university, I mean, I'm a bit competitive like this. And I just thought, okay, so I made a decision, I want to do architecture, but what are the best places in the country to do it? Bearing in mind, I don't know, any other architects of my family. I think my mom says that my grandfather used to be an engineer but he was living in Pakistan. I'm born and raised in the UK. I don't know anyone, maybe other than my friend's dad, right? And, I thought, I'm going to apply to the best places. So I think at the time, it wasn't like something like one in 100, or something people got in, and I got in. And so when you are like that, and you have kind of worked really, really hard to create these opportunities in your life, then just to have it taken away from you, I just kind of thought, you know, that I don't think that's how it should work.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 06:29
Right. So, what I'm hearing and I love this. So it makes sense. You had this catastrophic, traumatic thing happen. You went into a depression as who wouldn't, right? near death, you're in that place? What I just heard, was that, actually, your vibration raised enough to be in that place of anger? Which is a slightly and well, I don't know, follow me or see if this makes sense. Something got your juices kicked up, where you were to be able to tap into that superpower that you already had, which was your drive?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 07:01
Yeah, I think that was the thing that made me kind of say, Okay, what, what is it that I need to do? Rather than looking at the problem? So whenever I've had challenges, maybe that's why I kind of naturally in the end, fell into project management and directing projects and doing some of the work that I'm doing now. Because you can present me with a problem, and I will look at it, but I'm trying to find solutions, or what is the cause of the problem? Rather than looking at and thinking of it as an obstacle.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 07:39
And so somehow you were able to remember and do that for yourself? Yeah, so and the reason I'm stressing that is I'm imagining there's listeners, and all of a sudden, when you were telling your story, who kind of resonated with Yeah, I had the world kicked me between the teeth, or I'm down on my luck. And what I just was struck by is that even when those lowest points, that there's this moment that you may still be moving toward that moment where you can actually go, Ah, I've tapped into enough energy to get me out of this hole. You did.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 08:22
Yeah. And I know, not everyone can. So I think the thing that I really realized personally, but also in the work that I do, is that one can have the whole world around you advocating for you and saying, and supporting you, and wanting and whatever the mess or the situation that you're in to get resolved, but if you don't, it's not going to happen. And until you buy into that, it doesn't matter what resources you have around you, because I can tell you like, I mean, and I've said this to others, so it's not anything new but one of the things that I had to do from the car accident was the insurance company said, I have to have a particular therapy with somebody that they appointed, etc. I went into it and I said in the first session, I'm really angry, I don’t know why I am wasting my time. Six months later, I'm still really angry, I said, the you've just wasted six months of my time. And I mean, a couple of years later, I just kind of thought, Well, I don't understand why am I still angry and literally it was that thought was enough for me in that moment to stop and just let the whole thing go. And it doesn't make sense. But what does is the kind of self, what's the word is not efficacy, but you have agency about the decisions that you make. So even if someone else says to you, it's the right thing to do, until that moment when you believe it viscerally, nothing's going to happen.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 10:05
God, I just want to say Amen. And that's both the good news and it can maybe even feel like the badness, you know what I mean, if you're really stuck, that can feel like a really heavy statement when you feel like you've been trying to get yourself out of a hole. But it's also some really powerful news, because that puts all the control back to you, you get to come, you get to pull yourself out. What do you think?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 10:37
Yes, I agree entirely. But I also think that you've got to have the capacity to be able to think of that or think of it like that. And if you don't, then what? Because sometimes, we all are unable to see the reality of the situation that we are in. And I mean, for example, at the moment, I'm writing my thesis, I'm launching the Center for belonging and understanding, I have got my podcast coming out soon, but like, my, I've got so much going on there. I've said to people that are around me that just please be patient with me because my tolerance is limited, because I'm just having to juggle so many things. And someone might be listening and thinking, Well, why are you doing that? I'm doing it because I'm working to other people's deadlines but I also know, it's going to be like this for what, maybe a few weeks, and then things will ease off. Right? There are times in your life when it is like that. And I'm prepared for it to be like that, and it'd be fine. But I know my tolerance level is lower. So I've communicated that which hopefully means that people are able to be more patient with me. And also then, to be more direct with me, if I say something that is either inappropriate, or it just doesn't make sense anymore. Does that make sense?
