Lousin Mehrabi: EQ Is The New IQ | E18
#18: EQ Is The New IQ with Lousin Mehrabi
Ever noticed how the best students in school don’t always succeed later on in life? Let’s face it. IQ is important, but it doesn’t always guarantee success. The ability to understand and express emotions also plays a pivotal role in whether we make it or break it. In fact, EQ has been cited as the most important factor when it comes to job performance, and a top quality that hiring managers look for. Tune into #18 to boost your EQ with Lousin Mehrabi, an executive life coach and Certified Professional Negotiator who helps C-Suite executives grow in the areas of complex negotiations, emotional intelligence & leadership.
[00:00:00] Hala Taha: Hey guys, Young and Profiting podcast has just launched YAP Society on Slack. It's a cool community where listeners can network and give us valuable feedback on the show. To join YAP Society on Slack, go to bitly/yapsociety. That's bit.ly/yapsociety. And if you're already active, share the wealth and invite your friends.
[00:00:18] YAP society on Slack is sponsored by Compass HQ, a Slack app that gives insights to help your team work better together. Use Compass HQ to get detailed analytics, visualize communication patterns, and run surveys to collect input from your team, visit compasshq.com to learn more.
[00:00:36] You are listening to YAP ,Young and Profiting Podcast, a place where you can listen, learn and profit.
[00:00:43] I'm Hala Taha, and today we're yapping with Lousin Mehrabi, a top executive life coach and former finance executive who is an expert in the areas of emotional intelligence and negotiation. Aside from coaching, she's passionate about caring for her young son who is diagnosed with [00:01:00] a fatal and incurable disease.
[00:01:01] Lousin openly shares her life lessons from this experience and inspires thousands through her touching and educational articles on LinkedIn.
[00:01:13] Hey Lousin, thanks for joining Young and Profiting podcast.
[00:01:16] Lousin Mehrabi: Thanks for the invitation, Hala, happy to be here.
[00:01:19] Hala Taha: We're so excited to have you on the show. So your current job is an executive life coach, and you get to change people's lives each and every day. And when you're not at work, you're inspiring people through your articles on LinkedIn and through your keynote speeches.
[00:01:33] But early in your career, I don't think anybody would've guessed that you would end up doing the type of work that you do now. So as an introduction to yourself, to our listeners, can you walk us through the type of work you did in your early career? What changed and what you spend your time doing?
[00:01:48] Lousin Mehrabi: Sure. So I started my career in finance. I was working in trading rooms of some of the biggest investment banks in the world. Without naming them, I worked in [00:02:00] Europe, in the Netherlands, in France, and working for trading rooms. And the stock exchange did that for 12 years. I was incharge of sales, relationship management, strategy, those kind of things.
[00:02:12] It was fun at times. It was stressful all the time, and I always knew that this wasn't my thing, but without knowing what was my thing. So I just went with the flow and got caught up in it. When you have at such a young age, this beautiful job, this beautiful title, this beautiful salary, you think you have to sit it out until you realize this is really not your thing.
[00:02:37] And I thought, okay, I have to get out of there.
[00:02:39] Hala Taha: Wow. So can you give us some background about where it is that you worked? So from my understanding, you lived in Paris and the Netherlands. Can you talk about that a little bit?
[00:02:48] Lousin Mehrabi: Yeah. My first job in finance started in the Netherlands in 2001. So I was living in Rotterdam and working there for a bank.
[00:02:57] Later moved to Paris and I was working for an [00:03:00] investment bank there. And then I moved to another investment bank again in Paris. And after that I joined the stock exchange, the European Stock Exchange. And in all those jobs I was always, Responsible for the Benelux market. So that's Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. So I traveled all around Europe to serve my clients.
[00:03:18] Hala Taha: Very cool. And so from my understanding, there was a point in time where you decided you were gonna make a major career shift, and in other interviews and things you said you were experiencing burnout. And so burnout is something that a lot of people face.
[00:03:31] It's a crisis these days. A Gallup study from last year found out about two thirds of all full-time workers experience burnout on the job. And some causes include unfair treatment at work, unreasonable deadlines, unmanageable workload, lack of support from managers, and then adding to the stress is this new digital world where you have 24 access to work and your email is always turned on, and you're always expected to respond even on off hours. What did burnout feel like for you?
[00:03:58] Lousin Mehrabi: Burnout. It was a pure [00:04:00] physical burnout, meaning I was physically exhausted. I was longing just to sleep. I was working 60 hours a week, but I think the main cause was that I was out of alignment, that I was doing something that is just not my thing, because now I also work 60, 70, sometimes 80 hours a week, and I don't feel burnout at all.
[00:04:20] Because now I'm aligned. So I think it was intrinsic. I was doing something that was simply not my thing, and that's for so many years. I think it was a gift that I got to burnout. It was life telling me Lousin, you're not supposed to do this. There are other things waiting for you.
[00:04:34] Hala Taha: Wow. So it's like you just decided to swim downstream instead of upstream.
[00:04:38] Lousin Mehrabi: Exactly. I'm very good at that.
