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From social entrepreneurship to happiness coaching

Rania Badreldin
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Rania Badreldin‘s career path is not the typical one you normally go to school for. Even though she had her future planned out, or so she thought, life happened and her planned career path didn’t materialize. Instead, she became an entrepreneur. And then her experience as an entrepreneur turned her into a happiness coach. What’s a happiness coach, you ask? Listen to the podcast for her story and takeaways on how to self-love.

TAMAR: Hey, everybody, today I have a special guests from the other side of the world. I have Rania Badr El Din. And she is going to tell us a little bit about herself and her story about her rising above the ashes and how she’s changed her life and made it better. So, thank you so much for joining me, Rania.

00:36

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Thank you. I’m really glad to be here.

00:38

TAMAR: Yeah. Awesome. I’m so happy that you were able to make this and make it on our different time zones. She’s remote, I’m remote. So, tell the listeners a little bit about yourself and where you are right now because I guess there’s a little bit of a climax there. They want to know.

01:02

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yes. So, I’m, I’m all the way in Cairo, Egypt. So yeah, that’s quite a distance. I’m Rania Badreldin, I’m a happiness consultant, an international speaker, an NLP and hypnosis master practitioner and coach, and I’m a social entrepreneur. And my passion is to help people across the globe live happier lives. So that’s what I do.

01:27

TAMAR: That’s so cool. So, tell us how did you get into something like that?

01:32

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Okay, yeah, there is quite a story there. So, actually, I’ve been a social entrepreneur, for 25 years. And by other people’s standards, I was a really successful entrepreneur, and my business wasn’t growing. But what people didn’t know is that there were many times when I didn’t feel I was good enough. And I would get depressed, I would get really anxious about what am I doing, I get frustrated. And during those times, I would sort of hide away, and not let anybody know that because I didn’t want to appear weak or anything. And the truth was that I wasn’t really fulfilled in that area of my life, my career. So, I’ve always had, thankfully, a wonderful family life and husband and kids and things were really good and other aspects of my life. But when it came to my career, successful look to other people, I just was never fulfilled. And it was only a few years ago, when actually I was training for my NLP and hypnosis certification that I made that really drastic interchange. Actually, that finally helped me find that happiness and that fulfillment that I was looking for so long and really couldn’t find. So that was really a major turning point in my life. And that was the turning point that led me to realize that this is what I want to do, I want to help other people sort of get that inner transformation that will allow them to change their outer world as well, because I really believe that that’s what it’s about. And so, I started learning a lot more about happiness as well. To add to my knowledge of NLP and hypnosis, I started learning about happiness in the Science of Happiness. And then just like one day, I decided, that’s what I want to do. I want to be a happiness consultant. So that’s what I do now as well, in addition to my business.

03:38

TAMAR: That’s very cool. So, what are you doing in that social entrepreneurship area?

03:43

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Okay, so yeah, I’m still doing that, actually. I just delegated a lot. But I must say, I’m the founder and CEO of Mother & Child,.  Mother & Child is a digital platform. It’s bilingual, Arabic and English. And it’s the digital platform that really helps parents on that journey of parenting, especially moms, but also dads, but everything from conception and pregnancy, just parenting through the years, and including topics like health and nutrition and married life. So, it’s really a huge platform of a lot of valuable information content, written by experts. And so that’s what I do. And also, part of my work is, I’m the head of a network called The Family Experts Network. And that network collaborates with UNICEF and the government actually on national parenting campaigns and policies and initiatives. So, we’re the technical consultants when it comes to that kind of work. So, it’s really fantastic and has very widespread impact. And actually, I’m really fulfilled now with my career. And I think the fulfillment comes from having also delegated a lot and freed myself to do things that I enjoy more. That’s what the change happened.

04:58

TAMAR: That’s great. Great. You’re just thinking in the way how much what it’s like in Cairo. But in America, for the most part, the trajectory to a career starts with school, college, you major in something, you might go to graduate school, and then you’re in the career that usually follows what you’ve studied in college. And that’s maybe the general the high level. But of course, there’s also school, maybe there’s trade school, and then there’s something that eventually your thing is very entrepreneurial driven. As you mentioned, you identify yourself as a social entrepreneur, I’m curious to learn from you. I think that there might be aspiring entrepreneurs here or someone who wants to go off the beaten path, which I think that you’ve done, what the trajectory is like for somebody like you, who’s done something that isn’t the typical path. Like, you can never ask a six year old what are you going to be when you grow up and have them say, oh, I want to start a website for mommy and child’s like, they’re never going to have that expectation. Because usually the standard stuff, I want to be a teacher. Some people will say, I want to be a mommy, I want to be a fireman, a policeman or I want to be a lawyer, which usually comes from the parent; I want to be a doctor, which also comes out of your computer programmer. Well, it comes from the kids, because I can tell you, my parents wanted me to be attorney and I ended up working in computer science in the beginning. And so, I’m kind of curious to know from you, how you got to working in social entrepreneurship and building a website and a presence to empower parents and focus on the parenting side, and how that path look like?

