Episode 3 of the Habits & Health podcast with Farah Nanji who is an international DJ, a journalist, TEDx speaker and founder of Regents Racing, a business exploring leadership lessons from F1.
In this episode we discuss the habits that Farah created that contributed to her becoming so successful and some of the discrimination she has faced on her journey.
Farah was diagnosed with Dyspraxia in her teenage years, a developmental coordination disorder that affects 5% of the world’s population, but she turned a perceived weakness into a gift of innovation and entrepreneurialism creating her own unique processes to operate in two industries that rely heavily on motor coordination; music and motorsport, detailed in this episode and at her Ted Talk last year.
As a DJ and music producer she has played for some of the biggest brands around the world, from the United Nations to Pacha Destino in Ibiza and many of her projects have already featured on Channel 4, RTL and the BBC.
Some of the topics discussed include:
Electric cars and Tesla
Podcast – communication
Habits & Health links:
How to leave a podcast reviewDetails of online workshops to create habits for healthAre you in control of your habits or are they in control of you? Take my quiz to find outTake part in Tony’s free 5-day-programme
Tony Winyard 0:00
Habits and Health Episode Three. Welcome to the podcast where we give you ideas on small habits that you can start to integrate into your life that will improve some area of your health. Today we are speaking with a lady called Farah Nanji. She's done so much in her life. She's a DJ, she works for a Formula One, a company is heavily involved in Formula One. She's done a TED talk. She's, well we're gonna hear a lot more from far coming up. But she's done quite a lot. And she's DD'ed in many different places and it's a fascinating conversation. If you do like this podcast, why not subscribe, it comes out every Tuesday lunchtime. So you'll be first to know as soon as it comes out. And please do leave a review for us on iTunes or one of the podcast platforms to let other people know what you think about this particular show. Right now it is time for this week's episode. Welcome to Habits and Health and my guest today is Farah Nanji, how are you doing?
Farah Nanji 1:13
I'm really good. Thanks, Tony. How you doing?
Tony Winyard 1:15
I'm pretty good. It's the weather's brightening, not me. So springs here almost it seems like
Farah Nanji 1:20
it's so amazing. What a difference just having another hour of sunlight makes, isn't it?
Tony Winyard 1:25
Absolutely. And you're in London somewhere?
Farah Nanji 1:29
That's correct. Yep.
Tony Winyard 1:30
Whereabouts in London are you?,
Farah Nanji 1:32
Tony Winyard 1:34
And are you originally a North Londoner?
Farah Nanji 1:36
I am indeed born born and bred will not change that will still stay on the North London postcode.
Tony Winyard 1:46
And you've had quite an interesting life, you've done a number of things.
Farah Nanji 1:51
As well, I always get the same question. You know, how did you get into DJing and motorsport, two very unique career paths. And not usual career paths either. And that's kind of where it went back to my childhood where I was in a very highly pressurised school, it was one of the top 10 schools in the country at the time. And I had gotten into the school, you know, on my own sort of academic merit. But I realised, you know, I just wasn't, it wasn't for me, and I was very much a creative soul at heart. This was before the internet was really kind of coming out as well. So I just sort of very much got into music from a very young age. And because I was a tomboy, I was quite bullied as well. And, you know, I love these sort of like, typical tomboy sports, football, cricket, you know, things like that. And, and along the way, I discovered motorsport, and it became this incredible release. And I never felt anything like it with a sport before. And that's kind of how I discovered it in, you know, the early days. It's just karting. And once you put your helmet on, you know, no one knows who you are. It's just you the rhythms you create with a track. And it's very noticeable, is obsessive about performance, which is later on sort of translated into my life, how I view things, how I do things. There's a constant 360 feedback loop, when it comes to performance in motorsport.
Tony Winyard 3:19
When you were at when, in those early days of doing the motor sport, was there much sort of I just wondering, being a being a female in what is very much seen as a male dominated sport, was it much kind of, what would you call, like, Where you been sort of that obstacle was being put up, I guess, in front of you because of that?