[00:04:42] Hala Taha: So can you tell us or give your advice on when you think our listeners can determine when the right time to quit something is and when they should start something new or follow their passion?
[00:04:53] Lousin Mehrabi: Yeah, I think it's important to differentiate, so this is a very good question.
[00:04:56] It's important to be resilient and to go through things and not give up, of [00:05:00] course, at the first adversary that you face. However, when it keeps going on and you have this voice and you hear it very well saying, this is not what you're supposed to do, this is not what will make you happy. Or you have loads of other ideas and ideas to create something, or you have this secret dream job that is something completely different.
[00:05:20] Those are all signs that maybe you're not where you're supposed to be in your life path. And mine was when I realized that, when I looked up at my managers and the board and thinking, okay, if I continue, that's the job that I will have. And that didn't make me excited at all, at the contrary. So then I knew why am I sitting it out?
[00:05:41] What am I doing here? If the next step is something that I'm not excited about, that's when I knew it was time to leave.
[00:05:48] Hala Taha: That is such good advice, and you could do this in any aspect of your life, like whether you're on a board for an organization, like would you even care to be president? Or if you are playing a sport [00:06:00] would you care to be on a official team or something like that. It's, you could apply it in so many different ways in your life. I love that advice.
[00:06:08] Lousin Mehrabi: Yeah, absolutely. And you don't have to necessarily want to grow. Some people don't have the ambition at all to grow and they're happy doing what they're doing, and that's fine.
[00:06:16] It's just, for me, it was an indicator of, okay, this is what's waiting for me and that doesn't excite me. So let's not waste my time, energy, and life.
[00:06:25] Hala Taha: Yeah, definitely. So speaking of making positive changes, you wrote an article recently where you mentioned that you implemented 33 positive changes in your life over the past two years, and it's something you do through what you call monthly challenges.
[00:06:40] Can you share more about this? Talk about, maybe the rules of these challenges so that our listeners interested in breaking some of their bad habits can take heed.
[00:06:48] Lousin Mehrabi: Yes. This is something really cool. I started it three years ago and I've shared it with friends and family and clients, and now we are over a hundred people doing this every month.
[00:06:58] Hala Taha: Wow.
[00:06:59] Lousin Mehrabi: So it's very [00:07:00] simple. At the end of each month, you decide what monthly challenge you're gonna be doing the next month. So you choose something that you're gonna do or not do on a daily basis. and the rules are that it has to have a positive impact on your life, and you have to be doing it or not doing it on a daily basis.
[00:07:19] And the third rule is that you have to finish the month. So even if you skip one day or you just can't do one day, you still continue the month and you finish the month before moving on to something else. For example, when I started my first month was not to consume any artificial sugar. I still ate fruit, but I said, okay, for one month, no sugar.
[00:07:37] So I had to skip sugar from my tea, which was very difficult and anything. So no candy, no, no biscuits, nothing. And I started that 1st of February because that was like the shortest month and I did it until the end of the month, and that was three years ago. And ever since, I don't put any sugar in my tea anymore.
[00:07:56] So that part stayed, and then the next month I [00:08:00] did, I believe it was no gluten or something like that. And then another month. I've done play that I wanted to play at least 15 minutes a day where I simply play where I become a kid again and I just play. And that was very interesting for me as a very serious person to add that to my life.
[00:08:19] And I've done loads of stuff that really continued when I thought, okay, this is one month I did it. Then I continued. So I've stopped smoking this way. I've stopped drinking alcohol this way. Yeah, it's amazing because the rationale behind it is one month is long and short at the same time. So if you put your mind to it, you can't stick to it for one month, right?
[00:08:41] Like nothing is so difficult that you can't do it for one month. And there's also end to it, okay, when month is finished, I can do it again. But the idea is to say, okay, if you did this for one month and it has such a positive impact on your life, then continue. So it's not that it ends, but you can choose or you make like a cheat day at the end of the [00:09:00] month and then you continue again.
[00:09:01] It's very flexible the way people do it, but the idea is at the end of the month, think about, okay, what am I gonna do next? And it's very motivating, especially when you share it with friends and family and you're several doing this. As I said, we're over a hundred now, so it's really cool to know that everybody's doing something that makes their life better.
[00:09:18] Hala Taha: Yeah, that's really cool. Maybe I'll ask my Young and Profiters if they wanna do a challenge with me. We had a guest on recently, Steve O'Dell. He's the CEO of Tenzo Tea, and he created this matcha product and now matcha is the competition to coffee. It basically gives you all the energy benefits of coffee without the jitters, without the crash, and it can prevent cancer and improves their skin and focus, it's really good for you and it's such a better alternative to coffee. So maybe we'll take that on as a challenge. .
[00:09:47] Lousin Mehrabi: Yeah. And when you do it as a group, it doesn't have to be the same. Everyone can choose whatever they want. And again, you choose something that you want to do or not do as long as it's on a daily basis.
[00:09:57] So you can't say, for example, I'm gonna do yoga once a week. That [00:10:00] doesn't work. That you have to do the yoga every day. That's the thing. It's really 30 days nonstop, and you do or not do something that you choose that will make your life better. And then of course you can share it or not share it, whatever you want, but you have to stick it out and end the month without changing.