07:01

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yeah, that’s actually a really good question. And of course, as with everything, there’s a story behind that as well. And the story is that I ended up doing everything I said, I wasn’t going to do, basically. So, when I was 18, I was a smart aleck, and I was just graduating from school, and I was like, okay, I’m going to go to university. And when it comes to guys and marriage and all that stuff, I’m not interested at all. I’m going when I graduate and I establish a career, whatever that is, then I will think of the idea of getting married. And then I met my husband, so I was 18. And so, I kind of changed my mind. I’m really glad I did. I mean, this is 30 years later, and I’m really glad I made that choice. But at the time, it was like, okay, okay, guys, I know, I said I wasn’t going to get married or anything. But I met this great guy. And so, I got married, basically, I was in university. I mean, I didn’t get married in my first year or anything, but I got married, my son came a year I left university. And so, I said that I was just telling my friends, yeah, okay. I mean, I wanted to get married, but there’s no way I’m going to have kids. We’re going to wait at least three to five years before I even think about that. And then five months later, I was pregnant. And so, I was still in university. So, in my university graduation, I was actually walking up on stage five months pregnant. And that’s really where the story is. Because when I found out I was pregnant, I was not at all prepared, it was not something that I wanted at that time, it was not planned for. So, I was really scared. So, with that news of pregnancy came a lot of fear, just fear that I didn’t know what to expect that I was young. I was 21. Now, really the blessing here is that I found somebody who gives classes, antenatal classes, and that made all the difference. I started attending the classes, and I started learning. And I really transformed. So, by the end of my pregnancy, I was a totally different person. I was no longer that scared person who didn’t know what to expect and didn’t realize what her own power is, and that I have choices. I was somebody who was feeling in control, at least of the things that I can control. I was excited. And I was really looking forward to having the baby so it was a complete transformation. And I didn’t realize that then but that would be the spark towards the rest of my career because what happened was such a huge change happened within me, and it just made me realize I want to be able to help other women as well. I want them, if they are feeling negative feeling or just changes or just uncertainty, I want to be able to help them because having information, having knowledge has really helped me and somehow I realized, this is something exciting, I became very passionate about it. I found myself talking about it just like dinners or just out with friends, somebody would say something that’s like a misconception, like, oh, I just want to have a chat with them and see if they have information about Syrian natural birth, or where did they make that decision from? Is it an informed decision or not? So, I found myself with more and more interested in that subject, sharing that knowledge. And that idea came in my head. One day, I was like, wait a minute, what if I start a magazine? At the time it was a printed magazine. Of course, it’s a website now. But it was just a printed magazine in 1995. Actually, I was like, why don’t I start a magazine that’ll actually equipped moms with valuable, accurate information that will really help them all along really beautiful and challenging journey of motherhood. And once the idea came into my mind, there was no stopping. I just realized that this is what I want to do. And so, I was just running after that, just doing it. Now, I was a business major. And that really helped. So, I didn’t have the first clue about magazine, but I did at least have sort of a business knowledge. And then that was the starting point for that.

11:22

TAMAR: Wow. Yeah. It’s interesting to really hear about how people start their journeys. And they come from these places where you really can identify with the challenge that you faced to help other people grow from an opportunity of necessity. So, for example, you felt and a lot of women are pregnant in the world, obviously, there’s an opportunity to help them from the experiences that you had, and you didn’t expect that. And I would say my journey is similar in the sense that, I’m not going to elaborate too much on myself here, but I, I am a tech nerd. And I had depression. And the thing that took me out of depression, after seeing a psychiatrist for twice a week, was four to six medications depending on the time, the extreme of the depression I was going through. And the thing that took me out of depression wasn’t anything that I guess, is medically proven to help like seeing a psychiatrist who is operating in the capacity of a psychotherapist and a psychologist, and the medication, which is stuff that is FDA approved. That’s why it happens in the US, it’s FDA approved. And since the Food and Drug Administration says that this is the stuff that you need to take or you should be taking for depression,  I think that helped me was something that was far more accessible. You don’t need a prescription for it, it was fragrance. And it helps me so substantially, that while I can’t make medical claims for the ability to help other people, I said, I was able to rise above the ashes from this unlikely products. And I believe that I need to create a brand with the ability to help other people become happy through their experiences with fragrance. So, I will be launching my own brand soon with that story.

13:19

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Oh, wow. That’s so lovely.

13:21

TAMAR: Yeah.

13:22

RANIA BADR EL DIN: I wonder if I could ever get a hold of those fragrances here in Egypt?

13:28

TAMAR: Oh, well, I hope in due time. In fact, I’ll talk to you if you have any connections in Egypt. I’ll be more than happy to get it on the shelves there. That’s the plan I want. I want to go far and wide. I went out. Yeah, we’ll see.

13:41

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Cool. I love it.

