Catalytic Leadership

From Trauma to Triumph: Cyrus Rustom's Journey of Resilience, Growth and Leadership

November 27, 2023 Dr. William Attaway Season 2 Episode 19
Catalytic Leadership
From Trauma to Triumph: Cyrus Rustom's Journey of Resilience, Growth and Leadership
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What if you could turn your deepest traumas into the fuel for resilience and growth? That's exactly what our guest, Cyrus Rustom, did. Growing up in the shadow of a traumatic childhood, and later facing a near-death experience in Afghanistan as an elite Royal Marine Commando, Cyrus chose to rise above adversity. This remarkable journey didn't stop there, though. It catapulted him into a successful career in the fitness industry, including working for the Royal Family in Dubai.

Cyrus Rustom's story is a testament to the power of persistence. Surviving a massive accident, he harnessed his experience to foster an impressive resilience. His narrative also unveils the impact of key life-altering decisions - like his choice to stay with his father after his parents' divorce. Cyrus's experience as a Royal Marine Commando taught him the power of unwavering determination and the necessity of discomfort to carve out your own path.

But Cyrus's journey is not just about overcoming trauma and adversity. It's also about self-discovery, growth, and leadership. After experiencing the Landmark Forum, Cyrus had an eye-opening realization about his inner voice and how it impacted his personal growth. His venture into entrepreneurship underscores the importance of vision and the absence of a Plan B. His story is a vivid reminder that you are not alone in your journey. Having a coach and a strong support system are integral to success. Join us for this compelling episode, as we glean leadership lessons from one of the most resilient individuals we've ever had the privilege of speaking with.

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Meet Dr. William Attaway, your guide to peak performance. As a seasoned Executive Mindset and Leadership Coach with nearly 30 years of experience, William empowers high-performance entrepreneurs and agency owners to conquer challenges and maximize their potential. Join him on the Catalytic Leadership podcast as he shares insights on achieving Clear-Minded Focus, Calm Control, & Confidence, helping you thrive in business and life.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Catalytic Leadership, the podcast designed to help leaders intentionally grow and thrive. Here is your host author and leadership and executive coach, dr William Attaway.

Speaker 2:

Hey, it's William and welcome to today's episode of the Catalytic Leadership podcast. Each week, we tackle a topic related to the field of leadership. My goal is to ensure that you have actionable steps you can take from each episode to grow in your own leadership. Growth doesn't just happen. My goal is to help you become intentional about it. Each week, we spotlight leaders from a variety of fields, organizations and locations. My goal is for you to see that leaders can be catalytic, no matter where they are or what they lead. I draw inspiration from the stories and journeys of these leaders and I hear from many of you that you do too. Let's jump in to today's interview. I'm so excited today to have Cyrus Rustam on the podcast. Cyrus served as an elite Royal Marines commando for five years, including a tour of Afghanistan in 2006. He almost died in a life-threatening incident in Afghanistan and bounced back to grow a successful 15-year career in fitness. He opened two fitness facilities in his hometown of Dubai and also coaches mindset, discipline, fitness and nutrition. His current business started during COVID and, against all odds, has not just survived but thrived, now generating over a million dollars a year in revenue. Cyrus has also worked for the Royal Family in Dubai for eight years. Cyrus attributes his success to his ability of extracting powerful lessons learned through massive trauma. They've been the most valuable moments of his life. Cyrus, I'm so glad you're here. Thanks for being on the show.

Speaker 3:

Wow, that was some introduction. Thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