Farah Nanji 3:42
I would say yes, in the sense that, you know, there is there is that because today we're here 2021, you saw don't have a female driver on the Formula One grid, as as, as, as a, you know, a part of a team. And that is, that is obviously quite a shame, and I think reveals just how, how underrepresented females are. I didn't it didn't affect me in the way that like, you know, the boys treat you differently. No, none of that is just the fact that you know, you know, there are just as many. Whereas in music, which is also quite under represented, I think there's, there's a certain there's a different, there's a different, maybe a different feel, you know, like I've I've had some comments from people I know who are very successful DJs who have, you know, who know me, and they've, they've said, Well, you know, women, they just they can't DJ, that's not their role, they just can't do that. You're just sort of like really, is that the mindset you have of the 21st century? And that's me that's you know, that's quite astounding.
Tony Winyard 4:47
It's a world I know very well I've known for for many years, and, and I don't know the waters Motorsports world anywhere in the world at all. From the DJ world, the ego is very important in theatre world. And it's a blessing in disguise because DJs need a certain amount of ego in order to do what they do. But it also is their downfall because so many DJs the ego is just out of control. And so that leads to insecurity issues. And so I wonder if there's a certain amount of that in, in what you were receiving from some of those guys.
Farah Nanji 5:24
100% You know, it's it, I faced a very, very tough situation once in my career, which I found very hard to let go of where I, you know, was friends with a certain group of people and I haven't been through all of this, you know, journey of ego in the music industry, particularly when you're, you know, an up and coming artists, there's almost war, unique energy with that, that people either want to exploit or celebrate. And, you know, you can look at the case of a Vici are a great example of somebody who is who was very young, he got, you know, he didn't get he didn't get given the right set of tools to really nurture himself or to, to protect him from the environment, as it were. But yeah, there was this one point in my career where, you know, it was like I met a, because of all the sort of things you've alluded to there, I really tried to become very, very, like conscious and intentional of who I worked with. And, you know, one of the hardest things I think, in the music industry is that your, your colleagues or your friends, and that is tough, because a line gets blurred quite quite fast. And just by the nature of what you're doing, right, you know, you're you share the same passion and enthusiasm for this music, you have this dedication, but I was working with with it with a few friends. And I really thought actually, because we were such good friends, it would mean that the protection was there, but actually what ended up happening so all guys, and it just they weren't fully committed to this, they weren't they didn't have music as their full time pathway I did. So they had the security of either a nine to five job that gave them a lot of financial security. Whereas to me, I sacrificed everything to be able to do music at that point. And I actually had more time to be obviously doing developing music, but it just over the course of a year it really emerged that the the the fundamental clash was just being completely unable to take female guidance. And almost a jealousy of like, where I was reaching in my career that wasn't happening for that. But if you don't pay 100%, you can't expect the same results. Yeah, anyway, that's just a side topic. But it's, it's very present and you just have to navigate it and be and just be aware of it and be mindful of it as well and recognise the signs and just not be afraid to cut negative chords if it seems to be going that way.
Tony Winyard 7:47
And how did you handle the one? Yeah, there's there's so many positive aspects of data. And there's so many parts that are really fun. But the one one of the real negative aspects is obviously being up so late, it can really affect health. How did you get on with that side
Farah Nanji 8:04
of it? A huge topic. I've actually had, you know, difficulties with my circadian rhythm since I was a child because along the way in my journey, I got diagnosed with dyspraxia, which is a motor coordination delay, which obviously made things a lot harder given the industries I'm now working in. And however, I also have hypermobile joints. And these two combinations in itself can lead to a lot of insomnia. And then you throw DJ into the mix, you know, I was pre COVID I was in you know, I was travelling two weeks out of the month every for the last almost 10 years. And so you know, your your timezone is getting hugely impacted. And the other thing that I really struggled with a lot was the, you know, the lifestyle, obviously, that comes with it. And part of that is like, you know, you're on tour all the time, you're in different countries, you're always eating in a restaurant, when you're in a restaurant, you know, it feels like a treat, you know, you're in the ambience, you know, you've got these amazing places you want to eat, you know, you don't want to order a salad. And I found that habit very hard to break, you know, that, you know, you have to really, really, really be very mindful about what you eat.
