Episode 63

Being a Person Who Gives AND Receives - Farah Ismail

Some people find it easy to give and hard to receive. Farah Ismail was one of those persons until she experienced the personal benefits of opening herself to receiving at the Ultimate Experience event in Mumbai. In this conversation, Farah talks about the lessons she learned. She also shares with host Meredith Bell how she has listened to her inner wisdom over the years and taken immediate action on the nudges she’s received.

You’ll discover what prompted Farah to create her Document and two of her statements that she lives into every day. She also talks about what she learned in taking an unhurried approach to conversations and her enthusiasm for being a part of The Ultimate Coach book-reading group. You’ll take away wonderful tips about BEING as you listen to Farah describe her own journey. 

About the Guest: 

Farah Ismail is an internationally recognized facilitator, coach, speaker, founder of Interact Consulting, and CEO of Coach Farah. She helps women entrepreneurs and leaders who find themselves frustrated and unfulfilled, despite outward signs of success. When they work with her, they re-imagine their business, crafting a lucrative purpose-driven enterprise that delivers more confidence, more connection, more revenue, and more meaning.

Having rebuilt her own life and business from scratch after struggling through her own life-changing experiences, Farah knows exactly how to forge a new path toward a meaningful life and offers her clients a proven blueprint for their own success.

In her 25 years of experience, she has designed and facilitated bespoke leadership and cross-cultural programs for global organizations including Johnson & Johnson, Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, Decathlon, Pfizer, and Hitachi Energy.

Farah's Links

Website: https://www.coachfarah.com/

Instagram: https://Instagram.com/just.ifarah

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/farah-ismail/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/just.ifarah

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCceV1i72WzEgLTobKj3tpaA

About the Host:

Meredith Bell is the Co-founder and President of Grow Strong Leaders. Her company publishes software tools and books that help people build strong relationships at work and at home.

Meredith is an expert in leader and team communications, the author of three books, and the host of the Grow Strong Leaders Podcast. She co-authored her latest books, Connect with Your Team: Mastering the Top 10 Communication Skills, and Peer Coaching Made Simple, with her business partner, Dr. Dennis Coates. In them, Meredith and Denny provide how-to guides for improving communication skills and serving as a peer coach to someone else.

Meredith is also The Heart-centered Connector. One of her favorite ways of BEING in the world is to introduce people who can benefit from knowing each other.



The Ultimate Coach Resources


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theultimatecoach

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theultimatecoachbook

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/14048056

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheUltimateCoachBook

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TUCP Intro/Outro:

Welcome to The Ultimate Coach podcast conversations from being inspired by the book, The Ultimate coach, written by Amy Hardison, and Alan Thompson. Join us each week with the intention of expanding your state of being, and your experience will be remarkable. Remember, this is a podcast about be. It is a podcast about you. To explore more deeply, visit the ultimate Coach book.com. Now, enjoy today's conversation from Being

Meredith Bell:

Thank you for joining us for another episode of The Ultimate coach Podcast. I'm one of your hosts, Meredith bell. And I am so excited today to welcome as my guest, Farah Ismail Hara. I'm so glad to have you with us. Thank you for joining us.

Farah Ismail:

I am delighted to be here. Thank you.

Meredith Bell:

Barbara was very involved in all phases of the ultimate experience event in Mumbai, that was held this past February. And so she has such an interesting story of her journey and the things that she has been doing, in terms of her way of being to me is just so inspirational. And I've been looking forward to our conversation. Farah, let's start with how did you first learn about the ultimate coach book, and get involved in the event in Mumbai.

