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How To Build A Leadership Mindset That Factors In The Science & Creativity Of Whole Brain Activation, With Dr. Reef Karim: Part 2

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Raj Girn: Folks, thanks for tuning in to another great two-part series of the ‘Transform Your Confidence Show.’ I’m your host, as usual, Raj Girn, the founder of TheOpenChestConfidenceAcademy.com. In this week’s theme, Leadership and Advocacy, I’ll be discussing how to build a leadership mindset that factors in the science and creativity of whole brain activation. My guest is Dr. Reef Karim, who is a double board certified psychiatrist and transformational neuroscientist. Two very large words, and we’re going to get to know a little bit more about what they mean, who has developed an innovative way of optimizing the leadership mindset to help us excel in these times.

Here is Part Two of our conversation:

Reef Karim: So I help people to access their creative abilities so that they can engage in divergent thinking, so they can engage in differentiating from other people, so they can stand out, so they can bring big ideas into the world. Or if they just want to grow and evolve as a person by connecting their creativity, their courage, their originality and developmental clarity in order to do it.

So there’s three phases to the program. So the first phase is all about the inner mind. You can’t do some of the things you want to do and access and have more communication within the mind if your mind is cluttered, if you’re swimming in limitation, if your conditioning is running the show. And for a lot of people their conditioning is running the show, their imprinting of limitation, the imprinting of negativity that’s happened, traumas that have happened to them, critical parenting, loss, or difficulties with an employer can leave one feeling a certain way about yourself. And we got to break through that. So the first month is all about mental clarity, something I created called dual awareness. And it’s about really understanding how your mind works, understanding you, understanding how you get stuck, how you get blocked and how to move through that feeling stuck and feeling blocked. So there’s some neuroscience, there’s psychology, there’s personal development, but it’s all about the inner mind.

In the second part of the program we get together for roughly three days and it’s immersive, immersive, all about your big idea. And this is where I bring in all of the performance training. So I just, and Raj knows this from back in the day, not decades ago, but years ago maybe. But I’ve acted in Indian movies and in India and a little bit of the Bollywood thing. I’ve acted in movies out here. I’ve done a lot of training and character acting. And a lot of training and improvisation and sketch. I’ve done a lot of training and dance and movement in music and music state changes, in storytelling. And so those are incredible skills to have as an entertainer, but they’re also incredible skills to have and to be able to teach when you’re building a brand, whether that brand is you or that brand is a company that you’re working on. So I don’t help specifically with marketing and digital branding on the technical side. I help with how do you deliver your message, the message of you and your brand and your big idea by being able to perform that message, write that message with clarity and storytell through that message.

So I help a lot of people that, you know, how do you get on a stage and deliver and disseminate this message? What are your performing abilities? I can’t tell you the number of people . . . like the world is all about disseminating information on video or on a stage. That’s the whole world now. You could come up with some amazing idea, but if nobody hears about it, you’re just a silent genius. And a mad genius is has the skills to be able to share whatever it is or tell or convey whatever it is that they’re doing to other people. And that’s a skill. So in the immersive part of the Mad Genius Incubator, we go over that. So it’s not just your big idea. We’re talking about your big idea. We’re talking about how to build kind of an operating system behind it and how to launch it and how to utilize your creative abilities to do that. But we’re also talking about the messaging behind that big idea.

And then the third part of the program is all support, inspiration and brainstorming. And we meet on a weekly basis online and we talk about each person’s project and how can we brainstorm for each other and inspire each other. And it’s really great because when you get a bunch of creative minds together that have kind of exploded their creative mind and are deeply inspired, it’s a great network of people that are helping to support each other’s creative abilities and creative projects.

“When you get a bunch of creative minds together that have exploded their creative mind and are deeply inspired, it’s a great network of people that are helping to support each other’s creative abilities and creative projects” ~Dr. Reef Karim

Raj Girn: I love everything about what you just said there. I’m excited just hearing these three different stages that you take people through. I need to ask you something. Break down a little bit in regards to three phases, I heard you were saying that you get together with people. So is this kind of an online virtual incubator?