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 12:08
it totally does, in fact, I love this, it shows me this level of self-understanding. I also hear self-compassion in that, that you're like, Okay, I'm getting ready to do this thing that's asking of me and your word was capacity, it's going to take up more space, more energy, I'm smart enough to know that that means I may show up differently. As a result of that, what's the kindest, most compassionate thing I can do? It shows so much love for the people in your world, that you just sort of warn them, but also want yourself, I love that. I love that
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 12:48
It is funny, because I've never thought of myself as self-compassionate. Because I do think I'm quite hard on myself, but I think I was on a journey of developing self-compassion since July last year, because I really realized at that time that you know, gosh, I feel like I'm divulging things that I don't want to but you know, is the right thing to do and it's coming to me, and I just, I could be a lot kinder to myself. And I think what you're saying is that some of what I've been doing is starting to work. So that's a good thing.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 13:27
Well, that's certainly how I how I interpret that. Some appreciation for there's a finite amount of Saiyyadah and your life and your choices, or ask are asking me to put more of that in a new way. And so you've had to, and that to me is an act of self-love. And so to even acknowledge that I might be different. And so you, you know, and not even in a judgmental way, didn't sound like to me, as you were saying that, that I'm going to you know, no, it's just this may be the natural consequence of me doing these efforts. I love that. And I also appreciate Saiyyadah that you've mentioned, and I could hear the vulnerability in that, that it's hard to admit that we're not compassionate towards ourselves, because we know we're supposed to, right? We all know we're supposed to love ourselves. And we struggle mightily, don't we? Many of us do. Let me just put it this way. Most everybody I've had that conversation with will cop to that, that it is harder to have some self-compassion for ourselves. So what was it about last July? What was it that made you see that that was something you needed to cultivate more of only if you want to share?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 14:44
Yeah, no, it's a good question. And I think it's because I was writing my book Results: the art and science of getting it done. And the way that I have set that up is I done all of the research before July, and I kind of said to myself, okay, Saiyyadah, you're going to write 2000 words a day. And if you do that for the whole month of July, you have 60,000 words, which is a book, right? But I think because I done all the research and the notes beforehand, I mean, you know, that's exactly what I did, had I not done the research yet. I mean, it sounds absolutely insane to be able to do that. But I was realizing in those moments that my expectations of the quality of work that I wanted to produce, and the quality of all of those other things was just so high, that it was impossible to achieve. And when you tie that with the imposter syndrome was also going on at that time. And actually, that is a recipe for disaster. And I think what I realized last July is okay, but I mean, you know, with the greatest of respect, I think some of the stuff that I'm doing is really quite different and interesting and dare I even say magical. And I'm saying that because I haven't seen it anywhere else. And so people are using these words with me and of course, you know, I could be all I want, Oh, yeah, but actually, if it's being received like that, and it's having an impact, I think there is something about acknowledging it, and leaning into it and using that as a force for fueling you up so that you feel like you can keep on going. Because I've spent enough time of my life in that place of Oh, no one's going to be interested in my work, you know?