Farah Ismail:

This was, I truly believe that things happen for a reason. And they just show up in my life. And it's when there's a new chapter to be created. And so this is what happened for me in September, when I was part of another event that a group of us were hosting, in which we had invited a few external speakers. And one of them was someone I didn't know at all. It was a little computer, right? And I remember it was day two of our event, and along came in for 30 minutes. And in those 30 minutes, his first five minutes captivated me. There was something I was pulling at my heart, I think my soul, my spirit as well. And I had no idea what it was. It was just he just captivated me with his being. And there were three things he said in that 2030 minute presentation. It was a really powerful presentation. But there were three things that I caught. One was He repeated the name of coach, his coach and mentor Steve Hardison. He spoke about a book, The Ultimate coach. And then he said, and yes, we're having this just created an experience in India, in Mumbai in February. And this was somewhere in September and February looked like, really far away, right. And I think what I did what I would usually do when I get inspired, I take action immediately. And nothing can come in the way. And that was what I did. I clicked set up a call with him just to get to know Him. And yeah, I just wanted to know, what was it that happened. And our conversation was very interesting. It was getting to know each other. And for me, it was playing curiosity about that experience I had. And so while he was sharing about the book, and what the book had created for him, I knew exactly that this is something that is like, you know, happened for me. And well, the next thing, of course, was on that call. I invited him to connect me to whoever it is who's creating this event in Mumbai, who's this person. And so he set up on that call, he connected us and the next thing was speaking to Rajan, and I just knew that this is where I'm going to survey. I don't know what it was read it, but that was how it happened. And the rest is most exciting miracle that we created. Not just for others, but I created for myself, and my whole world changed. The book came alive. Steve Hardison came into my life. And I had such beautiful experiences that I you know, I just cherish and And every day creating from there, of course, it's never ending, right. So that's how it all started. It was that one moment, one conversation, one spark, that catalyzed this whole journey.

Meredith Bell:

I want to reflect a little bit on what you've just said, because I think all of us can learn from this idea of paying attention to those nudges that we get, because you were drawn to his message, and you didn't just think about it, you then reached out and contacted him. And we're open to not just learning, but seeing where this might take you. And I think that says something to me about your trusting your intuition, and what you said about acting upon it immediately. And so I would love for you to share what have you learned in life about the wisdom of doing that, because too often that you think we tend to stop and want to analyze and look at the pros and cons. And sometimes we talk ourselves out of taking action? By going through that process? What have you learned over the years about the importance of that intuition?

Farah Ismail:

You know, I think you're touching something is probably one thing that has created all those incredible moments in my life, which is taking action when I've had the knotch. And it could be as simple as setting up a call with the CEO of a company, because I really loved the kind of facilitation work they were doing. And they were creating, and I was designing something. And I remember, I wanted to actually get to know, what are some creative ways I can design this very, very important session. So I said, How can I? How can I, you know, I don't want just the information, I want to actually speak to the person themselves. And I remember, this is an old story, but it just came up to me now. And it was in that moment, I sent him an email and, and he just offered me 45 minutes of his time. And, and when I think back, there are all these moments in my life, when I have really trusted that, you know, in my heart, I feel that I feel it, I feel it. And that's when I, I find that that's where the most amazing stuff can happen. And I think I tap into that when, of course when there's no logic, you're right, I cannot do it. When I'm in my head. It's all when I'm stopping myself or I'm doubting myself. So it is in the moment is just clicking them without overthinking. So the power of listening to my inner voice, you know, the one that really makes me feel that way that I'm actually feeling totally aligned to where I want to go. That is powerful. And I would say it's easy to forget that it's easy for the noise or the other voices to come in. But when you can, I think when you know that this is something that you can choose that you've seen that I find that I played from that space, it's all that's the area that I find gives me the most joy. So I think I choose a lot of that. And that's where it's limitless, right? There's no limitations, and there's only possibilities. So for me, the word possibility is ingrained. So everywhere, you know, I struggle, I see the road ahead. And so while I'm here, I'm able to, you know, look ahead and find a new path. So I find that could be coming from two things. One is the fact that I have this incredible that hope that I can always find a new different way. And the second is tapping into what we have inside of us, which is this incredible wisdom that comes when you're truly aligned, fully aligned.

Meredith Bell:

And when you say fully aligned, what are you referring to fully aligned with what?

Farah Ismail:

Yeah, what I meant was when I'm aligned with what, you know what I truly care about or value. And so that's when I feel like I'm walking towards something which is is taking me towards creating something that will expand me or expand the work I do or touch other people's lives. So big part of it is contribution, transformation. So, when those things get involved, it's magical, because those are the things that fuel me. And so, so I think I get aligned when I know I'm in alignment, when something thrills me, which makes me like, really want to wake up and do something, when it's really important in when it's bigger than me. And so those are the things that really helped me to see yes, and tap into it.