[00:10:15] Hala Taha: Very cool. So after your burnout, you left the finance industry, you became what you are now. An executive life coach, and one of the things you train on most is emotional intelligence, which is the ability to identify and manage one's own emotions as well as the emotions of others. So emotional intelligence is often referred as emotional quotient or EQ, and it's equality that.
[00:10:38] I believe is more important than ever, and in fact, the World Economic Forum rated EQ as one of the top 10 skills workers would need most by 2020. And in a recent career builder survey, it was found that 59% of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ, but a low EQ. What do you think about this? Why do you think companies place such a high [00:11:00] value on EQ and what are some habits or traits of somebody who has a high emotional intelligence?
[00:11:06] Lousin Mehrabi: We are becoming more and more aware that success is not directly linked to IQ. And that's exactly why the emotional intelligence models were built when people started asking questions like, how can it be that when we look at universities or college and everything is focused on IQ, on having good grades, et cetera, and then you see those people leave schools, the ones who were the most successful in school don't necessarily become the most successful, outside of school. And you even have dropouts that have great success. So how can that be? That was the basic question that was studied, and then the answer became EQ. And another question was also how come in face of adversity, some people crumble and some people thrive. How is that possible and how can that be measured?
[00:11:56] So those were the questions that [00:12:00] led to discovering EQ and the importance of it. And then of course we had the book, by Daniel Goldman, who shed light on it. And now we know more about EQ and what it is.
[00:12:11] Hala Taha: So what are the habits of somebody with a high EQ? Can you give some examples?
[00:12:15] Lousin Mehrabi: Yeah. So EQ is not a one thing. It's actually a set of skills that you have that we can define with self-perception. So it's really how do you look at yourself? Do you make goals? Do you achieve your goals? Do you have emotional self-awareness? That's all part of self-perception, and then that leads to self-expression. Once you're aware of all that, do you know how to express yourself?
[00:12:41] Do you know how to express your emotions? Can you be assertive and are you emotionally independent of what others think can say? That leads to interpersonal relationships. So how does that impact your relationships? What is your level of empathy and social [00:13:00] responsibility? Do you do any in volunteer work?
[00:13:01] It's all interconnected. And then we go, so this is the EQI 2.0 wheel that I use. There are different methods, but I believe this one is the most powerful. It's very complete. So the fourth step is then the decision making. How does EQ help you in problem solving, in staying realistic and control your impulses?
[00:13:22] All that is part of EQ. And the last part is stress management. So how do you stand in life? What is your level of flexibility? What is your level of stress tolerance? And also optimism. Optimism is a huge part of EQ and one of the conditions to measure happiness.
[00:13:38] Hala Taha: And so is emotional intelligence associated with a particular type of personality. For example, are extroverts more inclined to have a high EQ than introverts?
[00:13:48] Lousin Mehrabi: No, not at all. Not at all. It's for everybody. It's not a personality thing, it's more a skillset set, I would say life skillset that can be developed. So it's not that it's something fixed, it's [00:14:00] not that you do a test and you get a score and that's it for the rest of your life.
[00:14:03] You can definitely develop it. And that's the interesting part about it, and I'm so happy that people and companies are becoming more and more aware of the importance of emotional intelligence. And I hope this will go on into schools helping to raise our children differently than purely on IQ.
[00:14:19] Hala Taha: And one of the topics that we study a lot on this podcast is body language. And so obviously words are not the only way to communicate. Our bodies convey thoughts and feelings and send messages that others can pick up and use to make judgements about us. So how does emotional intelligence play when it comes to body language.
[00:14:39] Lousin Mehrabi: If you are aware of yourself, if you are chasing your goals, if you have better relationships with others, it changes completely the way you stand in life physically. You stand taller, you speak up, you care more about others, you're more empathetic, you're more inclined to have better relationships, you smile more, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:14:59] So [00:15:00] whatever is inside is then visible on the outside because it's just so obvious the way you feel. So I hope that's clear. But yeah, you act differently, you talk differently, you walk differently, it's physically completely all over the place.
[00:15:15] Hala Taha: Yeah, totally. I had this guy Chase Hughes on the show before, and he is a former F.B.I agent and police trainer, and so he was very skilled in assessing body language and one of the things that he told us is, a simple thing to do to make yourself appear more confident and just seem like you've got it together is to just make your bed in the morning.
[00:15:35] Make sure you've got a super clean room. Cuz even something that small can show on your outside, on your external that you know you don't have it completely together. You might not sit up a street or talk as clearly, and so it's just like what you said, if you're actually achieving your goals and doing the things you're setting out to do and being positive in your life .
[00:15:55] And it will show on the outside even without you trying.
[00:15:58] Lousin Mehrabi: Exactly. [00:16:00] Exactly.
[00:16:00] Hala Taha: Yeah. Okay. So one of the things that surprised me while I was doing research for this episode is that study after study, it showed that emotional intelligence scores drop for those who hold director titles and above, and actually, CEOs have the lowest EQ scores in the workplace overall.