It's all about you, my friend. I would love for you to share some of your story with our listeners, particularly around your journey and your development as a leader. How did you get started?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's great. I think the starting point for me is definitely when I was around 12 years old and my parents divorced. I would say this was one of the first incidences or situations in my life that actually started to shape me as not just a leader but as my personality as a human. So just to give you a background so you understand my mindset and everything we lived in North Wales and it's a small town in the UK. Our parents were together, we had a dog, I've got two sisters and a brother. It was a very nice upbringing up until that point. I remember Christmas time we'd have loads of gifts and we weren't wealthy but we definitely weren't poor. We went on a vacation with just my mum at the time and there was somebody that kind of come into our space, as it were, and he turned out to be this person that my mum was planning to leave my dad for. When we went home she announced that they were getting a divorce. At the time there was no social media. There wasn't that many people I knew that had divorced parents and it was all a bit strange and I think my mum, for whatever reason, decided she made some decisions during that process that made it very difficult for everyone Not to go into it too deeply, but just to give you some kind of idea. She got a restraining order on my dad so we could come near the house. She moved in this strange man with his two kids into our family home. I found weird photos of this guy in the house and basically I got taken to court actually and the lawyers grilled me over some money situation they had going on and it was very upsetting, to say the least. It all really come to a head that the court had given my mum custody of the kids and most of the finances, which was normal for a working mum that wasn't working or anything. So it come to a head where my mum had packed the car. She literally stripped the house and had everything out and she said let's get in the car and go. And she put my two sisters and brother in the car and I said no, I don't want to leave, I want to stay with dad. And she told the courts that she was staying in North Wales but we all knew that she was going to the opposite side of the country to be with this man that she'd met. So in my mind, being a mummy's boy being the first born, being very close to my mum, I thought if I just hold my ground, my mum surely loves me more than she does this guy. And she called the police because I wouldn't get in the car and go. The police said to me you've got to get in the car. Courts ordered it. I held my ground, she got in the car and left. Now, obviously, for a 12 year old that was really close to his mum, that had big impacts. The first thing that that did to me was like I built up beliefs. The first belief was that relationships don't work. That was like ingrained in me from a young age because that divorce broke my dad. He didn't eat properly for years. Like he's still better about it today. This was you know, I'm almost 38 now. This is when I was 12. And so the second belief that I built up was that I was really strong because I woke up the next day and I didn't speak to. I spoke to my mum a handful of times, 20 years in, 20 years after that it was like gone, like two sisters and brother and mum out of my life. And I woke up the next day and I was like huh, I'm actually okay and I told myself I'm fine, mum's gone, it's okay. Wow, I thought I was. I don't know what I was expecting, but I thought I was going to be like sick or something that age you don't know right, yeah, but I was okay and so I built up the belief that I'm really stronger than what I thought I was, and I built up the belief that I was cold. But relationships don't work as well, and this will help you understand my situation. From the divorce, I started drinking alcohol, smoking weed, hanging around with the wrong people. I got arrested multiple times. I didn't go to school. My dad had a very interesting way of bringing me up. He gave me no direction or discipline, but he never let me want for anything, and I think because his father forced him down a career path that he never wanted to do and so he kind of had a different way with me. Let him do what he wants, he'll figure it out. But he also had some lessons behind it. Like he told me, whatever bed you make, you have to sleep in it. So you're big enough not to go to school, you're a man enough to face the consequences you're going to get, and I was kind of figuring out life from 12 years old the hard way, but one day in school, one of my best friends, who was also from a broken family, far worse situation than I was in and bearing in mind I was this broken teenager, he showed me a photo that changed my life. He would come up to me in school and he said look, it was a picture of his older brother and he just happened to be a Royal Marines Commando. And in that moment I believe God, universe however you want to say it was showing me hey, this is a path for you. You don't need to be too academically smart to do it, because I was never academic in school. You just need to train yourself and get fit. You can go and become a Royal Marines Commando and live this adventure that I so wanted, and I wanted an escape Right. I hated my situation. So I went from being this weed smoking, alcohol drinking kid that was playing up to the very next morning, getting up at 5am putting my shoes on and my trainers on, putting my shorts on and going for a run. And I remember it like it was yesterday. I was running around the streets. It was pitch black outside, there was orange street lamps on all the houses were completely blacked out, like no one was awake. And I'm running around the streets and there's no one around and I'm so tired, like I'm not doing any fitness at this stage in my life and I'm like and I realized quite quickly that I could stop running