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 16:42
Yeah, so you're doing and I want to make sure we talk about things that you're doing. But first, let's talk, I want to just acknowledge that so you're showing up to this work, and you're doing it and there's this behind the scenes part of where Gosh, do I fully step into that what I'm doing is significant and magical and powerful and what is that triggering in me? And oh my gosh, if I'm mad if I'm doing this amazing stuff that I better keep stepping it up, I got even push even harder. So there goes the circle, right? Yeah. So in drops in this wise part of Saiyyadah that says self-compassion.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 17:23
You know, originally, I was like, I actually even had to look up what that meant. Because really interesting thing, like I can be very compassionate to other people. Like, I mean, you know, my peloton name is a lioness, right? And I kind of did it half as a joke. And then I was like, well what are the characteristics of a lioness and it's all about fierce and protective and all of those other things. And to that, I would also add, actually, they are quite compassionate. But this piece on self-compassion, it was like such a new thing. And the irony is, you know, I've done my training as a positive psychologist, I've been reading that research for so long, but I was still struggling to have it for myself.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 18:10
You know, I'm giggling because that's often how it is right? We teach, we keep showing up to these things but it doesn't mean, we've solved it for ourselves, it doesn't mean we're actually being able to walk it 100% of the time, which is, again, something I really want folks who are listening to this podcast to understand, having the insight about something begins, but how you make it a part of who you are, is messy and not very linear, and some days you're like, Oh, I know better. Well, yeah. But you just keep showing up to it. Right? So tell me, I want to know, and I want you to talk more about the work you're doing now that that is magical, and that people are embracing, just spill it girl.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 19:00
Gosh. So I'm so my thesis, I'm doing a doctorate in practical theology, and my thesis is about identity, and intersectionality of things like, who are we? How do we operate in different spaces? There's stuff coming up about power dynamics within society, but also within the system. I'm even starting to touch on, dare I say, what is education? You know, who is the person that says, this is the book that you need to read? Now, and all of those and like, it sounds really quite challenging, and I don't want to challenge the system. But what I do want to do is find answers to these questions because I think, for far too long, we've just accepted what people tell us. I remember when I was doing my first Master's in construction, Economics and Management, I submitted one essay. And I work really hard to be a grade A student. I mean, I really do, I will put the time in, right. And I got a C, I was raging. So I go to my supervisor and or the course director, and I am like what happened, like, you know, I've written the right thing. This is what is happening in practice. And they said, Yes, but it's not what we taught you. So, in that moment yeah, I had a choice to make, which was, do I respond and regurgitate what I've been taught with a little bit of my own flavor and get a distinction, which I went and did? Or, do I document what is happening out there in real life, in public-private financing, which was my area of construction, and I made a conscious decision to do what the system wanted me to do. And it was absolutely right, because I was at the beginning of my career. Today, I'm not at the beginning of my career so I can point these things out with a little bit more confidence, because, of course, I want the doctorate, I desperately want the doctorate. But if they think that, with some of the challenge that I'm putting in is too challenging? Well, that's kind of okay, too.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 21:28
Yeah. But you know, what an interesting, challenging place to be because you don't really know. Do you feel like they're going to…?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 21:41
I don’t know the answer. And I have to thread a really, really fine line because I think the thing is, I mean, you know, with a lot of reverence and respect for the academy and for education, and I'm a real advocate for education and learning and study. But I also think it doesn't necessarily need to come from a book, all of those things said, I do want my doctorate. And my question is going to be how, what containment do I need to do to be able to make it so that it passes. And what's fascinating is that I can write about this in my thesis, you know, and that's exactly what I'm doing. And the reason why I'm speaking about this first is because the Center for belonging and understanding, which I have created, is very much founded on three different things. So one is the academic research, we need to change some of the resources that are out there, because certainly when I was looking for research on Muslim women for example, most of what I found was about oppression and it was about domestic violence and about abuse. And I'm like, I understand that is the experience of some people, but it's not my experience. And please don't try and put that on me, you know. And so I'm looking at, how can we document kind of creation of belonging and understanding in a different way. And also, you know, we speak a lot in in the arenas that we're in about psychological safety. So, psychology, what is that, really, in terms of just lip service to how do we create it, all of these different kinds of things. So that's one piece. The other piece is training for individuals and for the corporate sector. And then thirdly, is the documentation of lived experience, and the way that I'm doing it. And originally, when I had the idea for my own podcast, it was not part of the Center for belonging and understanding, those things started to unpack, I just thought, you know, all I'm doing here is documenting people's stories. And that's what I wanted to do. And it's such an integral part of that work. And my ambition with the podcast is to say, there's a story here for everyone and if there isn't, let me know because I will find one, you know.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 24:08
So say, if you can, like the mission of the Center for belonging and understanding, what's your vision for that?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 24:18