Tony Winyard 9:21
And how did you handle I mean, one of the things I found was that every night and I've just been getting be offered drinks left, right and centre. And you need to have a good willpower, I guess. Because if you just accept to in between, you're afraid you're going to be plastered and no time and then you're not gonna be able to do any kind of coherent DJ.
Farah Nanji 9:41
It's a scary one, isn't it? You do not want to be in a situation where like, if you've got a set at 3am it's hard, you know, you're going to be there before. You know you're going to be in the environment. You want to be there. It's very hard to stay away from it. Thank you, you need to know yourself and you need to you need to be you know, aware of that and really support Write it out with water. I mean, it is so important, just keep drinking water. And personally I don't like I, when I DJ, you know, I'll have one or two glasses here and there just to like, you know, just kind of just chill out a bit relax, because it is nervous when you go into an environment. And he I don't think anyone, and but I don't want to speak for everyone, but personally, me I always get nervous when I when I take over a new stage a new, a new audience a new dance floor. And you know, it's that first 510 minutes when you're really getting into the equipment. salb right, his sound levels is the song, you know, sort of holding the energy. So there is a bit of, you know, just more heightened nerves. And but yeah, when it comes to alcohol, I think you know, I like to have a little drink after when it's all done and done. They've done a good set, that's great. Enjoy yourself. But before during I keep it very, very limited.
Tony Winyard 10:55
From a health perspective, do you think there's any positive aspects of DJing related to health?
Farah Nanji 11:03
Yeah, why not? You know, I mean, look, it's a passion, then that's always going to have a huge impact on your health. And additional chance to go so deep with music, from a DJing perspective is, I think that's one of the biggest, you know, health benefits, because you have some of the most incredible motivating, inspiring sounds, you know, your fingertips, and that you can incorporate in any day of your life. And one of the things I've done a lot, and incorporated into my life with music is using bone or beats a lot. And these are sort of, you know, frequencies that are two tones played in different frequencies. And they have all different, you know, ranges delta theta frequencies. And it's, it's almost like an auditory illusion. And the studies have shown that when your brain is listening to binaural beats, it's inducing a state of meditation. And so you can listen to different types for whatever state that if you want to try, relax, put it to sleep, or if you want to focus when you're working. This is one of the biggest habits I've adopted through having the chance to go very, very deep with music and find out a lot about the history and the genres and the different types of the healing powers essentially of sound.
Tony Winyard 12:19
And, and you just mentioned about it by now will be in meditation. And this is something that seems to be getting a lot bigger in the last few years, you know, this, this companies along the lines of holosync, and many others are offering all sorts of a huge range of different types of but i will i know bits and they range and the price range is also from some companies who are very reasonable we to other companies who are charging 1000s of pounds for for their binary event summit. Is this something you've explored? Matt?
Farah Nanji 12:51
Well, that's interesting, actually, the way I consume but obese is really just going on YouTube and finding because you have hours and hours and hours of free content, people just put together something, you know, fully always found it works for me, I haven't actually kind of gone too deep into looking at the paid options. I'm actually quite interested about this. And you have to go off and do some research and see what the what is this the soundscape? What is the differentiators that they're offering? You can't get online? Like in that way?