and walk back to my house at any moment, but that was. I realized as well that that was me accepting my current situation because I was like. So I was like, okay, I understand, even though probably I wouldn't have been able to put it into words at that young age, but I understood like I need to do this. I need this short term pain of running and sacrificing is necessary for me to leave my situation. And so we became obsessed. Me and my friend would wake up before the sun come up. We'd go down to the beach in the middle of the winter, in the rain and the wind, and run up and down the beach throwing ourselves into the water, training ourselves to join the military and the Royal Marines training is one of the longest, hardest military training courses in the world from civilian into the military. It's eight months long and it's intense and it wasn't easy. A lot of people actually put me off trying to join at such a young age. I walked into the recruiter's office when I was 15 and nine months old on the day, because you have to be 15 and nine months old and the guy told me hey, you can't join the commandos, you're way too young. And I was like, no, not 15 and nine, bear in mind. I was still this gobbly mouthy, you know, didn't want to listen to anyone teenager. But luckily they let me in because I was fit, I was training hard and I passed the test. And that wasn't easy either. I mean, I got to week 27 of training. It was 32 weeks long, so it was four weeks. From the end. I got an infection in my leg Because I was so young. I was training hard for any person, any teenager man, the very small pass rate, especially for teenagers and I got this infection. So the first time I tried the commando test, which is four notoriously difficult tests at the end of training to see if you're good enough. The first time I they wouldn't let me do it because they saw that I was sick from this infection. It was kind of affecting me, making me sick. So they put me. They put me back into the, into the troop behind so I could heal, get better and then try again. It was two weeks between each troop. Second time I did two of the commando tests failed. Third time I did the first three commando tests and I got to the morning of the of the fourth one. And the last commando test is a 30 mile march nonstop over mountainous terrain With your kit, your rifle and weight on your back. Now I woke up in the morning. It's a massive endurance fee for any human to do. I woke up in the morning, I went to the. I went for a pee and my pee had changed color Cause this infection had come up my leg, into, I guess, my bladder or something, and my right leg looked like you know the old school road map. So we have a page and all the like red lines of most of it. It looked exactly like that. It was like coming up my leg and I was hiding it from everyone because I thought if they see that, surely they're going to pull me out of training and I'll have to go home. So I was telling myself like just one more event. This is it. You get free this next eight hours. You get your commando green berry, which is the whole reason I started this thing, cause I saw the green berry on my friend's brother's head and was like that's it. Anyway, it was. I think it was mile, mile 22 in between 22 and 25. And my body just collapsed. I overheated, they threw me in a river. And what I learned going through this? I obviously eventually healed and got better and I passed training right. But what it taught me is that I'd first of all told my father, probably tens of thousands of times, that I was going to become a Royal Marines commando, and so every time I thought like, oh, you know, going, going home and telling my dad that I couldn't hack it or couldn't make it, after years of telling him that I was going to do it not an option. Not an option Like I'm telling you. If you'd have asked me, if you'd have told me that young age, I'll give you any. It doesn't matter. I had no real concept of money back then and let's say one million pounds, right, which is it's not that much of money, but it's, it's quite a lot of money, and at the time it would have been this you may as well have said a billion to me. I wouldn't have known, right, if you'd have said I'll give you a million pounds to go home and just settle there, buy a house to out, and said nope and no, no, no amount of money would have stopped me. Like this was either do it or die, and I was not going to go home and tell my dad. And so I learned the. I learned to be persistent Even at 16. Failing, failing so many times, getting so injured and and demoralized and I just said to myself there's no other option, there's no plan B here. And so I try and carry that with me now as a business owner, husband. When I set a goal for myself in life, I try not to set a plan B. And from when I was really young and I was training to become a commando, I also realized that to achieve certain things there's going to be some kind of discomfort. Right, it's not all going to be a comfy, nice way when you're trying to create a path in life for yourself. You've got to become someone. You've got to go through some challenges. You've got to become that person with new vision, and that change in self is not easy. Yeah, right. So I mean the Royal Marines for me was great. I mean as someone that was from a broken family. My friends became my family, yeah, and I. Maybe the reason why I didn't have that many relationships with women is because I still had this kind of belief that our relationships wouldn't work. And we went to Afghanistan in 2006, which is another very powerful learning time of my life. I was in the camp bastion and we got this normal job for the day. Actually it was a very low level, very boring job. The captain had told us to go and pick up something from this airstrip and bring it back to base, so me and my friend loaded up these wagons. Now it turns out one of the trucks wasn't working. It was a big people carrier, so we had to tow it to get it started. So then we could drive it. Oh my yeah. So it