13:43

TAMAR: Yeah. Awesome. But yeah, that’s amazing that you were able to do that. And I mean, you saw an opportunity creating a magazine, going to print and having your business experience, allow for you to kind of, I guess you did a lot of it yourself. You thought we learned some stuff in school, but it was a lot of self-teaching, you had to kind of figure it all out on your own.

14:09

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Definitely, I had a lot to learn. Like I said, I didn’t know what to do. But I got some good people on board pretty fast. And I learned really fast. And what drove me was that sense of purpose of why am I doing this. And if that’s what I would recommend to other entrepreneurs, you really need to have a reason to have a way to have a purpose of why this is important to you. And that’s what’s going to be driving you forward. And I think the biggest lesson, now looking backwards, I could have told my 21 year old self is you really don’t have to do everything alone. And you really don’t have to be running all the time. And that’s what’s changed for me now, that I was just running, running, running. I was overworking myself; I was pushing myself really hard and that’s not necessary. The smartest way to do things, I was trying to do everything alone. Yeah, I had a team, but I was sort of still trying to do everything alone. And that’s what changed now. In fact, let me give you a little analogy. Because it wasn’t my mind when I was talking about how passionate I am, I used to describe myself, as running in front of a train, I used to tell people that when I got the idea of doing this magazine, it was like, there was a train pushing me and I’m writing in front of it. And, I just run and I run, sometimes I get out of breath. And I remember once actually telling people that sometimes I just wish that the train would just run over me and get it over with because I’m exhausted. And I was saying that as a joke. But later on, I realized, oh, my goodness, that’s really unhealthy way of looking at things. Why am I running in front of a train, and I realized what I need to do is get up, get out in front of the train, and actually go and sit inside the train. It’s my favorite CDs on the train, bring people on board with me, and then start enjoying the journey. Let’s decide where we want to go. And let’s go together, let’s make it literally kind of beautiful journey with really nice reviews along the way, why in the world am I running. And that’s what I did for 20 something years, I was running out of breath, often frustrated, and also making huge achievements as well. But they were at the expense of my sort of overall well-being. And that’s the biggest change that I finally had a few years ago, that I’m now actually even more productive with my social enterprise, I now have this side thing that I do being a happiness consultant. I have far more abundance in terms of time and money, and certainly better overall wellbeing. And all of that was just actually because we’re doing the inner work. So that’s, of course, when I talk about hypnosis, talk about working on my limiting beliefs, working on unresolved emotions, that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about, that actually turned out to be my biggest problem. The biggest problem was not some maybe devastating story of something that actually happened to me or an illness or something. But it was actually me happening to me, it was me limiting myself with some beliefs that I had, of what I have to do or what I should do. Now I realize it’s so much simpler than that, what do I want to do. And now I just approach life in a way totally different. I just wake up and do the things that bring me joy, that I love doing and that also other people will benefit from, but I prioritize myself now. And I wasn’t doing that before. And that’s also a big message I’d like to share with entrepreneurs or anybody that let’s really value ourselves, let’s really learn to feel that we are good enough, exactly as we are right now, and learn to love ourselves. If we let that be the starting point, then that love really does spread to other people all around us and worldwide to all of humanity actually. And then if we approach life with that same spirit of love, then we just wake up and we do what we love. And then finally, one of the things I also like to share is to not be attached to the outcomes, so that we are able to adapt to whatever comes our way. Not being so attached to or expecting a particular outcome, otherwise, I’m going to be upset. Of course, we sometimes can get disappointed. But when we look at every outcome as a learning experience, then we just move forward with that in a positive way, life really becomes a lot easier, a lot more beautiful place to be as well.

18:41

TAMAR: Well, I like that train analogy a lot. I think that anybody who really considers themselves a hustler, I’ve used the phrase professional hustler since before everybody used to consider it a hustle  when the word hustler had a negative connotations. Let’s put it that way. And even though I loved what I was doing, there was definitely this case of burnout. Eventually, I didn’t realize it at the time. But eventually it just catches up with you. Even if you absolutely love what you’re doing, you can do it anytime you have the flexibility to do it at home or whatever, there is eventually a time where it will catch up with you, no matter who you are, especially me who used to say I love to work. I mean, that was working as part of my identity. So, to be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride be especially not being afraid of delegating. I think a lot of us, especially in New York context that we were kind of doing it all, but eventually when you give other people the chance to kind of assert control, even though giving up control can be so tremendously difficult, is deeply empowering for you and freeing so that you don’t feel like you just can’t handle it anymore and you’re just going at 80 miles an hour, and you shouldn’t have to.