Meredith Bell:

That's great. There's a couple of things from that. One of the thoughts that came into my mind, because I've been, I've done this myself, we get into doing so much, you know, human doings. And the thing that for me, the book of being the community has really helped me think about as I listen to stories like yours, and others is this importance of slowing down. And the key word you used of listening to your inner voice, your inner wisdom, where we have all of this stored, but we don't always take the time to, to really pay attention to it because we're outer focused. And so I am guessing in tell me if this is accurate, that you have developed some practices that have helped you slow down, take time and listen.

Farah Ismail:

Absolutely. I want to talk about something which is interesting. It's called an unhurried approach. And it came from Johnny Moore in Cambridge. And I remember years ago, I read about being unheard. It's an it's a, you know, an experience that is unheard and unheard conversations. And that's another tab. Okay, that's another handful. Because at that time, I guess there was a lot happening. You know, there was so much of overwhelm. And I was looking for that. And that was a calling. And it's so interesting. I wrote to God more. And of course, I was part of one unhurried conversation. And can you imagine, before I knew it, I was in Cambridge, my daughter went to Cambridge. So here I go. And I experienced Johnny Moore in, you know, in a, you know, in a coffee shop, where we had an unheard conversation, and from there I hosted, I became a host for the unheard conversations. And what was so interesting about being unhurried is it's not about it's not about, you know, stopping and being slow. But it's really about the quality of your thinking, the quality of your listening. And it's an approach that, you know, normally I do this online as well virtual unhurried conversations, which is so powerful, which is really about allowing your thinking. And then when you're listening to someone else, you just, you just pause and enjoy what you're listening. So you empty your mind. And, of course, exactly what we talk about listening. But it's a beautiful process that I think invited me to say yes, to be your host, and to create those spaces where we can choose to be unheard in our approach and experience of quality in our conversations that we've never experienced before. So that is one thing. So it's like a way of thinking a way of being. And yes, of course, I have other ways in which I choose to take a pause. And I usually like to wake up in the morning, I have a writing practice, which came from the artists way. And it is morning journal. It's called Morning pages. And the morning pages are the most incredible place where you put all your stream of thinking that happens before you do anything on paper, to even write, where am I being today and why is nothing coming in, but you're just dumping it on. And it's so interesting when you don't judge your thinking that what happens on the paper is interesting and you never go back back to it. But it really is very powerful what you can create from there. So those are two that I am, I would say, are a really important part of my

Meredith Bell:

Well, I love that phrase and hurried conversations were where, because too often, you know, it's like, get this done. So I can move on to the next thing, and unhurried. I like the distinction you make in it not being necessarily that you you stop or slow down. But you are, are fully present in the moment. So that you're not trying to anticipate what comes next, but just be there. And I think that that in itself is so valuable, because so often we're looking backwards at what happened in the past are looking way ahead and anticipating something in the future and they miss what's going on right now. And

Farah Ismail:

you That's, oh, go ahead. I mean, I just felt that you touch something really important about that way of being and what's powerful of being unhurried is you're not attached to the outcome. So you're just not attached to know where we're going, or what we're going to arrive. It's from where you are showing up. And so that way, is new for a lot of people. So I used to do that in cafes in India. And of course, I did it in other countries, when I would travel, I would post unheard conversation. And it was so interesting to see what that experience meant to others. And that expanded me so much. And I think over the years, there are things like this. And then of course, this beautiful book, The Ultimate coach, and what I'm experiencing about listening through that is really changing how I, yeah, how I experience the world. And I'm just loving that. And sometimes I feel, you know, I'm not rushing around, you'll find that there's this quietness and this thing, but I'm enjoying what I'm doing. And there is that fierceness and what I create. There is that no, you know, like, I used to be like that before, if you if you saw me, I would be doing so much. But under the water, I wouldn't be like this, you know, it would be hard. No one would see it about because I was really good at masking it. Okay. So good at that. But it was crazy. Today, I don't feel that. Because of all this, you know what, you know how how we continue to develop, evolve, and awaken. That's what I'm doing awakening all this.

