Ep 40 // White Supremacy and Cultural Intelligence with Shiva Roofeh

Ep 40- Shiva Roofeh

In this fascinating episode, you’ll learn to question the cultural codes that have been ingrained as “right,” why white supremacy is a global issue, and why it has less to do with skin color than you might think. You’ll also understand how cultural intelligence can foster more understanding and elevate the way you lead. 

Cultural intelligence expert Shiva Roofeh joins Akua to talk about how she’s spent her life negotiating between cultures and how she helps people understand their own culture, what they’ve inherited from their families and societies, and the deep-rooted beliefs that affect their ability to love and lead with equity. 

As an Iranian-American, Muslim-Jewish Agnostic living in Spain, Shiva encourages people to reflect on societal constructs and realize there isn’t one “right” way to be in this world. 

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What's Covered in this Episode About Cultural Programming

  • Shiva describes her experience as a third culture kid growing up as a refugee in Queens, New York.
  • Shiva describes how 9/11 was a personal wake-up call to overt racism in America and why she felt more at home in the UK. 
  • Discover why white supremacy isn’t all about skin color and why it’s important for leaders all over the world to understand it.
  • Learn how reframing expectations can help you acknowledge others in more meaningful ways.
  • Why the idea of “unconditional love” is rooted in privilege, and why many US immigrant families don’t subscribe to this construct.
  • Shiva describes how she has worked through white supremacy and how she works with others to break down expectations and force people to look at the “why” behind the way we live and lead. 
  • How the values of capitalism lead us to overwork, and how the cultural values of the West are being exported globally, leading people to believe there is only one way to do things in order to be successful. 
  • Learn why the idea of “unconditional love” is rooted in privilege and why many US immigrant families don’t subscribe to this construct.
  • How an Out of Office Response is helping Shiva value quality over quantity. 

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "White supremacy is a connects back to cultural intelligence. For me personally, again, that's the lens I come in with. And when we teach cultural intelligence, we talk about different cultural codes. So and by codes, we mean just like values, in terms of communication that could be do we value more direct communication or indirect communication?" - Shiva Roofeh
  • "When we talk about identity? Are we thinking of identity as being individualist? Or is it collectivist? When we think about time, is it that like, time is money, and you know, we have to really manage our time? Or is it the time is fluid and like, there's no start and end to time and time is really just what you do with it and the relationships that you have." Shiva Roofeh

  • When we talk about identity? Are we thinking of identity as being individualist? Or is it collectivist? When we think about time, is it that like, time is money, and you know, we have to really manage our time? Or is it the time is fluid and like, there's no start and end to time and time is really just what you do with it and the relationships that you have." - Shiva Roofeh

Article by Shiva Roofeh: “Mom, Dad, We Don’t Believe In The Same Things” 

Get to Know this Episode's Guest

Shiva isn't your average leadership consultant. Forged in the crucible of "otherness," her 40-year journey through diverse cultures informs every facet of her work. She's a pattern disrupter, a champion of inclusivity, and a weaver of transformative learning experiences.

Shiva illuminates the power of cultural intelligence, guiding companies like Novartis, ABN AMRO, and ViacomCBS towards leadership that transcends borders and builds communities of impact. With sessions that crack open blind spots and nudge growth with "kindness, not niceness," she ignites long-term, systemic change – not just check-the-box training.

Her expertise shines in designing impactful programs, from crafting long-term leadership journeys to orchestrating intercultural intelligence workshops. Whether facilitating sessions with disarming honesty or delivering electrifying keynotes, her passion for human potential shines through.

Shiva co-designs bold learning adventures that unleash individual and collective power. Partner with her, and watch your organization shed outdated patterns and embrace a future where leadership leads to inclusive impact, both within your walls and across the broader business ecosystem.

Website:  www.shivaroofeh.com/
Instagram: @shivaroofeh 

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

  • Read about Akua’s services if you’d like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you strengthen your organization’s culture.

  • Complete her contact form to jump on a call.

