Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast business coaching podcast with Raf Adams
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Introducing Raf Adams
Raf Adams is todays guest on Join Up Dots business coaching podcast.
He is a man with a fascinating and somewhat intriguing branding of “The Suited Monk”
Now if you are thinking “I can’t remember the last time I saw a monk in a suit?” then let me explain more.
How many times have you realised that you are living a life that is expected of you.
The kind of life that was always on the cards due to your surroundings, parents, friends and a myriad of other outside influences.
Well our guest today was considered to be successful in the corporate world at a young age by colleagues, friends and family.
However, his personal life was anything but successful.
He was deeply unhappy in his job, he was struggling to find a sense of purpose and meaning, and wanted more than anything to find happiness in his work and life environment.
Modern society exerts a constant, subtle pressure to conform to the expectations of others, and to seek a version of success that is acceptable to the people around us but that does not necessarily meet our own most heartfelt needs and desires.
Even if we manage to reach certain goals, the happiness they bring us rarely lasts long.
Because they aren’t truly what we want.
How The Dots Joined Up For Raf
How depressing is that…but so real to all of us too.
So he did something about getting rid of this feeling, and got off the path that he was on and now spends most of his time speaking and teaching on the subject of authenticity in life.
Finding the suited monk in all of us, where we can join our intuition, happiness, love, purpose, and life force (which is your inner Monk) with the external world of success and achievement (represented by the Suit you wear).
Once you do that he believes that you will be able to close the gap and tap into the vast abundance that exists within you, both in your professional life and personal relationships.
Wow, that sounds good doesn’t it.
So, how did he come up with the Monk aspect of this concept?
And what did his family say when she said “Guys, I need to go out and do my own thing!”
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Raf Adams.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics as:
How he felt the stress and issues just fall away when the plane he was on first left the ground and set off for China, heading for a new life. He knew it was the right place to go instantly.
How there is nothing more rewarding in life than receiving an email from someone telling you that you have made a positive in their lives.
H recalls how his life changed massively back in 2008, when his company decided that he wasn’t what they wanted, and he realised that he had ben sabotaging his work due to his unhappiness.
How he no longer has goals anymore,e but he does have dreams, and feels that the flexibility of dream chasing will lead to massive success.
Find the people that can do the things that you can’t do, and that you dont like doing, as soon as you can in your life, which will free up your true potential.
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Audio Transcription For Raf Adams Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK David Ralph
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello everybody and welcome to another fun filled packed, motivational, inspirational conversational chat. Sounded like the Muppet Show that that beginning, but I can never get over that. If you listen to yesterday’s show, you would have heard the amazing jack Canfield, and today we have got a man is equally amazing. So you’re in good company. This is a good week of shows that we’ve got on because he’s a man with a fascinating and somewhat intriguing branding of the suited monk. Now, if you’re thinking I can’t remember the last time I saw a monk in a suit, and let me explain more. How many times have you realize that you’re living a life that is expected of you the kind of life that was always on the cards due to your surroundings, parents, friends, and a myriad of other outside influences? Well, our guest today was considered to be successful in the corporate world at a young age by colleagues, friends and family. However, his personal life was anything but he was deeply unhappy in his job, he was struggling to find a sense of purpose and meaning, and wanted more than anything to find happiness in his work and life environment. Now, modern society exists a constant subtle pressure to conform to the expectation of others, and to seek a version of success that is acceptable to the people around us. But that’s not necessarily meet our own most heartfelt needs and desires. And we’ve all felt that I’m sure we have. Now even if we manage to reach certain goals, the happiness they bring us rarely last long, because they’re not truly what we want. It’s what other people want. Now, how depressing is that, but so real to all of us. So he did something about getting rid of this feeling and got off the path that he was on, and now spends most of his time speaking and teaching on this subject of authenticity in life. Now, finding the suited monk in all of us where we can join our intuition, happiness, love purpose, and life balls, which is your inner monk, with the external world of success and achievement represented by the suit you were fascinating stuff. Now, once you do that, he believes that you’ll be able to close the gap and tap into the vast abundance that exists within you, both in your professional life and personal relationships. What sounds good in it. So how did he come up with the mic aspect of this concept? And what did his family say? When he said, Guys, I need to go out and do my own thing? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show, to start join up dots with the one and only Mr. Adams, how are you?
Raf Adams [2:45]
Thank you. I’m very well, thanks. I’m glad to be on the show. Today
David Ralph [2:49]
is a lovely to have you and you are I think officially my first Chinese person. Now you’re not obviously Chinese. But we’re speaking directly to Shanghai which you astonishes me. You are in the world of Shanghai, you’re in? You’re in China.
Raf Adams [3:05]
That is correct. I’m not Chinese yet. I’m originally from Belgium. But I’ve been living in China for nine years now.
David Ralph [3:11]
What why? why China? I’m sure it’s a lovely place. And I’ve actually sort of dabbled there myself on a holiday. But what why has a Belgian person being lured over to to China?
Raf Adams [3:24]
Well, it if you would have told me like 10 years ago, 15 years ago Ralph you’re going to go to China and you’re going to set up your own business, I would say you’re you’re absolutely crazy. But I think it’s it’s the life journey that sometimes can take changed strange twists and turns and bring it to different places it it basically started when I grew up in Belgium with a similar story like you David which is that I was actually unhappy with the environment that I was living in, I was unhappy about, you know, when I went to school, I was struggling with myself. My first job was a job in in shipping and logistics. And I had to believe for or a thought that if you if you become successful in business, that’s going to bring happiness, if you can, you know, have a nice house, good job title and a nice car that that’s going to bring happiness. And so I started my career Early on in in shipping and logistics. And at one day, the managing director from Hong Kong came to Belgium. And I had a chat with him. And I said, Listen, I want to work overseas. I’m interested to explore new possibilities and opportunities. And basically what I was saying is I actually want to get get away from Belgium because I’m unhappy. I don’t like my life there. As we was a strange coincidence that I met him and he said, Well, we’re actually looking for someone in South China to do to fulfill a sales role in the company. Why don’t you come over and have an interview with us. And it was, you know, it was mind blowing, because I never thought that I had the potential to become successful in in in a company. So I went to Brussels, I took the airplane. And the interesting thing was that the moment the airplane to cough, I felt a sense of relief. And I have felt all the pressure, Indian happiness, simply falling away. And somehow I knew that that China was the direction for me to go, even though I’ve never been to China before. So if I’ve been to China for one week, at the beginning, I had a job interview. And I got the contract. So I went back to Belgium and three months later I you know, pack my suitcase and I was on the way to China.