Yes.

Okay is it live? Do people check in?

Yeah.

Okay. And then the other thing is, are there kind of resources or help lines or modules that explain the whole thing so people can really get their head around what this is?

Yeah. So in the first 30 days, it’s all foundational and it’s all inner mind and foundational. So you have to learn certain concepts. I mean I’ve built an entire world. It’s an entire world of its with its own language. It’s great. And again, it’s taking like the best of neuroscience principles, the best of some psychological principles, the best of personal development, and the best of creative and performing techniques and putting them into one program. So that has to be taught. So the beginning of it, I’m leading it through weekly correspondence, but it’s watching videos and its experiential exercises that will help prime your mind to get you ready for the immersive event. And then the immersive event is where I just need people to be open and to experience everything that’s coming at them and everything that they get inspired to do because that’s just what happens. You just get really inspired when you’re in it.

So there’s an energy that will come with that. And so I don’t want that to be didactic or curriculum-based. I want that to be experiential. So those days are all experiential. And then the third part is, it’s weekly 90 minutes. We get together, we talk about each person’s ideas. I teach some concepts. There’s Q&A and we just support each other. And the goal is that by the end of 90 days of that incubator, you’ve either launched a project or you’ve made a huge, huge start to getting that idea out there. And then we keep supporting because then you’re part of an alumni group and we continue on. So it’s not like you just get cut off. You’re a part of something. And I’m sure we’ll have alumni events coming down the road. It’s just the world is in a weird place with that. So I can’t have “oh, we’re having live events all the time in person.” So that’ll come down the road. But for now, this is an entirely virtual event.

Dr. Reef Karim & Oprah Winfrey
Credit: themindismedicine.com

It’s amazing. Which basically means that anyone, anywhere in the world that has access to Wi-Fi and a device can log in and be a part of this program.

Yeah, that’s the beauty of it, is that the downside of the pandemic is we know all that. But the upside is, yeah, there could be . . . I mean, right now there’s we have a June 1st group that’s starting and I’m still taking a few people if there’s anybody in your audience that’s interested. But, you know, we’ve got people from Europe in it. We’ve got people from Australia, we’ve got people from India, and we’ve got a bunch of people from the US and Canada. So it’s cool. It’s a global community.

I love it. So what kind of person would be ideal to go into this program? Let’s talk a little bit about that avatar.

Yeah. So, you know, I could say just from the standpoint of like, who are these people? They’re entrepreneurs. They’re solopreneurs. They’re creative artists. They’re people whose voices haven’t been heard. I could say all that, but I really think there’s one core principle behind who’s the right person for this. You’re somebody who knows that you have so much more than what you’re currently putting out in the world. That’s the biggest thing I could say. Like, you know you’re just scratching the surface on your abilities. That’s really what it’s about. It’s like I know I’m more inspired. I know I have more energy. I know I have more creative ideas. I know that there’s so much more there. I just need that jumpstart. I need that launching pad. I need to be kind of nurtured. I want to be part of a community. And I want to learn more about my mind. I want to explore my mind. I want to connect the dots and connect the neurons between various parts of me to explore these unexplored areas, to learn more about my unconscious, to learn more about neuroscience, and to become a lot more confident as a presenter to learn performance techniques, to to be able to present in meetings, on stages, on videos, wherever I go, to utilize that incredible skill that most people don’t have to be able to share my messages and share more of me with the world around me.

“You’re somebody who knows that you have so much more than what you’re currently putting out in the world.” ~Dr. Reef Karim

And we couldn’t need that more than we need it now with all of the technological expectations of connecting to people. On one side there’s a challenge there, on the other side there’s an opportunity there. And everybody needs to be their own media company today. I talk about this all the time. Learning who you are as an identity, what your special, unique offering is to the world, and who out there would be the types of people that would offset ready to enter that journey with you. So a lot of these things are extremely important that we really need to tap into things that we haven’t been taught in grade school, we haven’t been taught academically speaking. And this is why I really do recommend anyone out there who is looking to really hone in on what their big idea is or needs to be or even understanding how to put it out there in the world.