[00:16:18] So why do you think that is? I know that you work with executives every day, so what are some of the top emotional blind spots that you see with them?
[00:16:25] Lousin Mehrabi: First of all, the higher we come, the more responsibility we have to get things done and to achieve goals. So we tend to be more goal oriented and result oriented.
[00:16:36] Instead of the feeling and the relationships and the empathy that goes with it. So there is this pressure to achieve and to get things done that plays a role. It's also when you look at yourself, when you're in an extremely stressful situation or in front of a deadline, then you can have an extremely high EQ, but at those times it can kick in and you go into [00:17:00] stress reaction mode, and you forget about all those things right? You communicate differently or you're less optimist and you're stressed, et cetera. So I think stress plays a role and the fact that they have to achieve things plays a role that they have this huge responsibility. And also the fact that when we look at CEOs, and now I'm not talking about CEOs of the youngsters of 20 years who launched a company called themselves CEOs.
[00:17:21] I'm talking about the real CEOs. That I work with, they are often older than 45, 50 years old. And the time where they were in school and when they were learning leadership skills, EQ wasn't that important yet, EQ wasn't that known yet. So everything was focused on IQ, on hard skills and the soft skills weren't developed much. So I think it's also a generation thing, and that the next generation of CEOs will have a higher EQ.
[00:17:48] Hala Taha: And do you think that it has anything to do with the fact that they always have to make tough decisions? So I know that when you have a lot of empathy, it's really hard to make tough decisions like letting people go, dissolving a business [00:18:00] unit or whatever it is. Do you think that has anything to do with it?
[00:18:03] Lousin Mehrabi: I don't think so. Making tough decisions is actually part of EQ and being empathy doesn't mean that then you can't do it. It just means that the way you do it and the way you communicate it is differently and more efficiently. But it doesn't mean that it's more difficult to do.
[00:18:19] Of course, if you are leading a company with the heart. Everything is felt, but when tough decisions have to be made, then they have to be made, and that is what is expected from a decision maker. And I hope that those tough decisions will be made from a space of a higher EQ, where communication will be better, sharing info will be better, and empathy will be part of everyday life.
[00:18:41] Hala Taha: Cool. This is so fascinating. How can we improve our emotional intelligence? What are your tips for that?
[00:18:48] Lousin Mehrabi: Of course you can go and read about it or watch TED talk, et cetera, but I think the fastest way is to simply look at your EQ. So that's by reaching out to EQ certified coach [00:19:00] and let him do an analysis on you.
[00:19:02] It's very simple. You get a link and you answer a few questions. Takes about 20 minutes. , and then you get your report. It's very personalized based on the answers that you gave, to have a clear overview of, okay, what is the level of your EQ and on each individual aspect of it, and then there are loads of tips and tricks on how to improve that in the report.
[00:19:23] So I think that's the fastest way to go and look at your own EQ and not the theory around it.
[00:19:28] Hala Taha: Awesome. That sounds great. I'll definitely give that a try.
[00:19:30] Lousin Mehrabi: I can do it for you.
[00:19:33] Hala Taha: So I was doing some research about you, and one of the things that piqued my interest and that made your story so compelling is that you're dealing with a son right now that has some special needs.
[00:19:46] So from my understanding, he's about seven years old and he has got DMD. Can you tell us about this condition and can you tell us about that difficult time in your life when you found out about his condition and how you processed all [00:20:00] the overwhelming emotions that came with that news?
[00:20:03] Lousin Mehrabi: Yeah, it was about a year and a half ago. We just celebrated his sixth birthday and we got the diagnosis that he has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. So a muscular dystrophy, meaning that his muscles slowly but surely break down and there is no cure yet. And, whatever we do, Hala we do it with muscles. Our bodies have more than 600 muscles and whether it's walking, talking, but even swallowing or closing your eyes, we use muscles to do that.
[00:20:34] So when those break down, sorry. But surely then we simply can't live. So the maximum life expectancy for Duchenne patients today is about 25, 30 years old. And of course we keep hope that the cure will be found and do the best we can.
[00:20:52] Hala Taha: And so what are the biggest takeaways that you've learned from this and how did you do the things you needed to do to ensure that your son had the best life [00:21:00] possible?
[00:21:00] Lousin Mehrabi: It was extremely difficult when we heard that there was something wrong without knowing what. Muscular dystrophy was a possibility and Duchenne was the worst case scenario. So the period that we had to do a lot of tests, that was the most difficult because you live between hope and despair between what could be and what you want it to be.
[00:21:19] And that insecurity was, for me, the hardest period. It was actually before the diagnosis that it was the hardest for me. But having some knowledge on emotional intelligence, I let it guide me. When I was sad, I would just cry and I wouldn't judge myself for crying, and it sounds extremely weird, but there was actually a part of joy and relief and simply letting myself cry and saying, I have every right to be sadness now.
[00:21:47] This is sadness that's going on in my body. And I let it out by crying. And then the diagnosis came, and with the diagnosis, that was 9th of June, 2017. Those dates you never forget anymore. [00:22:00] With the diagnosis came also part of relief of, okay, we know what it is now the insecurity is gone. This is a fact, and now we have to live with it.