David Ralph [5:37]
And did you parents say RAF Ralph why China? why China? Why can’t you go to Germany or somewhere closer?
Raf Adams [5:45]
My parents have always been very supportive. They said all my crazy decisions that I’ve made in my life, they’ve they’ve always supported me. And they say if this is what you want to do, go ahead and will support you. And of course, it’s challenging for them because they see their son going to China but but they’re very happy for me that I’m able to live my dream and live a life true to myself, which was at that time not the case yet, because I was actually in a job that that I didn’t like, but I was in pursuit of external success. And that was the most important thing at that time in life
David Ralph [6:17]
is fascinating, though, isn’t it that we all kind of do this. And it’s not just a UK thing. It’s not a Belgium thing. It’s not an there is a global thing. But we kind of just don’t reflect on what we want from life. When we first go into employment, we just get a job. And we go into it. And more often than not, we might be in that job for five or 10 years before we think to ourselves. I don’t really like doing this. But we could kind of nip it in the bud couldn’t wait but actually being a bit more forward thinking when we leave University and leaving school about trying to do what we love in life.
Raf Adams [6:53]
Absolutely. And, and I think you know, the problem right now is that people only search for external success, because success determines how well you have done in life. But there are many examples of successful people who have actually even even you know, they become an alcoholic, or they’ve committed suicide because they they can’t take the pressure anymore, or they can’t live with the unhappiness or the or the gap that they have between the suit and the monk, the external solvent internal self. And I think it actually starts in our education system. Because when you go through school, what do you learn? You learn about knowledge, you learn education, you learn history, you learn mathematics, but what you don’t learn is about what is my true gift in life? What is my true purpose? How do I listen to my emotions? How do I listen to my intuitions? What are my values, so the only thing that we do is we actually nurture or develop the external self to suit but we actually have not nurtured or developed the monk, our heart, our true self. So when we get our first job, we usually search for external approval rather than what we really want within.
David Ralph [8:07]
I was talking to jack Canfield yesterday, as I said, in the introduction, like 10 name drop, if I can wrap and I was telling him about a guest, I had back on episode 292, who is a gentleman called Mike ferry, and he’s a teacher. And he’s a practicing teacher, who works in Virginia in the United States. And he has started bringing happiness and gratitude lessons into his classroom because he felt that kids weren’t motivated because they didn’t realize that the path to success actually starts women in within them. And it’s the being happy in yourself, actually helps you go on to find great things, where more often than not, as you’re saying with the monk, you think that by getting the things externally that is what will make you happy. And I was saying to Mr. Canfield, and he said, that is absolutely spot on. He said, so many of us think the outside things are nice house, the car, and all those kind of stuff as the kickstart to make her life wonderful. But actually, that feeling of wonder is actually in ourselves right from the very beginning. We just need to tap into it.
Raf Adams [9:13]
Absolutely. I mean, and and I think even some schools are doing a great job right now. But I think they’re still in the minority. And for example, what I can see in the Chinese education system, is that the Chinese usually sit with 40, or 50, or 60 people in a classroom. And the thing is, you don’t ask any questions. So in China, the teacher just tells you what to do. And don’t ask any questions. And you are rated by your performance. So you are rated by about how much you score in your test in mathematics, but there is no education or no creativity or allowing children to explore their inner self. So the Chinese education system and and also is built on based on success. And that’s what we call showing face. So it’s really important. For example, in China, the size of the car that you drive is how successful you are. So what you can see is that a lot of people living in small apartments, but they buy big cars, and they buy Louis Vuitton, because externally they seem successful. And that is something that slowly has to change. And I think for example, in the US, or in the UK, and even Australia, or in Europe drawer initiatives to help children to nurture their monkey and to find their inner self. And I think that’s also something that we have to bring to China. And I guess part of my life journey is actually help the Chinese to raise awareness about their true inner self. But then, of course, you’re you have a culture in China that that does not nurture the true self, but only looks at success in terms of parents and family, they want you to be successful. So I think there is some work to do there. And that that’s what I’ve been doing over the past five years. And I’m glad to see that jack Canfield and other people are, are supporting this and doing good for people in society.
David Ralph [10:58]
It’s funny, Rafa, when I started this show, I really thought I was going to be touching in on conversations with successful people who had built companies, they were swirling around in the big cars, and all that kind of stuff. But more often than not, I’ve tapped into people that are successful, because they are helping people. And it seems to be the value you bring to the world. The ability to solve other people’s problems is the true sense of worth and value nowadays, you feel good about yourself, other people feel good about themselves. And ultimately, you make a lot of money. It took me by surprise when I saw that this is the way that the world seems to be operating.
Raf Adams [11:39]
Yes, absolutely. And it’s true David I mean, there’s just nothing more rewarding if you get an email from let’s say, somebody you had on your show, and and they’ve told you how how much difference you’ve made in their lives. Or if people attend my workshop, and they write an email to me, and they say, Listen, I’ve made this change, and I’m so much happier. And there was nothing more rewarding that that that you can receive as a person. And you know, the money that you make is just an outcome of the purpose that you serve. And I think the most important thing is that you can actually enjoy your life journey, and the success will come. And even if the success doesn’t come, you’re still enjoying the journey. And I think that that’s one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned that it’s not about success, but it’s about doing what you love, and the success will follow. And I would say for example, in you know, if you do a job you love, and you come back home in the evening, for example, you’re you’re you’re working in the personal development field. In the evening, she will read books about personal development, in the weekend to connect with people who have a similar passion will have similar values. And and life becomes a journey life becomes a joy and it’s not work anymore. And I guess that that’s the beauty. And I wish that for everyone listening to the show that the are able to listen to their inner self, that they have an opportunity or a possibility to discover their monk and find their true journey.
