Naji: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to spread love in organizations, the podcast for purpose driven healthcare leaders, striving to make life better around the world by leading their teams with genuine care, servant leadership and love. I’m Naji your host for this episode and I have the pleasure to be with Aden Eyob, a leader in mindset. Aden is a clinical neuroscientist and author of the book on mind training, the secret of positive living. She is the founder and CEO of mind medication. A fusion of neuroscience, psychology and SP spirituality based mindset consulting and speaker service that helps uncover people’s why unlock potential and free limiting beliefs to achieve the impossible. Her customers include CEOs, entrepreneurs, and celebrities. Aden’s mission is a word free from limiting belief. I’m sure you’re eager like me to hear from Aiden and learn more from what she does. Aden, I am excited to have you with me today.

Aden Eyob: Thank you for having me here. I’m very excited to be here

Naji: first. I’d love to hear your personal story, Aiden, how, how you became leader in mindset.

Aden Eyob: Yes. So it’s a bit of a whirlwind journey. Um, I think for me, honestly, I started when I was young, six year old self I’ve always had visions and dreams of, uh, being in leadership, taking control of my circumstances. I remember having arguments with my grandmother about the house rules and challenging her.

And she’s like, don’t question me. This is how things are done. I’m like, but you don’t know why you’re doing it. So I will continue to question you. So obviously naturally that got me in a lot of trouble, but I was willing to sort of, uh, challenge the state of school, starting with my grandmother, and then also led into school and also at, in the workplace challenging.

The status in terms of what a leadership looks like. Um, there’s diversity in leadership, but you know, the typical way to lead for me was always something that if I don’t understand the why, then I’m gonna be the one to ask those questions. Um, even if, if it does. Come with a little bit of a blow back because that’s how change, um, begins.

And so really I started my journey in academia. You know, I studied neuroscience and psychology, so I, I worked within the, the space of, uh, academic research, but I found that it was a little bit too stagnant for, for my form of leadership. And so. I moved into business. I went into pharmaceuticals. I spent a great deal of time doing clinical trial management and, you know, working with pharma, there’s a lot of, uh, mindset shifts that must happen.

And so I found that as an opportunity was more of a challenge, but an opportunity to lead better because what I was seeing in my, in my role as a clinical trial manager was. Ideas that I’ve had, but there were stagnant and very stale ways of doing things. And so there was a conflict in, in how I could lead and, and really do my best.

And so there were opportunities in that, that I created so that I was able to bring different perspectives into the organization, but ultimately my vision was a little bit too much more than, uh, for that space. And so I found myself going down the entrepreneurial path to really explore how far. I can take my vision and, and, and really lead, but most importantly, lead myself.

So then I can lead others better. Right. Uh, leaders are learners. Leaders are ones who know how to lead themselves first. So in doing so, that’s how I found myself in, in the maze of entrepreneurship. And, um, navigating that the ups and downs of, of, you know, uh, building a business, but also bringing others along in that process and journey and, and managing people’s different, um, mindset and, and change states.

And so I think for me, the mindset element really stemmed from my childhood. I grew up in a rather chaotic environment. I, you know, my mother was mentally unwell. I’ve had various family members who suffered from mental illness. And so I was just very curious about. Why they were thinking that way and how they were, I guess, in that sense, unable to really lead themselves because of, of the mental illnesses that they had.

And so that’s really where the mindset element came. But in, in all my studies, I then also realized the power of the mind and in terms of even leadership, a lot of times we make such emotive based decisions. And so. My journey down the mindset realm really stemmed from the fact of really wanting to understand how we think and how our thoughts and emotions and behaviors are all really correlated and how that really plays out into how we lead ourselves and, and lead others.

Naji: Thank you so much, uh, Aiden for sharing your journey and how you, how you got there. There’s different pieces. We will discuss, obviously between entrepreneurship, your, your work in the pharma and in development, uh, and clinical trials. But I can’t, but start ask about the secret for positive living. This is, this is the title of your book.

So can you share with us. The secret.

Aden Eyob: So the, the secret really the formula is, um, is the thought plus emotion equals behavior. And so oftentimes when faced. With challenges, it’s actually an opportunity to grow and, and adapt and learn. So the environment that we’re placed in is for a reason, there’s a purpose to it.

And so when you, when you understand the formula, that really the seed is the thought that you’re thinking about that environment. That’s gonna play the emotion and then play the behavior. That’s. That’s what’s gonna happen. And so even if the environment is not conducive for growth or for a healthy form of leadership, you have the ability to apply the growth mindset by applying that principle of thoughtless emotion equals behavior.

So when you change the thought to be positive intentionally, that’s how you change the emotions and then behavior, because oftentimes, um, in terms of neuroscience, our brain is really hardwired. To have a negative T bias. And so we’re more four times more likely to hold onto bat situations and that plays out into our leadership.