[00:22:11] So of course I cried that day, but the same evening we were living in Paris and France is an excellent country for healthcare system. Everything would be free and he would have the best healthcare, et cetera. But that evening I told my husband, I said, you know what? Let's move to Dubai. And he said what?
[00:22:32] We had discussed moving to Dubai several times before, but now it's okay, the career, the relationships, the family, anything can wait. We have to go to Dubai and just give the best life possible to our son because the doctor told us that the best thing for him would be the Sun and swimming. Well in Paris you can't swim all year long. It's too cold. And in Dubai you can. So three months later we moved to Dubai. We live in Dubai now. We're very happy. My son is doing great, relatively, [00:23:00] and yeah, it gave me this boost of energy of saying, we live life as if we're gonna be a hundred, and now it's in your face that we're not gonna be.
[00:23:08] So let's enjoy and let's do the best we can. And of course, the first thing I did was make sure I had this army of healthcare providers around me. For him, I chose the best school possible that was very to inclusion and helping him around. And now that's set, the only thing we can do is enjoy, enjoy.
[00:23:27] Hala Taha: Wow. Your son is really lucky to have a mom like you. You are so brave, and you're so brave because you've been very public about this whole story, which I'm sure is so emotionally hard for you to speak about, and you've been very public about this journey on LinkedIn to help other people. And I was reading through some of your articles and in one of them you wrote that emotions are your mentors.
[00:23:48] And I thought that was really powerful and a good way to close this topic out on emotional intelligence. So can you share with us what that means?
[00:23:56] Lousin Mehrabi: Yes. Emotions are our mentors. Emotions are not there to harm us [00:24:00] or to prevent us from making the right decisions. It's completely the contrary.
[00:24:04] Instinctively, we were born with emotions to protect us to survive. So that's the role of emotions. When you're angry, your body literally gets ready to fight our flights. When you are sad, your body literally gets ready to get that sadness out of your system by making tears when you're afraid, adrenaline bumps in your body so that you can run.
[00:24:26] So it's all there to protect us. Emotions are our best. However, in society we've been thought that we need to hide our emotions, and I think that's one of the worst education errors that we are making. And that's why you see also the difference between men and women, because men are taught that men are not supposed to cry, boys don't cry, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:24:51] So they are taught that whenever they are sad. They shouldn't cry. So what happens is you see men, and of course I'm not [00:25:00] generalizing, I'm just saying we see this very often, that men that are sad, they don't express sadness, they express anger, they start hitting a wall or become aggressive. And that's not normal.
[00:25:11] That's not a logical consequence of sadness. And it's the same for women. Women are taught that crying is okay and being angry is not okay. When you raise your voice or you act the way we naturally act when we are angry, we are taught that , you're bossy or ladies don't talk like that, or you're not pretty when you look like that.
[00:25:31] And all those things go in our head and make us act differently. And I used to be the same until I understood all this. I used to cry when I was angry. . That's not logical. When you're angry, you're not supposed to cry. That's another thing that your body wants you to do. But since we were taught that it's not okay to show anger, but it is okay to cry, then women cry.
[00:25:54] So there is a whole lot of emotional intelligence correction to be done, and I [00:26:00] hope the next generation will do this better than what we've been doing. But yeah, we have to stop telling boys that they're not supposed to cry. We have to stop telling our girls that it's not okay to yell. And we have to let people express their emotions, of course, in an appropriate way.
[00:26:14] But emotions are totally normal and are our best friends. And the day we start embracing them is the day we start realizing what a superpower we have.
[00:26:24] Hala Taha: Awesome. I think that was incredible advice for our listeners. So thank you very much and thanks for sharing that personal story. So another expertise that you have under your belt is negotiation.
[00:26:35] And from my understanding, you are a certified professional negotiator, and during your finance career, you actually led lots of high stake negotiations. And more recently you took a year long masterclass and were mentored by some of the best negotiators in the world. So I'd love to spend some time on negotiation as this topic is something that my listeners actually request for pretty often, and this is the first time we're talking about it on the podcast. So very excited for that. [00:27:00] So I'm in marketing and when I think of negotiation, I think of it being a once in a blue moon activity. I don't really consider myself to be doing it every day. I negotiate a salary before starting a job.
[00:27:10] Maybe in my performance review, if I do really well and I wanna raise or whatever it is. I'm thinking, I'm probably taking it too narrowly. So how is negotiation used in a typical day-to-day job if it's not a core skill that's required of the job?
[00:27:27] Lousin Mehrabi: Yeah. Whether we realize it or not, we negotiate every day. It starts from with the alarm clock, , am I gonna listen to the alarm clock ? And then we negotiate all day with our partners, with our managers, with our team, with their children. It's part of life. It's the same as breathing ,you cannot negotiate .Whatever there is conflict, there is negotiation. So it's part of everyday life.
[00:27:48] But we tend to think of negotiation as something like that only hostage negotiators do , but that's not the case. And talking about hostage negotiators, indeed, I've been trained by two of the best [00:28:00] negotiators in the world. They're French negotiators. They came in and gave us a year-long masterclass when I was still working at the stock exchange, and I was part of this high achievers group thingy where the company wanted to invest in.