David Ralph [13:09]
So So what was your inner monk when you went back in time and we spoke to the five or six or seven year old Ralph and you’re running around your garden in Belgium or whatever? What What would he have wanted to do with his life?
Raf Adams [13:23]
It’s It’s, it’s, it’s interesting. You mentioned that David because you know, if I recall, now, when I was six years old, and I was having dinner with my parents and my brother, we were sitting at the table, and I was the only one who is praying before the meal. And when I was six years old, I always had the idea that I wanted to become a priest. But of course, I’m too much of a bad boy. So I couldn’t really become a priest. So as I grew older, when I was 16 years old, and I started to get interested in the girls and the ladies, and I always was attracted to Asian women. And when I was 23rd, 23 years old, I had my first job. And I was working for the shipping and logistics company. And my boss was giving a presentation, and I was sitting in my chair and I thought like, wow, I actually want to be like that. I want to be a great speaker. But I never really took the time to listen to those voices. And actually, as you say, connect the dots. But now, when I look back on my journey, I’m not a priest, but what it teaches about the philosophy of life. So I teach in a way about what a priest does, but in a different way. My girlfriend today is Asian, and I’m speaking in public. So it’s like connecting all the dots from from the past. And I guess that that’s what we have to do, or, or let’s say that’s one way of, you know, finding out your true journey.
David Ralph [14:51]
Well, we end with the show. And we say it’s all about connecting our past to build our futures. And it’s the tagline of the whole show. But it is so true. It’s absolutely true that if you go back in time, and you really think about the things that you love doing as a little kid, and we talk about this all the time, that is such a big clue to what you should be doing with your life. That is where your passion is because there was no money involved was it it was just that you did because you love doing it. And I can trackback and I can join up my dots right back to the younger version. And I was doing similar things to what I’m doing now. It’s very much about communication, talking to people telling a story trying to inspire people. And so I can see a really strong connection to how I got here. But it’s the middle bit, isn’t it, it’s the middle bit that gets murky, and that’s the bit that you fell into. And that’s how I fell into it. Most people fell into, just get a job, look for something that’s going to pay the bills, and everything can take care of itself, but it doesn’t.
Raf Adams [15:51]
That’s right, and we lose, we lose track of who we really are. Because the parents say like, you know, you don’t dream too much. Or sometimes your team you can say to your friends can say don’t read too much. Be a realist, you know, get a good job, get a good education, and we forget our our inner self our dream. And I remember when I was when I came to China first time was in 2006, I was working still for the shipping company. And after two years, I was relatively successful. My friends, my family said, Oh, you’re so successful, you’re an expat. And the company pays all your bills and your apartment and you know, you get paid in Hong Kong and you don’t pay taxes, you get all your salary net on your bank account. And, you know, the money adds up quickly, when and then I think life sometimes will actually help you on the journey to realize again about what your true path is, or what it should be. And for me, it was a crisis, personal crisis in 2008, after two years working in a shipping company, and the company wanted to promote me and sent me back to Europe. And I felt like wow, I’m going to be even more successful, I’m going to be maybe national sales manager or later on maybe Managing Director of our small office in Belgium, when I’m 40. And I thought like, this is great, I’m finally going to have my achievement, what I’m looking for. But at the same time, I also felt like, you know, I’m, I’m becoming successful, but I’m not getting any happier. What, what, what’s wrong. And at that particular moment, I had a mindset shift, that the success does not equal happiness. And that’s actually the moment that I started to do soul searching. And it was the first time in 27 years, that I was able to listen to my inner self and listen to my monk about who I really was. And I realized David I was living a life not true to myself. And it was very painful. And that’s when life actually decided to help me a hand. Um, I was I was once on a Friday afternoon called into the office in Hong Kong, together with the managing director in HR. And it was Friday afternoon, four o’clock. So I want to warn the listeners, if the Friday afternoon, four o’clock, you get called into the office of your boss, be ready. And there was a white piece of paper on the table. And I felt like okay, we’re going to discuss my contract for going back to Europe and then get a promotion. And my boss told me, he said rough. He said, Listen, over the past couple of months, we’ve been telling you that you should change your behavior. And you haven’t, he said, You don’t care about your customers. Yes, you’re a good sales performant. But But you basically don’t care. You don’t care about your team members. It’s only about your own performance. Is that and basically we think your performance is good, but we totally don’t like your personality anymore. Your your attitude in the company with your team members. And he said,
David Ralph [19:00]
Can I just ask what do you think he was?
Raf Adams [19:02]
Absolutely. He was right. He was totally right David I mean, I was the problem that I was with the moment that I realized that I was living, not a life true to myself, I started to get an internal struggle. And that internal struggle started to represent itself externally. I started somehow to sabotage my success, by not responding timely anymore on emails, being negative in the office towards team members, which I was not before. So I was internally having a conflict. And it was shown in the company in terms of negative behavior towards customers and employees. And then they decided, they turn the paper around on the table is rough. We don’t need your services anymore. You’re fired. And I you know, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I said, How is that possible? I said, you know, I’m such a good sales performers. I mean, that’s what my ego told me. And then they said, you know, you have to leave your apartment in South China, we’re going to cancel your visa. And, you know, just good luck is that you don’t have to come anymore Monday. So there was a huge shock for for my suit and my external self. So I had a girlfriend at the time, and I quickly moved in with her in Hong Kong. And I was sitting at the beach in Hong Kong, looking at looking at the water and the sky and the sun. And I was wondering, what am I going to do with my life. And I think sometimes these kind of moments are very painful. But they are opportunities to make a change. And I think if we are not on the right path, sometimes life will give us those changes, or give us those messages. And then it’s up to us as as people to be able to get the message and learn from it.