So I'm a firm believer that I don't really know what normal is, and I don't think anyone does. So I kind of put in my introduction. I spent almost 50 years of my life trying to find one person that's normal and I haven’t.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 24:38
Okay, good. We can quit looking right?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 24:40
You know what I mean? And so on that basis, we all feel ordered to some degree. Now, if the point of entry of conversations and discussions and getting to know each other is what is our difference, but I believe that it is actually more challenging to cultivate that sense of belonging for somebody else. So this is why I'm looking exploring this combination of belonging and understanding. And I'm not saying, well let me put what I am saying, I'm saying, acknowledge the difference, recognize that it's there, respect it but also, when you form a connection with someone about something that is similar with somebody else, that connection is so much deeper. And I invite people who are listening to think of a time when they met someone, it could have been at a checkout, it could have been at the airport, or coffee shop anywhere, and you had a really deep conversation, you've got an idea and a sense of what that person looks like, but you can't remember their name, you can't remember any of the details. But you have that connection. Why did it happen? Because you connected around a story. And that, for me, is how we enter into the ability of feeling that we can belong in ourselves, and helping other people to belong, and also understanding others. And when you kind of do that, what you're doing is you're really helping I think, to elevate the humanity that is within all of us. And that's the kind of world that I want to live in. So and all of this really, in many respects is an experiment, see what is going to land well, because for me, the approach that I'm taking to this is that it is very collaborative, I want to be open to any of the voices that want to come in. And of course, we've got a kind of decision making process and things like this. But at the end of the day, if you're interested in the work, and if you've got something that you want to contribute, I mean, who is anyone? I mean, even who am I is the person that's created this organization to say that you don't have a right because everyone does, I think the way that this work is going to get done is by a huge range of people coming together and speaking with each other. And I suppose the thing that's really kind of fueling me is, there's a Rumi quote, where he says, there's right and there's wrong, and the space in between is a field. And for me, I want to meet people in that field. You know, we don't necessarily have to agree, but we can have a conversation and we can respect the fact that we've decided to disagree.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 27:36
Yeah. Which I have to say, over here in the US, and I'm sure all over the world there such polarization, there is such not having conversation about what we're having in common. And I will cop to the fact that there are days that I feel very, not even interested in having, yet I know, in my heart, when we're really honest, that the real path to healing on a global level on us is in connecting to our humanity with one another and our similarities, actually. I remember being out doing work I did back when in my 20s as a young, white, middle class woman, and I found myself in really drug and trenched areas and I would sit and have conversation with, you know, a 65 year old, longtime drug user, prostitute and I'm this 20 something right out of college. But in like that moment you just described what we had in common, ironically, was more than what we had different, you know, didn't happen all the time. But that is what I think you're speaking to and so you've got this vision of creating a space for these voices creating a space for us to change the…
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 29:09
So yeah, I think the work that's been done up to today, in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion has been really useful to get us to where we are. But I think that the kind of intersection of what happened in 2020, in terms of the pandemic and also the heightened awareness of issues surrounding race and ethnicity, and, you know, very, very sadly, as a result of the death of George Floyd and many, many others, you know, I suppose the one good thing that has come out of that, if I can say it like that, because it's really, I mean, it upsets me so much that these things have had to happen, right? But at least there's a different quality of conversation that's taking place. And so I think that people are paying attention to the issues of race and diversity and otherness and separation in a slightly different way because there's so many different elements to marginalization. Some of it is socio economics, it's sexuality, it’s religion, I mean, there's so many different things. And what we're realizing is that the stuff that we have available is just not helpful anymore. So how many times does an organization do unconscious bias training or speak about kind of gender equality? And until it says, okay, we need to look at this from a different angle. Right? That's really the focus of what I'm trying to do with the Center for belonging and understanding. Because I don't, I mean, gosh, there's two resources that are available for free at the website centerforbelongingandunderstanding.com. Okay, one is about something called the amplify approach. And it speaks about being an advocate and an ally and an ambassador, and having a clear ambition. And when you've got all of those things, everything is elevated, and therefore amplified, including who you are, and how the work gets done. And then the other piece is something that is called words matter. And it's about etymology of words. And in that training, I explain why words like diversity, and Equity and Inclusion are not actually really helpful. Because I think words have DNA. And when you look at the history, for example, even of the word diversity, it has the same origin as the word divorce. So when I say that to somebody, they're like, oh, and then they're like, oh, okay, now I'm uncomfortable using the word diversity, because diversity doesn't seem to be bringing us together. And, you know, if it was bringing us together, and if we were having a different conversation, and we were approaching things from a point of connection, you know, it's working, but that's not what's happening, right?