[00:28:12] And they came in a year long, every other week. And we learned all the aspects we had to learn about complex negotiations and what it is and how we can improve ourselves. And it was truly fascinating. I've done so many trainings in my life, and those two were absolutely the best I've ever had.
[00:28:28] And I love negotiation. I was always intrigued by it. And I think when I was about 15, one of the first books I bought was on negotiation. So , it's always been a passion of mine and I love learning more. And then I decided to go further and go to the certification and I applied. In order to be a CPN certified professional negotiator, you have to do the entire course, and then you have to send your resume a reference letter and et cetera, et cetera.
[00:28:54] And then there's an international jury of professional negotiators looking at it. And if [00:29:00] the majority says yes, then you get it. No, actually it's, I think seven out of nine have to say yes. And then you get the title. . So I got it in 2014 and then it was for me, just like a nice to have, I put it on my profile, on my cv and that's it.
[00:29:15] Didn't do much with it ever since. Of course, I kept negotiating in my life and kept using everything that I had learned from them. And last year they decided to expand because they have way too much demand. They can't handle all the demands they have. If you wanna book them now for a training, you have to wait like six to nine months.
[00:29:33] And they decided to accept others to give those trainings for them. But they're really handpicking them because they've created this fantastic method and they want the standards to stay very high. And they asked me, they said, Lousin, we see that you're in Dubai. Would you be interested to give those trainings there?
[00:29:50] And I was like, hell, I was dancing in my, they don't know this if they hear this now. I was dancing in my office thinking, yes, of course , [00:30:00] but first I had to negotiate some things with them, so I stayed very calm. Yeah. And last six months we've been preparing the trainings and I've started giving them in the Middle East, and now I'm in Paris, to give one this week and then I'm over back to Dubai and next week we've planned a few interesting events with one of them, and you can Google them. They're fascinating. Their names are Laurent Combalbert, and Marwan Mery. They're both French and their lives have actually inspired the CBS series Ransom.
[00:30:30] Hala Taha: Oh wow.
[00:30:30] Lousin Mehrabi: I don't know if you've seen Ransom yet. It's the life of a professional negotiator and it's fully based on their lives.
[00:30:35] Hala Taha: Oh wow. Maybe I need to track them down and get them on the podcast. Do they speak English?
[00:30:41] Lousin Mehrabi: One of them is excellent in English, cause , he went to school in the United Kingdom and the other one has a lovely French accent when he speaks English.
[00:30:50] Hala Taha: That's very interesting. They sound so fascinating. Before we get into some of the newer. Techniques that you've learned, and hopefully we can start to unpack [00:31:00] those. Can we talk about some of the traditional negotiation methods that some of us might have heard of that might not be relevant and might actually be ineffective?
[00:31:08] Lousin Mehrabi: Yes, of course. We all have this idea that the ideal negotiation should be a win-win, but what is a win-win? 90% of people who start negotiations who aren't trained, they go in it as a competition. Like whatever I win, the other one loses. And then the win-win, it doesn't really apply then anymore, does it?
[00:31:29] Because not any negotiation can be completely 50 50. So what people then do is they want something and then they ask something way more, and then they think they will meet somewhere in the middle. But that's just so old-fashioned and not the way it is in reality.
[00:31:45] Hala Taha: So what does work? Can you share some of your favorite best practices and tools when it comes to negotiation?
[00:31:50] Lousin Mehrabi: Yes. A lot of self work actually. If you wanna be a good negotiator, you have to work on yourself. So that's where, again, coaching [00:32:00] comes in handy, as well as emotional intelligence. It's important to know yourself. It's important to be humble and to know what you can do and what you can't do. It's important to be able to put your ego aside.
[00:32:14] Ego is ruining a majority of negotiations, and it's also important to be connected to what you really want. What is it that you want to get out of this negotiation, and what is the need you are trying to satisfy? And then if you put the ego aside, then you can make, it's very clear what the need is that you're trying to satisfy and find even other options that you didn't think of before.
[00:32:37] So for example, if you talk about a salary increase, if you go to your manager and say, I want salary increase of 10%, where in your head you were thinking, okay, I would like to have 5%, so I'll just say 10%, et cetera, et cetera. The question is, what do you want the salary increase for? What is the need that you're trying to satisfy?
[00:32:56] Is that need, for example, that you want to feel accomplished, that [00:33:00] you want to feel recognized. If that's the case, then money is probably not gonna help you do that. And if it does, it's gonna be very short term. So if it's really a recognition that you want, maybe the other ways of, for example, giving you more responsibility or a title or a team would make you feel way happier than the 5% if you get it.
[00:33:21] So it's very important to stay connected to yourself of to say, okay, what is it that I really need and what is the need that I'm trying to satisfy here? And what is the best way to get it? And stay connected to that. And then another tip is as soon as you can get it, say yes. People often tend to think that, oh, I got something, then I can get more and more.
[00:33:41] And then it becomes a game. And that game is rarely gonna end in a satisfied way because you always think you could have gotten more. And that feeling is horrible. So if you're connected to yourself, you know what your needs are and you can get it, then say yes and call it.