20:04

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And that that’s definitely one of my biggest learnings in the last few years. Plus, if you think about it, the reason I wasn’t delegating is because I thought that I was better than everybody else, I’m going to do a better job, who says that’s the case. And who says that they may not even actually come up with better ideas if I give them a chance. And that’s what happened when I started to delegate more and give people a chance. Now, it takes a little bit of courage in the beginning, because it’s not your fault, your ego sort of standing in the way, but the bottom line is, you need to let go of the idea that everything has to be done 100%. So that’s probably why I was getting my nose into everything, because I wanted to do it my way, because I was sure of what that was going to be like. But what if I allowed for 85%? But it gets done? And then what if actually, I started learning from them things that I wouldn’t have even done that way that are even better. And that’s what started to change. And like you said, it’s liberating, it frees you up. Of course, if there are things that you enjoy doing, yeah, great, keep doing those. But if there are things that you don’t really enjoy doing, that perhaps somebody else could do even better. This is where the delegating can really come in, the things that are either time consuming, or just not enjoyable. And what’s the point of us not doing things that we enjoy? I mean, I think sometimes there’s a fear of, yeah, come on, seriously, I’m just going to wake up and do things I enjoy. That’s not realistic. Life isn’t like that. But who says it can’t be like that, we were fed a lot of things, we’re told a lot of things throughout our lives, but not all of them are true. So, that’s the idea that I was raised, kind of, because I had an American also education. So, it was always in my mind the idea of no pain, no gain. You have to be always, you fighting and running. And so, I kind of bought into that. And so even though I wasn’t satisfied with my career because I was exhausted, I kind of felt like, that’s how it’s supposed to be. And I kind of felt like, maybe if my career was going really well, that something else in my life would go wrong. So, I kind of believe, like, I can’t have it all. So let me just settle for this. But that’s not true. Who says that’s true, like, who says that I cannot be satisfied in all areas of my life. And I cannot dare to dream of that. And so that’s, what changed. That’s what I there to do is actually visualize my happy career as well. And visualizing my life in general. I mean, I always advise my clients to do that, close your eyes, and really imagine yourself, whatever, a year to five years from now. Really imagine your life being as close to perfect as it can be. There’s no perfection, but what is it like, when your life is just wonderful? What is it like at work? What is it like, at home? Who are you with? Where are you going, what are you doing, and really visualizing, because the beauty of the unconscious mind is that it can’t really differentiate between what’s real and what’s imaginary. So, if the mind can see it, it can believe it. And you can achieve it, if you see what I mean. So, and that’s wonderful. And that’s how I was able to achieve actually big leaps in the last few years. I mean, when I imagined myself wanting to be a happiness consultant, and I close my eyes, and I imagined that the first thing I imagined was I’m somewhere overseas, I’m in a beautiful place, with people from all over the world around me, and I’m giving a talk about happiness. That’s what I imagined. And a few months later, I was at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. And I was giving a talk about happiness as part of their conference called Gross Global Happiness. And I did that not only of course, because I imagined that I obviously took actions as well. But when you imagine things, and then you start taking actions towards them, you really can achieve so much more than you ever, ever dreamed of. Really. Yeah. And I’ve finally been able to experience that myself. So that’s sort of the learning that I want to share.

24:03

TAMAR: So, I would say just in terms of like delegating, it’s really interesting, because yeah, giving up control, there is definitely the struggle, like you said, maybe you’ll get 85%. But you don’t necessarily have to. I was always afraid to give up control until very recently. I realized I can’t do it all on my own, I will not be successful if I am going to be a one woman shop. And  it took me a while to find the right people, but finding the right people means that you’re not the smartest person in the room anymore. And that was a really like eye opening for me. Now, it’s almost like, I know that there’s something that I’m very, very good at. I’m very good at writing. I’m very good at content, but yet I found someone who’s better than me. And it’s funny because when the tables turn, and all of a sudden you feel that I might not even be that, I almost don’t want to write the content anymore. I want my contact person forever. It’s really interesting to see that. And of course, yeah, for the most part, you’ll probably you won’t find these amazing people who are like the smartest people in the room. But yeah, being able to do that, to find somebody like that is so liberating, it is so freeing, it’s amazing to have that.

25:20

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yeah, it really isn’t. And the more that you’re kind of valuing yourself exactly as you are now, which I wasn’t, and now I am, the more that actually doesn’t matter anymore to be the smartest person I used to want to feel. Like, I was smart, I used to need validation from people around me, it doesn’t really matter anymore. Now I just toy, whatever that is. It’s not a label, and I don’t really care if somebody is 10 times better at something than I am, that’s perfectly fine with me now. So, it’s not intimidated by those things anymore, because I’m finally valuing myself exactly as I am. And that’s something. I think my problem with accepting myself or feeling good enough, is that in my mind, at the time, it meant that as though I’m good enough, which means that there’s no room for improvement. I’m not going to change. But that’s not true. What’s true is that we want to look at ourselves as good enough and still work in progress. So that at any given moment, we feel like we’re special, where Americans are good enough. And, of course, we’re always learning and growing. So, accepting ourselves doesn’t mean that we don’t want to improve ourselves, we don’t want to become a better version of ourselves, it just means that we accepted anything we’ve been or done up until this moment, that is sort of the best that we could do. And then we just learn from that we want to do next. And you become sort of, like you said, more humble and delegating more, realizing that it actually doesn’t matter. who’s good at what, what matters is, what value are we all creating sort of together, it becomes really nice, because you become much more collaborative, like the idea of competition is so far removed from my mind. I used to be competitive, and I used to sort of be cooperative. And now I’m just really collaborative. I mean, who does the work? Who doesn’t do the work? Doesn’t matter? What’s the final product that we’re putting out? There is a value to others, and we all feel part of something good, then great, so I totally agree with what you’re saying. And I think that’s a good lesson, sort of, possibly to help anybody else out there who’s thinking of starting up something for somebody else, whether you’re hiring somebody, or you’re partnering with somebody or whatever. I think it works better when you have people to bounce ideas off of as well. Entrepreneurship can really be a lonely road. And I was just alone on the road for so long. I think Yeah, I would definitely advise people to not be so alone, or at least have a mentor or a coach. Just know somebody.

