Have you ever wondered why some of the people in your life seem to have a blessed life? They always have such good luck, and always seem to be in the right place at the right time. It’s almost as if they must be walking around carrying an old horseshoe or a lucky charm while they are casually meeting the perfect partner, being awarded the cool project, and/or winning the ultimate job.
But, here is the secret…it’s not an accident. It’s not fate or luck. Some people enjoy consistent success because they know what it takes to make great opportunities happen.
In this week’s Carolyn Talks, I spoke to Farhan Mohamed. I had the pleasure of teaching Farhan in several university business classes at Capilano University.
Farhan was one of those students I never forgot. There are not too many university students of his calibre. He was one of the most passionate and determined students I have ever had the pleasure to work with.
Fast forward five years, Farhan has successfully become the editor-in-chief and partner of the Daily Hive, a leading digital publication with a hyper-local focus, dedicated to connecting their native readers to their local cities. His determination and passion have not wavered and he continues to impress me with his sense of maturity, wisdom, and work ethic, well beyond his years.
So, in today’s episode, he discusses an idea that started in a basement and has now evolved into the Daily Hive, provides tips on how to create your own opportunities, and discusses the importance of emotional intelligence and how it helped him with his recent career success.
Farhan: We’ve known each other for five years you can’t even say my name. Great.
Carolyn: I told you.
Hey there. It’s Carolyn Stern and welcome to Carolyn Talks, the channel to watch if you want to get unstuck, maximize your potential, and achieve more. Today I’m here with Farhan Mohamed, the editor-in-chief, and partner of originally the Vancity Buzz and now the Daily Hive.
Farhan, thank you so much for being here.
Farhan: Absolutely. It’s my pleasure to see you after many years of being in your class.
Carolyn: Farhan and I knew each other from university about five years ago. Farhan, tell me a little bit about what the Daily Hive is.
Farhan: Daily Hive is the evolution of Vancity Buzz, which was started in 2008 by a couple of friends in their South Vancouver basement, so it’s really a basement story. It’s grown since then. We covered everything from food to events, news, lifestyle, business, sports. Everything in the city, you name it, we covered it. We grew from there in 2015. We expanded into Calgary and just this past June 2016, we launched Daily Hive in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.
Carolyn: This shows all about emotional intelligence. My first question to you is how has emotional intelligence helped you with the success of your business?
Farhan: It definitely taught a lot about myself and some things that I’ve learned is that you need to hustle, you need to grind. You’re going to be so tired, so exhausted and that’s when you need to be at your best. That’s when you really have to find whatever it is inside if you and just be your best bring it out because that’s the time when most people fail. That’s what I’ve learned a lot is those times that I’m struggling those times when I feel like I want to quit and I’ve had many of those times that I need to be better, I need to bring myself to be better. I need to show everyone that, not show that struggle that I’m feeling.
Carolyn: Right. Let’s talk about your past personal struggle. Can you talk about something that you’ve struggled with and how learning about using the information your emotions provide to act appropriately helped you? How has emotional intelligence helped you?
Farhan: Recently, I went through this. I was having a struggle with myself where I was questioning what my purpose is. We built Vancity Buzz, now Daily Hive, to a point that we have millions of followers, we have millions of followers, and across Vancouver, across the country. I started questioning, “What exactly am I doing here? What are we doing as a company?” We tell stories and we tell some really cool stories but now what? What’s that next step? We’ve evolved. We’ve created something really cool and I was really struggling with that.
It was something I kept asking myself for weeks on end that what exactly am I doing and finally I discovered that this was my calling. I had to have to figure out a way to use what we had built because success isn’t something that’s just built overnight. A lot of people say, “You guys have made it,” and in my eyes, we still haven’t. We’re not there yet right now. We’re maybe step two of 100 and slowly we’re getting there. It’s taught me a lot that and I question in figuring out my purpose is that you need to build something in order to now see what the next step is, what you can actually do with it.
Carolyn: Right. In emotional intelligence, just to tie it back, one of the competencies is self-actualization, which is finding your meaning and purpose and doing what you were meant to do. What were you meant to do?
Farhan: That’s a funny question because people ask, “If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?” I said, “I have no idea.” I have always wanted to help people. I have always wanted to build communities. I drive around, I walk around, and I see people that are in poverty. I see people that they’re really struggling in life. To me, I look at that saying, “I’m so fortunate to have what I have. Why are they feeling that way? Why are they living like that?”