[00:33:55] Hala Taha: Very good advice. And so one of the things that I read is that it's very [00:34:00] essential to prepare for a negotiation. So is that what you were speaking of before, when it's just knowing what you want? Or is there something more to that?
[00:34:07] Lousin Mehrabi: Yeah, there's definitely more to that, and preparation is key in a good negotiation. We even say that preparation is 80% of a good negotiation. If you prepare everything, then that will allow you to improvised during, because in the end it's not a fixed thing. Every negotiation is different. It depends who you're negotiating with. Every person is different. Even if you negotiate with the same person, it can be completely different based on the subject you're negotiating on or the moods they're in. And, since it's a lively thing, you have to be able to improvise during the negotiation, and that's why the preparation before is key. Also, what majority of negotiators forget is after the negotiations, you have to debrief on the negotiation. You have to learn from the [00:35:00] things that went well and the things that you have to improve because that is the preparation for the next one.
[00:35:05] Hala Taha: And so how does psychology play a role in negotiations?
[00:35:09] Lousin Mehrabi: Oh, it is an essential part of negotiations when you're trying to know who you are dealing with. Psychology plays a huge role because we tend to see the world the way we are. We tend to see people the way we are. We think that everybody thinks like us and our logics apply to everybody.
[00:35:26] That's just not the case. So if you open up and you try to understand who you have in front of you and who you're dealing with, psychology plays a huge role. And because we don't know who we have, In front of us, and we don't know if they have any mental conditions because it can be that we are negotiating with someone who is, for example, narcissistic or who is, for example, a psychopath.
[00:35:50] Then of course, you adapt your negotiation style completely. So yeah, psychology plays a huge role, and again, it starts with the psychology of yourself, [00:36:00] knowing yourself, understanding yourself, and then being open and curious to understand the other.
[00:36:05] Hala Taha: Wow, there's so much to this. We could spend a whole episode on negotiation. So exciting.
[00:36:11] Lousin Mehrabi: Oh, completely. I can talk about this for a month.
[00:36:14] Hala Taha: One of the things that I heard you say before is that women tend to be better negotiators than men. So can you explain that to our listeners? Why is that?
[00:36:22] Lousin Mehrabi: Yes, it's, again, it's not that we were born better negotiators, but in the education that we got, women tend to be more empathetic.
[00:36:32] We are better capable of creating a relationship with another, of creating an environment of safety and trust because that's what we've been doing naturally. Naturally, women tend to be more caring and all that is essential in negotiations. Empathy is such an important aspect to create a relationship with another.
[00:36:53] When I say create a relationship, just create a link with another, enter into a conversation. [00:37:00] And if you don't have that, then obviously you can't negotiate. So that's one aspect. And another reason is also that women tend to be more intuitive. We are more connected to our intuitions. We have developed that more.
[00:37:12] Again, I don't think women are born more intuitive. I think we just developed it more because we were more allowed to develop it, whereas little boys were expected to be rational. And problem solvers. So since we have developed intuition more, we can tap into that. And as I said, while you're negotiating, there's a huge part of improvisation.
[00:37:36] And when you're connected to your intuition, you get access to that part of your brain that goes intuitively to all the things that you've gone through in your life and how that has shaped you, what you've learned from it, and access to that knowledge way quicker than if you go through it with the rational brain.
[00:37:53] So those are the two aspects that make it that women tend to be better negotiators. And at the same time, when you look [00:38:00] at the world of professional negotiators, only 10% of professional negotiators are female.
[00:38:05] Hala Taha: Wow. So we've got a lot of work to do. Women.
[00:38:08] Lousin Mehrabi: Yes. And that's one of my mission, to empower women to take on negotiation roles because we have everything it takes.
[00:38:15] Hala Taha: Awesome. So before you go, I know that you started a new growth methodology called scale. Can you explain that to our listeners? What is that?
[00:38:23] Lousin Mehrabi: Yes, I've created a method called Scale Up and it has two branches. I'll try to explain it quickly so there is scale up for success and scale up for fulfillment.
[00:38:32] I'm on a mission to close the gap between success and fulfillment. I work with executives every day who have everything it takes to be successful, yet they feel empty or unhappy. They have the title, they have the name, they have the job, they have the beautiful car, and the family and everything is fine.
[00:38:51] but they don't feel happy. They don't feel fulfilled, and that's the same that I had in investment banking. That's the reason why I got out. And [00:39:00] now looking back and everything that I've learned, I am convinced that this cap can be closed. We can be successful and happy at the same time. When I go into companies, I show them the subjects that I give training and conferences on, and then scale up stands.
[00:39:19] S for soft scale, C for complex negotiations, A for agility and active listening, L for leadership, E for emotional intelligence. you for unique strength and P for public speaking. So it's like a brochure. Okay. This is what I do. However, when I start working with executives and we go one-on-one, then we go way deeper and then scale up stands for something completely different.