David Ralph [20:47]
That’s fascinating, because I remember going through a similar thing. It wasn’t that I was not performing. But my mojo is just gone. I was bored with my job. It was like I’ve gone through this same thing five or six times. And when I can remember getting called into a board meeting, and they were going this is how exciting plans to go forward. And I used to think that that that’s what we did five years ago. And it’s just changed and we’ve gone mountain mountain mountain circle. And I remember going to Hong Kong and I actually sat on a beach and I think it’s called repulsed by sort of the episode of Victoria P. And yeah, and there’s a sort of sunken ship or something out there. I remember from sort of the memories. And I was sitting on that same beach thinking to myself, What the hell do I do with my life, and I look back on back dot. And I think that was a moment when I could have sped things forward, maybe 1015 years, but I didn’t, I just kind of came back to the United Kingdom and got a similar position to what I was doing before. And I look back on that. And I think to myself, it is amazing. There is a pain and pleasure. And I think more often than not those moments of pain when the control is taken away from us. I am actually our life’s purpose coming and smacking us in the face and saying, look, look, this is wake up time, you really got to do something, don’t don’t just sort of settle back into the mire, again, go out and grab it because this is the opportunity we’ve given you. We’ve given you free time Ralph you don’t have to go in on Monday, what you’re going to do with yourself, this is your opportunity. And it’s amazing how many people don’t see that and they just sink back into the same same rut again.
Raf Adams [22:26]
Absolutely. And I think David hearing your story, I think we all maybe have to go to Hong Kong once and sit at the beach and, you know, wondering what we’re going to do with our lives? Is that the same beaches? That you
know, it wasn’t the beach on the other side actually in in Gold Coast, Hawaii? Probably
David Ralph [22:43]
close enough. Close enough.
Raf Adams [22:46]
Close enough? Absolutely. Um, but I think Yeah, I guess you’re doing very meaningful work David and I think it’s going to help people to reflect on their life journey. And sometimes a crisis, you know, it could be even like, you get a divorce course, or you meet someone special, you meet a loved one that that totally turns your life around. And I think we all have different messages that we get. And I think we have to develop the ability to to learn to listen to those messages, and that and that. And that usually comes from the inner side of ourselves, because nobody knows what our purpose in life is. Besides our own self, so what is the hard work that we have to do as individuals to to explore that purpose and to experiment. And when you experiment and explore there will be mistakes. I remember in the movie The Matrix, when when Keanu Reeves wants to jump from one building to another. And he jumps off the building and he falls down. And then they said everybody falls the first time. And for me as well. I mean I’ve I’ve fallen many times in order to find my purpose in life. But every every time I fall, it was a learning lesson to grow. And looking backwards it these mistakes were one of the biggest lessons of my life.
David Ralph [24:08]
But let’s play some words now that actually were a lesson for me. And I remember hearing these I stumbled across them. And as soon as I heard him, I thought Yes, this is it. This is Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey [24:18]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [24:45]
Now, it’s fascinating. I listened to that every single day. And every now and again, somebody comes along into my life like you and I think that’s your life story. That’s your life story. You’re doing a job, you didn’t quite believe that you could be successful. You’ve been lost that job, and you took a risk and doing what you love is amazing how in 20 seconds, that is your life.
Raf Adams [25:09]
Absolutely. And it’s been a wake up call for many of the great inventions that we have today. I think we’re talking over Skype right now having this conversation. And I think that the founder of Skype, he, originally his father was in Eastern Europe, and his son was in the US. And he always had to make phone calls with his father in Eastern Europe, but it was very expensive. And he thought like, how come I cannot establish, let’s say like a connection that I can call with my father for free. And he developed Skype. And I think that some of the greatest inventions of our lives. Some of the greatest discoveries come from solutions that we can provide as individuals from the pain that we have experienced in our life.
David Ralph [25:54]
The world you see, it’s like, I’m sorry, I’m excited on the female going on here. It’s like the Netflix blockbuster thing, isn’t it? But that the gentleman who created Netflix was really annoyed with blockbusters because of some challenge that he got for a light returner. And so he said, why I’m going to screw your company up. And he did. He basically killed blockbusters. And you know, now the fault of actually going to a shop to get a DVD, bringing it home and then having to make the effort to go back and drop it off. Again. It seems archaic, doesn’t it?
Raf Adams [26:28]
Absolutely. And then there are many examples. I mean, jack Ma, for example, I’m the founder of Alibaba, extremely famous in China, and maybe also globally. He was rejected by McDonald’s to workers for McDonald’s as an employee, he’s a billionaire right now. I remember he he told the story. He said there were 24 jobs available at McDonald’s. And I think around Yeah, 24 people apply for the jobs. And there was one person who didn’t get the job. And it was jack Ma. And he got rejected on several universities. And I think that sometimes rejection or is an opportunity for us to know that this is not the right direction in life. And I’ll give you a personal example David is that when I got fired in Hong Kong, and I was wondering, what am I going to do with my life, I was thinking twofold.