wasn't. The engine was working, it just wouldn't start. So it's jump started. So we went over to this airstrip. We were there for a few hours. We loaded up with what we were picking up. It was time to take it back, so I hooked the tow bar up to the rear vehicle. We jumped, started it. So the engine got running. I jumped out of the front vehicle, unhooked the tow bar and the rear vehicle come forward and I was obviously in between them and the armor on the vehicle started where my head was. It was a huge, huge trucks, and so the rear vehicle was trying to come forward right, and it was hitting the front vehicle. The guy in the rear vehicle got out when it was still trying to move forward, looked in between them, saw my head basically like banging in between them, and got back in the vehicle and reversed out the way and initially I just shrugged it off as a bit of a head bang. Then I sat down and I lied down and quickly realized that something very seriously had happened. I didn't know the extent of the injuries at the time, obviously, but I had broken my jaw in three places. I completely smashed the whole area of my right eye socket and my skull was broken in multiple places. The truck would literally just touch my head and crushed it, so I had blood dripping out nose, ears, eyes, mouth, couldn't speak because my jaw was all cracked up and I was squeezing the hands of my friends who had gathered around me at this point and I could hear everyone talking around me like, oh my God, it's so bad like these. I thought I was dead and I was actually dying. If they'd probably left me there, you know, maybe an hour max longer than they did, I would have passed away and I started to scream aggressively, scream out, and I was in zero pain. There was not a single moment of physical pain at all. I just knew it was very serious, I was dying, and when it really hit me like this is it, that's when I started screaming out and the feeling was frustration and anger, because I was 21 years old and I've been to school and I've been in the military and that was it. And I was so annoyed I was like this is it? I'm dying right here. We're going to tell my dad he died in the stupid truck hitting him and I was distraught. Anyway, the nurses eventually arrived, felt like ours on the floor was probably a few minutes, 10 minutes or something. They hooked me up, took me to the hospital. They did some scans and said oh, we can't deal with these, this extent of injury, in this hospital. We're going to fly you over to Canada, which was the American base where we have the surgeons that can help you. They put me to sleep at somewhere along the line and realized that actually Canada wasn't the best place for me it was Ovan. So an interesting thing happened here. When someone dies in the military, you're not allowed to, no one's allowed to contact home until the military has told the parents or the next of kin. And I was. When they flew me to a man and they tried to take the track to wake me up, they realized I was in a coma and everything was I was. They were doing everything for me. I wasn't staying alive on my own and so they realized like oh, he might die here. We need to tell his father. So they went to my dad's house. He wasn't there, it was at work. The neighbors told him go to his work. This is where it is. So it's an officer from the Royal Marines and a priest. He they go to the place of work. There's like a big car park in between the security gate and my dad's factory where he works as an engineer. They said we're looking for Eddie Ristam, security guard. No problem, that building there, go ahead. The security guard who my dad's worked there like 40 odd years calls my dad, please come outside. There's a couple of gentlemen here to see you, that's like what are you talking about? No one's ever come to work. Just please come outside. So dad comes to the entrance, sees a Royal Marines officer and a priest walking towards him across the car park. Now dad drops to his knees. Cyrus is dead, straight up. They eventually get to him and say he's not dead yet, but it's not looking good. He's fallen into this deep coma. We need to fly him out there to see him. And I've told that story so many times, but since having a son, when I tell that it hits different because that happened. The thought of that happening to my son breaks me just the thought alone, never mind actually going through it, right. So I actually woke up like three days later and they told him oh, he's awake now. We don't need to fly you out there to see him Now. As a parent, I think that they should have flown him out anyway because I was still in a bad way, but I'm personally selfishly glad that they didn't, because this is where some of the best lessons in my life started. I had multiple operations. The second opera I had like this massive tube in my throat. Immediately when I woke up, the first thing I did was grab this tube and try and yank it out. And I remember thinking, dan, this thing's in deep because it was moving at all, like not even a tiny bit. So the nurses tied my arms down to the bed and I was tied down like this for like a week and when they eventually untied my arms I couldn't move my arms. They were like stuck. I had the second operation and, bearing in mind, my head had been smashed right so I couldn't see properly. It was all double and blurry. I couldn't hear properly. My hearing got affected, my jaw was all broken, my socket was all broken and I was in a bad way. I wasn't really thinking straight, but I understood like I'm in hospital and something you know quite bad had happened. Anyway, after the second operation, I woke up on the operating table. This was quite a funny moment Because I had this ringing and this pain in my head from the operation. I couldn't believe it. It was like that was the first time I felt pain, right. It was like boom, just extreme 10 out of 10 pain in the head. And it was still on the operating table and all the lights and everything were on me and all the doctors and that were going around and