This is really a great program. I’m so excited for all of the people out there who have an opportunity to be able to go that next level further than the typical tactical ways of trying to accomplish the same thing is this is kind of going to the nucleus and the heart of who you are as an individual, which I think is incredible. So let me ask you this. You work with high-performance executives to help them activate a higher level of cognitive and creative aptitude, this is basically the genius part of what you do. What are some common results that you’ve seen come out of your clients regarding your coaching methodology? Let’s talk a little bit about that so people can kind of understand where am I going to end up if I come into this program? Which is probably a very open ended question.

Yeah, it is an open ended question. I can tell you some case studies. That’s the first thing. But one thing that I’ll mention is that we have an imagination network in our mind And I think it’s really important to understand it, because I think it answers this question. So there are people out there, maybe some people watching, that they have great ideas. I mean, there are ideas flying at them over and over again. They just have one great . . . Oh, my God, this would be such a great book. This would be such a great movie. I have an idea on this. I want to create a reality show about that. I could start a YouTube channel on that. I’ve got a great idea for a nonprofit. And it’s just ideas coming, coming, coming. But that’s all they have are ideas. That’s it. And they never write that book. They never start that that nonprofit. They never do that new business. They never write that movie, nothing. And they’re able to access a certain part of our mind called the default network, this neural network. And they’re able to maybe engage in divergent thinking and they’re able to gain access to generating novel ideas. And that’s great. But unfortunately, they haven’t built and massaged the other neural networks that are important.

With Dr.Oz
Credit: themindismedicine.com

There’s a neural network called the salience network, so that helps us. And again, it’s not always this easy, but this is the best way to describe it. When you have those ideas, you need to be able to prioritize them. You need to be able to say, okay, this is an interesting idea. This is an interesting idea and this is an interesting idea. But where I am in my life right now and what I think the world needs right now and what I would like to prioritize based on that, that, that, is this one. And then your ability to prioritize based on a whole bunch of variables and a whole bunch of factors is really important. And that prioritization takes place in that neural network. Then you have an executive network where now you’re taking these ideas, you’ve prioritized these ideas, now you need to execute on these ideas. And that takes a completely different neural network to be able to make these ideas come alive. That’s based on things that I know you’re really good at as well, like the marketing piece of it, the tactical piece of it, their strategy, there’s copy. There’s a whole bunch of other stuff that are part of the executive aspect of this. And if you’re not doing all three, you can’t make an idea come to life. You either need to hire out some of these or you need to build the skills yourself. And I help people through all three of those in the Imagination Network and in the Mad Genius program.

For example, I worked with a music producer. This music producer could do incredible songs and come up with beats and come up with rhythms that are like, where did you come up with that? That was amazing. Thinking about things that you’d never think about, combining different types of music. It was great. But he couldn’t move past that. That’s all he could do. He couldn’t put them together. Like once he would have a song, he would have this great rhythmical song, but adding lyrics to it, finding the right lyrics, doing something with that song, executing on it, deciding which of the rhythms and which song should he prioritize, what to do, how to operate in creating the next album that he’s doing. What is the the the state behind that album? What is the connection of the brand of that album to the type of music? He couldn’t do any of that. It was just clueless. He was just great at really getting the track together and that was it. So we had to work a lot on the salience network and the operational executive network with him in order to really launch his mad genius.

But then I worked with the CEO, like a high powered CEO. This woman who she could prioritize. You give her great ideas, she could prioritize them and she could execute on them. She knows what to do. She knows the architecture behind getting something out there. But she can’t think of an idea to save her life. Her ability to generate ideas and her default network were like zero. She just couldn’t do it. And so we had to work with her on divergent thinking and really building out her creative abilities. Because something really important is we are all creative because creative is an energy, creative is connected to our spirituality, creative is connected to our originality. We’re all creative, maybe you’re creative in the way you cook, maybe you’re creative in the way you do something else. We’re all creative. The question is, are you tapped into your creative mind? Are you tapped into your creative abilities? And that’s what I love doing. I love helping people tap into their creative mind because, man, your life changes so much when that happens.