And so when you apply the secret formula of adapting that negative bias into a positive by intentional, um, Thoughts of positivity. And that comes with practicing mindfulness, which isn’t something that’s typically associated with leadership, but is really relevant and pertinent. Um, what that happens is then it frees up that negativity bias so that it’s positive.

And then the emotions will correlate with that and then so forth the behavior. And so the, the, the POS the, the part of being positive is a choice. And, and. As resilient leaders, the choices, do you wanna stay stagnant or do you wanna take this stagnant opportunity and turn it into an opportunity to bring light into a situation, a broad perspective, a new horizon for yourself and for others?

Naji: So you talk about mindfulness, uh, right in this idea of bringing positivity, uh, to the thought. So I love how you framed it. Thoughts, emotions, equal behavior, um, you know, in, in this word of constant change movement and unfortunately sad news, right? We, we can’t, but think of the tensions and the word wars around the word happening and, and people suffering.

How, how are you helping out leaders? Think positively. So, and if you have like a specific example or exercise, you can, you can give us for also people listening to us today, uh, on how they can foster this positive thinking. Yeah,

Aden Eyob: absolutely. So, um, the framework that I really apply, all these principles is called the calm mindset system.

So it stands for clarity. Accountability. It’s your goals, love and motivation. So the, the clarity element is really digging into your why, why are you here? What is your purpose? Right? It’s it’s not money. Money’s just the tool. What, what is it that you are gifted to do? So we, we do a lot of reflective exercises.

Um, to really dig deep in a bit of mind mapping to get to the why. So oftentimes it’s just the what and the, how that people get stuck on and really don’t understand the why. So the clarity comes with really understanding your why the accountability of goals is actually applying measurable ways of, of testing your why and your desire.

So it really it’s about understanding what your desires are and then breaking them down into goals because the goals are just the vehicles that. The why, which is the desire. And so there’s a system and a process, um, that I’ve developed that basically allows you to push forward with getting your desires, but in a very strategic and tangible way.

And then. Motive love is really about self care because especially as leaders, we’re often last to take care of ourselves, cuz we’re busy taking care of everybody else and, and fighting fired. But in order to be a really effective leader and resilient in times of chaos, it’s really important to take care of yourself first.

So we look at ways in which we can bring holistic. He, um, mindfulness practices, mind, body spirit. So that looks like, for example, one of my clients has. Decision fatigue constantly because being pulled in different directions. And, and what that did over time was that they were just not able to make any more decisions.

They were tapped out, they were burnt out. And so by really focusing on the self care element that looked like setting healthy boundaries, saying no to things that they may look like good opportunities, but long term, when we strategize it, it doesn’t work in terms of where their, why is. Um, it also looks like setting, um, Nighttime routine.

So I call them power habits. So morning and nighttime routines creating these buffers that help them to stay in a calm mindset. So in the morning, the first thing that they’re doing is taking care of themselves. And then. The the chaos of the day or, or leading the day, and then at night taking care of themselves and I call this like the calm, calm sandwich.

So when you’re in ability that the first thing you’re doing is taking care of yourself. You’re in a better position to take care of others. But when the first thing you’re doing is social media or so forth, that puts the mind at a state of sort of anxiety. It puts us in high beta state. And so with, with the calm mindset system and particularly the love element of the component, what we’re doing is creating bespoke.

Rituals so that they’re able to stay in that alpha theta state of mindset and then be able to really make better decisions and really take care of themselves. And then for motivation is really identifying their motivators. Are they intrinsically motivated, extrinsically motivated and how that will play into their, their self leadership, but then leading their teens as well and understanding their teams better.

So if somebody else is. Different to them. It’s not an opposition, but an opportunity to, to work together and understand that. But that only comes first when they understand how they operate as a leader.

Naji: I love it. And you know, it seems simple as you’re saying it, but many times, I’m sure you’re hearing from readers.

Uh, like we don’t have time for this like seriously mindfulness in a busy day. Like how can I do this? And sadly, many times it happens as you, you talked about one of the leaders you’re, you’re helping. It happens too late. Mm-hmm right. So any small habits or tricks that you think as leaders, we can cut off, put in our schedule for us to be intentional about it and, and be better with

Aden Eyob: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things I say is like the box breathing, the Navy seals use it. So if it’s good enough for them and they’re in high stress environments, it’s definitely good enough for most leaders. So it’s a very simple box breathing exercise. You imagine yourself as a box, you breathe in for four count.

You breathe out for four count, you breathe in for four count. You breathe out for count and there’s apps that can do it for you. If you don’t really wanna like breathe and time up the same time. um, but what that does is it instantly takes the mind from. Alert down to being calm. And so you’re going within a span of five minutes, which I think we can all say we have in our, in our schedule from, from that state of hi beta to alpha theta.

