Catch Ruqya Khan on the #PirateBroadcast™
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Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns: [00:00:10] Welcome back pirates. We are here for an amazing adventure. And today I have someone that I feel really aligns with our goal and our mission and our intent to have #smilesarefree, #kindnessiscool. And just everything about that essence of imagining a better life and a better outcome. And so I want to welcome you and I want to thank you, all the #gratitude in the world for being here. And I want to introduce you to...is it Ruqya? Thank you so much for being here. First of all, I have to say, I'm amazed that you've been doing over a thousand episodes on YouTube. And if you're not connected on YouTube, go over and connect on YouTube. I subscribe to your channel. So I just love what you're doing over there. So share a little bit about your adventure and your journey to get to over a thousand episodes of your YouTube channel and some of the things that you're doing and some of the major accomplishments I want to talk a little bit about that, but let's let's save that for a little bit later. So talk about your show and what you're doing in your mission.
Ruqya Khan: [00:01:23] Thank you, first of all, Russ for having me on board. When the intro came up and you said #smilesarefree that definitely got me smiling because I'm known as the smile strategist and I'm the kind of person who doesn't wait to be ready. So if you give me an opportunity, I won't wait till I know how to do it. I'll just jump right into it. And then I learn along the way. So whether it was my stint as a writer, media or whether it was me in this now, the personal development space and NLP and all of that. Or even as an orator. So I wasn't a trained orator when I went on the TEDx stage. In fact, the TEDx talk was my first talk ever. Not many people do that, onto the stage and say, this shall be my first talk for public talk. And from there came the smile strategy. And I know you asked me about the thousand days. And that happened because I found myself a few years later after the TEDx talk, I found myself in a very dark and dreaded space. I was by myself, depressed. My children had left the nest. I had just lost Papa at the time and it just felt a little too much to handle. And there were days I wouldn't get out of bed until almost four in the evening, four to five in the evening. I just hated the loneliness, the emptiness in the house. And it took an interesting conversation with my son, for me to understand that I need to be accountable for what I'm doing. Because that was what I had taught them as children. And so he asked me, so ma what are you doing? And I said, you can't speak to me like that. I'm your mother. And he said, all that is fine, but what about accountability? I had nowhere to hide, so I went back to my platform where I used to share my one-liners, my quotes and I made a list. And then I started doing daily videos on it. I asked my community, my, my circle of genius. I said, would you be interested in videos? And they said, yes and I said, great. If they said, yes, I have to deliver. So I started on 1st of May, 2018. And today was day 1032 of that commitment.
Russ Johns: [00:03:47] Congratulations. That's a huge accomplishment. And for someone who has done, I do five days a week and I used to do two minute tips every day and I did a number of those and it takes a certain amount of tenacity and focus and intent to really be there every day. And some days I know are more exciting like today you're with the smile and the intent that you have, and the passion that you present is really, I think important for people to understand that it's, we don't always want to show up, however, being accountable to ourselves and the people around us and not being a victim to our own journey is really important for people to understand. Talk a little bit about the smile, your smile philosophy and the process that you go through and that you've gone through to develop this process.
Ruqya Khan: [00:04:49] Sure. So the smile was created for the for the TEDx talk. I said, you move from feeling stuck in life to feeling stuck, to unstuck, using #gratitude and acceptance. And I said, acceptance comes when you smile. And the five steps for the acronym of the strategy are, is silence the mind, manage your attention, identify the intention, let things go and energize the possibilities. So five simple steps, yet they cover such a vast area of your thinking process, your mindset, and all the conversations that you have in your mind. Then it sets you on a different tangent altogether from where you were, when you were stuck. And I would say to quite an extent, it helped me as well, moving forward from where I was at that time.
Russ Johns: [00:05:48] There's so many opportunities there and to break it down because what it sounds like to me is that you develop this to support yourself in going forward in life. Is that a fair assessment?
Ruqya Khan: [00:06:05] It is a fair assessment. And Russ, I do believe that we were never given anything for waste. Whether it's an experience or a tool or a learning where it's always there for that moment or for a moment to come. You're never given anything just like that.
Russ Johns: [00:06:20] Yeah. Sometimes you need to use the pain as fuel for your future. I say that a lot and it's like everything, every experience is never, should never be wasted.