28:07

TAMAR: Yeah, there’s a mindset, the abundance mindset and the scarcity mindset. And I also was super competitive for a very long time, and I would get jealous of people who were my peers who were selected for things over me where I felt like I was entitled to it. And I can’t even look back at that, it’s so foreign to me. I guess you grow the confidence to feel that there’s enough to go around for everyone. It doesn’t have to be that specific thing. There are other opportunities for you. Things change significantly, especially in my fragrance brand. I know that people who like my fragrances are going to like other fragrances. It’s not going to be I might be the one that everybody loves. I don’t even know if that’s a goal of mine. It’s funny, I can’t even say that’s my goal. It would be cool. Yeah, but I want people to like other ones. For me, it’s not about choosing mine over anything else. And when I’ve been building out my blog, I haven’t really even officially launched it.

29:20

TAMAR: But I have a couple of interviews. What is fragrance to you? And a few of my questions are what are your favorite fragrances? I know that they’re not going to recommend mine because I haven’t even launched yet. But even when they do, even if I have launched, and they do recommend the other, I don’t necessarily want to be the one that’s recommended because it’s not about that. It’s about sharing the love with other people. It’s about empowering other people to see opportunities everywhere. I’ve recently taken up running. And my goal when I run is simply to finish, it’s not to win. And it’s funny because I ran three 5K’s last year, which is like nothing compared to a lot of the other runners out there. And my husband decided to join me for the third one, he ran faster than me. And I’ve been training for like a year already. So, I wouldn’t even say it’s unfortunate. I mean, it’s fine. It’s not again, I’m not intending to finish first, I’m not intending to finish second, I’m not intending to finish his speed. But, he’s always like, I want to win. And I’m like, why you haven’t trained, you’re not doing anything. It’s running 5K’s is not about running to win. It’s about running to finish. It’s about making sure you have a sense of accomplishment. It’s all about surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are equally awesome because we’re all doing this together. And you don’t have to be first, second or third. But everybody should get a medal. That’s the only philosophy I have. Everybody should get a medal. Unfortunately, in 5K’s nobody gets medals. So that’s  the only downside. But that’s that, for me. That’s the way I see it. It’s about giving, spreading the wealth and making sure everybody can be happy in whatever way they can.

31:05

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yeah, exactly. I totally agree. I also didn’t really have that abundance mindset before. I certainly do now. And I agree 100%. I mean, once I started realizing, hey, there’s enough for everybody. So, we’re not competing over it. Like you I stopped being jealous of anything. Because if somebody else is doing something similar, great. Let’s have more people doing similar work. There’s more students for every teacher, there’s enough for everybody. So, we’re not fighting over it. And yeah, things really to change when you adopt this mindset. And actually, when I started adopting this abundance mindset, this is the first time I started making money. So, for 20 something years, I literally never made money. So, I was overworking myself, and I was doing a lot of good impact. I never made money. And I realized after 20 something years that it must be me. I mean, there must be looking this flow of money. And that was actually a limiting belief; I was actually afraid to make money. I actually felt like I shouldn’t make money in a world where people are starving. And then I shouldn’t make money out of helping people. So, I had a belief and certain limiting belief. And when I fixed that, sort of worked on that, everything changed. I realized that actually, there’s nothing wrong with making money out of helping people because by thinking that you shouldn’t make money helping people, that’s kind of saying that people who make money shouldn’t help people. What about it? What if the entire world was making money out of helping people, then we’d have an entire world of people helping people, right? So how can that be a bad thing. So, I totally changed my mindset, I finally started to adopt this belief of thinking of things in terms of abundance, and not always thinking that, well, I don’t have enough money for this, or I can’t afford that, I can’t do this. I stopped all that, I changed the thoughts in my head. And then everything started to change, actually. And I finally started to attract more abundance into my life, of money, but also of time. I also freed up a lot of time. I used to always say there’s not enough time, I need 25 hours in the day to get what I want. Now I’ve got plenty of time. And I get a lot more done in that time. So, it’s really about what you’re telling yourself. It’s really about what you’re feeding your mind. These daily affirmations are the things I don’t have, and sort of like, yeah, I can do this, and I have all the time I need for everything that’s important to me, I have all the money I need for everything that’s important to me. These are the kinds of affirmations that really get you forward. And I do want to comment about the running because it’s so funny. I’m a runner, so I was a runner, most of my life. I was cross country runner, throughout school and throughout university. And then I stopped running. I guess I was running at work, but I wasn’t running in real life. And then only a couple of years ago in a dream actually, I saw myself running in that dream. I hadn’t exercised for like 10 years. So, I was like really unfit. But in that dream, I saw myself successfully running five kilometers. And so, I started training. And for three months, I trained, trained, trained. I was using like an app on my mobile. And at the end of that period of time, I actually ran that five K. And it was exactly like I had done in that dream. I felt so strong, so powerful, so accomplished. And it turns out that I just needed to run that five K, just to feel those feelings like they were possible for me again, because I sort of convinced myself that I’m too old now and I’m not fit anymore. There’s no more running in me. When I ran that five game I got those feelings back. I actually didn’t really need to run much more after that day. Because somehow I guess that’s what I needed. I ran until I got out of it just the idea that I could do it. But it was fascinating. It’s so funny how you’re mentioning running in the game because that was a story that I had as well. But last few years.