It actually happened two months before the financial downturn in 2008. So I was sitting at home with my girlfriend, and the financial crisis started in 2008. So most companies stop hiring. And I was like, you know, I can’t sit home for six months to one year. So what am I going to do, and I applied for jobs in shipping and logistics, even though I hated it. Um, but I, but I had to make a living. But I also applied for jobs in coaching and training business, because I was interested in in people development. And I thought, you know, the opportunity that I’m going to get, first is the one I’m going to take. And I applied for jobs in the UK, I apply for jobs in Belgium, I apply for jobs in in Hong Kong and in Shanghai, and in Singapore. And I apply for jobs all over the place, I apply for jobs in shipping and logistics, and applied for jobs with companies in the training and coaching business. And the jobs is shipping and logistics. I had a few interviews, but somehow they all didn’t work out. And then one time, I was driving my girl to the airport. And as I was in the car, I said, You know what, I have this strange feeling that it will be going to Shanghai. And I separate, but I’ve never been there before. But I just have this gut feel that I’m that I’m going to go there. And I said, you know, maybe later on we can reflect and see if this is becoming a reality. And then a couple of days later, I got a positive reply from the training company in Shanghai. And I told my girlfriend See, the message that I had in my heart was true. I felt it and I know and I’m going to pursue that. That that dream. So I took the airplane. I went to Shanghai for the for a job interview. And they liked me a lot. But they said, they said sorry, we can’t hire you. We just want to see you for a reference. And and I was really disappointed. I said, you know, how is that possible? I follow my heart. I listened to my gut feel I fly to Shanghai and go for a job interview and they don’t hire me. So it was clearly not the right opportunity. Now a couple of days later, I got another reply from a training and coaching company in Hong Kong. And they said Ralph, we want to see you for an interview. We’re in Hong Kong. So it’s a great, so I went for the interview, everything went very well. And at the end of the interview, they told me they said Ralph there is only one issue. They said, we’re not looking for someone to be based in Hong Kong, we’re actually looking for someone to be based in Shanghai. I said, Great. So you know, I signed the contract. And you know, I packed my back’s I told my girlfriend, I said, Listen, this is the right thing to do. I just know it. Don’t tell me how I know, I just, I just feel this is where we got to go. I can work into training and coaching business. I was paid the local package, you know, like, like, I got a Chinese salary, no expat package anymore. No apartment that was paid. But it was the first time David that I was doing something that was meaningful. And that moment was the moment that the happiness came. I came to Shanghai in 2008. In the financial downturn, I had no network in the HR community here. companies, they don’t buy training or coaching programs, because they cut all the budgets. And I had no experience in in selling those services. But I was happy. And I think that was the most important thing. And I knew that if I would get through this difficult period for six months, or one year or two years, that I get more experience in the financial downturn gets better, that will live a much more happier life. And that’s what happen, then I was able to make more money over time. And then slowly build my personal brand and personal business and, you know, to today, I can really enjoy the journey. And I’m not a rich man are not very successful. But it’s not important. I think it’s it’s important that you can do what you love and inspire people and help people on their journey. And it’s exactly the the struggle that I’ve been through that I can now help and teach other people who are in a similar position, who are in a job that they don’t really like, and who are willing to make a change in life, and helping people to listen to their intuition. And actually, how do you make that transition? How do you follow your heart It is not an easy journey, but it’s but it’s one of the most rewarding ones that you can take.
David Ralph [31:46]
And listeners, if you are listening to this show, will listen to it all the way through, but then playback that speech. But that rap just made, it wasn’t a speech, it was a passion story. Because that was seven years ago, and you can still hear the excitement in his voice, when the rejections turned into the positives. And it’s, it’s just how life is. And if you can do it as excited when you’ve told that story maybe 100 times over seven years, it really indicates you, you are on the right path. And your body has got this compass, we talked about it a lot. But your body’s got a compass. And if you look at something, even God, I really don’t want to do that. It’s good indication you shouldn’t be doing it. And if you think this is going to be good, and you rub your hands together with glee, then think about why am I feeling that way? Why am I feeling really positive towards the best thing that maybe is not going to pay me as much money at the beginning. But I just need to do it. And that is your body’s compass pointing you in the right direction? Did you believe in that wrath?
Raf Adams [32:48]
Absolutely. David, I couldn’t agree more with what you said, um, initially, on my journey, I didn’t really believe in my feelings and those emotions. But I can say that today, all the decisions that I’m make, or based on my intuition, my gut feel and emotions. And I think it was Steve Jobs. You know, when he was talking from Stanford in 2005, Sydney’s famous speech, if you wake up in the morning, and, and you stand in front of the mirror, and you ask yourself, do I want to do what I’m about to do today? And if the answer is no, too many times in a row, I know I have to change something. So I think if you reflect on your life journey, and you’re making decisions, and some of them, you might not be really happy, you really have to think about your gut feeling your emotions about what are the areas of your life that you want to make an improvement, and listen to that emotion, and learn to trust that everything is going to work out well. And Steve Jobs said, you know, in your life, you have to trust in something, live your gut, destiny, Carmen, and I and I truly believe in that. And it’s brought me to a great place and great experiences, and I’m sure I’m, I still maybe have 30 years to go hopefully, in life or, or maybe more, maybe less, but but that will be the driving force on the journey of my life. I’ve met so many interesting people. And I think everyone has that possibility and opportunity to find your true self. And it’s, as you said, all about listening to your emotions and your inner self.
David Ralph [34:25]
Since I started doing this job, I can honestly say I literally bound out of bed every morning. And I had these. And at the end of the day, I might have done seven or eight shows on sometimes I’ve done a lot more than that. And I’m physically spend because it is quite exhausting doing the shows. But I still the next day, I would do it again, I would absolutely do it again. And the key thing to this is, I would do it for no money. That’s that’s the bottom line. Even if it wasn’t paying me anything, I would still rush up to my recording studio. And today on the wonderful Ralph Adam, what it’s about a suited monk business, and I will be fascinated money doesn’t come into it. So it’s a good indicator. And I suppose it’s a good indicator to why I posed that question. What is the suited monk? Did you remember when it occurred to you? And was it like an epiphany? Or was it just something that you thought, Oh, that’s a bit quirky, I could work with this.