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Here’s the transcript for episode 40 about White Supremacy and Cultural Intelligence

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:07 Welcome to the open door podcast. My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah. I also respond to Aqua and I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant buyer fighting and overwhelmed leaders. I've worked with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time, and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive, and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to the open door conversations podcast. I am so excited about this interview that I'm sharing with you this week. It is such an important topic. And I know that my relationship with this topic has truly evolved. So I'm so excited to be interviewing someone that I think has such an amazing background, and has such a unique way about talking about bias about talking about white supremacy, and talking about discrimination. So if you're interested in taking a second to reflect on how you show up, why you show up the way you do, and you're also open to questioning whether or not it's serving you. This is the podcast episode for you. Right so today I am so excited because I am joined by the amazing Shiva roofie. And we're gonna be talking all about white supremacy, leadership and cultural intelligence, Shiva. Welcome to the show. Speaker 1 2:23 Thank you so much for having me. And I love the enthusiasm. Honestly, Akua Nyame-Mensah 2:26 every single time I record an episode, I'm so excited. I know we're gonna have such a great conversation because we have such long, deep conversations outside of this podcast. So many. So for people that are joining us, and maybe meeting you for the first time, could you please share a little bit about who you are and what you do? Speaker 1 2:44 Sure. So I really don't like titles. But if we have to give me a title, it would be cultural intelligence specialists, leadership specialists. I've worked in the field for 1015 years, and I say 1015 years like people are like, I don't know how long you've worked on this. But sometimes you're you work in something without realising it. And then only after, do you have a language for it. So 10 years concretely, 15 years, you know, that extra five years is building up into it. And my personal life has really flavoured and driven me to what I do. So I was born in Iran. During the Iran Iraq was born to a Muslim mother and a Jewish father. We left Iran as refugees when I was four years old, lived as refugees in Italy for a year and and then moved to New York City, which is where I grew up. And in Queens New Year, I'm always proud of that fact, because it's the most diverse urban area in the world. And growing up in New York is great, it's you, you realise that you're not alone, you realise that so many other people have the same reality as you and I think I didn't really even understand what the United States really was until I left New York and I went to university in Western Massachusetts, and my first day of university was September 1 2000 2001. So I went to sleep as a New Yorker, and I woke up as a Iranian Muslim potential terrorist. Yeah, yeah. So my identity changed overnight, and not necessarily for myself, but for others and how they viewed me and the next three years was held to be perfectly honest. And I realised, I remember thinking at that point, holy crap, this is this is what black people feel all their lives in the United States. This is what people who are very visibly not white feel all their lives in the United States. I'm white passing, like you look at me, I'm pale skin. I'm very let's confirm for Middle Eastern, I've got green eyes. Akua Nyame-Mensah 4:30 And, you know, I Speaker 1 4:31 just don't I'd never experienced that level of racism before. And I couldn't handle it. So like three years in, I'm like, I'm done with this shit. I don't know how other people have dealt with this. I'm out of here. So I left the United States. I finished my university in the UK. And for the first time in my life, I felt like I was welcomed the first time in my life. People actually asked me about my experience as a refugee that they didn't shy away from. Away from that they weren't scared of it. And it was very weird to be an Iranian and feel at home in the UK because the world thinks that we don't like the United States, but it's, you know, it's really the UK that we blame for the current regime that we have. So that that was another point that got me thinking of why is it that I feel comfortable here, and I didn't feel that, that at home in the United States or in in my Persian culture. And I mean, that was the kind of start of it. So I lived a year in the UK, I realised I don't want to go back to the United States. And I had to go back because of visa reasons. But then I spent the next year just like scheming to get the hell out. And it made me that I came to Spain about 14 years ago now. And everyone always asks me, why did you pick Spain? And the answer is because it was the easiest country to be illegal at the time. So with a US passport, it was really tough to to get any sort of visa in Europe, because of reciprocity, because it's so freakin hard to get visas in the United States. And yeah, and