“We are all creative because creative is an energy, creative is connected to our spirituality, creative is connected to our originality.” ~Dr. Reef Karim

For those out there who are excited about the opportunity to find out more and to tap into this program, where do we send them?

So we send them first to MadGeniusIncubator.com. And the whole program is laid out there and you can click a button to set up an exploration call with me. And in that exploration call, we can talk more about that program and if it’s a good fit for you. I can also send you the link to start the program and to initiate the process from there once you set up the exploration call. But MadGeniusIncubator.com should have everything you need to see the program, to see what it’s about, to see what I’m about, and to really make a great choice to invest in yourself and invest in your creative mind.

I love that people get to explore. I mean, have that conversation directly with you.

Yeah, it’s directly with me.

Oh, my gosh. I love that. So there’ll be some people out there who would probably be asking someone like me that likes to work kind of exclusively with my coach, is there an opportunity for people to work with you one-on-one and not in a group environment? Or do you feel that the group environment is kind of where we learn more through other people’s sharing of their ideas or their big ideas? Tell me what your thoughts are around that.

Yeah, the answer is yes to both of those. So I do think that a group can be really helpful for people because you’re brainstorming, you’re bouncing ideas. But I think there is also value and doing more of like a VIP one-on-one. So I offer both. So what I generally ask people to do is do the group first see what your experience is like. And if you want to continue on after the group and doing more of a VIP one-on-one, then I’m totally open to that. And we do it on a monthly basis so there’s like a monthly retainer for that. If someone is working an idea that they want to kind of keep a little more secretive and keep it to themselves and maybe there’s trademark issues or there’s something, like they they really value the one on one experience. They can work with me from the beginning. I’m very selective about that. It’s more exclusive and selective. But if it’s a project that I believe in that I think we’ll do you know that that’s a really interesting project and I think I can really help somebody, and I think that they shouldn’t do the group because of whatever reason that they have, then, yeah, I would definitely consider working with somebody.

Credit: themindismedicine.com

Okay that’s great. So we’re getting ready to close off. I feel that there’s so much more I want to ask you, Reef. A couple of questions that are coming to my mind, which are important I feel, are people out there who are in a position of leadership, the position of responsibility, they’re facing a very different work environment today. We’re looking at people who are dealing with the online virtual workforce that they need to inspire, motivate and cultivate. We’re looking at being able to find the silos where our clients exist and the opportunity is global today. We’re looking at also technology that is constantly rapid speed changing the way we do business. So being in a position of leadership today is a lot more involved than it ever has been in the past. What are your thoughts around your program helping those people to be able to get their mind around that as opposed to maybe being a big idea concept? Like do you feel that those types of people would also be a fit for your program, being able to maybe find a way to be more productive around all of these different things that we’re having to navigate today? What are your thoughts with that?

Yeah, and there’s two words that explain all of that and the two words, if you are a leader out there and you’re watching this, and I think Raj you said it so well, there’s technological advancements. It’s fast moving things. There’s competitors and you’re looking for a competitive advantage. And there’s how do you get your staff more involved? How you become more of a global company? There’s so much to think about. And like I said, all of that takes processing. All of that takes processing in different parts of your mind. So the two words that explain how you become a better leader: cognitive flexibility. So what that essentially means is that’s your ability to connect neurons that don’t always connect in a way that you’re able to adapt and be more fluid in your state of mind. It’s an adaptive ability. I call this collateral neuro circuitry, which is some fancy term that I just used. But essentially it means, let’s say you have hundred a hundred neurons and normally neuron 1 connects to 2 and 2 connect to 3 and 3 connects to 4. And that’s how you come up with your ideas. You have the same ideas. There’s nothing innovative about your mind, there’s nothing innovative about what’s happening. And usually that’s a reflection on your company, because if you think a certain way as the CEO or the executive team or the C Suite team, if that’s what you’re thinking and that’s the way that you think, then that’s going to be the representation of your company.