[00:39:42] . And then it's only for the ones that are ready to go there to do the uncomfortable things that we have to do. So then scale up stands for self-accountability to take accountability and responsibility for who you are and where you are. , then we move to the C of [00:40:00] consciousness to become aware of who you are, the way you think your thinking pattern, your behavior pattern.
[00:40:06] So then I use personality analysis, those kind of things to give an insight of who is it that you are. . Once we know more about that, we move to a for acceptance. So whatever it is, we have to start accepting the way we are, and we have to start accepting life the way it is today so that we can change it and change what we don't want, but at least start from a point of acceptance.
[00:40:30] That is one of the things that muscular dys of my son taught me. I can be so angry at the world, I cannot want this, but this is what he has. So unless I accept it, I can't go and figure out what's the best thing to do for him, because I waste a lot of time and energy in not wanting what is there.
[00:40:47] So acceptance is key in everything we do. And then I take it even a step further. I said, okay, now that we are aware of who you are, that we accept, then how can you [00:41:00] move further? And actually, start loving yourself. So the L stands for love, self-love. I think this is key in leadership and key in life, and we don't talk about it enough, but self-love is so important.
[00:41:15] So there we do a lot of work on self-forgiveness. Looking back and, forgiving yourself for everything that you're blaming yourself, that is not allowing you to move forward and create this sense of self-love, self-acceptance, self pride, to watch all the things that you have done very well, and the people that you care about, and the people that care about you, and how important it is that you love yourself, because we can't give what we don't have.
[00:41:39] So how can you love anybody if you don't love yourself? And then we talk about self-empowerment E for self-empowerment, where okay, they come to me with an objective and we've gone through this whole process of self-acceptance and then it's self-empowerment. Then it's about goal setting. It's about believing it.
[00:41:55] It's about visualizing it, it's about making clear steps of how to get [00:42:00] there. And then the U stands for up, get-up, off your butt and do it . So use that for up for action because this is not all wishful thinking or theory. We're actually gonna do it. So then we make clear goals. I check in on them, and we get the things done.
[00:42:20] So we get our hands dirty and we get the work done. Whatever it is that is their objective. that we created. The goals on the U is for doing it. So then once they do it, once they reach their objective and they've gone through this whole process of scale up and they feel better about themselves and they are proud and they achieve their goals, or at least partly then without exaggerating, this is a life-changing process.
[00:42:44] They come out of it, a different person. . Then just as in leadership, when you go through that and when you grow, I believe you have the responsibility to help others. . So then we come to P, which stands for paid forward. How [00:43:00] now that you've gone through this, how can you help someone else? And it doesn't have to be something huge like world peace.
[00:43:06] It can just be something like, be a better father, be a better husband. Most of my clients are male. That's why I say that. Or , be a better leader, help someone do volunteer work, whatever. Explain the scale up method to someone else. What can you do to help someone else? With all the knowledge that you gained through this and with the changes that you went through.
[00:43:25] Hala Taha: Awesome. I feel like anybody would be lucky to have you as a coach. And to be honest, this was one of the best interviews I feel like I've ever had. It was so fun to have you on. Thank you so much.
[00:43:35] Lousin Mehrabi: Wow, thank you.
[00:43:37] Hala Taha: Where can our listeners go to find more about you?
[00:43:39] Lousin Mehrabi: LinkedIn, I'm quite active on LinkedIn, so they can just connect with me on LinkedIn and if they want to know more, they can send me a message and me or one of my team members will reach out.
[00:43:48] I know we're in 2019 and I still don't have a website and everybody is saying Lousin, please make a website. And I'm like yeah, I'll do it. But my calendar is full like two to four months in advance and I have this, [00:44:00] lovely lady who is waiting for me to give the info to make my website, but I just don't have had the time.
[00:44:06] So I'm also like being a bit rebellious like I know we're 2019, but I don't have a website. So anyway, it'll come one day. But until then, LinkedIn is my friend.
[00:44:14] Hala Taha: Yeah. And just so you guys know, She is so popular on LinkedIn. Her post got 500 likes of post and I was very impressed by that. So it turns out you don't really need a webpage.
[00:44:25] We got a good LinkedIn profile, . So nice. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. I know you're on a business trip in Paris right now and you took out an hour of your time to teach our listeners some of your gems. So we appreciate that and hope you enjoy the rest of your trip. Thank you so much.
[00:44:40] Lousin Mehrabi: Thank you. It was great chatting to you.
[00:44:43] Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to Young and Profiting podcast. Follow YAP on Instagram at Young and profiting and check us out at youngandprofiting.com. And now you can chat live with us every single day on our new Slack channel. Check out our show notes are young and profiting.com for the registration link.
[00:44:57] And if you're, already active on YAP Society, share the wealths and [00:45:00] invite your friends. You can find me on Instagram at YAP with Hala or LinkedIn. Just search my name Hala Taha. And a huge thanks to our international YAP team. My partner in crime, Timothy Tan, producer Stephanie, Shiv, and Hasham, our audio producer, Danny McFatter marketing manager.
[00:45:17] Steve, and her promotions team, Kayla and Par are Web Manager Christian and Project Manager Ryan. And last but not least, our society on Slack. Team Nicholas and ,Julian.
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.