they'd finished the operation. I was done. I was completely naked, all the tubes and everything still in me, lying on this like aluminium or whatever bed. The room was freezing and I remember shivering, like aggressively shaking, thinking okay, I can understand the headache and I can understand the ringing, but please, because somebody just put a blanket on me, I am freezing and I couldn't. I couldn't believe that they couldn't see how cold I was because I was like anyway, they eventually moved me to a military hospital and this is where the story gets interesting. I've probably been like three or four weeks post injury. At this point I had a still had spinal fluid leaking out of my nose when I leaned forward and going into the back of my throat when I leaned back and my eyesight still wasn't 100%, my jaw had been wired shut. At this point, thank God, they pulled the tubes out, but they wired it shut so I couldn't speak. I was in this room, you know, getting the healing and I was feeling very sorry for myself. And in the Marines, I guess because of my parents, divorce and what happened, I built up the belief that I was really strong and even in training I had this ability to see through very hard times and know that, man, we're going to get through this. Like a few days or weeks we're going to be back on camp nice and warm, eating some hot food, laughing and joking about this cold, deep, deprived, miserable moment. And I actually got an awarding training for that ability and I carried it through my life. But at this moment in time in the hospital, with my eyes all smashed up, my ears smashed up, my head, three, four times the size of it's supposed to be, it was completely deformed, black in color. I didn't know if I was going to get through it, at least in at least how I was before. So I was feeling sorry for myself. And there was one other guy in the room with me. He was clearly disabled, distressed, and he couldn't do anything for himself. He had no control of his body whatsoever. The nurses would feed him his food, changes diapers that he was wearing, shower him everything, and the guy was making noises and trying to bite himself constantly and he actually bit himself and he had like marks all over his arms. And this older gentleman would visit him every day and he was a very pleasant older guy. He would come to my bed first ask me how I was doing. Now I was, I was, I was a wide hip so I couldn't speak. I was just making noises and he would go over and see this other gentleman. And after about a week of this I asked the nurse. I didn't ask her. I wrote on my book. I actually drew an arrow to the guy and it was only him in the other room it was like 20 beds in there it was me and one of the guy. I drew an arrow. I said what's the story with him? And she said oh, he was in a accident some months back and unfortunately, he was in his driving his car with his mum and his sister in the car his younger sister and it was a serious accident. His mum and sister had died and he was permanently disabled for life. However, he still has full control of his mind and the reason why he keeps trying to bite himself is that he's trying to take his life. He feels guilty for his mum and sister dying and the man that's coming to see him every day, that's his father. And I was just like. I just couldn't understand the whole situation. I couldn't comprehend the pain that these two gentlemen were going through. First of all, I couldn't understand why this pleasant older man was asking me if I was okay and he'd just lost his wife and daughter and his son was like that for the rest of his life, and so that was like a lightning bolt hitting me because I felt ashamed that I was actually feeling sorry for myself. So I immediately snapped out of this funk I was in and I told myself, hey, I'm not feeling sorry for myself anymore, I'm going to do everything I can to get better to full health. So that happened immediately. And then, once that happened and I was stopped feeling sorry for myself and I stopped feeling victim, when I was running over the incident in my head which I've said this before speaking to other people like I do believe that a normal physical response to a severe injury like that is to run through it in your mind, like your brain's probably, I don't know there's some probably physiological loop somewhere that just keeps like feeding it to. But I also believe that I was being shown that incident literally thousands of times a day, over and over, and non-stopping my mind because I hadn't yet learned the lesson that had been gifted to me through that process. But when I went through the incident, having not been this victim, I almost wasn't in my own body. At that point I kind of like stepped away from the situation. I was looking down on it, I ran through it and I was lying on the floor and I was screaming in anger, holding my friend's hands, and I realized like, oh, like that moment just before death is going to happen again. It's not a question. Everyone has to pass away at some point in their lives. So I realized like, oh, I was screaming out of frustration, I was upset because I hadn't lived my life, and so I told myself now, when that moment happens again, I don't want to have the same regret. So that is a massive lesson that I extracted from that whole situation. It was that playing the victim doesn't really get you anywhere. It was that, although the injuries and the situation at the time was very difficult, for me it was actually a gift and I remember that man that was in the bed and that older man that went to visit him his father pretty much every day, and it is ever a moment that I'm flustered or frustrated or feeling any kind of sorry for myself, which happens, right, I'm not like Superman over here or anything. I'm just another guy who's trying to do the best he can. It's like everyone else. But I try and think back to that moment and realize that those guys are still out there somewhere and they went through that, and so I ain't got no problems. Let's put it that way.