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 32:23
Well, I do love so much of what you're saying, I love that. You mentioned a few minutes ago that what we've done so far got us to here, you know, when we can sit into hindsight 2020, which should have been done differently, but we've gotten to this point. And then the horrific parts of 2020 George Florida like you, I can almost stick my head in the sand. It's so painful for me to think about yet I do think that what we've gotten is that rawness has brought us to having these conversations that emotion and so we're really ready, craving, if you will, the next iteration of these conversations, I'm struck by this part of me that's feeling both excited and frustrated that we haven't figured that we haven't come together by now, you want to mean that? Yeah, helped me with that, go for it.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 33:22
Yeah. So I get that. And I think what's coming to my mind is like, sometimes we feel as if, you know, I mean, I've got two kids and I'm giving them the same message again, and again, and again. You know, like, for example, the message at the moment for my son, 15 year old boy, anyone who's been a 15 year old is going to get it, just leaves his clothes on the floor, it really irritates me, right? Now, what I have a choice to make, I can keep reminding him. Or I can just stop and in stay in my frustration. So for me, I'm going to keep reminding him and just like use words of love and all of these other things, and he will sometimes ignore me, he will sometimes listen. And I think the reason why I share that is because for me, the key thing is about meeting people where they are rather than where I would like them to be. Because if I'm and I've done this in the past, so I've learned this through experience. If I try and take people to where I want them to be that actually the conversation is not productive in any way, shape, or form. Right? And it creates tension and frustration and energy and perhaps we will never speak again. Now imagine if I'm saying to my son, if you don't sort your clothes out every single day, then we're done. That is not the basis for a good relationship. If I meet him where he is, and encouraged him gently, eventually the message has kind of come in, you know so for me, it's very much about how do I meet people where they are. And I can tell you, I have some really difficult conversations with some people who, gosh it sounds awful, but they're kind of like verging on the edge of racist and being racist. Yeah, I couldn't even get the word out. You see how? Yeah, you know, and people challenge me and they're like, Well, why do you speak to them. And I know that if they're willing to have a conversation with me with all of this, then they know, somewhere within them, that there's work to be done, and if I'm the vehicle for that, despite all the challenge, I will have that conversation.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 35:44
Oh, my gosh, that so I am taking all that down because I think when you spoke it, it's so true that this sense of how we engage in the conversation, and I just wrote it down here, if I try to take people where I want them to be, then we've missed the opportunity to really have that. Even the possibility of changing or shifting or connection. And that sense of understanding and belonging or belonging and understanding. My heart needed to hear that Saiyyadah, I will tell you there that right now, and in this time, in this moment, I'm sitting with my own opinions about things that are going on in my country around the COVID. And those things, I sit in my own and stew in my own opinion, which I believe is right. And doesn't everybody right? Yet, how do we have conversation where that is really productive and moves the needle? Right? That is so good. And thank you for bringing it down to picking up your clothes. Sometimes those simple metaphors make it easier to comprehend. So in your mind, where do we go as, in a perfect world, I mean, this vision that you have folks belonging of those who all feel like they are other? And realizing that actually we all have more in common? what's the payoff of that work?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 37:13
I mean, I don't know the answer to that. What I do know, is that when we help other people to belong in to understand we also help ourselves. So that's one thing. And I think this apply, you know, anyone that's doing this work for me, it's so funny, because I've run a couple of informal sessions, let's put it like that on some of the theories that I have in decimating that and immediately people take it and they spread it. And, you know, I've heard that some boards have changed the name of the diversity group as a result of being told what the words Diversity, Equity and Inclusion mean, in terms of their etymology. And so there's shift taking place where now people are calling their diversity groups, something belonging. And I'm just like, okay, you know, what, I am so pleased that even if that is a little shift, then the impact of that in a few years’ time is just going to be enormous. So I don't actually, I can't articulate what the ambition is, but what I do know