I've been here since and now I'm, I am a permanent residence, I have residency, I am legal here. That that was, that was another kind of major experience that led me to the work that I do. Akua Nyame-Mensah 6:04 So tell us a little bit about the work that you do, and sort of how you bring in your experience. And, and the diverse cultures, you've had an opportunity to be in. Speaker 1 6:14 So my work started in cultural intelligence. And it was the kind of thing where the first time I read about it, I was like, Holy shit, my entire life now makes sense. It was so deeply powerful for me, and I knew I want to do this, I want to start helping other people realise this, not just folks who are who are very global international, like myself, but anyone who's just anyone, I mean, it's there's an entire hidden world, that's, that's going on with humans that we just don't see. And, and cultural intelligence kind of shines a light on that, it gives you some tools to understand that better. So a lot of my work is that it's helping people understand first their own culture, what that cultural programming is, is what they inherited, from their families, from their societies. Even at work, so leaders, and we've talked about this before, we all grew up with a leadership culture, right, so you're the first leaders that you were exposed to, if they were micromanagers, you're gonna think that that's the way to be a leader, if they were constantly coaching you, you're gonna think that's the way to be a leader. But we don't realise this, right? These are the hidden legacies that are passed down to us. And that that's also the heart of cultural intelligence. So the work I do blends both of that it's understanding the secret stories that we have the hidden expectations that we have the kind of big assumptions that we're living in leading by that we have no frickin idea that we're operating by. Akua Nyame-Mensah 7:33 I love that. And I love how you expose that through your content as well. So one of my favourite pieces of content that you've shared recently, and I'll actually make sure that we actually tag this in the show notes, because I think it's such a powerful mind reframe on how we show up and what we consider to be right and wrong, potentially, was around how we acknowledge or sort of recognise others. Right. So it was all about the love languages of immigrant parents. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? And sort of how, how you came to put together this piece of content? Speaker 1 8:08 Yes. So I mean, that was completely from from my life. And I wrote that piece when I was back in the United States, this winter, visiting my parents, that was the first time after COVID. So it's been a couple of years, I had gotten deeper and deeper into my own programming and understanding where things were coming from. And I'm sitting there, and I'm there with my parents for about two weeks. And so much shit is happening that is pissing me off, like so many frustrations. And part of me was constantly thinking like, Why can't my parents just be frickin normal? Why can't they just be like everybody else? And then I realised, hold on, though, like, when I'm saying, Why can't they be like everybody else? What am I really saying there? What is the standard that I'm comparing them to? And I realised, I'm comparing them to like, this ideal image of North American parents, with a you know, house and a picket fence where everyone eats dinner together, and everyone has conversations openly and whatever. And I'm like, Well, why the hell have I decided that's the standard number one. That's, you know, it's, it's, it always seems like a lovely kind of context and life to have, but it's not really very realistic. So, you know, what value can I take for what I'm actually living versus the standard that I've been that I've bought into that is even mine. And I started to realise, alright, you know what, my parents, they don't really understand the concept of unconditional love. And that's something else. It's very Western, this idea of unconditional love, because there's the privilege to be able to have unconditional love, right? There's a lot more safety and security. So you don't you don't have to worry about the future of your family. Whereas the rest of the world and immigrants included, it's about freakin survival and with survival, it's really tough to have unconditional love. You have to almost set conditions of success and performance and you have to be so Really student because that's the only opportunity that we have. This is the best way I can take care of you is to make sure that you know how to play the game in this country and can succeed at it. And education is the tool to do that. So if you get in an A, I'm going to ask you why the hell you didn't get an A plus, even if an A plus doesn't exist? And I don't necessarily agree with this, but I might treat you definitely if you're not if you're not performing to that, but why am I doing that? Right? Like questioning why my parents doing that and realising it's ultimately because this is what they feel is, is the best way they can train me to succeed in life. And like if I bring that even down to minute shit, like, why are my parents acting in this way? Like, someone died in our family recently, not recently, a few years ago, and they