Raf Adams [35:21]
It’s an interesting story. David’s I mean,
the student monk is is basically started about five years ago, when I came to Shanghai after these difficult times. And, you know, the realization that success does not bring happiness, and I was able to find my life purpose. I’m a lovely lady came into my life. And I experienced a true love for the first time, like wonderful connection with a person. And I thought to myself, like how do I help people to align their external reality, their success with their internal self, their their life’s purpose in their happiness. And I developed a life journey model, which is a visual representation about the journey of life, to help people on their journey and to provide a framework to basically as the guides, and the life journey model basically explains the external in the internal world. And I think some of the listeners, if they Google the life journey model, and they go to images, they’ll they’ll get a picture of the model, it’s online. And at that time, it was only external and internal world. And I was doing a workshop called the life journey. But then I thought about how many workshops already available, which are called the life journey. How do I distinguish myself? What am I really all about? And initially, I was thinking, I teach right now spirituality to business people. But if you if you look at it, David I mean, teaching spirituality to business people, it’s like, it’s like a total mismatch, I would say, because when I was a business person, I was totally not interested in spirituality or the inner self. So I was looking at how do I make it accessible, sexy, attractive, and it actually took me two years to come up with the suit monk. And that was together with two other people. One was a graphic designers, and one was an innovator. And we were brainstorming for two hours. How do you brand the teaching that you bring about? How do you make spirituality philosophy, like Lao Tzu, Confucius in the Buddha accessible in the 21st century that we live in today. But you don’t have to become a religious person. So we started brainstorming a lot. And then finally, after two hours, one person said, The suited monk. And the moment that person said the suited monk, I knew this is it. And I immediately went to the website, and I register suited monk.com because I knew that was what I was supposed to do. And the suited monk is part of my struggles. And the monk is all about your happiness and your life’s purpose. And this is what I’m able or this is what I’m supposed to bring to people right now.
David Ralph [38:04]
But But why can I just just jump in here? But why? Why did you decide to do that? If when you was in business land, the thought of somebody coming in and teaching you about spirituality wouldn’t have been your thing? Why did you sort of think yes, this is more thing.
Raf Adams [38:22]
Because I wanted to make, I wanted to make it accessible for people at a time. And I think that if you branded like spirituality, some people might think all this is new age, or this is too far away. I wanted to make it accessible. And I think if you talk about happiness, and life’s purpose is much more accessible. So I thought like a nice metaphor, like suit and monkey can actually work. And I, I’ve actually David I made some bold decisions. I mean, I’ve sold even suited monk leadership to companies, I mean, it’s like, you totally sell a brand that is not famous in yourself to companies, because that that was the thing that I was supposed to do in life. And, you know, I struggled in that journey.
David Ralph [39:04]
In the beginning, because most of my fellow colleagues and trainers they would deliver communication skills, presentation skills, thing that’s company need. But there is not a particular need that accompany say I need to the leadership. But somehow in my gut feel I knew that was the thing that I was supposed to do. And that’s that’s what I tried to create out of out of nothing. Basically, you were authentic to yourself, because I come back from a training background. And yeah, communication skills, building rapport, time management is always same old stuff. And I think that’s one of the things that appealed to me when I saw your story, but I could, I could feel what you’ve been through, because I’ve been through a similar journey myself, but then you ended up with a product that I couldn’t quite understand. And that was that was your authentic self? Wasn’t it about that? Was you going, this is it, if nobody else likes it, it doesn’t really matter. I believe in it passionately. And because you believe in it passionately, you put three times as much work into it. And then people start buying into it, and you become what we call the success vacuum and you start sucking in success to yourself.
Raf Adams [40:12]
Absolutely. And, and I would say David To be honest, you know, when I when I first originally developed, my life journey model was 30 years old. And I I went to people who were 45 or 50 years, 60 years old to show them the model and say, guys, listen, you have a lot of life experience, what do you think? And there were people who really supported me and say Ralph This is great. And there were also people say, like, rough, you know, don’t be Don’t be so arrogant. Don’t be so, you know, like, like, think this is it or think that you know, and I you know, looking backwards, the rejection, there was rejection, and there was acceptance. And I think the most important thing that I’ve that I’ve always done was to be able to be true to myself and i and i think that’s that’s the one thing that I want to give giveaway to the listeners is that in in every that you do, there will be people who will cheer you up and accept you. But there will also be people who put you down. And I think if you can keep believing in yourself in what you think is important and what you think can be done. I think that is one of the most important decisions that you can make.
David Ralph [41:17]
Oh, hey, you’re absolutely speaking to my listeners. Big time Raf Adams that is absolutely, yeah. Don’t worry about the people that don’t like you, there’s always gonna be people that don’t like you. And the fantastic thing is, the more successful you become, the more that people dislike you is a weird thing. But you start, you start to get criticized by people left, right and center. And you think why? Why are you having a go at me? And it’s because you’re suddenly you’re suddenly visible, they’re noticing you, and the general population will try to hold you back somehow. Because when you’re reflecting on their lack of success, so they start chipping away is a fascinating thing, criticism, it’s actually a great thing to get. Because not does it show you that you’re doing the right thing, because you are getting it. It also is a good way of benchmarking yourself against what the world needs. And if you’re getting enough criticism in a certain environment, you might look at it and go, Well, actually, that’s fair, fair enough. Fair, I might actually change direction. So it’s all it’s all the way to get you on that journey, isn’t it?
Raf Adams [42:21]
Absolutely. And I think criticism again, can be good to a certain extent. But also not to be good, because I think the most important thing is never doubt yourself. If there was something inside your heart or inside your your, your body that you feel is the right thing to do. Even though it does not match with the reality or the society, you should go ahead and do it. I mean, right now, where there is there is a Dutch guy who is, you know, recruiting people to build the first colony on Mars, you know, imagine that that guy is born, he says, you know what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna start the first colony on Mars, where people are going to live. I mean, it’s absolutely crazy. But today, he’s doing it. And I think we’re not all going to expand to expand to other planets. So we don’t all have that dream. But we all have a dream inside of us. And I think that even though people don’t approve, find a way to follow your heart and do the thing that is right for you. I think that’s that’s the most important thing to do. And the success will follow. And as you do that, you’re gonna have to change your journey you have to optimize you know, I, I started with the life journey, then it become the monk Discovery Program, we developed other models. Today David we have suited monk change management, we have suited monks strategic thinking, we have suited monk coaching, there are two suits, monk books, which are being published, and you get on the one hand, you get more followers. But of course, on the other hand, you get more people who try to put you down. But I think that if you’re able to give something that is unique about you to people, I think that is the most valuable thing you can you can do in your life, your career. And if you can make money out of that. I mean, that that’s just almost like a dream. And and I think we can all achieve that.