Tony Winyard 13:22
Yes. I've sort of dabbled with a few of them. And they seem to be I tried to hold a sink for a while. And it seems okay. But I don't think it lives up to my experience. It didn't live up to all the claims that it makes in the in the marketing. Yeah, it's an interesting landscape. So kind of getting into habits. You've mentioned habits a couple of times, yes. Then what would you say? Are the habits that really help you to use you say that in so many different areas? Or would you say you've got any habits that really helped you to become successful? I guess,
Farah Nanji 13:58
definitely, I have a lot of, let's say non negotiable habits. And you know, I really try and be very conscious of integrating them and catching myself when I don't integrate them as well. And so I mentioned that, you know, one of the things that I've struggled with touring, travelling is is, you know, taking control of my diet. And, and actually, there's lockdowns, you know, it's been in that regard quite good, because everything's just at home and all that. But something I really stuck to a lot is, is now intermittent fasting. And I really try with through that method, I really try and control how much I'm eating and being very mindful about what I'm putting in my body and being intentional about the timeframes. I'm putting something in, because you don't really need to be eating at all hours a day, frankly, you know, there is you can have a window of when you eat, and that's it. And you need to give your body the time to actually process you know, because it could take nine hours just to absorb what you've eaten. And once you start learning things like that, and it actually it's not that hard to be honest. Yeah, the first couple of days. It's a bit harder, short, but once you once you get into it, you actually realise you actually don't need all this stuff that you're always consuming. And of course, you don't have cheat days weekend, particularly either I don't have a window as it were. And but yeah, and also, just on that note of, of diet, I also come from an Indian background, and I always grew up around the ingredients and the, the philosophies of Ayurvedic cuisine, and I love cooking. And so I have kind of, you know, for a long time been very aware of what my body type is, and then understood how certain foods might trigger my body, you know, and inflame it, or something like that. And actually something also just in in combination with that, I discovered by a resonance A while ago, and, you know, it's sort of this thing that our bodies, well, everything is energy in this in this in this universe, and in this in this planet, and our bodies are all frequencies as well, and, and they have a you know, certain frequency when something's healthy, when it's meant to operate the way it should, it's, it should be at a certain level of frequency and bio resonance, really, doing a bio resonance test can allow yourself to find out where the blockages are, where the things are not resonating the way they should, and then it sends back electrical frequencies to correct some of those imbalances. But more than anything, it's actually just seeing, you know, what, what, what, what isn't working. So those three things in combination have been some really good habits that I've adopted towards my diet. And then obviously, your diet has to be going very, very much hand in hand with your with your fitness. So and this is obviously something back in DJ life was, was tough, because you've got long hours, you're travelling on a plane, you're in a country for a few days, you know, you're not really establishing much of a routine, you're in a different time zone. But one of the things that I always always do is get a very, very regular walk in nature, it's just the most important thing to ground me to take a break to just calm down whatever has happened, you know, throughout the day. And, and yeah, that's really important. And the other thing is also, when I'm working, I turn off all my notifications, and I really need to have a laser focus, when I'm working, I cannot have an email or WhatsApp, or listen, that just coming through 24 seven, if I'm trying to do something that requires a high level of attention, you know, the end of the day, we live in this world where anyone can get my email address, anyone can contact me through my website, or Instagram, whatever it is, I don't know that person, or I haven't, you know, it's like, when you go to a meeting, you're, you're going there because you're meeting someone and you've got that intent. And you've set out that time for that person to give him that energy. Whereas, you know, with all these digital distractions, people are entering your headspace, you haven't, you haven't set up yourself to receive that in you know, it's not on your radar. So it's like, it distracts you at the end of the day. And things take longer when that distractions there. Because it's not a bad thing. Of course, you know, it's great, you know, we've all seen the successes from having that ability of connection. But when you're working, I think you need to have you need to keep a bit of a barrier between that and your workflow.
Tony Winyard 18:31
It's not It's not something that many people are seeing able to control the distractions that you know, they have their have their notifications turned on for for email and social media and so on. And they can this many people I see just in the seems to be in a constant state of distraction. And so rather than them controlling their phone, their phones, totally controlling them and have no awareness of it whatsoever.