Ruqya Khan: [00:06:32] Yep. True that. And then the smile itself, when even before I started the videos in March, I was invited by the ministry of happiness. UAE actually has a ministry of happiness and I was invited by the prime minister's office to come and speak about my smile. When the prime minister's office invites you to an event, you show up. And so I showed up and just showing up and speaking to people about it helped me understand that if I'm asking everybody else to let things go, why am I not doing that? If I'm asking everybody else to identify the intention, why am I not doing it? Those little things helped me connect the thoughts and from there was bond connecting the thoughts and moving forward.
Russ Johns: [00:07:17] When we're in it though and there are times where our emotions take over our logic, we can tell ourselves, hey, this is something I need to do for myself. This is something I need to be. And I was just having this conversation last night with my sister. And how do you know whether it's confidence building or it's the ability to see your value in the world or how you actually believe in yourself and how do you measure those results against all of the things that are going on in your life, even when things seem to be going well, if there's that thing that's holding you back. You really can't be a hundred percent involved in yourself until you actually understand and appreciate all of the things and the gifts and the value that you bring to the world. So going through that process, what was your experience after you got through that process for yourself, being depressed and being down and then coming out of it. Is it still a journey that you're working through now or is it behind you or is it still part of who you are?
Ruqya Khan: [00:08:33] Great question. So I think that kind of a loss, when you lose a parent, it just changes you forever. Some losses, some situations just change you forever. And then you never really go back to the person that you were. At least I feel that way. So every day is a learning process. And as you said, some days you don't want to show up some days you energy isn't there. There've been times I've switched on the live and just cried my eyes out because it could have been Papa's birthday. It would have been the day my daughter flew out. And again, I'm alone at home. After many days just could have been a bad day. But those emotions, because what I realized is though this started, this whole series started as a way of me connecting with myself and getting out of bed and facing the world. Quite literally, it began to impact people and their relationships. I started getting messages from people I didn't even know telling me about how they're connecting with their children over the videos, how there is a, there was a husband and wife, and I really have to share this with you. There was a gentleman who messaged me from far away and he said, me and my wife, we sit and watch your videos. She is terminally ill and she's got cancer and we want to use at night so that we have something good to think about other than the pain and whatever she's going through. And that for me, felt wow, it gives me goosebumps every time. So those were the kinds of messages that I started receiving. And I began to feel that it's no longer just about me. It's beyond me. And I can't be selfish to just do this because it works for me and suddenly stop because it doesn't.
Russ Johns: [00:10:15] I think the idea is bigger than yourself, right?
Ruqya Khan: [00:10:20] Exactly.
Russ Johns: [00:10:20] Yeah. I really want to talk about some of the things that...because that alone is amazing to hear. And when you touch somebody or you receive a text message or a message about how you've made a difference in somebody's life. That for me and myself when I receive that kind of information and feedback, it just, it makes me believe that the idea is bigger than myself and it's important to share a positive message and the fact that you don't know what people are going through, you don't know what other people are going through. A terminally ill wife, or the loss of parent or a son or somebody in your family. It's really important for people to understand it, have a little empathy, have a little kindness, enjoy the company of others and lift each other up and listen and prepare them for some of the challenges that they're going through in their day and allow them to share what they're feeling. And it's amazing adventure. We have an opportunity to do, and especially just like this. We're in different places, different times, and we have an opportunity to share this with as many people that show up for us today. And it's just to me that's amazing. Incredible. So thank you so much for being here again. I appreciate your sharing your story, and most of all your smiles. So I appreciate you.
Ruqya Khan: [00:11:57] What I wanted to add to that was, it doesn't really matter if we are reaching one person or a thousand or a million. It's just that if you can with sincerity, touch your life and make a difference, and anybody could come back to this conversation several years later and then still feel it. And I think that's about leaving behind a legacy, and I love what you're doing.
Russ Johns: [00:12:18] Likewise. Likewise, I admire you. I want to say hi to a couple of people in here. Russ Hedge says good morning. He believes that the smile strategist is awesome. #smilesarefree thank you. Thank you so much. And Donna Dunne, wow, definitely a huge accomplishment. Appreciate that. Lorrie Scott. Thank you so much for being here. Good morning. Russ comes back and says it is amazing how simple smile and kind words can make such a positive impact. #kindnessiscool #smilesarefree so Donna says, totally agree. Lots of lessons. And also it's a powerful message you're giving to others. And speaking of powerful messages, you're not over, it's not done. You're continuing to go on this adventure and you're continuing to add to your ability and the the education and the experiences that you can share with others. Take us down a path and share a few things about what you're doing in that arena of helping others and being a professional and a coach.