David Ralph [44:08]
Let’s play some words now that sort of emphasize the journey that you’re on, and the points in your life when you’re thinking, I’d like to release a book under the suited monk. I’ve got no idea how to do it. I’d like to do a branding program. How the hell do you do it? And so many questions come up when you’re on that journey, but you can’t answer. These are brilliant words that emphasize how we can get around it Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey [44:32]
the way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, Oh, I got all of this stuff. What is the next right move. And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it. Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment, you know, you’re not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [45:03]
Now since I’ve been doing this Raf Adams, I’ve come up with two kind of themes to my life. Number one is, all you got to do is, like Oprah says, is actually think of the next thing to do, whether it’s the right thing or my wrong thing. Do something and Ben assess, has it moved me forward, or has it not? And if it hasn’t been changed direction. So that’s the first thing. And the second thing that I think that we need to do is it just start just start just just do something and the dots will join up somewhere along the line. And even if you start off on the journey, but you think actually, this is a bit of a wasted time, you will realize that you’ve gained experience, you’ve gained knowledge moving you forward, and it helps you shape where you want to go. Certainly this show when I started it, it was just to get a show going. And then probably about 100 episodes in I started getting a load of people saying would you be open to a coaching program? And it wasn’t, it wasn’t on my radar at the beginning. And I kept to say, No, no matter what, I just do one person, I’ll just do two people, then a load of people came to me and I went okay, I will do it. And then somebody else is coming out of the woodwork now. And I haven’t got a clue how to do it. I really don’t know how to do it. And when people asked me to do these things, I think, Oh my god, and inside my stomach it flips over. And I think I can’t do this did No, no, I just carry on talking on the mic. I can do that. That’s what that’s going to be comfortable. But what I found is what I can’t do, I find other people that can do it. And they’ve already done it, and it makes it easier. And then you start looking over your shoulder and you think oh, my God, yeah, I’ve created a coaching program. I’ve created this I’ve created and how much have I done? Well, probably 80% effort, but the 20% that frighten me so much. I got other people to do it for me. And that’s the way forward. Yeah.
Raf Adams [46:54]
Absolutely. And I think it’s that that’s a very important lesson. David, I think that that we all learn along the journey. The people who believe in You are the ones that you should get on board, as advocates or let’s say, like supporters, when when you have a difficult time when you can ask for advice. I mean, we you know, we can’t be experts in every area of our life or our business. We need our people to help us support us on that journey. I can assure you imagine as a as a DJ or a radio host, there are other areas in your business that you have to take care of that that are maybe more challenging for you and you love being on the mic. So the thing that the key thing is that find people who can help you with the areas that you’re that you’re not good at or that you’re lacking. And it gives you a gives you a great example David is that, um, I don’t know how to do logo design, I don’t know how to do book editing, I don’t know how to, you know, do a book cover. I don’t know, basically, running a business is not my purpose in life. But I’ve tried it. You know David it didn’t work. Because I am, I’m not good at people management, I’m not good at accounting, I’m not good at Chinese law. And over the years by accident, actually, people came on my journey who were helping me, sometimes free of charge, because I just believe in what you do. And they help you free of charge because they want to see you succeed. And those are the people that you need to to help you on that journey. today. I have other people running my business, because what I’m good at what I love is the teaching and inspire people and talk to people and help people on their journey. And as you said earlier on the show, it’s like, you just want to do it free of charge, because it’s so fulfilling, right. So you find other people who can help you on that journey about the areas that you’re not good at. And you focus on the areas that you’re really passionate about, and that you really good at and, and that can that can help people.
David Ralph [48:56]
But very shortly, I’m launching a new business, which is it’s in beta at the moment, but we’re getting close to doing it. And I kind of hired a marketing manager from from America. And I wrote down a list of the things that I wanted him to do. And I said to him, Look, the bottom line is, is this going to be fun for you? Is this going to be playing? Do you like doing things because if you if you don’t like doing them, then you’re the wrong person. But if you look at them and go, Yeah, actually, this is the kind of thing I love doing. And he basically went on for about 10 minutes about how I used to do this. And I love doing this. And I liked doing that. And I thought brilliant because I hate doing all of it. So you do that. And I’m going to do my side. And I said to him, I don’t even need to talk to you. As long as you’re doing what you think is right on your side of the fence and you’re enjoying it, then just do it. And I’m going to do my side. And once I’ve got a team around me, you know, I’ll be totally transparent. My dream for life is bad. I swore up to the microphone, I turned on record, I had these conversation and it’s jobs done all the other stuff behind the scenes, but doesn’t take a lot of time. And you’ve got to do when you start anything, you’ve got to do it, I don’t believe unless you’ve got a certain amount of money, but you can then hire out Yeah, but I still think that is a great idea to do it all yourself until you can pass it off. So that when somebody says to you, Ah, that’s going to take me two hours, you can go No, it doesn’t, it takes 10 minutes, because I’ve been doing it six months, I will pay you 10 minutes worth to do that. And I’m not gonna pay you two hours. And I think people that hand over to quickly lose a trick. But I think that people that’s keep it for too long lose a trick as well. Because when you’re not playing to the thing that you like doing Raf Adams, and you can do better than anybody else.