Speaker 2:

Wow, cyrus, that is such an amazing experience. I often tell clients and I've said on this show more than once that there's no such thing as a wasted experience. Every experience in our lives is for us or for the benefit of those around us. We can choose to just hold all that up for ourselves and keep it to ourselves, or we can share it openly, and I love how, today, you have been so open and honest about this part of your journey so far. The lessons, the lessons are so incredibly powerful. Imagine moving into the entrepreneurial space. In recent years, some of those lessons about persistence, about sticking with it, have come in handy 100%.

Speaker 3:

I think it would be very interesting for your listeners as well. I'll touch on this briefly, because I mentioned the divorce from my parents and I got with my wife and I very much wanted to start a business. I wasn't happy just coaching people. I was like you know what, at this point in my life I need to be an entrepreneur and I need to start a business. So I took a lot of risks and at the same time I met my wife and I was going through this transformative period in my life because at the time I was drinking a lot of alcohol very much just bumming around and not taking life too seriously and I met my wife and that kind of. Okay, this is the next stage of my life. Now I need to get a little bit more serious about what I was doing. And yeah, I was still carrying these issues from my 12 year old self and, by the way, I didn't know I had any issues. If you'd come up to me. If you'd come up to me and said you have these problems because your parents divorce and you're this and this, I'd have said no way, Like you don't know what you're talking about. And I was obsessed with I wouldn't say obsessed, but I was quite focused on this business thing and I was reading a lot of business books at the time when I wasn't working. And one of the books was a book from I believe his name is Chip Wilson, Anyways, the founder of a sports company called Lulu Lemon. He's the founder, yeah, so it's worth about $7 billion now or $10 billion, Something crazy. And he said in his book I will always look at my life as before the forum and after the forum. And there was this thing called the landmark forum and I'd never heard of it before have you heard of it. No, no, it's. It's crazy how many people don't know about the landmark forum. I've never been on anything like that in my life, and he said it's one of the reasons why Lulu Lemon was so successful. So I was like this is a billionaire saying this. I went online. There was a landmark forum, the first ever in Dubai. Few weeks after I read that chapter. Oh my. It was an expensive and again, I know a thousand percent that it was again given to me. It was another path, it was another direction. Yeah, call it what you want, but I would never have seeked help, I would never have gone on the forum if I knew what it was. I thought it was a business coaching program for three days. I signed up I literally signed up in the moment and I carry on reading the book. And they called me yeah, I'm coming. They asked me a few questions. I thought, hmm, it's strange questions, but okay, we're going to go. We're going to go into this. So it's three days. The first day you don't eat anything. In front of the person that speaks, you sit down on your chair. You pretty much sat down for like nine, 10 hours a day. It's very, very cold in the room. I didn't know any of this stuff. I have not even researched it. And yet you don't. You're not bored. You're not bored, you're. I was intently listening and Some of the information was about the voice in your head. They were saying, like it's not you, you know it's not you because you could. You're the one listening to it and that it's Negative. And I'd never noticed the voice in my head. Up until that point, I just thought it was me in my own head. Yeah so I drove home after the first day of the forum listening to my voice going oh my god, I cannot believe how negative this little voices inside my head. I couldn't believe it and at the point of time I was Pretty much ready to divorce my wife and we had so many fights we were. We'd split up so many times and come back together and If you were a fly on the wall at the time, you'd have looked at my the. You would have just been like these two people need to Split up. They just should not be living together. But I I kind of had this like feeling that I should be with her, but I had this resistance Against it and it was causing all these problems, and so that was one of the things I was like okay, but this voice inside my head and it's really negative and