Ruqya Khan: [00:13:30] Sure. So I come from the world of words. So 20 years, plus in the media industry asking the right questions, writing the right stories, meeting the right people. And then I realized that there is more to people and their conversations I got into NLP neuro-linguistic programming. I'm a master practitioner of NLP and very recently I got on the journey of life coach certification with the International Coaching Federation. So I believe in constantly upgrading yourself so that you're able to deliver more and be a better person because it's not just conversation, but you also need to have logic and the science to it. So that's something that I'm doing. And I've recently started a mastermind where we work together, we do group coaching and we're doing a mastermind together for a 90 day period mastermind.
Russ Johns: [00:14:22] Fantastic. I've been in masterminds for years, and I really enjoy the opportunity to share in a safe zone, express your ideas and have feedback in a positive way, and also know that you can actually have some community around that in an idea. So are you going to do more masterminds? What's the adventure there?
Ruqya Khan: [00:14:51] The adventure, there is there are going to be more masterminds. This is the first one of its kind we're enjoying, we're on day 10 already and become quite a tight knit community. So I'm going to start another one, maybe have different slots for the young, for the youth. And maybe another for the young at mind, I think age is just a number.
Russ Johns: [00:15:19] I want to talk a little bit about some of the professional elements of this NLP mentioned, and I've had a lot of different individuals on that have NLP training and what has it... I guess my question would be, how has it changed your outlook on how you communicate with others, knowing this, having this skill and this talent and this ability?
Ruqya Khan: [00:15:44] So NLP for me is now a way of life or a way of conversation. It's very ingrained. I've been practicing and working with NLP since almost 10 years now. So it's just become the way that I talk. It's how it helped me is it helps me get my message across more clearly. It helps me identify the stories that I'm telling myself first. And then when I know my stories, I can relate better with the others. I think it's about having a clean slate yourself, understanding yourself better, and then communicating with the others. And so also about having different perspective positions, when you're in a situation, you have that openness, you have that understanding better understanding of how things work and how minds work, how body language works and how people communicate. So it's not just the words they're using. It's also about the tonality of their voice. How they are presenting themselves. Even when you're writing a message, how do you put it across in such a way that the other person is more receptive to your message? So I think overall it's made my communication more effective and that's definitely helped me as a speaker, as a writer, as a coach.
Russ Johns: [00:16:58] I really think about self-awareness and becoming aware of what I would like to have in my life, what my intentions are and how I want to spend my time in my day and reflecting on that. And I've often thought about NLP and how you're planting that seed and changing the way I talk to myself and the way that I talk to the people around me, my friends and family and making sure that I think about other people, as well as I think about myself and, self-confidence is always something that people are working on, the ability to think about how I can be confident without being arrogant, and the, some of the things that go along with that. And it's a fine line. And I spent a lot of time thinking about that. And I'm just wondering if NLP is something that would be something I should look into or something that I should consider, or has that helped you in any of those areas or have you helped other people in any of those areas as a result of their challenges?
Ruqya Khan: [00:18:08] So NLP definitely has helped me in that area. It has a NLP and timeline therapy to be more specific because the more I work with timeline therapy, the more I realized that all the stories that we are living through or all the kinds of relationships we attract are always a seed of the past. So it's something that needs to be addressed from your childhood days is what kind of creates that snowball effect. And you keep having those same experiences over and over again. So going back in time, picking those, picking the lessons from that experience assuring yourself of what needs to be assured so that you don't repeat the same behavioral pattern. All of that has been quite a good awareness for me.
Russ Johns: [00:18:56] Yeah, it just triggered a thought in my mind is this idea that we can't change the future until we change the way we see our past. And a lot of people don't realize how anchored they are in their limits, because the only experience we have is our past. So it takes belief and faith and imagination to imagine and present and look at our future in a different way.
Ruqya Khan: [00:19:31] Yep, absolutely. And I think the analogy that I'd like to use is that of a white board. Or a blackboard, depending on which era you come from. So when I was doing school my teacher used the blackboard. She used white chalk to write on it. So if you had a teacher who's written way too much on the blackboard, you'd have to wipe it clean for the next teacher who walks in and starts teaching her lessons. So if you've had a childhood that's filled with a lot of self doubt labels that people might have given you labels, you might've been yourself, fears, failures, you need to get to a point in life of awareness so that you can consciously clean that state and then have a new experience that says differently. You write a different story on the blackboard.
