Pause. Breathe. Choose. - Naz Beheshti

healthy well-being wellness Jun 09, 2021
Mark Struczewski, Naz Beheshti

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Naz Beheshti is the author of Pause. Breathe. Choose.: Become the CEO of Your Well-Being. She is an executive wellness coach, speaker, Forbes contributor, and CEO and founder of Prananaz, a corporate wellness company improving leadership effectiveness, employee engagement and well-being, company culture, and business outcomes. Clients include Nike, JPMorgan Chase, Omega Institute, UCSF, Columbia University, and Stanford University. Naz also cofounded Rise2Shine, a nonprofit helping to alleviate the suffering of young children in Haiti.

Her website

UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT

Mark Struczewski
She is the author of the book, pause, breathe, choose how to become the CEO of your well being NAS bestie. Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me, Mark. I'm thrilled you're here, because you graciously sent me a copy of your book. I'm about halfway through it, I'm really loving it. If we told the listener everything that was in your book, this would be like a four day podcast. So it's not gonna be a four day podcast. But we're going to give you some really practical information. Now, before we get started, why don't you tell us who you are and what you do for a living?

Naz Beheshti
Well, I'm Naz Beheshti. I am CEO of Prananaz, a corporate wellness company that provides high touch high tech wellness solutions and improves leadership effectiveness, employee wellbeing, employee engagement as well as company culture. I'm also a Forbes contributor writing regularly for Forbes on the topics of mindful leadership and corporate wellness. and author of the new book, pause, breathe, choose, and also founder of a startup rise to shine a nonprofit startup alleviating the suffering of young children in Haiti.

Mark Struczewski
Excellent. Well, Iwant to start off because I'm an Apple fanboy, that you actually worked with the Steve Jobs. I've never had anyone on the show to my knowledge that actually worked with Steve Jobs.

Naz Beheshti
Well, yeah, there's not that many people who at least in my position can say they worked as closely as his EA, I worked with him very closely in his office at Apple. Back in 2000. It was quite an experience to say the least.

Mark Struczewski
You know, I one thing I've read so many books on Steve Jobs, and the guy was a visionary, hands down. Everything, you know, the iPhone, to the Mac to Apple TV, Apple Watch. I mean, this guy had the ability, which very few people in my opinion have? Well, Disney was one of them's the jobs, one of them that can look way out to the future. And this is what people are going to want. I mean, to me, I think that's very rare. Would you agree?

Naz Beheshti
Absolutely. I mean, he was an extraordinary visionary, iconic, and just a legend. I mean, he was amazing. And I didn't realize how much of an influence he would have on my life and an impact on the world at large when I worked for him. And so in hindsight, it's just was such an amazing experience. I have to, I have to say, I mean, he was inspiration behind my book, pause, breathe, choose. And he is the one who really taught me the most profound lesson that I carry with me every day and into my work, which is that well being drive success. And he really did take care of himself, and really approach life, his career relationships, everything very holistically. And so he knew that, you know, taking care of himself, you know, eating healthily, exercising regularly, having a mindfulness practice, healthy, strong relationships, and then having a very fulfilling, passionate, purposeful career. revolutionising many industries, as we know, it was really fundamental to continued success. And they were really all those elements and aspects of his life and lifestyle, were the driving forces for his continued success.