didn't tell us anything. Right? It took my parents two months to tell me that this family member passed away. And I'm like, What the hell is that? Like? Why? Why did you call me you know, and then realising they kept it from me. So I wouldn't worry, I was going through time in my life, that was tough. I just moved out of the country. I didn't really know anybody, they didn't want me to have that news while I was alone. So it's, yeah, I would love to point to have that kind of family where everything is open communication. But my parents aren't wired that way. They're just wired in a different way. They they focus on different things. It's protecting me, that is more important than open communication with me. So it's a completely different love language. It's a completely different value system, that's going to lead to different ways of showing up and showing that love. And that was my word, verb, word vomit on Akua Nyame-Mensah 11:29 my love it No, I absolutely love it. And I really would recommend anyone who's listening to this to make sure to check out that piece of content. Like I said, I'll make sure that I include it in the show notes, because it really, I think does a good job of, of helping you think sort of beyond some of these expectations and assumptions that we make. And I think this is actually a really good segue to talk a little bit about white supremacy. Because I do think this, this concept, or this topic of white supremacy even comes into our expectations, how we should recognise people how we should acknowledge people what's right, and what's wrong. So can you tell us from your perspective, what is white supremacy? And why do you think it's an important concept that leaders everywhere in the world should keep in mind? Speaker 1 12:10 Great question. So first, I know that the term white supremacy is extremely triggering. Yeah, and I know that the first time I was starting to kind of grapple with it, it's kind of the shit out of me. I'm like, I don't I don't want to enter this, like this. This is just for the kk k, this is for extremist organisations. And because, you know, this was after George Floyd and everyone talking about white supremacy. And, and me being really triggered by it, my kind of process is always Alright, if I'm triggered by something, it means I need to explore it, it means that maybe I'm not understanding it. And so as I explored more, I realised, actually, I am not this is not something unfamiliar to me, I had just been thinking about it a different way. Right? So for me, white supremacy is a connects back to cultural intelligence. For me personally, again, that's the lens I come in with. And when we teach cultural intelligence, we talk about different cultural codes. So and by codes, we mean just like values, in terms of communication that could be do we value more direct communication or indirect communication? When we talk about identity? Are we thinking of identity as being individualist? Or is it collectivist? When we think about time, is it that like, time is money, and you know, we have to really manage our time? Or is it the time is fluid and like, there's no start and end to time and time is really just what you do with it and the relationships that you have. So there's all these different cultural codes and values. And I realised that every time I was delivering this content, the participants, all the students would, would come back with the same kind of ideas and answers of, but which one's better. And I'm like, There's neither one is better, right? They're extremes are never good. But we need to learn to balance both. Even after I push back with that there was still the gap. But I think direct communication is better. I think that individualism is better. I think that that that strict concept of time is better. And this was coming from folks who are European and non European, right, like European and North American, but also the rest of the world. And I realised, don't you all realise, what you're saying is that all of the cultural values of the West is better. That's literally what we're saying. Because it's direct communication is stronger. In the West, the strip's concept of time is stronger in the West. Individualism is stronger in the West, and you're literally telling me that you think that those western values and ways of being are better that they're superior? And that's when I realised, well, no, this is what this is what white supremacy is. So when we're talking about white supremacy, what we're really just saying is that we've decided collectively, that the value system and the ways of being and doing and seeing and living of northern Europe, Northern Europe, North America and Europe are better than that of the rest of the world. And when I realised that that's what white supremacy is, I was able to say, oh, yeah, Oh, okay. And that sounds I'm definitely a white supremacist writer I was I was very much into, like, I can't handle when people write long as emails, why can't they just answer the question directly, like this massive, like, sense of urgency all the time? All of these different things that were just seen as the right way to be specifically in North America, and Europe. Yeah. Yeah, I'm gonna pause there. See, I don't know if there's anything you want to say or ask about that. Akua Nyame-Mensah 