35:10

TAMAR: Maybe you got to get back to it. I know it might be your closure, but I think you should continue.

35:15

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yeah, I might. To be honest, really, I worry a little bit about the impact on my knees, on my spinal cord, like the actual up and boundedness of it, if you see what I mean. I know walking is healthier. Just sort of pounding on your knees has kind of given me a little bit of bad news. But yeah, there is something special about that feeling. I think of just feeling fit. I really am if I’m not about my 2020 goals. I mean, fitness is really probably one of them now because now that I’ve sort of improved so much in my life, I think this is the one area that I have the biggest growth opportunity. And so yeah, maybe I’ll start doing that again.

35:57

TAMAR: Yeah, I had been running, I had sprinted as a kid. That was my thing. And then sprinting wasn’t a thing that adults did. And I realized that I was not able to sprint faster than a larger geography. Like I was a fastest runner in my school, I was the fastest runner in my camp. But when it came to one of these, like, the track meats, I was one of the slowest runners. So clearly, I was just lucky. I was very lucky. So, then I said to myself, well, it was about winning then. But when you evolve, and you sort of grow up into adulthood, the plan is to I guess everything shifts to cross country running, and really doing more long distance runs. And that, to me, sounded my college roommate, was like, she was always running these long distance runs. And to me, it just felt like I can never do that because I don’t know how to pace myself.

TAMAR: Then it’s difficult because your mind is always working as well.

37:12

TAMAR: Yeah. And mine is always expecting something different. But then I saw more and more people that I admired starting to run and in 2013, I remember walking to a colleague of mine who was about to run the New York City Marathon. And I said to her, one day I want to run. Can you inspire me because she was one of these people that I just really looked up to. And she was like, just do it. And that wasn’t until the end of 2018, that I actually had the guts to do it . I think also part of it was that 2013 desire, I was still depressed, I was going through postpartum depression, I didn’t even realize it and this fragrance thing saved my life. That was when I started realizing I can do these things. There’s no reason to have these mental barriers that were holding me back. So that was when I started doing it. So, the only parallel I’m going to say here is that you had this dream, and this was your reason to run. I mentioned this here and you have a story to share. Maybe my mentioning this here is another reason to run. So, think about bringing it back.

38:18

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yes, I actually will. And you might consider that annually; once a year we actually have marathon at the pyramids. So maybe one day, you can come and run that marathon.

38:32

TAMAR: Yeah, I thought about that. I actually saw some photos. I think it happened like a week or two ago.

38:37

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yes, exactly. Yeah. That’s true.

38:39

TAMAR: So, I would love to do it. Maybe I’m not quite there for any type of anything long distance longer than 5K, but I am thinking about a 10K and a half I entered in New York City Marathon, didn’t get in. So, I think that was a message that maybe I should slow it down. Maybe, it is time.

38:59

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Since we’re talking about running, I was just thinking if I was to run again now I think I would really do it differently because now I would really do it with the mindset of I want to enjoy the actual run.

TAMAR: Yes.

RANIA BADR EL DIN: I just want to enjoy breathing in and breathing out and feeling whatever my body’s feeling and just working through it. And, I can see myself actually doing that. And maybe that would be fulfilling for me.

39:25

TAMAR: Yeah. When I first started training, I really just wanted to train but I also ran faster than I could handle. And when I slowed it down, I started enjoying it a lot more. I hate the first mile. But   I got in my groove and beyond that first mile. Also, for me, the first mile is always uphill. So, I always hate the first mile. But once I’m done with that, it becomes a lot more enjoyable. And I really don’t know if I experienced the true runner’s high but I do experience true enjoyment of actually running.