Mark Struczewski
And I'll never forget, I ever once while I go back and watch the YouTube video where he announced the iPhone and he said, it's a phone, it's the internet. It's an iPod. He was I don't think you understand what I'm saying. These are not three distinct products. These are three products in the same device. And that fundamentally changed the world. And now here we are addicted to large appliances. But I mean, I could run my entire business on my iPhone. Now I can't do this interview very effectively on you know, on the iPhone, but you can pretty much do anything else on the iPhone. So it's so thrilled to hear that you had the opportunity to work with him and to hear how he influenced you. Now, let's get into wellness wellness. I just a couple days ago I actually watched because I'm an apple geek. I watched the apple WWDC 21 keynote on my Apple TV with my iPhone I do not disturb and they talked about how more and more people are getting into wellness these days because the world is moving at Mach five. We're always on a Go, go, go, go go. We don't need to slip We don't need to take care of ourselves. But now we're realizing the importance of taking care of ourselves. I'll be 56 in two weeks. And I drink water all the time, I am pretty much get rid of processed foods out of my diet, because it's nothing but it's nothing but garbage. And I feel better. I could tell you, I feel better. I'm a daily runner. But I see a lot of people, I don't have time to exercise. It's just so easy to go to McDonald's, or I don't have time to meditate. And I'm like, you only get one life. So why don't you talk to us about that?

Naz Beheshti
Absolutely. First of all, happy early birthday to you. And I couldn't agree more with how important I mean essential taking care of ourself is because the ultimate wealth is well being I mean, you can have a fulfilling and successful career and all the money in the world with you know, multiple homes, cars, boats, jets, all of the stuff you think that's going to make you happy? And yes, it could make you happy, and you know, be surrounded by your loved ones. But what good would all that be if you aren't? Well, and so how do you truly enjoy your life and thrive, when you have dis ease or are sick, and when you don't take care of yourself and make mindful choices? You're actually courting premature death, and you're just diminishing your quality of life. So those people who you were referring to who did who aren't making time for exercise, eating at McDonald's, just taking the convenient, easy route to life is just going to, unfortunately, suffer the consequences at some point because that type of life is not sustainable. And you're in a way just cheating yourself have a high quality life that can allow you to be energized, engage, and, you know, joyful and thrive and be able to live for your, you know, children, grandchildren, and just have a fulfilling and high quality life. Because it's it's not really about the years, how many years you live, but it's about the quality of those years. So you may live a long time, but at what consequence, like what's the quality of your life? How is that going to be compromised, if you don't take care of yourself, and I'm so thrilled to be, you know, one silver lining out of this whole pandemic is that I'm thrilled to see that companies people in general are taking, especially mental health and well being seriously it's at the forefront now. Because people have experienced so much, you know, adversity, pain, suffering, stress, chronic stress, anxiety, depression, all of you know, the whole spectrum during the past year. And so now people are waking up, finally waking up, I'm so glad to hear that, you know, they were talking about wellness yesterday, and, and I've been hearing that and experiencing it more in the companies that have been reaching out more lately about my corporate wellness solutions, because they're realizing it is fundamental to their employees, health and well being and also to the success of their business, it's really a win win situation. So when you take care of your employees, and they're happy and healthy, they're going to be more productive, and you know, engaged and, you know, happy to stay at the company instead of you know, getting sick and tired or wanting to leave the company.

Mark Struczewski
I agree. And one of the reasons why I bought my first Apple watch a couple years ago is if you're not familiar with the Apple Watch, it's got three rings, move, stand and exercise. And the whole point is we spend a lot of time especially in 2021 behind zoom calls. And for example, the Apple Watch will if you don't wake walk around a lot, it makes you get up for one minute, every hour, you need to stand you can't we're not designed to sit behind a computer all day, it makes you want to walk it makes you want to exercise like I run every day. And when you close your move ring, your stand ring in your exercise ring is called closing your rings. And you don't have to have an Apple Watch, you need to close your rings every day, you need to be standing a lot, you need to be walking around a lot and like, like active calories. If you get up from your home office and you walk into the kitchen to get some water. That's active calories, and then you can exercise. And so I think people need to really stop and go okay, how old am I and how old do I want to live? Now most people want to live as long as they they can live I want to live to 100 and you're not going to make it and you're not taking care of yourself. So you got to give up the bad habits. So what are some really simple ideas because the biggest fear I have on my show is I have a great guest like you come on and then people listen to you talk and then they don't take action. So I like my guest to give really simple things that anyone can do right now as they're listening. To you, Sam, they go, Oh, I can do that right now. And then they'll start moving the ball in the right direction. So what do you got for us?