it's telling me to leave my wife and it's yet it's not me Interesting, I'll go back the second day. I wasn't gonna go back. I thought I am not coming back here again, but I did it because I figured out there was nothing to do with business. Obviously a Lot's more stuff. And they said by the way, if you come back the third day at 5 pm, you're gonna get the biggest realization you've ever gotten in your life. And they told us on the third day you need to call your parents if you haven't got a relationship with them. I spoke to my mother for 20 of years, like literally a handful of times I Didn't call my mother. Everyone went off and called their parents and if the parents weren't alive they had to, like your visualize speaking to them and I Was not. I mean any of it, I was pretending to call. I was calling my friend or my wife or someone. Yeah, I was Imagine looking at a mirror and seeing your personality and who you are and the reasons why, like you have this personality trait, because this happened and you're like this, because like this, and you see all, all the events that happened, if through your childhood and your teenage years and whatever that shaped you, you see it all and why you are, and then the realization that you don't need to carry that with you anymore. Let it go Star fresh. So that was this, that was this feeling. It it wasn't what maybe not would have been able to explain it at the time either. It was just kind of like this knowing I Went for loads of therapy first time doing therapy, I know there's a therapist and spoke about my relationships or feelings. Ever right, I was the Marine, I'm parents of divorce, I was strong, right, and it was this. It was so obvious in the room that the problem was me, and yet I still had not spoken it. And the therapist he was a, the kind man, was kind of like nudging me to realize this for myself, but I wouldn't say it. So he said Cyrus, have you got it yet? I was like the problems me and he went and then from that moment, I never, I never thought about divorce of my wife, ever again. It was like magic it disappeared out of my life. And don't get me wrong, I have thought a business that's financially and you, some people, would call it a success, it's making a profit and it's doing well, but I still go through struggles. I Still have struggled, I still have doubts and I always have to remind myself that it always takes longer than what you think it does. I Kind of getting patient sometimes. Sometimes it's it's hard work and it's time away from my son and my wife, and Sometimes things are not going your way and it's. Entrepreneurship is kind of like this daily roller coaster. You wake up and it's like a lottery. Yeah, what's it gonna be? today, and so my focus now having we opened up the business one week after our lock down here in the UAE, and yeah, and during COVID, after lockdown, who wanted to go to a small studio and stand around other humans, nobody. So it was tough and it was just lit lit. Going back to those lessons, like, hey, you're not gonna give up number one, given it's not an option, never say it. Yeah, the thought might come to you immediately. Dismiss it, stay focused, don't be too hard on yourself but take every day as it comes, plan smartly into the future. But some days are gonna be good, some days are gonna be bad. And Luckily I have my business partner, who is a lot more experienced than me, to kind of like put his hand on my shoulder and Guide me through the whole process and the lessons of the real big lessons of Not setting a plan B. I do strongly believe in that if you have a calling, a vision, this intuition, whatever you want to call it from your life, you have this vision of this perfect life that you want. Hey, you have the vision, you can do it. It's not come to you. If it's not attainable, yeah, but if you set a plan B, the minute it gets a little bit uncomfortable and you have to come outside your comfort zone and do something that you're not used to, hey, you're just gonna go. You're gonna go plan B, plan C, plan D, and you're gonna keep falling down the ladder until you do something so comfortable that you just completely and utterly now Depressed and you're not fulfilling your potential, and that is a whole, you know, whirlwind of pain that you don't want to go down. Yeah so, yeah, the, the, the experiences that I've been through have really shaped me and I try to look. I don't try. I do look at them as Blessings, although I'll be the first person to put my hand up and say I am nowhere near perfect. I'm not the perfect husband, father or entrepreneur, I'm just a man trying to do his best every day, just like the rest of us.