39:56

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Now you get just sort of rhythm. Really, your mind have it.

TAMAR: Yeah.

RANIA BADR EL DIN: And there’s something you said that I want to talk about for a minute. “Just do it now” that slogan, really is something. I teach my one-on-one clients as well, when we’re talking about things that are important to us, but like we’re afraid to do. “Just do it” is really the slogan of course, we know, for a Nike logo. But it’s a wonderful way to just live. I mean, you want to do something, but you’re afraid. And people let fear stop them from doing things. But I always say “Just do it.” Because if it’s important to you, it’s meaningful to you, it’s okay. Fact is, that makes sense for you to be afraid. Sometimes people call it anxiety, or they’re like, oh, my God, no, I’m afraid I can’t do it. It’s of course, you are. If something’s important to us, that’s exciting, then of course, we’re going to feel some amount of fear. Otherwise, if we’re totally indifferent to it, then obviously, it’s not such a big deal, right. And so, I just remembered that, when you said, “just do it”  applies to running and applies to anything else. Of course, if there’s some amount of planning and homework, no background homework to be done, of course, yeah, sure, go ahead and do it. But otherwise, sometimes we just need to jump into things and just do them and then even mess up and then learn from that, and then mess up again, and learn from that. But we’re really moving forward in the direction of what we want. That’s just something I want to mention. Because I really think it’s a really good slogan for life as well.

41:35

TAMAR: Yeah, I’ve definitely embraced a lot and overcame fears. And I totally agree that “just do it” really embodies the way everybody should overcome anything that’s kind of getting in their way, push yourself, because you’ll realize that it’s not as difficult as it seems. And your fear of starting is really a lot worse than actually doing it.

41:59

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yeah, exactly. And then also everything is going to be the hardest the first time you do it. So, the first time you do anything the hardest and scariest will never be, and then it just gets easier and easier from there. And then that’s exactly how you get good at things. And I know, we’ve heard this 1000 times, going out of your comfort zone, but it’s actually true, because you do something that’s scary and uncomfortable. But then you do it once or twice and you get used to it, becomes easy, so then your comfort zone has just gotten bigger. So, you do the next thing that’s kind of scary and uncomfortable. And then your comfort zone gets bigger and bigger and wider and wider. And that’s really where the growth is. And it’s just wonderful. You feel very accomplished when you’re sort of expanding yourself and your world in that way.

42:42

TAMAR: Yeah. Yeah. So, in your context of happiness coaching, do you have any, maybe a couple of pointers that you might want to suggest to listeners in terms of how to maybe embrace their inner happiness?

42:59

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yeah, well, yeah. I like to think people can actually do sort of a love exercise. Because I think self-love is really an important beginning for that journey. And knowing, accepting and loving yourself. Many of us, because of how our brains are wired, because the first six years of life you just sort of like a sponge, your brain just absorbs everything around you. So, if you have one teacher or just a parent who was like in a particularly bad mood that day, if somebody tells you that you aren’t good enough at something, or that you’re lazy, or slow, or whatever, your mind actually believes that. And then you form that belief, you form certain behaviors and a certain pattern of thinking, and you sort of continue with that for the rest of your life. And so, a lot of people, many of us, the little child inside the house still thinks that it’s not good enough, it’s not really fully accepting of itself. And we’re not really in tune and really knowing ourselves. So, I think that the most important starting point is to really get quiet enough with ourselves. And that’s where things like meditation, mindfulness, meditation, come in, like just being quiet, being able to sit still, and close your eyes and breathe, and actually accept all the noise that’s going on in there, if there is, accept them all, accept all those thoughts, all those emotions, all those feelings. And the more you start to accept them all, the more you’re able to start letting go of things. And the more eventually your mind becomes a quieter, more beautiful place to live. And that’s really where we’re living in the hand, where we’re all really in our head. I mean, everything out there is really also just in our head, we’re just interpreting it through our senses. So, when we work on our inner self, and we will really learn to accept that first. That is the starting point towards change and towards self-love. And then, like I said, expanding that to everybody around us. So, things like forgiveness, things like many happiness practices like writing yourself a self-compassionate letter, practices like gratitude, just to keep you sort of aware of what is good instead of just what isn’t good. So those are some things that I would think are important. And when we start to really get to know ourselves, then I think the next thing is to start unapologetically expressing ourselves and unapologetically being ourselves. and not being afraid to just put ourselves out there the way we are, and let people adapt to that instead of vice versa. Because we tend to maybe adapt to people around us. And while they can adapt to us, and that’s so using your voice and communicating openly and honestly, maybe things like setting boundaries, these are all important things that I work with people on as well checking in with their emotions. Now, emotions  are important, and so called negative emotions are also part of our emotional needs. I mean, actually there’s a term called Emo-Diversity. And as it turns out, the happiest people are not the ones who feel good all the time. They’re the ones who have Emo-Diversity, which is they are able to process and experience a very wide array of emotions, and not only the positive ones. So, they’re able to process though the negative emotions in a healthy manner and also to cultivate the positive emotions. So, this is something else that I would think is really important. And then maybe finally, just aligning your actions as well, with who you truly are, what you want to do with your life, visualizing that life first, and then taking steps towards it. So, I think those would be the most important things I would share.