is, it is just over 100 years ago, the word racism kind of came around. And, gosh, that doesn't mean it mean that there wasn't prejudice, because there really was right, like just a word generations, but the word, and it's really interesting how that's been adopted all around the world. And so one hopes that in 100 years’ time, maybe that word might not exist in the same way that it does today. And I'm speaking about race, but I don't just mean race, I mean, all of the other different things. I mean gender, I mean sexuality, I mean ethnicity, age, you know, you name it, ability, disability, these things. So there's so much work to get done. But there are there are so many silos that currently exist. And certainly one of the things that I found in my research is that, you know, do you conform to the description of the silos? Do you take on those labels or do you just say, Look, everyone is other to some degree? You know, yeah, yeah.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 39:57
You know, when you said that I'm kind of going I'm a high feeler. So I was going into my feeling state and when I asked you that question about mission, and vision, I can't even just happen to my heart. And I can remember times where I have felt other. And I could feel how that feels in my body outside disconnected. And then I can remember times where I felt that I belonged. And that feels so much different in my body. What if more people felt that more often? I mean, that's sort of super simple, and maybe a little woo woo. But what if, through the changing of language, through the researcher doing, through the experiences of collectively, we all had more of those moments where we genuinely felt that we belonged more often, the world would change, because I know now, when we spend time and feeling other and disconnected, that affects how we show up in the world on a daily basis, even affects the conversation in line at the store, it affects everything. What a beautiful mission you're on. So Saiyyadah I want to know, because you're doing big work, so how do you manage your two children and your marriage and your life and your dissertation? And how do you live purposefully to make all that happen?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 41:35
So all of that stuff is only for a short period of time. Because I just want to make it clear, I could not do, I could not live like this forever. You know, it's funny, I said to somebody the other day, I was like, I feel like I'm back to when I was in my early 30s, I was working like a consultant because you just constantly, you know, and now, I've made a conscious decision to do this. I've delegated as much as I can, some stuff is just on me, and that's fine. Right? And so that's number one. Number two is, I am very, very blessed in that my husband is just, you know, off the charts in terms of his support and contributing to the work, not just in conversations, but also, you know, logistics, you know, we had a conversation the other day like his [unsure 42:39], and I would be like, just get just get with train. But yeah, he loves doing that. So the things that he enjoys doing are the things that that I don't. And so I think that brings a nice balancing. When I'm working on something, I'm committed to it. So I'm now kind of very clear on what my boundaries are. And yeah, I think surround yourself with good people. Going back to that other piece about kind of saying that my tolerance levels at the moment, maybe a wee bit lower, so communicate. I'm very blessed that people around me are understanding but I also know that if I was going to be like this long term, it might create some tension in relationships. So within all of this carve out time for people. So the other week, I went to Covent Garden with my son, and we had pizza. And over the next few days, I'm going to go to Oxford with my daughter, and we're going to hang out. And, someone was told me that they were going to be late for a meeting, I managed to just go and sit and have a coffee with no content conversation with my husband. So making sure that those times still exist, I still make sure that I go and see my mom. And if I don't do these things, then it just feels as if part of my soul is kind of like eroded. And then it makes me feel as if I don't belong. And then who on earth am I to do this work? Right?
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 44:07
Right. Yeah, we say that one more time. Cut off just a little bit about after you make time for others. Can you say that again? Can you hear me? Can you hear me now? Okay, good. Can you say again that part about how do you making time for others?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 44:36
Yeah, so I it is really important for me that I make time for my daughter, my son, my husband, my mom and myself. If I don't do that, I mean I think the key thing is if I don't do that, I'm eroding a little bit of me because they're really important people in my life and if I, not ignore them, but you know, if I don't make time for them and cultivate those relationships and make time for other people as well, then how can I feel like I belong in myself? And if I don't feel that I can belong, then why am I doing this work?