Meredith Bell:

That's great. But I was thinking about the Mumbai event. And I know that, you know, there was so much you are involved with before, during and after. And one of the things I'm curious about is what you learned about giving and receiving as being as a result of being part of that process.

Farah Ismail:

I think I learned a lesson really quickly. This was even before we we just started creating the event. And it was like months before. And I remember you know, messaging Steve Hardison telling him that Amy and UI coming here, how can I serve? What can I support you with and in I really want to see how else can I make your experience and I love his directness, and he said that were really taken care of. And you know, I can notice that you have this sense of hospitality and service. How could you turn that around to every single person who's coming for this event? Whew, that was a goose bump moment for me because I had never seen it like that. And so I was able to turn it. So permies giving turned in a very different way I could really expand it to anyone who was looking for support, etc. So I was there. That's one thing. The other laws I created myself. So I come from this thinking that, you know, if I'm organizing something, or if I'm part of a creation, then I am responsible for you're fully responsible for your experience in the sense, good, bad, ugly, I am responsible. So I had that thinking. And it was very subconscious. And I was really, really grateful because I hadn't noticed that thinking because for me, it might Come out, I want more information from the team, you know, having enough information, how do we create this, you know, you go into the event and you want to have everything, all the fees, and the, you know all the dots there. So that need for certainty was a really high and that came from the sense of we are the hosts, we are hosting it in India, we are creating it. And then, of course, I had this, this most incredible experience. And I've been touched by this one happy man. And that's Harry many times, and this happened in Mumbai, I arrived in Mumbai. And that day, I meet Harry and Harry is spending 30 minutes with me. And he notices something, he notices that I'm in this giving mode, that I believe that I need to give so much that that's all he saw. And so in that moment, he was so present that he helped me see this difference of receiving. And you know how I could be in service of the entire Mumbai experience if I was like a golden ball. And I was also receiving because receiving is also giving. So be in that space where you can receive. And I remember holding my hand and Bill, there was music playing and it's telling me Can you hear that, you know that music can come and go, it can play and it can disappear. But unless you are catching it, unless you're paying attention to it, you're receiving it, it doesn't make a difference, the water the tide, it can come and go the waves. But it's you who makes a difference because you are receiving that. So he was making me see that. And I was like, hi, I remember sitting there meet him for the first time. And I'm like, cry, like oh my god, this is incredible. It was small, it was big for me. And who I was the next day was completely it was an really interesting space that I was on the day of the event. So I wasn't sitting there trying to make everybody happy. If something didn't go right, or I was not paying attention to the speakers, because I wanted the group to be you know, these 300 people to be well taken care of. I was one of them. So I would say I shifted that day that proceeding is also appearing. That was one distinction I had that shifted a lot for me, I'm still working through that.

Meredith Bell:

You know, those are so powerful. And it really everything we're talking about is woven together. Because you were present with Harry to hear what he was telling you, you were able to receive that message and realize there's more to this event than just giving, giving, giving. That being so what were the benefits that you found in opening yourself to also receiving?

Farah Ismail:

I think the biggest benefit was having this feeling the miracle of being in that room, being the miracle there. And just absorbing, absorbing in a way that, you know, I felt, you know, I was walking around with, like I was much taller. And I was just so present to what I was experiencing. He I didn't want to really pause that. So we had beautiful interaction, so I was fully with people. And when I came from that space, I was really in the most authentic, authentic space when I could just show myself the way I am and share what I was experiencing and just loving what I was taking back. So I would say that it really really was an experience. I could say that I felt most of it. It's like I've heard that some of my other friends in the other experiences like you know, I could just get this one thing I was you know, because there was so much happening in here. I felt that from cush touched my life. Eric Lavon customer life Steven ag they touched my life. I mean for me it was like a whole something experience. Yeah, I was being touched by every single person that personnel sitting next to twice, I would miss that, I would not be able to have that. So I think it was really important to be that, in that