46:56

TAMAR: Awesome. I love it. Yeah. So, I realized that we’ve been talking a lot, which is some amazing stuff, amazing stories, amazing information, amazing insights into insight, I guess, how to become better versions of ourselves. If there was one thing, just to kind of to wrap up, there was one piece of advice that you can tell your earlier self, what would you tell her?

47:23

RANIA BADR EL DIN:  Good one. Well, I think it’ll go back again, to loving yourself. Because that’s my biggest thing that I wasn’t doing. I just had believed too much of what I had experienced, or was told around me, that really made me feel like I’m not just good enough as a person, and that I have to prove myself to other people, or even to myself . I mean, we have nothing to prove. We’re good enough. Just exactly. We’re just awesome, exactly the way we are. We were born in America, and we still are. And that’s not something that I really knew. And it’s not like a particular person’s fault or anything like that. It’s just I don’t know where I picked it up from but I ended up believing it until I was 47. And so yeah, it was really lovely to actually go on that self-love journey. And from there, everything changed. So, I think that’s what I would tell myself, you are good enough, exactly the way you are.

48:18

TAMAR: Yeah, I think our younger selves never believe it, though. Our younger selves are loved by our parents, we don’t realize that we should love ourselves or adolescent selves, are kind of at odds with everybody around us, or 20 something cells are trying to find ourselves or 30 something selves are still kind of in that trajectory of trying to figure out what’s happening with ourselves. And for some people, it might take a crisis, but it really doesn’t happen until like your 30s and your 40s that you realize that you’re not on this earth, just go through the motions and die, and that’s it. You’re on this earth to contribute and to grow and to help others.

49:00

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yeah, you have to enjoy it. Enjoy the journey. For me, my parents  were loving parents, and I  didn’t get this from them that they weren’t loving and supportive. But I got I guess, things like bullying at school. The other day, I just got it from somewhere. I mean, it’s no wonder because like I said, the first six years are the imprint stage. So, the brainwaves aren’t developed, they’re only the there’s a set of brainwaves. They’re called theta brainwaves that actually are sponge like. So, it doesn’t take a lot for us to believe that we’re not good enough because we get these messages. I mean, from around us, even the school system, just the fact that it does the grading system kind of tells you indirectly that somebody else is better than you maybe because they got an A and you got a B or a C. So, I think that’s where we get that from and that’s something that I make sure. I mean, I have three kids and actually I’m a grandmother now. I just became a grandmother.

TAMAR: Wow.

RANIA BADR EL DIN:  So, I should just put a lot of love and make sure that my kids know from an early age, they don’t need to wait until they’re 47 that they are good enough exactly as they are. And even if exactly as they are is not something that I imagined for them. That’s perfectly fine as well and I make sure to instill that and then just decide what you want. Value yourself, and then I’m there to support whatever that is.

50:19

TAMAR: Right. Yeah, I think what you’re saying lot of it ties into the culture that we’ve been taught to abide by. But I think sometimes you just got to break through those invisible walls. I think that it’s important to kind of find our own way, even though it might be outside the norm of what we would have otherwise expected.

50:40

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Exactly. Yes. That’s right. Yeah. But like you said, it’s interesting that the term you use, they’re invisible walls. None of this is real. This is stuff that we just tell ourselves in our head.

50:52

TAMAR: It’s all perception. It’s all about, apparently, that this is what seems right. Like you said, when you’re an American, you’re an American institution. This is an American cultural thing. A lot of it goes far beyond just America. But it’s how we’ve kind of raised our families based on the way we’ve been raised and doesn’t need to be that way.

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yeah.

TAMAR: So, we need to really teach, we need to break the norms and figure out ways to empower our future generations to not to compare and to do things that make them happy. Because at the end of the day, it’s life. And we’re not here just to have a career and to do things, but to have a career and do things, do things that we love, but also nurture the next generation to do things that they love, while also making sure that we can survive and put food on the table.

51:45

RANIA BADR EL DIN: Yeah, yeah, that’s good.

51:48

TAMAR: Yeah. That might be the best way to put it. But anyhow, yeah. So, thank you so much, Rania. I really appreciate your taking the time to share everything and to get vulnerable with me a little bit. But there’s so much here, there’s a lot of happiness. And I’m going to be taking some practice and taking it back with me as well.

52:08

RANIA BADR EL DIN: So, thank you. I really enjoyed it. It was a lovely chat.

52:11

TAMAR: Yeah. Awesome. All right.

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TAMAR.