Raf Adams [50:41]
Yes, absolutely. And sometimes you can lose a little bit track of the bigger picture because you get stuck in all doing all the small things. And you know, you’re not really progressing on how you should. But I think in the beginning, especially if if you run your own business, or if you start your own coaching or whatever business you started, it’s also good to do it by yourself, because it’s a lot of life experience that that that you gain in that process. And it also reminds me about what Oprah just said, is that I think you can look at life as a journey one step at a time. So maybe same as you David I have a dream, and you have a dream. I don’t have goals anymore. Because a goal is a rational thing. But A Dream is an emotional thing. And I think it’s the dream that inspires us, you know, you can have a goal of making a million dollars will retire when you’re when you’re 50 financially. But I think if you have a dream to make a difference in people’s lives, I think that can always drive you forward. And I think that’s the most important thing. So if every day you wake up and you can give the best of yourself and what you do, and you have people supporting you on the journey. I think that’s that’s, that’s really the most important thing and get the right people on board during that process and enjoy the journey.
David Ralph [51:59]
Absolutely enjoy the journey. And that’s that’s what the whole theme of this show is about. And you alluded to this speech earlier. But we’ve been building up to it. So this is Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs [52:10]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [52:45]
Now you’ve had lots of dots in your life. Is there one that you look back on and you go? Yeah, that was it. That that was my big dot. That’s when Raf Adams really started to think about his future and where we needed to go.
Raf Adams [52:59]
Absolutely a man. I mean, I actually have two thoughts on that David The first thing was like, how could I be so stupid not to see it, that that’s the first thing. The second thing is the biggest dot was for me. The moment that I built a relationship with my inner monk with my true self. And I remember I was I was sitting in the couch in South China at home. And the moment that I realized that I was living a life not true to myself, that was the moment that I that I that I broke basically. And that looking backwards, that was the dot that I said, you know, from that moment onwards, I’m going to make all decisions in my life based on my heart, and based on being true to myself. And that has made all the difference in all the decisions that I’ve made. And every person that I’ve met From then onwards, and it’s listening to my heart, which I which I never did for 27 years. And that made all the difference.
David Ralph [53:58]
Is your heart ever wrong? That,
Raf Adams [54:02]
you know, that’s a very difficult question. I would say like, let’s say you listen to your heart, and you apply for a job and you don’t get the job. Was it the wrong decision? Maybe yes, maybe no, because maybe meeting that person for a job interview, you had to meet that person to learn a lesson or to connect to that person will become your future friend. Even though you didn’t get that job. I I believe that listening to your heart is never wrong. Because the heart is your spirit. And the heart is your true self. And it’s the energy within you. We are not the physical body, we are not our minds. We are our hearts. And I believe that our hearts is our guiding compass, as you said at the beginning of the show, that will help us to make the right decisions. So in full confidence, I would I would say to all the listeners, yes, please go ahead and follow your heart.
David Ralph [54:55]
I agree without I don’t think you can be wrong anymore. I used to used to being but yeah, you can make the wrong decision. But now I think it’s just experience. It’s just all experience coming towards you. And literally all my big dots. But I look back on now and go, thank God for those were bad dots when I look back on them. And I remember going through them thinking, this is the terrible time. Why is it all happening to me? Why Why should it be happening? But I look back on them now. And I think thank God for that. So I don’t think there is any failure as Oprah was saying, I just think it is experience. And you learn from that experience and you move on?
Raf Adams [55:34]
Absolutely. The experiences is the biggest lesson in life that we can get. And I think David the the most important thing, actually on the whole journey is to continuously reflect and raise your level of self awareness about what what what is the lesson that I that I get from this experience. For example, if you apply for certain job and you don’t get the job is like, reflect on it now reflect on the experience and why I didn’t get the job is that because it was not part of my life journey or not part of my life path? Why did I meet that person? Why was that person so difficult to me? Why is that person so happy with me or like and continuously reflect on the experiences that you have, the people that you meet, and the decisions that you make, is one of the things that that are most important to, to do to find your true journey and the experiences itself will will help you they’re good, and they will be bad experience. But there will all be learning opportunities for as Oprah said, every day will be a new day and the next step on the journey. Raf Adams
David Ralph [56:42]
brilliant This day has started my day off. Well, I feel all infused for the next six or seven interviews I’ve got today. But this is the end of the show now. And this is the part that I’ve got to send you back in time is what we call the Sermon on the mic. And if you could go back in time and speak to the younger version of yourself, what age would you shoes? And what advice would you give what we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme and when it Phaedra up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Raf Adams [57:32]
Hey, Raf Adams, you’re you’re six years old right now. And it’s, it’s good to see you all young and naughty and playful in the garden. You know, I’m 35 years old right now, and you have a big journey ahead of you. And there’s some advice that I want to give you. And I think your life journey is unique. And you have to find your true self and your potential. And even people don’t always approve of what you do. Be true to yourself, do the right thing. And always make decisions based on your heart. If you get a failure or if you get something that is negative get up again and move onwards and that’s when you will that you will find happiness and you look forward to seeing you again when you’re 35 and when I will be 70 and we’re going to have maybe another conversation like this so please take this as advice and good luck on the journey Raf Adams
David Ralph [58:34]
How can our audience connect with you Raf Adams?
Raf Adams [58:39]
The audience can find me on LinkedIn. They can type in Dr. Adams to suited monk. They can send the invitation to connect they can also subscribe to the suited monk newsletter, which is all about helping people on their career journey to discover and find their monk to something that they’re really passionate about. I’m also on Twitter Raf Adams at 02 and on Facebook, they can go to the student monk and the Facebook page will be there where they can connect if the listeners have any questions about their life journey I’m really happy to help and connect with them and have a conversation to to to support and I think we all need at once on the journey.
David Ralph [59:18]
We will have all the links on the show notes Raf Adams thank you so much for spending time with us today joining those dots and please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures Mr Raf Adams Thank you so much.
Raf Adams [59:36]
Thank you David It was a pleasure to be on the show
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become so he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.