Russ Johns: [00:20:18] Yes. And that's a process. It doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen immediately. And like myself, I've had many amazing adventures in my life and I look at experience as an experience and positive/negative, sometimes it's not always comfortable experience. Sometimes it's a very uncomfortable experience. However, there's something to be taken away from every experience and saying, what can I learn from this experience? What is it that I am supposed to be taking away from this experience? And letting go of things has become easier and easier, and I simplify my life more and more all the time or, that's my intent. Sometimes it doesn't always work out that it's simple, but it does continue to evolve. And so I just want to, I want to just want to stress with everybody that life can be as simple or as complicated as you tell yourself it is. And those experiences can be fuel for your future, the pain that you're going through, or the process that you're going through right now. It's just temporary. And we all have an opportunity to become a better person tomorrow than we were yesterday. And I'm involved in this process and we all are connected and the idea that we can help each other out, like you're doing with so many individuals, I just have all the #gratitude in the world to allow you to share some of these stories with us today and hopefully, it resonates with somebody and, somebody can actually learn from it and think a new way and develop some new thoughts. So where are you going from here? What you're going to continue to do videos. You get your masterminds, you've got the next level of credentials that you're going to be coaching with. So tell us about that and what the next steps are for you.
Ruqya Khan: [00:22:13] The next steps is okay. So one of the goals that I'd set for myself in 2019 was I would like to speak in 10 new countries. And I say new because I've already spoken about my smile in six countries already different countries. So I wanted to speak in 10 new countries , but luckily I had promised myself in 2022. And I'd already ticked off two countries before COVID happened and and I'm grounded right now. So I use this timeframe that I had to complete 500 plus hours of coaching to get my credentials upgraded. And I'm now looking at eight new countries where someone might invite me to say come share a smile with us. And I'd love to if any of your listeners would want to, I'd be delighted to go visit and spread the smile. And what else apart from this is I am speaking at the Gross global happiness summit held by the university for peace, which is an affiliate of the United nations, which is just next month. That's one of the more exciting things coming up for me this year. What else? I have my book that I need to focus on now with the upgrading of credentials out of the way, I'm now focusing on that. So that's also something that's in the pipeline.
Russ Johns: [00:23:32] Fantastic. And how do people get ahold of you? What's a way that you enjoy and appreciate people reaching out to you.
Ruqya Khan: [00:23:39] I am a regular on my Facebook page, which is RK Rites. And I'm a bit of a rebel, so it is R I T E S. I was always bad at my spellings and my mom, constantly complains. I said, I'm going to have a Facebook page with the wrong spelling. So it's RITES. Facebook and YouTube, it's my name Ruqya Khan and if you look it up and subscribe, turn on notifications, I literally post every day. So that's again, another place where you can reach me.
Russ Johns: [00:24:07] Fantastic. I really appreciate all the adventures that we go through and all the experience. So what would be something that you would want to leave with anyone as a legacy thought or a comment or an idea? What's your legacy that you'd like to leave with us today?
Ruqya Khan: [00:24:25] My legacy is my smile on the screen. And I'm not being cheesy about this. I've begun to actually speak it out. Now, you know how people, when they think of the why they think of Simon Sinek, that's what people have to think of me. When they think of a smile, I want people to associate my name with a smile. And we say, when you think of a smile, you should think of a Ruqya Khan. And also to be kind, I think it's very important that you are kind with yourself as much as it's brilliant to move from feeling stuck, to unstuck and all of that, but also knowing when to be kind with yourself and not push yourself too much. You just wait until you're ready to take that next step forward. Even if it's a tiny step forward, give yourself some time.
Russ Johns: [00:25:11] Have a little patience.
Ruqya Khan: [00:25:13] Yes. True that.
Russ Johns: [00:25:15] I truly appreciate this information and thank you so much for showing up being here today and everyone in the room, it's just really find that peace and serenity in your life and space and you can help others through sharing your experiences. Absolutely positively true. And I just wanted to thank you. It is amazing how simple a smile and kind words... I just wanted to... Russ Hedge is just a true supporter here. And he's an advocate for smiles and kindness and everything that goes along with that. So there's so many people in the #PirateBroadcast™ community that I know would love and appreciate your message. And thank you so much for being here.
Ruqya Khan: [00:25:56] Thank you, Russ, thank you for having me onboard and thank you everybody, everyone for tuning in and being part of the conversations now and later on replay. Thank you.
Russ Johns: [00:26:05] Thank you, everyone. All the #gratitude in the world for being here, whether you're showing up live in the future, or you received this from a friend that gave it to you because they thought that you might need to hear some great news today about a smile, because #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and we want you to #enjoyyourday. See you soon.
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