Meredith Bell:

it's this is such an important insight for those of us who love to help and focus on giving that, that it's equally important to be open to receiving from others. And not necessarily somebody giving you something. But just being open to what you can learn from each person that you encounter and receiving their human this, their the gift of themselves, because everyone has something to teach us, I think, if we're open to it, and that's what I'm, I'm kind of drawing out from what you're you're bringing up there, you just opened yourself up in a very different way, and made that shift. And I'm curious to borrow because I know, your document has become very important to you. And I would love for you to talk about what was what's been your process for creating it. I know, it's probably still, you know, a work in progress, because we're works in progress. But talk a little bit about what that has been like for you and what it's meant to you.

Farah Ismail:

So it's really interesting that when I experienced a lux document that he was actually speaking his document, that's what called to me, right. So. And when I, when I experienced that later on, when I was part of the book and the Facebook group, that's when it all just dawned on me that there's a way of being where you can live into this every day. And of course, I created my own limits. I told myself, Oh, and there must be a way to create this, there will be a time to do it. I'm not yet ready. And I did all that to myself. And of course looked at other people's documents like wow, I was getting inspired by the power in creating yourself in such a powerful way. And I had, I had a few opportunities to, again opened my heart to creating. And one came when I was speaking to Gary, Gary Mona. And we had one conversation. And that was such a beautiful conversation that took me to a space of creating one line of my document. And then came another opportunity when I said yes to being part of the breeding season three. And this was much before the Mumbai event somewhere in January, Tanya had reached out and I just knew, that's another way my heart said, this is where I'm going to be not just serving but also not serving others only but also serving myself because this is my way of living the the you know living what's in the book, because the first time you don't really, there were so many other things that were happening. So that was such an incredible I got Tanya's creating magic with the entire team. So the first time I went to this team meeting, and here was what we were, we decided to do, which is we start the meeting with one person reading the document, and others can read one line, and then we do that for the next meeting, etc. And I just paused and I said, Okay, I don't have my document. And that was where the opportunity to, you know, create from there. So I created my document over a week. And the next meeting, I put my hand up. And I have read my document for the first time. It just felt so incredible, because we had sometimes you know, I'm looking for perfection, I want this perfect thing to be ready. You know, and only then I'm going to live into it. And of course, that's something I shifted. As soon as I did that, because I felt that so much of that I'm going I'm living it everyday and that's what's going to be a part of my Yeah, of how I wake up. And lastly, the most exciting thing that happened for me is here I got this created this document and not yet fully into it. Okay, so I'm thinking, Oh, yes, there's a way in which I can read it, etc. So not knowing anything doing all this on my own. And after the event, the Mumbai event, I offered to have a Zoom meeting for anyone who wants to share you know, I would like to like to share my experiences, because I had really shifted my ceiling to flow many times. And I had about 25 people who, who had signed up for that. And it was 5am. For Steve and Steve had had shared something really interesting with me on Messenger, He said, I'll be there, there are only two things can stop me from being there. One, your zoom will not allow me to come in, or I'll be dead. Or if I'm dead, I was like, What? What kind of commitment is this? The next day, which is my evening, I opened my sermon waiting. And there's only one person who shows up holding on. So we had Steve and I had a conversation where I shared most of my experience. And as I was talking about this journey of, you know, peeling these layers of what I think about the document, he just stopped me and invited me to read it. And then had, I had this beautiful moment of what are some different ways that I can make it my own? How could I live into it differently. And so I was really, really grateful for that moment, as well. So I want to say that it's a work in progress, it's so incredible that I can live into what I've created. And I'm looking to make it a part of being everyday.

Meredith Bell:

And, you know, I watched that video, Barbara, because you made it available. And it was a beautiful conversation. And I loved how Steve invited you to share your document and his really loving and encouraging response to that. I would love for you to share, what are one or two lines from your document that have become especially meaningful for you in terms of where you come from, and living into those particular statements?