“The two words that explain how you become a better leader: cognitive flexibility. So what that essentially means is that’s your ability to connect neurons that don’t always connect in a way that you’re able to adapt and be more fluid in your state of mind. It’s an adaptive ability.” ~Dr. Reef Karim

Now, if you have cognitive flexibility or enhanced cognitive flexibility, neuron 1 might connect with neuron 8, neuron 1 might connect with neuron 86, neuron 1 might connect with neuron 44. And suddenly new ideas are coming to mind. New ideas about how you do staffing, how you do hiring, what kind of music you play, how you’re inspiring people within the company, how to have more of a global outreach, how to utilize new technology, how to gain a competitive advantage on your competitors through building more of a creative mind and a creative culture in the company. All of that occurs when you are generating and building out more cognitive flexibility. So in the Mad Genius Incubator, one of the big things we do, especially in the creative performing section, is to build out more cognitive flexibility in your mind through experiential exercises. And when you can target them and apply these exercises and things that you’ve learned, which we do later, to your specific company, that’s great. And when I talk about big ideas, your big idea could be to start a new small business or a nonprofit or some kind of our creative art. But your new idea could also be, I want to reinvent my company. I want to reinvent me. I want to become a better leader. I want to reinvent myself as a leader. I want to reinvent my company and make it more creative. That’s also a big idea. So, yeah, I definitely think that’s important.

What do people need to know that maybe we haven’t touched upon as we close out?

First off, this is a great interview and thank you so much for having the platform. I get so excited that you don’t have to feel stuck and you don’t have to feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again. You can have movement in your company, you can have movement in your life personally and professionally by kind of jumpstarting or creating a launching pad for your mind. We are limiting ourselves in many ways in our mind. And the solution to a lot of that limitation is opening up our creativity and connecting that creativity energy to our spiritual energy and to our energy of originality. And we all have a journey in this life. And if we can build our business and connect that to our personal journey, man, we’re not just going to be more effective and more productive and more high performing, we’re going to be happier and we’re going to have a more meaningful life. So I would just leave people with you absolutely have more creative ability than you realize. And you can be highly successful beyond your own awareness. And that means that you have abilities you may not even know about, and if we can help to build more creative flexibility in your mind and build a more high performing and highly creative mind, you’d be shocked at the potential result.

“We are limiting ourselves in many ways in our mind. And the solution to a lot of that limitation is opening up our creativity and connecting that creativity energy to our spiritual energy and to our energy of originality.” ~Dr Reef Karim

Amen to that. Reef, What an absolute pleasure you are. Thank you so much. It just reminds me of many conversations that we’ve had over the years and how you’re always so on purpose with what you believe in. And I feel that that is also an incredibly important part of who you pick to work on your legacy, on your professional development and all these other things that we’ve been talking about. If you are just joining us, folks, you need to go right back to the beginning of this conversation because everything that Reef’s talked about is everything that I know everyone out there needs today. Everybody needs to look at the ways in which they could make life better for themselves and better for the people around them. And a lot of that has to do with working on yourself and working on yourself from many different aspects. And Reef comes at it from a very, very interesting and innovative perspective.

He really hones in on the different layers of what makes us humans from a creative cognitive, psychological space. And so many other things that we’ve talked about today. I think I’m going to rewind this back and listen to this and make notes. Really, it’s just been fascinating to listen to this. I feel that we need to have you come back on. We need to talk maybe about some other facets of some of the case studies, of some of the things that people have experienced being a part of your world. But let me just kind of ask you one final question as we close off, and that is, why do you do this? Why is this important for you? Why do you need more people to be involved in understanding how great they can be? It sounds like an obvious question, but it really isn’t, because everybody is motivated by different things. And for you to have created this entire ecosystem that you are clearly so passionate about and that kind of hones in and brings all of your experience, your education and the things that you’ve discovered along the way in your own journey. Putting all that together is no easy feat and being as passionate as you are as I’ve been listening to you and I’ve been fascinated with a lot of the things that you’ve been sharing. Why do you do this?