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 45:15
Exactly. It'd be like writing a book on, you know, destressing but not doing anything to destress, or writing a book on how to get good sleep, but staying up all night, never sleeping, right? You've got to find make sure that you belong. I also know, when I was talking to you on your podcast that you do guard your sleep, very important. Yeah. I was so struck by that, that in it, you've understood that in order for you to produce, you've got to go in and do that rest, that there is a direct connection. Right.?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 45:52
100%. And, to the point where, like, everyone that is around me knows that if my sleep is compromised, then it is not going to be good. And so, and it sounds really silly, right? But that means that they helped me. And everyone has something that's important to them. And it's kind of like, Well, why don't we just tell the people that that can help us that it matters, and whatever that thing is, then you can help somebody else, and they'll help you with the things that matter to you.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 46:27
I love that. So as I think about, you know, my work of helping people design very intentionally that container of their life, that content may vary. But how do you create that container where there's relationships that support you that there's healthy communication? I love that you mentioned boundaries very specifically, you know, I also you didn't use this word, but understand that there are seasons, where there are the seasons where you're going to be asked to do a lot more than others, or maybe your husband's going to need more energy, and then you might need so that they understand the ebb and flow. And then that real sense of what feeds your heart, and you mentioned specifically, your relationships with your people. I mean, it would be eroding a piece of you. So those have almost got to be put in place, before you can actually go out and do amazing work. Or I guess, ideally, that's the healthy way to do it. I don't know.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 47:22
I think for me, it is really, really important. I mean, like, I remember, when I was seven years old, I made three really, really significant decisions that are still important to me today. And one of them was about learning, and that learning is always going to be part of my life. The second one was that relationships are important and need time. And the third one was kind of like, you know, I'm really determined to live life on my terms in service of others. So there's this seven year old kid that's making decisions like that, right.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 47:56
You know, you have told me that before, and I'm like, she's at seven making those decisions. That's astonishing. But yeah,
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 48:03
but I think part of it is just because of some of the circumstances that I was in, right. So you know, actually, I mean, I look at my nieces and nephews, and I'm like, they're pretty smart kids. Now that's happen, yeah. And the reason I share that is because that stuff is really, really important to me. And so in some respects, I'm still living my life around those things. I kind of haven't always, I lost my way, but I feel as if I'm kind of like, back again, if that makes sense. Yeah. And that is the most critical thing and, you know, in terms of how I manage my day, I mean, really, honestly, like, I think there was divine intervention in my writing the book Results: the art and science of getting it done, before I'm doing this work. Because I mean, I look at my book on a regular basis, that sounds really silly, doesn't it? But you know, for the reminders of saying, okay, prioritize sleep, you know, how are you scheduling your time, making sure I only work on three projects at a time, right? Don't burn out, all of that kind of stuff. And I genuinely mean it when I say that book was written for me a year ago, that book is still written for me today. I am its customer.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 49:28
Now, I actually I love that you said that. I actually printed out one of my little freebies on how to get unstuck, and I printed out the worksheet and worked it myself. You know, I mean, it's not like you don't, these are tools that you've got to have. And you've got to be reminded, I'm so glad you read your own book. I hope
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 49:49
It is an irony, isn’t it? If you produce the stuff and you're not using it. Well, I just there's something about that that just seems kind of disingenuous, isn't it?
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 49:57
Yes. So I love I love that. And so I all of a sudden that when you were talking, I went back to Stephen Covey. I remember listening to him on little cassette tapes. But the one of the seven habits, I think is like, keep the main thing, the main thing to kind of know what your main things are. And how do you keep those the main things when you've had these since you were seven, you know, and that when you're really back on track, you know, what's important to you? It's Yes, it's beautiful. Saiyyadah what have I missed? What have I not asked you that you wish I had asked you, or there is something you want to share?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 50:41
What's something I want to share? I think the thing that I probably will want to share is a real encouragement for the listeners to do their own work, whatever that may be. You know, I think we're all in different places, whether you working with a coach, or a counselor or a therapist, the biggest gift that you can give to yourself and to your future generations, if you decide to have kids or to others that are around you now, is doing that work. And I say that, because sometimes people look at me, and they're like, Oh, you're so together? And I'm like, No, I have had 20 years of therapy, right. And I've been to numerous personal development courses, and I probably got every single book under the sun, and that's possibly why I'm able to present in the way that I am. And, you know, in all of those other things, but if you don't do the work, you know, then I know, for me, all of the things that I didn't understand about myself and impacted relationships and impacted my work and other things, they would still be there. And I suppose those are the bits that I didn't like about myself. And so I worked on it,