And so, especially when you’re in a situation where you’re having to make decisions on the snap, this is a great tool. That’s gonna help you to make that decision a little bit more strategically and with a broader perspective, as opposed to just. That’s emotive based. Okay. I’m just gonna make a decision, cuz this is where I’m at in terms of my feelings.

So less emotions, more logic and

Naji: wisdom. Love it, the, the box pretty I’ve been, I’ve been using the 2, 2, 2. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, like two minute of mindfulness, two minute of, uh, yeah. Of planning and, and prioritizing. So it’s yeah, it’s, it’s an additional one. I’ll try to use the box breeding.

Aden Eyob: Yeah. And I think just generally pause, it sounds so basic, but when you’re pausing, think about your brain. It’s, it’s like a Google server. It’s constantly churn out data, right? The minute you pause, it’s almost like a refresh. So if you know that you’re feeling your body’s a great signal, it tells you where it’s at.

If you’re struggling. There’s a reason for that. So when you pause, take five minutes out to just breathe in, breathe out. What happens is then your mind is then able to see a situation that you may be mulling over in a different angle, but also asking yourself open ended question. Like wh why am I feeling this way?

Is this true? Challenging, your own thought processes will oftentimes also help you to come up with a better, um, answer.

Naji: So, so this was the L part, like the love part of your club framework that I really, I really like, um, I wanted to go to the clarity of the why. So, and this is part that you’ve, you know, your research you worked on and obviously your coaching, uh, people on it.

And as you shared also in your experience in healthcare, I’d love also to understand. Is this why still kind of interlinked between healthcare and what you’re doing today. Uh, and really what I, what I’m interested to hear your thoughts on, um, is we all know the important of this why and how it will unlock the potential, right.

And what we can do and the possibilities for ourselves, but also for the teams we’re leading. Uh, but many times. It’s limited, right? Like people keep on doing their jobs without thinking of it. What for you is kind of this limiting factor. Why aren’t we taking it to the next level a little bit more broadly, uh, for, for leaders?

Aden Eyob: Yeah. So it’s, it’s down to, um, fear of the unknown uncertainty. So as a lot of the leaders I’ve worked with. It’s all for them. It’s become more mitigating risks, right? So less of the uncertainty, but as leaders, that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do is go forward. When there are seasons of uncertainty, just like the pandemic we’ve we’ve endured.

Right? And so a lot of the times when a process isn’t working, it’s not being changed because of the effort that it will bring in, in actually changing that at an energetic level, at a strategic level at implementation level, but deep down, it’s that fear of what if it doesn’t work? And then the blame is gonna go back on the leader.

Right? So it’s that real internal fear. Is this now gonna be a reflection of me as a person and my identity and I I’m no longer a qualified leader because I’ve set this new process. It didn’t work and the backlash is too much. So I’d rather just maintain the status quo even though it’s not working. And so it’s, it’s often down to fear of the unknown, but also perfectionism.

So if I’m gonna, if you’re gonna start something new, it’s gonna come with a lot of unknowns. It’s gonna come with a lot of imperfect methodologies. And so for someone who is a leader that borders on having that perfectionist tendencies and high standards, it’s gonna be a clash because they’re gonna have to not face leading teams who may not perform to the standard that they’re accustomed to because of the new processes that have been implemented.

So a lot of it is perfectionism, um, fear of the unknown, but also procrastination plays a big role as well. There there’s so much. As leaders we’re having to do. Oftentimes the, the, the stuff that we’re not certain becomes low on, on the, on the level of priorities, but they’re the ones that actually will push us further into our purpose driven leadership.

Naji: I love it and really agree with you. I’m I’m in one of, uh, I’m in a great sessions on improv improvisation in leadership, and really boils down to, as you said, like this fear of the unknown, and in fact, the importance of embracing uncertainty, because this is. This is usually where leadership is needed at most.

Aden Eyob: Well, that’s the thing we’re leading, right? If you’re a leader you are leading, so what are you leading? You’re creating a new path. And so, and I think COVID was a really great opportunity for leadership to really show itself. Right. There’s many as. Various types of leadership. And, and the one I tend to ascribe to is more on the resilient type of leadership, just because of the life I’ve led.

There’s been a series of challenges of having to overcome, but as leaders, the common core of us is that we’re paving a new path. You can’t pave a new path. If you’re still on the same path that has already been paved by someone else.

Naji: So in, uh, talking about the why and the purpose, uh, you worked in pharma and usually many of us in the industry, healthcare industry, uh, even larger than only the biotech or the pharma industry, we are really driven by this purpose of making life better for patients and trying hard to improve patients’ lives by bringing you know, novel medications or services for, for the communities.