There’s a big picture perspective and there’s a personal perspective. The big picture perspective is I feel like our our humanness, our our humanity, our minds are falling behind our technology. And I feel like things are moving so fast and our minds aren’t catching up. And we need to employ and access and connect and communicate more in our mind. In order to not self sabotage or to plateau or to get stuck or to feel blocked. I mean, I think that’s why there’s more mental health issues, there’s more mental health issues because technology is moving fast and there’s a lot of stress and there’s a lot of uncertainty and there’s a lot of fear, and people are stuck and people are blocked. And you might be doing okay in life. And you might be making a bunch of money and you might be feeling like okay, I’m okay. I’m doing all right. But something’s missing. And that something missing is why you’re feeling stuck and blocked. So I think from a global perspective, I just want to help people get unstuck and get unblocked and and have more movement and have more passion in their life. So that goes to the personal side. So on the personal side, on the day I was born, my dad made an announcement in the labor and delivery ward. He was like, “everyone gather round, gather round. I’ve decided he will be a doctor.” And then there was this big moment and there was all these people like roars from the crowd. And that was before I was even born. And my entire life was planned out for me. My dad would creep up to my crib late at night and he’d be like, doctor, doctor, doctor. I got medical gifts instead of Legos. Every Halloween, they dressed me up as a different type of doctor.

Today are going to be a neurosurgeon. It was crazy. So my originality was not ever nurtured. My ability to have my own voice in my life was never nurtured. And that that stereotype about the Indian doctor is very true and was very true for me. So, not having a voice, even if you’re doing incredibly well in life and on paper you look amazing, but you’re not really sharing your inner self, you’re not really sharing your point of view. You haven’t developed a point of view because a lot of people haven’t. They believe in something because somebody else told them that or their parents told them that or their boss told them that or the relationship told them that. But they don’t necessarily know what they believe themselves. That’s unhealthy. It doesn’t make you feel great. And that leads to regrets later on in life because you didn’t do certain things you wanted to do.

So for me it was incredibly important to follow my own journey. And a part of me . . . I mean, the logo we have under my name for a lot of branding is “I’m 51 per cent scientist, 49 per cent creative, 100 per cent human.” And I really believe that because I believe I’m a big mixture of scientist and creative. And the ultimate for me was to build a brand where I could be both and I could be as crazy as I wanted to be and play with like I’ve got a monkey back there and I’ve got crazy hats and crazy things. And I could just be as crazy as I wanted to be in a fun way and be that creative that is inside of me and yet still provide great information to people from a scientific perspective, but in a way that they can understand and can really help them and move them to lead a better life. And to me, that’s a great life for me. So that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I love it. It’s a great, great way to end this off. Reef, it’s been such a pleasure chatting with you. I know that there’s a lot of people out there are going to be extremely intrigued to find out more information. Let’s just plug that information one more time before I let you go. How can people tap into this program and tap into you?

So the program is called the Mad Genius Incubator, MadGeniusIncubator.com. There you can set up an exploration call with me. To learn more about me, you could either go to my website, ReefKarim.com. You could go to my YouTube channel. And the YouTube channel is just Reef Karim. And you could also email me if you have any questions. My email is [email protected], and I’d be honored to work with anybody that’s really looking to tap into their creative abilities, generate more passion and to kind of reinvent yourself during this time in the world.

Absolutely. Thank you so much, sweetheart. You’ve been a pleasure. I can’t wait till the next time you come back on and we talk some more about getting into your mind. I’d love to get in there and see what’s going on. And you being the creative that you are. Every time we have a conversation, there’s always something else that’s fascinating that you’ve experienced or that you’re tapping into. So you know that you’re going to come back on. Thank you so much.

Thank you. And I just want to say I really respect what you’re doing. You are just, man, I love people that are dynamic, that are gutsy, that are courageous, that are putting themselves out there in the world to heal others, to help others and to do their thing, what they were born to do. And you do it and you do it so well. So I just want to say I really respect what you’re doing, appreciate what you’re doing, and please keep doing it.

Thank you so much. I adore you. I’ll see you next time.

Sounds good.

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