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 52:06
You work on it, absolutely. So it doesn't just happen accidentally, you know, you don't just accidentally become really good at diving off the high dive, right? You practice.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 52:19
Someone said to me the other day, I mean, it was such a generous thing of them to do, and they said, Oh, you know, I really pay attention in the podcast when I'm interviewing people for mine. And my response was, Well, last year for my book, I knew that I was going to be doing about 50 different interviews where I was the guest. So the question I asked myself is, how do I be a good guest? And I watched every single David Letterman show on Netflix. I watched, gosh, Michael Parkinson, I watched a few other people. And I just thought, how are they interviewing? No, because? And how are the guests showing up? So what do I need to do in terms of being a good guest? What I didn't realize as I'm doing all of that, to be the guest is that I must have learned some skill of how to be the interviewer as well.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 53:13
Absolutely. Oh my gosh. So now I'm realizing I didn't do that much homework Saiyyadah, I have got to go do that.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 53:22
I had to really like how do I do this? Because I'm naturally really quite introverted. Oh, I used to avoid conversations, because for me, it would take so much energy. The thing is, now I learned the skill of how to do it. And so once you know, it just, you know, I can do this conversation at five o'clock on a Friday and not feel drained after it because I know how.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 53:46
exactly so. So if I can, I want to go back up at 50,000 feet and say that brilliance that you just shared can be applied to anything, you know, we can decide that we want to learn and build a particular muscle. And so you may be like, you were back after your car accident, you're sitting there, like you said, eating garbage and just not you know, watching television, and all of a sudden you're like, nope, you can build the muscle, you can feed yourself in the way you want to be fed and change the trajectory and show up differently. It's that I mean, it's kind of corny, but it's really true, right?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 54:29
It is. And I would also add, if I'm allowed to, t7o say that I'm also very deliberate about the things that I don't want to know how to do. So for example, that I mean, like, it's just for me, some stuff is like, I just need to know someone who can do it. You know, like, some of the technical stuff on setting up the podcast, you know, how do I get it uploaded? I'm really honest to God, I'm so not interested in that. I just need to know someone who can do that.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 54:58
Exactly, no, it's great. And so what if we did that about everything? And even like you said, in your marriage, you each do the things you know that you have interest in and build relationship. And then you don't have to do all things and I bet there's a lot of folks who feel like they just, they have to do all these other things, which means they don't have time for themselves. It's kind of a way that you can stay stuck. No. So going back to your advice a few minutes ago, get help, do the work, hire a coach, ask somebody asked the question, sit with a journal, give yourself the gift of exploration, inside asking yourself what you want, and we call it work. But it's that exploration, it's not settling.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 55:48
Oh you will love the book; you mentioned the settling. I mean, the beginning of the book Results: the art and science of getting it done speaks about the problem of settling story in there about my son, and whenever we go to the States, we're kind of like have a budget set aside and they can spend it on what they want and he wanted some night trainers. And we couldn't he couldn't find them. And then I won't share anything else. But when you read that story, okay, it's a real sense of understanding of what happens when one settles.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 56:19
Ah, okay, teaser. I love that Saiyyadah, I love that. So if you had to put your motto or something you would want the world to know, like on a bumper sticker, three, four or five word, is there something that comes to mind? Put you on the spot here.
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 56:39
Live life, enjoy it be present.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 56:42
Live life, enjoy it be present. I love it. I love it. And if you find yourself veering off path, like losing your way, what's your quickest way back to your stop?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 56:58
I stop. I mean, literally, like I would rather stop, and assess the landscape, and then decide what to do. The times when I have not stopped. It's been horrendous. But sometimes a pause even just requires a minute, right?
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 57:19
I love that. So even that pause, the word pause had even a different flavor than stop but that pause or stop, and assess. Beautiful advice. Okay, last question. If you had to choose, is it dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 57:40
It depends if I'm on a health kick or not. If I am on a health kick, like 85 or 90% dark chocolate. If I’m not, it is going to be milk chocolate.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 57:50
Okay, good. Well, there's a place for all of it. I just wondered which one it will be. Saiyyadah, I am constantly in awe of you and your work and your insight and your humanity and your big picture thinking and how you have merged what I see as this incredible intellect and this profoundly large heart of yours. And I am so honored to know you and excited for everyone who intersects with you and your life and your work that will trickle out way beyond. Thank you for your time
Speaker: Saiyyadah Zaidi 58:28
Thank you Cheri, you know is always such a gift to speak to you and you ask such brilliant questions and give me really fascinating insights in the way that you reflect back so I have so much reverence and respect for you and it's just been such a big honor to be here.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 58:47
It's great. I love your friend. Thank you so much.