Um, have you. Sense this. And how would you describe, you know, what you’ve experienced in the pharma? Where is it different from now being an entrepreneur and working with leaders across different industries? Uh, what are your thoughts about this?

Aden Eyob: Yeah. So I think, you know, health, the healthcare, um, industry, and, and so the leaders I’ve experienced it.

They have great intentions. They definitely do wanna help. But what I have also seen is that somewhere down the line, it gets lost with all the, the logistics of it, uh, uh, with all the bureaucracy and all the egos. Go into that. And, and also the bottom line. So unfortunately, people, you know, a lot of the people I’ve worked with, they start off with that intention of I’m gonna lead.

I’m gonna bring change healthcare equality into this, and then they get up the career ladder. And as they’re getting there, it’s almost like a little piece of them dies along the process. And then their leadership starts to dim. And by the time they’re there, they’re no longer leading from their heart.

They’re no longer leading from purpose. It’s pre pretty much. Let’s just make bottom line work for us, as opposed to why they were really there to begin with was to really create opportunity for, um, for the masses who can’t get the healthcare that they need to have that. And so it’s, and then when I look at it from, you know, Entrepreneurs.

They’re very much driven on the passion, right? They’re, they’re fueled by that, that why, and that’s why they’re, they’re still able to, to keep pushing forward. And so, um, a lot of the times when I’ve worked with various different leaders, what I’m seeing is that there’s a gap between their why and what they’re doing currently.

It there’s there’s. They’ve sort of lost that passion or they’ve lost the, the desire to continue to pursue that because of the external challenges presented, whether that’s the systems and structures of, of healthcare, where there’s so many regulations as well. So how do, how do they stay on track and, and be authentic leaders while still navigating the terrains of all the different regulations that come with the healthcare space?

Naji: Yeah, this is definitely the focus of this podcast and my personal fo uh, focus. It’s we, we are fortunate enough to work in an industry that can literally change people lives, uh, for the better. We should never forget about it. And I totally agree with you sometimes, you know, down the lines and with things happening, operations, et cetera, we forget actually why we wake up every morning, which is trying to make life better for one patient at a time.

So, yeah, definitely. It’s definitely my journey to making sure that as leaders, we constantly keep this in mind throughout all our decision process. Aiden. I, I want to go now into a se uh, into a part of the podcast where I will give you a word and I want your reaction to it. Okay. So the first word is leadership

Aden Eyob: taking care of others for the greater good.

Naji: Love it. What about diversity

Aden Eyob: embracing? The parts of you that you have not been aware accustomed to.

Naji: Oh, wow. I love this framing. Can, can you share more?

Aden Eyob: Yes. So for me, when I think of diversity, so when I see people who come from different walks of life, that means there’s a part of me that needs to learn embrace, but is, is a projection.

So if I am reacting in a positive or negative way, it’s oftentimes because there’s a part of me that resonates with that person, either in a, in a positive way or a negative way, but then it’s also an opportunity to embrace it because what you resist persist. So if I, if there’s somebody with a different thought than I.

And I resisted I’m I’m now finding myself in a stuck state, but when I actually take the time to listen and hear what they’re saying, oftentimes I’ll hear part of me that may have been resisting to them. And then it’s also creating an opportunity to create harmony. So that’s an opportunity to embrace a new perspective that they’ve brought into my life will then help me to lead better.

Naji: Love it, mind medication.

Aden Eyob: Bringing a state of calm into a chaotic environment.

Naji: What about spread love in organizations

Aden Eyob: leading from heart rather than ego?

Naji: Thank you so much, Aiden, for, for those reactions, any final word of wisdom, uh, you have for leaders generally, but also healthcare leaders, specifically as you, uh, you’ve been in this industry before your entrepreneurship journey. Yes.

Aden Eyob: Around the word. Yes. I think, you know, isn’t not an easy space to, to bring change and healing, um, to patients and, and I think with leadership, it’s also giving us, give yourself grace.

You don’t have to figure everything out in one day, you don’t have to get everything. Right. What matters is the patient? Think of the patient first, if you can heal one person that’s leadership, right there, leadership, isn’t all about taking care of the world once one person at a time. So whenever you find yourself in situations of, of uncertainty, think about the effect you’re gonna have impact with just one person.

And then that will be the ripple effect. You will. With a mess.

Naji: Thank you so much. Uh, Aiden for being with me today and for this great inspirational chat.

Aden Eyob: My pleasure. Thank you for having me here. Such a great time.

Naji: Thank you all for listening to spread love and organization’s podcast. Drop us a review on your preferred podcast platform

Follow us on LinkedIn and connect with us on spreadloveio.com. We’re eager to hear your thoughts and feedback. Most importantly, spread love in your organizations and spread the word around you to inspire others and amplify this movement, our world so desperately needs.