Speaker 2:

So I'm curious like you know, a year from now, five years from now, your company is gonna need you to lead at a higher level than it does today. Right, and that's true of any organization that we leave. How do you, cyrus, stay on top of your game? How do you level up with the new leadership skills you're gonna need in the days and years to come?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and well. Something else that I've learned on my journey is that Nobody can do it alone. Yes, I. And if you think you have all the answers to whatever business issues or growth problems or cash flow whatever the business issues are that will come, you're not going to get through it alone. So I believe in coaching I am a coach myself and I believe in having coaches for myself. I believe in seeking out people that have done what it is you want to do. They've already done it. Yeah, to recreate the wheel? Yeah, right. So I'm on this constant journey of growth and I do believe that the first stepping stone, if you like, of that is really knowing that you don't have all the answers and other people can help you. So that's really where my focus is. And apart from that, I'm obviously a big believer in health and fitness and I do believe if you stay on top of your own personal habits health, nutrition it makes this whole process of working and growing as a leader so much easier because you feel good in yourself.

Speaker 2:

So true, and I love what you said about being a coach. But knowing the value of coaching Any coach who or declares themselves to be a coach, who doesn't have coaches themselves, that makes me a little nervous because I'm like, hmm, yeah, you know, do you really see the value in this? And I love that you said that, because I think so often entrepreneurs, business leaders, will think, oh, I've got to figure this out, I've got to do this myself. And what you said is exactly right. None of us do it ourselves. I have coaches that help me and I'm an executive coach for other leaders and business owners, because we need one another and you can't see the whole picture when you're in the frame. That's been your experience so often. Right, you were in it, you couldn't see it. You needed somebody from the outside to ask you the right questions to help you to see what you simply could not see on your own. Yeah, I love that. That's part of your story, cyrus. I think that's amazing. Absolutely, you're a continual learner, right. You're constantly growing, you're constantly learning because you want to become better than you are today, and I find that in all great upperforming leaders, is there a book that has made a big difference in your journey that you would recommend to the listeners that, hey, if you want to put a book on your to read list, this is the one that has made a difference for me.

Speaker 3:

I've read more than 500 books and every single one of them is nonfiction and they're pretty much self-help books, and this is my belief about books. Again, I believe that everyone should read and I also believe that when you need a certain book, the most it will fall upon you and you'll be. You'll just, you won't be able to put it down because you will be devouring the information because it's exactly what you need at that time. So good. I've had multiple books throughout my journey that I've read, that I've needed and I've gone. Oh my God. So I'll tell you the book. This is probably not the one that's impacted me the most, but I'm going to tell you the book that I'm reading right now because how it's helping me is very relevant and very fresh in my mind, so I can tell you exactly what it's doing for me. Perfect, it's called the Daily Stoic. Yes, yes, and my problem this last few months has been I've been trying to squeeze in more work into the day and I've been getting frustrated and flustered and I feel it in myself and I've been snapping it at my wife sometimes and I've been not spending as much time with my son. I haven't been prioritising my health and fitness. I've just been doing more work and I've been feeling miserable because of that, literally this whole. And I think on the first call, when I spoke to you as well, I said I'm still struggling with something. One of my coaches, by the way, what four coaches currently one of them said to me I recommend you read the Daily Stoic, and it was one of those books. I picked it up and I was just like, wow, I need this book right now. And so it helped me become more grounded and it's helped me prioritise and leave some room in the day just to be there at a wall, be in mind, chill a little bit, meditate a little bit, go for a walk, be with your son, be in the moment, and I believe that this, these moments and breaking my day of like this, is going to help me a lot. It's not just a leader, but a business owner and, at the end of the day, this thing called life, although it is short, it's a marathon. Trying to do everything in one day and getting all flustered and upset and just being in a bad mood that's not the way to go about it. So I've been prioritising my mental health and time with my family, and that from reading this book and it's helped me a lot Love.

Speaker 2:

That Is there one thing. You would like to leave listeners with one big idea that if they only walk away with one thing, this is what you'd want them to walk away with.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, when I was on that desert floor about to die, I had utter and complete clarity. My ego was gone. I was really just thinking about my life and all I hadn't done at that point. And you don't need to almost die to realise that you are going to die and you don't get a second chance at life. So you will have regret if you don't do the things that are in your heart. And that feeling of regret is not nice, I know, because I was there. So, whatever you can do, try and live true to yourself. And if you're scared and you feel fear, that's the thing you need to do, because the regret is horrible. You take my word for it.

Speaker 2:

I know folks are going to want to stay connected with you, Cyrus, and continue to learn from you. What is the best way for them to?

Speaker 3:

do that. It's definitely on Instagram and it's coach Cyrus. That's coach C Y R.

Speaker 2:

U S. Thanks for joining me for this episode today. As we wrap up, I'd love for you to do two things. First, subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode, and if you find value here, I'd love it if you would rate it and review it. That really does make a difference in helping other people to discover this podcast. Second, if you don't have a copy of my newest book, Catalytic Leadership, I'd love to put a copy in your hands. If you go to catalyticleadershipbookcom, you can get a copy for free. Just pay the shipping so I can get it to you and we'll get one right out. My goal is to put this into the hands of as many leaders as possible. This book captures principles that I've learned in 20 plus years of coaching leaders in the entrepreneurial space, in business, government, nonprofits, education and the local church. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn to keep up with what I'm currently learning and thinking about. If you're ready to take a next step with a coach to help you intentionally grow and thrive as a leader, I'd be honored to help you. Just go to catalyticleadershipnet to book a call with me. Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic.

Growing Through Trauma
Overcoming Challenges
Lessons Learned From a Near-Death Experience
Discovering Landmark Forum and Inner Voice
Personal Growth and Leadership Lessons