Naz Beheshti
Well, I personally do something called RPM Squared every single morning. It's a non negotiable, which stands for rise, pee meditate move. And the reason why I get very specific, is because according to you know, behavioral scientists, specifically BJ Fogg, who has really cracked the code on building new habits, when you attach a new habit to an existing one, you're much and start very small, you're much more able to sustain that habit to actually make it a habit rather than saying, Okay, I'm going to start exercising or start meditating, and do it every day for you know, 20 minutes or however long. That's too big of a habit to start with. So I always say start with like, two minutes, if you're not a meditator, for example. And this could be anything, if your listeners are like, I'm not into meditation, choose something else, that's going to make you feel much better, and give you energy and clarity and whatever it is that you want to feel. But for me, it's it's meditation, and then followed by movement. So I think everyone, I am a huge proponent of meditation and movement and eating mindfully. But rise, pee, meditate, move. And if that is the first thing you do in the morning, you could start your day off on the right foot super energized. And just feeling great. No matter what comes your way, you feel good, because you know, you've completed something for yourself that makes you feel good. And consistency is key. So you start small, but you do it daily, like this is a daily, I don't take Saturday or Sundays off. In fact, I do it longer, I workout longer. I always do 20 minute meditation, but then some days, I only have time to move for 10 minutes on my mat, but 10 minutes is better than zero minutes. And I would rather do that 10 minutes or even five, I have like this arm workout. That's five minutes. And it's very effective. And I think Well, I'm glad I got that five minutes rather than no minutes. And then on the weekends, I have more time before meetings. So before meetings for during the week, I don't have meetings on the weekend. So I do you know, 4550 minute flow on my mat, on my yoga mat. And so I just think that's essential rise, pee, meditate move, if you want to incorporate I have a client who does 100 pushups in the morning. So his is our P squared M. So rise p pushups meditate. That's his he incorporated my RPM but made it his own. So I encourage all your listeners to make it your own. But create a morning routine That's for you. And for your listeners with kids or have to go walk the dog in the morning, you could still figure out a way doesn't have to be first thing in the morning. It's just some time in the day, try to make it the same time so that it sticks. And if that time doesn't work one day, that's okay. We don't need to be rigid in the schedule and say, Oh, we missed our time. That means we missed the day, try to squeeze it in even for you know, little, you know, minute or two later on in the day. It doesn't have to be at the exact same time. But it's good to create a habit at the same time to start.

Mark Struczewski
Yeah, no excuses. I actually use the RP, too. But what I do is I read a squared not to have it written down. I did set it wrong. I read a book, Dr. Robin Sharma, the 5am Club a couple times last year. And what he suggests is after you get up, go move first because it purchased a cortisol to your body. You just woke up from sleep. And what I would do is I would like read my Bible and write my bullet journal and stuff like that first, then I would go for my walk. And I said let me try this. Let me go out and do a brisk walk outside for 20 minutes build up a little small sweat. And I'll be lo and behold, then they come back. And when I'm reading or planning whatever the case may be, I'm more awake, because I've already moved. And so I'm so glad you said you make it your own. The other thing I want to talk about is breathing. Now I struggle with meditation. But on the Apple Watch, there's this breathe app, and it goes off and I ignore it all the time. I'm so bad at this. But I heard someone say when you breathe, breathe in the square method. In other words, four seconds in hold for four. Breathe out for four. And I'm like how can I get the breathing I have to do this. And what I figured out is if I set it for four breaths, a minute, that equals four seconds in four seconds, hold four seconds out. And it works for me. And I like how you said, you know, you don't have all the answers. And I don't have all the answers, but listen to what we're saying, and create something that works for you. Because when the listener creates something that works for them, they're more likely going to stick with it.