Farah Ismail:

I think to one of them that that are absolutely. You know, I just love living into that which is, which comes from the space, I'll share the line in a bit. But it comes from the space when I believed that, you know, I don't judge easily that I was beyond judgment, because I came from the space of true love, I love I love life. I love people. I love that thinking, I love my family. And so it's so interesting that, you know, I would not get into conversations that would be judgy. Or, you know, talking about somebody else. So that was a way of my being. And so I thought that I don't judge, okay, it's not easy for me to judge, like, oh, and then came this. And then there's this powerful awareness that happened in a conversation with Gary, that a couple of things that I was forgiving myself, when I was talking about a few things that I want to forgive myself in from the space that I was judging myself a lot for a few things. And that made me really, really go deep. And from there came that line that could be the line is not showing up immediately. Yeah, which is

Meredith Bell:

take a moment while you're doing that, because I think that what you're talking about is so important when we look at our our efforts, our attitude, our way of being of not being judging of other people. And yet, we are sometimes not aware of how much we are judging criticizing ourselves. And that what you're bringing up I think is so important because just as we would show compassion, forgiveness to others, we need to do that with ourselves as well.

Farah Ismail:

I should know that because I come from the airline industry, and you have to put your oxygen mask first we learn that and then we forget it along the way when we become these super, you know, super women trying to do everything. I tried to be that until I chose to take off some of the armors that I wear and just being a lot more vulnerable and seek support and I really came from that space. So the two statements I want to talk about that really drive everything to me is no one is To recall my judgment, especially me, and everybody is worthy of my respect. So for me, that's really important. And the second one is, it came from the space of me taking time to pause in my life take time for myself, so I was judging myself for creating that for myself. So here's what my, one of my lines are. I renew myself every day, powerfully, without fail. So taking that time is something that is also important. So those were the two ones that really are important for me. And allowing me to go there. Oh, yes.

Meredith Bell:

Because I think, you know, when I think sometimes when we're looking at creating this document for ourselves, when we can get inspired by someone else's, and want to adopt, say, a line that they have, and yet I've learned myself and the creation of my own, it's realizing that process we go through of identifying where have we judged ourselves, and the process of forgiving ourselves, the lines emerge, as a result of going through that process so that they are they ring true for us? And are such an important aspect of who we are? What was the relationship for you have that self forgiveness process, in arriving at the statements you created in your own document?

Farah Ismail:

I think that self forgiveness process is ongoing, I find that it's underestimated. The fact that I didn't know, I had no idea that there was a way in which I could really do this work, which is forgiving myself, for judging myself, and then looking at what's the truth in this. And so that was so powerful, because it helped me to you know, like, Steve says, clean it up, right, so really helps me to clean it up, and just, you know, and then live every day and create from there. Otherwise, I'm on a field bird, and then I'll make up these beautiful stories. And I think I realized that quite a bit of time, I didn't know that there was these stories that were playing on repeat. I didn't even know it. And so I guess that it has really helped me to shift from there. Really show from there. And every day, it's like you discover something. And it's an opportunity to Yeah, to create from there. And it ended. And it starts with self forgiveness. And as an as Steve says, it, forgiveness should be like breathing should be automatic. So I'm leaning into that. And I'm feeling so free. So amazing, so beautiful on the inside. So I want to say, Yeah, it's amazing to actually live that process to be able to create from there.

Meredith Bell:

Yes. And that's a beautiful way for us to conclude our conversation that a to just that the raising of our awareness, so that we can notice when we are judging ourselves and forgive quickly so that we don't get bogged down. And as you say, the freedom you have is is something that is palpable. You can you can feel it, and others can feel it when they're in your presence. So far, thank you so much for the gift of you today, in our conversation and the the way you show up and the way you are being you just glow. I'm, you know, it comes across in your voice, thankfully, because we don't have this on, on video, but you You're really a gift to the world. And you've been a gift to our community and our listeners today. So thank you for who you are.

Farah Ismail:

Thank you, Meredith. I've enjoyed all our exploration calls and today, just loving your presence loving, you're listening. And when you acknowledge me, I want to say what you're creating and doing for the community through this. I just think is not comparable to anything. So thank you for giving so much of you and I love you. Thank you.