I’m working and volunteering with a lot of organizations and one particularly that does work in Africa and Asia and it’s all about poverty. It’s all about bringing people out of poverty. For me, whether it’s local, whether it’s global, my whole thing is how do we give people a better life? Because really we are lucky to be where we are today. We’re in Canada, one of the best countries in the world. Other people are on the other side of the world struggling. Why aren’t we doing anything for them?
Carolyn: Tell me what you feel that you didn’t learn in school? What advice would you give our viewers what they should learn and take into the workplace?
Farhan: The one thing that school didn’t teach me was how hard life is actually going to be. There was one day. It was December 2014 and I had a couple of colleagues. At that time, we had four people full-time, four or five, and two of them had gone on holidays. It was all me on my own. I was sitting on my bed and I started crying. I didn’t know why but I just started crying. I was so tired. I was so exhausted. There was so much to do and it hit me at that point that why don’t I just quit? What the hell am I doing right now? [inaudible 00:05:31] killing myself. I’m feeling like I’m at my worst.
That was the time that I said to myself, “If you don’t do this if you don’t put in the time if you don’t put in the effort, you’re never going to make anything in life. Nothing’s gonna be handed to you on a silver platter.” This job for me was one that I created for myself. I created this position. I created everything that I’ve got in and so the one thing that school doesn’t teach is that you need to continually try harder. Even when you think that you’re working hard enough, you’re not. When you think that things are becoming easy for you, you’re not trying hard enough and that struggle to just make it is the hardest thing.
School doesn’t teach you that. It doesn’t teach you that we kept pulling an all-nighter to study. That’s just the first step of it. This is like every single day of your life is going to be like that. You need to be working harder. You need to be putting in the hours. Otherwise, you’re not going to make it anywhere.
Carolyn: Right, so persistence. Is persistence something that you expect in a workplace?
Farhan: Yes, 100%. I think we all, as business owners, expect that from our staff and our colleagues and team members but it’s the one thing that I struggle with the most. In the beginning and this goes back a year ago when we started adding more people on is thinking that everyone is going to be like you and everyone wants to be managed the same way, communicated with the same way, everything the same way as you would. That is definitely not the case and that’s the one thing that nobody taught me. It was something that I had to learn. After getting lots of feedback, it was that “I don’t like the way that you manage me,” and so, “Go. Well, thanks for telling me.”
Now that I know, I have to change the way and change my styles but understanding that what you do and how you communicate with everyone, it has to be different. Not everyone is going to be as persistent, as hard-working, as driven as you are. Trying to get that out of people is something that’s difficult. Trying to understand what it is that they want is difficult because no one wants the same things. No one wants what you want either, so it’s become difficult and that’s the one thing that I’ve struggled with the most.
Carolyn: How do you find out what motivates your employees?
Farhan: You really have to ask them and that’s it. Ask them. Some people are motivated by money. Some people are motivated by so many different things.
Carolyn: Power, status, education. Absolutely. Every time we have an interview, we ask our guest to share a golden nugget. What that golden nugget is is that it’s a daily inspirational quote. Today, I’d like to share Farhan’s golden nugget. Farhan, would you share your golden nugget?
Farhan: Yeah, totally. It’s from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, a movie with Will Smith. It’s the one thing that stuck with me for many, many, many years and the one thing that I realize in hindsight, this is what drove me to where I am today and what continues to drive me. He said, “Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. If you have a dream, you have to go and get it. When people can’t do something themselves, they’re gonna tell you that you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”
That has stuck with me. If you want something, just go get it, whatever it is that you want. If you want a job, if you want a girlfriend or boyfriend, like anything in life, just go get it. I think people forget that. They think that I’m coming out of school, someone’s going to hand me a job. I’m volunteering for something, therefore, another opportunity is going to come. All these different things is just people are expecting it. Instead, go get it. It’s sitting there for you.
Even with me, how I got here today, I created it for myself. I created a job for myself and everything I tell every new staff member that comes on is, “I’ll create every opportunity for you. It’s up to you if you want it. It’s all sitting there, anything in the world. If you want to travel the world, go for it. If you want to take time off, go for it. Whatever you want, do it. I think that’s what people forget and that’s another thing school doesn’t teach you.
Carolyn: That’s all what emotional intelligence all about, which is about teaching people to take initiative on the job, for instance. That’s fabulous. Thanks so much for being here today. It’s so great to see you again.
Farhan: Absolutely. It’s been a pleasure to be on your show.
Now the question for you: What is it that’s keeping you stuck from achieving what you want?
Leave a comment below and I’ll see you at the next Carolyn Talks.