Naz Beheshti
Absolutely. I mean, like I said, I'm a huge proponent of meditation and movement. But some people aren't into meditation, or there's different types of meditation, I sit quietly, and repeat a mantra, I do transcendental meditation, some people like to go for a run, and that's their moving meditation or a walk, when they go walk their dog, I have a client who does the early feedings for his newborn baby. And he he says, he's super present and giving his baby daughter, the bottle, you know, feeding his daughter, and that's his meditation, just watching her drink the milk, and I thought that was so sweet. While his wife, you know, got to sleep in they they rotate, you know, so everybody is in different life stages. And everybody has different preferences and lifestyles. So what you know, my book and what my teachings offer are purely recommendations, they're proven strategies that do work. But one strategy may not work for you, Mark, because you may not be into something I suggested, but then you can make it your own, like I said, and the key is to do what makes you feel good. That's, you know, a healthy mindful choice that gives you energy, and you know, is is able to keep you present and engaged and happy.

Mark Struczewski
I was so thrilled when I read Jay Shetty, his book, think like a monk. And he said, You don't have to sit in a lotus position and say, um, you can go for a walk without listening to music, or a podcast, or an audio book and just be present. And when I did it the first time, this really blows my mind knows, like, Oh, my God, the birds chirp. The wind makes sound when it goes to the trees. You miss all that when you have your headphones in. It's amazing.

Naz Beheshti
Oh, absolutely. Yes. I mean, that is that's a mindful meditation or mindful walk is a moving meditation. And I definitely encourage that as well. Because when you are, you know, listening to a podcast or music or talking on the phone, you're not present to what's your your surroundings? Have you ever This is so funny, I used to go to park and an unknown parking garage to a new parking garage. And if I always notice that if I was on the phone and parked my car and left the garage, when I would come back, I would not remember where my car was because I wasn't present, you know? And I'm like, Oh, no, what level did I park where you know, where am I because it is a new garage. It just was foreign to me. And I was not present because I was talking on the phone. So multitasking is not really effective and may seem like it and in the moment, but for for your mind for your well being. And also for productivity. It's not effective. You know, mono tasking is the key not multitasking,

Mark Struczewski
Well, neuroscience has shown has proven, the brain cannot do more than one thing at a time, when you think you're multitasking. What's happening is your body, your brain is rapidly switching from task to task to task. It's not doing more than one thing at a time, you may think it is, but it's really not.

Naz Beheshti
Right and more. Because you're breaking the flow from switching a task to task to task, there's more chance of error to occur to when you're doing that as well.

Mark Struczewski
And I don't think people realize that they're saying I'm so productive. I'm doing nine things at once. And yeah, those efficiencies, probably 15% at best on all of them. And so if you're going to be an email, be an email, if you're going to text someone, text someone if you got a FaceTime call being a FaceTime call, don't try to do more thing. Like right now. All I'm doing is talking to you. And I'm moving my hands around like crazy, which you can't see because audio only podcast, but I'm fully focused with you. Now we've all listen to those podcasts listener, you know, I'm talking about when you can tell the host is not listening. And you're like, why didn't they follow up with this question? I try to be very present to everything NAS is saying, because this is a conversation now Do I hear everything she's saying? Of course not. I'm a human being. But I'm fully present right now. And I think the the phrase fully present is some people go Yeah, well, whatever. No, you need to be fully present. So whatever you're doing, give it 100% of your focus. So let's say you're going to be working on your book. I mean, you wrote a book, but let's say you're going to write a book. Okay. Well then put your phone on Do Not Disturb. Put a sign on your door, you know, turn off the TV and I'm fully focused on writing a book. That's probably why Your book is so amazing, because when you wrote that down a road that you probably didn't have the news on and and the the city jackhammering your front straight, you probably set up the condition where you can fully focus and that shows in your work.