15:29 Thank you so much for I think, I mean, I'm lots of nodding, right? Unfortunately, this is not a video, podcast, but just lots of nodding. And I just really appreciate the way in which you've defined it, and also how you're talking about your own journey with that word, because I know it's also something that I had a lot of issues with. And I think that because of where I've decided to live, so I live in a place where I'm around predominantly people who are black, right, and are African but yet, like you said, this mindset, it's not about skin colour, right? It's really about exactly what are the assumptions we're making? What is this perspective that we've decided to hold? And how did we get to this conclusion? Right, it's that still gap? Right? So depending on, you know, depending on the type of coaching or training you do, or even the type of leadership, you practice, right, at the end of the day, it's like this, this idea of what are these these filters we're using to make decisions? And so I definitely can see right, even with people who are not white, right, or who would not identify as being white, or would not be ident, you know, you know, sort of resonate with that having some of these perspectives. And I guess a part of it would be, hey, maybe people don't have the time and space or privilege to reflect on it. But I always love to encourage people to because it has such a, in some spaces, I would say a negative impact on the way in which they're showing up how they feel about themselves. Yeah, more importantly, yes. So just thank you so much for really sharing that. And I think a lot of what you shared about your journey and your own relationship to the word I think very much resonates with me, and I'm sure resonates with a lot of people who are going to listen to this. Speaker 1 17:04 There's one other thing I want to say that which was you made a really good point of like, you can resonate with that as well, even living in a place where it's predominantly black. It's not right, right. And, and this was a question that I had as well as like, okay, so is this something I'm really wanting to see in North America and Europe? Which where it makes sense to because of course, you're going to be, you're going to think that your values are the right values, right? Not that that's true or not, but every country and culture is going to think that way. So I was like, is it? Is it true? Is it only valid in North America and Europe, and I realised not so much because the clients I'm dealing with around the world, yeah, there's definitely differences, but at the same time, because of multinationals. And because of the amount of multinationals that come from the from North America and from Europe, around the world, that that culture is being kind of exported everywhere. And when you have cultures that are not cultures, but countries that are economically less stable, politically less stable, a lot of folks are going to be looking for jobs and organisations that are stable. They're looking for jobs and organisations that will pay higher that have more standardisation that have more resources. This is not true across the board. But a lot of people see those those kinds of organisations being the multinationals that come from North America and Europe. And so you're kind of almost driven because of the need for stability and security into these organisations. But then those organisations are directly and indirectly just training you in their ways. Right? And it's the same thing with, with with TV series. I mean, like Netflix, as much as I love it, it's doing a lot of fucking damage around the world. Akua Nyame-Mensah 18:44 Well, once again, right, those are things that are going to add to that once again, that filter that we all have as human beings, right. And that's why I think it's so so important that we know when we do feel like we have the time and space to really reflect on Okay, wait, why? Absolutely. Why is that important? Why have I decided that, you know, I want to show up this way, or I have to wake up at 5am and journal and meditate X, Y, and Z before I'm able to eat X, Y, and Z. And as someone who focuses a lot on productivity, if you're listening to this, it might sound slightly weird, but I am very anti productivity even though I do productivity coaching, um, you'd have to work with me to understand it. But it's, there's there's a lot there. Right. So where is all of this coming from? And ultimately, right? How do we feel right? It really needs to come back to what works for you and recognising that what works for one person is not going to work for everyone. What was that? You know, being said, recognising that not what works for one person works for everyone. I still think it's very helpful to hear what works for other people. So Shiva, I'd love to hear your perspective or some of the things that maybe you've done to think through, you know, white supremacy and sort of work through that. What are some of the things I have some ideas of what you've done as well that I always love to share with with My audience, but I'd love to hear from you. What are some things that you've done to sort of break down some of these expectations and assumptions that people make, and force them to rethink how they're showing up? Speaker 1 20:11 See me, what have I done