Naz Beheshti
Absolutely. Ican't even I'm not one of those people who can go to a cafe and work because all the sounds in the background disturb me. I can't focus. So I need absolute silence and even my husband, he could work with the TV, the news on in the background, you know, you could do all these things. I'm like, Can you turn that off, please, I can't focus or I leave the room because it's just, it's just too much. I mean, I'm all about being trying to be as peaceful and in peace as possible. And extra noise I just feel is is unnecessary. If I want to watch TV, I'm gonna watch TV. I don't need it on in the background. I really do not like just TV on just as background noise music as background is, is nice because it's you know, it's music. It's beautiful to hear music, when you want to listen to music, but I feel like you know, TV and the news on in the background. Either I'm going to sit and watch it or or have it off. You know, I feel like musics only thing that could really go in the background. When you're not working when you just want to listen to music.

Mark Struczewski
I love it. I remember three years ago, we rescued our current dog. I listened to a podcast and they said when you walk your dog, just walk your dog, don't be on your phone, don't listen to a podcast. Because you may not think the dog doesn't know what's going on. But the dog can tell. I don't know what that thing in their hand is I have no clue what that is. But they're not paying attention to me. And I can tell you, My dog is more obedient and more sweet. When I'm just with her when I walk her than if I'm on my phone. It's amazing how the animals can pick this up.

Naz Beheshti
Yeah, yeah, they're very smart. Exactly. And I see so many people walking their dogs, and they're just all on their phone. And then like pulling the leash, like, Come on, let's go when they stop when the dog stops to like, you know, smell the flowers or whatever. And they just, you know, want to get home, it's like, they're just check marking the box to like, okay, gotta take the dog out, and then return but they're not present. I mean, not only when taking the dog out, but just even like on the subway in line, everyone is looking down at their phone, you know, and not looking around or making small talk these days are just everyone is so consumed. It seems like I have been on a subway many times in New York City where I am the only person not on a phone. I'm there with my husband, of course, he's looking down at Twitter. And he's scrolling and scrolling. And I'm looking at every single person. And I actually told him I said, look at look around. And he's like, yeah, like, Do you notice anything? And he's like, what I'm like, every single person except me has their phone out. And they're looking down. And since he was one of them, he didn't notice. And then he's like, Oh, you're right. And like, of course, he looked back down and started scrolling Twitter. But I always noticed that I always noticed how people are just glued to the phone. And yes, you know, Steve Jobs is, you know, was iconic and amazing to make these amazing, basically mini computers that fit in our pocket and purses. But there's there is a limit to like finding that balance and not being so attached and glued to the phone. So it's about making technology work for you, not against you. And it becomes work, it starts working against you when it becomes an addiction and you can't control those habits.

Mark Struczewski
And I will I always tell people, my clients and people follow me on social media. Look, you are still a human being. If you turn your phone off, guess what? It can't do? It can't turn itself back on. Okay, so you have to say, Look, I'm going to write my book, I'm going to create my podcast, I'm gonna create a YouTube channel, whatever the case may be. And, like I am not addicted to my phone so I can put on Do Not Disturb. I don't have a lot of notifications turned on. I am the master of my technology. It is not the master of me. But to your point, sadly, a lot of people are I grew up in an age where if something happened, you had a way to the evening news or the morning paper. There was no Twitter back then. I mean, right now, if something happens in the world, within seconds, there's video and pictures and all kinds of tweets. And I'm like, really do we really need to know about that right now? That's why I deleted Twitter, because there was so much anger and hostility and I'm like, how is that feeding me and I'm trying to To become more positive, I'm trying to be more present, like drives my my me crazy. My wife and I sit down and watch TV, the joke in our houses, Honey, what do you want to listen to on TV tonight because she's on her phone playing her game. And she's not even watching TV. I am sitting there watching the TV with my phone facedown, because I want to be fully present watching whatever show I'm watching. Unfortunately, you and I are on the minority. Everyone's saying I miss something FOMO is real, really, you really need to know there is a ride in Moscow. I mean, really? How? How does that going to help you today? move towards your goals?

Naz Beheshti
Right, right. And you can you know, still be abreast on you know, current events and all that it just you don't need to have it in real time in that exact moment. Right? You can, you know, choose to look at the news, read the news, listen to the news, however you get your news or whatever, in like, once or twice a day, but like constantly endless scrolling, endlessly having the TV on, you know, just as background on the news is just I don't think you know, good for our mind and body, our well being because most of the news is very negative. Yep. And so we're just feeding ourselves. Like, even before I go to sleep, I cannot watch the news. I could do it in the morning, I read the news, I just, there's certain things I just can't do, I know that it's just not going to be conducive to my sleep and to my well being because I get really kind of emotional and it really affects me when I see what's going on in the world. And especially recently and all the time, really. So it I have to limit I have to limit the exposure, I need to be aware of course and know what's going on. But not I don't need to know every second like, you know, I don't need to play by play.

Mark Struczewski
I agree. One of the things I have is I use Apple Music and I created a playlist called writing music. And what's on it is all the instrumental music from all the the big screens, the big movies. Now I'm not talking about the chase scenes, I'm talking like the soft instrumental music, I put that on. And it plays very nicely in my gorgeous Apple home pod once they got rid of the big one. I love the big one that the sound is incredible. And I can fully focus because there's no words. It's just beautiful music. And I think that's great. But if you have words to your point, Oh, I remember the song. Next thing you know, you're starting to sing the song getting up and dancing, which is good to get up and dance. But the problem is now you've lost focus on what you're working on. So I'm a big fan of instrumental music, ambient noise, waterfalls, rain, I like thunderstorms. That but that doesn't have words in it, that's not going to distract you. And you want to be careful that you you set yourself up for productive success.

Naz Beheshti
Absolutely. And if you like instrumental, I love the Piano Guys. They played cover songs to all the songs that has words but just the instrumental part of it. And that's actually the type of music I can also listen to while I work music without words. But there are songs that I love and you know, I'm familiar with but just an instrumental version of it, which is really nice.

Mark Struczewski
Nice. Well background. Yes. Well, you know, you gave us a lot to think about a lot to think about. And I want to thank you for being on the show. I want people to go to your favorite bookstore, pause, breathe, choose become the CEO of your well being incredible book, I can vouch for the first 131 pages, because it's all I've read a great book, a lot of good testimonials on here. So we're going where else can we go besides our favorite bookstore to pick up your book? Where else can we go to find out about you and what you're doing in the world. You can visit

Naz Beheshti
My website prananaz.com, which is my company corporate site where I offer the corporate wellness solutions. For more information about me my executive coaching on my book, nasbeheshti.com. And I'm also on all the social media.

Mark Struczewski
Okay, now before I let you go one final Steve Jobs question, in your opinion, do you think that we would have the Apple Watch as it is now if Steve Jobs didn't pass away?

Naz Beheshti
Absolutely. He was so into well being. And I think he would have definitely created something similar, if not even better or bigger. Who knows? But yes, it would have been created because he definitely prioritized his well being.

Mark Struczewski
With this technology we have whether it's an iPhone and iPad, a Mac watch doesn't matter. I'm just amazed as a kid that was born in 1965. I'm amazed that I have more computing power than the computers that were back in the 80s in buildings I have in my pocket. I mean, I think gorgeous video gorgeous pictures, and I am just amazed at artificial intelligence. I'm so glad there's people like Steve Jobs in the world that had the vision and the Walt Disney's that. See the vision or the Ilan mustard, see things that were like 1000 songs my pocket What? You know, I came from the day, we used to buy record albums, and there's one good song on the album, and you'd have to buy the 45 or the whole album and the rest of the song sucked. I grew up in the days now you can just get the one song or if you have Apple Music, and you play the one song, and I just, you know, I'm just excited because 2021 has so much technology. What are we going to see in 2031 2041 2051 and I hope I'm still alive. I plan on still being here. I'll be like 86 by then. But I'm so excited to see where technology is going. So nice. Thank you so much for being on the show. It was an absolute delight talking to you.

Naz Beheshti
Thank you so much for having me, Mark. It was such a pleasure.

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