on myself? And what have I done on others? It could be either or. Yeah. So I mean, I always I make sure that whatever I'm asking others to do, I've done first. So what's worked with me? And then what I pass on is like that at the most granular level, it's that questioning of why am I doing it this way? Why am I thinking this is the best way to do things, noticing my own surprise of things. So really being aware of how other people are showing up, and then noticing when I'm surprised about how they're showing up, because that just shows hidden, hidden expectations that I've had around, you know, how things should be or shouldn't be, or what's right and wrong, and good and bad. And like a really concrete example of that is, I've met a lot of people in my life, who I'm like, Oh, my God, you're an amazing leader. Like you are not a leader, though. They're, they're an individual contributor, right? They're a technical person, or an individual contributing, like, you should get into leadership, you would kick ass like, holy, she should get in there. And they resist it like, No, I don't want it. I don't want it. And I never understood it. Never understood it, as if but why wouldn't you want to be a leader? And then one day, I don't know if it's someone who called me out on it. Or I had the thought myself where I paused and I went, why do I think that they need to be a leader? Why? Why have I decided that? That's, that's the only path that needs to happen. Right? And why have also decided that everyone should want to be a leader to begin with? And what the hell is a leader? What does that even mean? Right? And then from there, that was almost like, that was Pandora's box as well of going, yeah. Why do I think that everyone needs to be working to become a leader in an organisation that they're not even owner of? And so, like, all I'm doing is asking people to work harder to make somebody else rich. And why am I doing that? And then that opened up the box of wild capitalism, of understanding what that really is a French standing how capitols culture, combined with white supremacy culture, or just, you know, the values that we've decided to say are the right ones, leading us to overworking to productivity to always needing to create something to produce something to be visible, and so on. Right. And so when the stuff I've been doing, lean out of that, which I think I think you've seen, like my out of office response, Akua Nyame-Mensah 22:29 yes, I love that. Can you please share with everyone what that is? I always love to screenshot it and share it with the world. Because to me, this is Shiva living her values and sharing it with the world and forcing people to really reflect on how they're showing up because you get this auto responder, and then you really are like, Wait a second. How do I need to show up? I love it. Yeah, so please share a little bit more about Speaker 1 22:52 it. Sure. So this happened. Over the summer, I had realised I overworked myself, and I'm like, I can't do this, I need to really take time off. And so I took, you know, proper holiday, but then I'm like, I really don't want to go back to the same pace as I was working in before. And also, if I'm questioning this whole thing of productivity, this whole thing, my value of this whole thing of capitalism, the way even need to work that much. So it started off as an experiment of, I'm not going to work on Fridays, right? At least during the summer. I'm just not going to work on Friday. So I'm not going to say anything, either. Because most people are away, like things are quiet anyway. No one's gonna notice. And I noticed Yeah, nobody, nobody does notice, like, nobody had a frickin clue. I was taking Friday's off. And if they, you know, expected an answer immediately, they just waited and got it when I you know, Monday when I came to the office, and nothing happened, right, like nothing exploded? And then I thought, all right, so I've already proven myself kind of wrong, that the world expects me show up. 24/7 Yes. How can I take this further? And I thought, all right, I'm going to put this out of office that's going to say, you know, hello, human. I don't remember the exact wording, but it's just basically saying, I'm trying to live into a new way of being human, which means not being a robot, which means not getting all the things done. And it means you know, equity for for, for minorities, myself, considering myself a minority. And what that looks like is less time on emails, less time in meetings, not working on Fridays, working from 10 in the morning till six o'clock in the afternoon, Wednesday, Thursdays. That means that and all of this is ultimately for quality, instead of quantity, right? Like screw the busy work. I don't really need to be in all these emails. I really don't need to be in all these meetings. Where do I really need to put my attention on and then it kind of an invitation at the end of you know, there's gonna be some glitches I'm kind of new to being human. So please have some patience with me and feel free to join me. And the response is amazing. Like your responses is typical of what I get people Yeah, like, it takes people taking screenshots people sending me WhatsApp saying I shared this with my friend And so when have you been once wrote back? I wrote down something and I got an auto response out. I've been recently inspired by suicide. I love Akua Nyame-Mensah 25:09 that you're starting a movement. Yes. Speaker 1 25:13 I hope so. And you know what the best part is? Nothing freakin happen, like the world did not go to hell. My clients are still there, they see me. And they actually come back to me and say, oops, I realised you don't work on Fridays, I'm sorry for that. We'll hear from you on Monday, or the other way around. They're like, I know, your time is really sacred. I know that you you know, like you're putting boundaries on the time. I know, I'm asking you for something that's outside those boundaries. And I want to check in if it's okay, if it's possible. And I completely understand if it's not, whereas before they were just thrown that frickin thing into my calendar without him. Akua Nyame-Mensah 25:51 I love it. Absolutely love it. Like I said, once again, just really living your values and really showing everyone who engaged with you that there's there's another way, right? There's not one right way? Speaker 1 26:00 Absolutely not. And it's what works for you. And you can change it, you know, like I'm exploring now how can I work four hours a day? Oh, I know. Akua Nyame-Mensah 26:10 Okay, I'm looking forward to hearing the results of this. Yes. Speaker 1 26:12 So look, like in September, come back in September. That's why I'm, I'm planning to try to live into that. Okay. Oh, I love that. But I also have to say, I mean, it's, I'm saying this from a place of privilege, right, I've been able to create the economic stability for myself to do that. So this is gonna look different for everybody. But it is just about exploring what are other ways of being and then testing those gradually testing those and seeing if they do work? Akua Nyame-Mensah 26:39 I think that's really it. So being open, like you said, to experimenting, this was an experiment and you realise that had not only a positive impact on yourself, but others. So thank you. Yeah, thank you so much for sharing that and sharing some of the results of that one experiments. Last question for you. What are you looking forward to? So beyond only working four hours each weekday? What are you looking forward to? Ooh, Speaker 1 27:02 that's a great question. And you know what? Living into my values, because if you asked me this a couple of years ago, I would have answered only with work, I am looking forward to launch this, I'm looking forward to have this impact in my work and expand this way and do that whenever beyond this stage, do that thing. And now, I want to live into, you know, as a human being, what am I looking forward to? So I'm looking forward to playing to my citizenship, Spanish citizenship, yes. Will be 15 years this summer. And for me, a passport is like an insurance policy. It's what I've wanted, all my life is multiple passports. So looking forward to that I'm looking forward to September when I can reevaluate my life or when I've decided I want to reevaluate my life and slow down and see how another way of living and being could look like. And I'm excited. What else am I excited for? Like, I like threes, which is like, what's the third thing I'm going to put? And I'm excited for? Actually, you know what, I can't even think of something for work. The other thing I'm excited about is in a year, my partner and I are going to reach five years, and it's the best relationship I've ever had in my life. Yes, yep. One of the most culturally kind of dynamic and different relationships I've had. And every day, I'm learning to be another person by living with this other human. So always looking forward to that. Akua Nyame-Mensah 28:27 I love that. Thank you so much, Shiva. I mean, we can talk for years. I know we can. But we're coming up on the 30 minutes. So where can people find out more about you online? Speaker 1 28:38 The best way is my LinkedIn or my Instagram, and you can find me with my full name, Shiva Rafa, I post every day I post about everything that we've talked about more. Sometimes you'll find the wording a little bit, you know, hidden just because the algorithms don't like things like white supremacy and racism, so but the messages are there. So find me on Instagram or LinkedIn. And you can also check out my website at cheaper fit.com. Akua Nyame-Mensah 29:02 Amazing, we'll make sure all those are linked in the show notes. But thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you so much, you know, just for showing up as yourself. I feel like every time I have a conversation, every time I engage with your content, I learned something about myself and I learned something about how I can do things differently. So thank you. Speaker 1 29:19 Thank you so much for this opportunity. Like you said, we can talk for hours and you're one of the few people I could really have this kind of conversation with so thank you for that space. Akua Nyame-Mensah 29:28 Thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials so that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the show notes. If you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share a special little gift with you. Thank you so much once again for your time and I cannot wait to share my next episode. Third way to stay safe and sane


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