Farah Nanji 18:58
So is that is that? I mean, a tip I would say is like, if you can't switch off emails, you know, you need them for work. Fair enough, obviously, you know, I also feel the same as well with emails, but like, let's say if you're doing something very, like a piece of writing where you need to be in the moment, a different mind space, that space, then yeah, then I would turn off but I think another way to do it to tackle that sometimes is like, maybe change the frequency of the notification. So the notification doesn't have to come in it doesn't have to be refreshing the server within 3060 seconds. You know, you can set it so it's like, you know, checking once every couple of hours or once an hour. So it's not in the minute right then and there and then that Do you know what I mean? And I think also the other thing is that I think you do especially now Coronavirus so much everything's digital and 5g, you know all these conspiracy theories, all of these things. And I think it's really important to just try and get digital detox. Just try and do it, do it, you know, just just go out go at it. And I personally I do that. The weekend for me is my is my detox. Yeah, I Sunday's in particular is when I just switch off of everything.
Tony Winyard 20:09
I wonder how was it? Do you learn? Or did you get to a point where you were just you, it was out of control with sort of notifications and your phone and whatever.
Farah Nanji 20:21
I mean, I love technology. I'm a huge technology fan, I game, I love coding, you know, I love what technology has done for us. And even with my learning difficulty, one of the first things that I was told to do was because my handwriting after like, 20 minutes becomes illegible. So they were like, you know, to help you in exams, if you have a laptop. So, actually, from a young age, I actually had to have a laptop that actually played, you know, benefits for their one worst, worst thing that happened from that was like, especially as a kid, when you don't have that control yet, and you don't, your body's not, you know, it's not placing the strains yet, like it's not feeling the repercussions. And so, like from childhood from child and teenager had like so much back pain from like sitting on my laptop, like in my bed or like gaming do all these things, when I noticed it was getting at, you know, actually started affecting me was like, pretty much, late 20s, I suddenly started feeling this huge shift in my back in particular. And something I deal with a lot on a daily basis, to be honest. And it when you when you start feeling your spine is like you know, compared is not is not is not right, you need to go quite deep into your life and what you're doing and how you're doing things, because it's going to be a tug of war in a way because like with DJing, it's part of your job, you know, you're looking down your DJ desks, when you go into a venue, you know, they're all not at the same level of height. And most of time, they're not really obviously you're like, your particular height. So obviously, there are ways to get some around that but you you are facing out, and also the end of the day, you're standing for a long time. So like you're not sitting down, like you don't see DJ sitting down with it in a set, right. And you could go on for seven hours. I when I was in my early 20s I used to DJ seven hours a week, three times 3233737 hours, that's almost a year thing. I'm still paying that. I'm still paying for that in my body. But I think Yeah, when that happened, I really had to take a step back and just analyse all these things that sometimes they need for work I'm doing I need to do, but how can I just take a step back from that, from that and even now like working, you know, we're here sitting here, you know, everything's removed. A lot of my work, I'm addicted to my work, I can't stop thinking about my work, you know, I'm very passionate about it. It's not, it's not painful for me, you know, on a mental space to be at work. It's like, I love it, you know, but I have to remind myself, like every hour, like, okay, it's the 45 minute I need to, I need to get up and I need to move and I need to do those things. Sometimes it can be using technology to help you that so you know, set the timer. And, sorry, set the timer or, you know, sometimes like I forget to take my supplements or something I literally set up an email at a particular time. I know that, you know, the best time for me to take a supplement is off to dinner. And I have an email that comes in every single day at no particular time. reminder to take your supplements, you know, it's things like that. Um, but yeah, I think just, I'm we're always on our screens. And I think you know, just Coronavirus is really hard to like made me really, really aware of like, just because we've had to be more on it that like what the negative impacts have been and like how to change
Tony Winyard 23:49
We touched upon how you got started and Motorsports. And so how did that escalate and what is it you're doing now?
Farah Nanji 23:59
Sure. So yeah, like started causing a young age. And then we my teenagers and then about three years down the road of causing I got diagnosed with dyspraxia and I kind of like had to focus all my efforts on my education, my GCSEs which are happening at the time, parents like me hang up for shoes, how not recent us and for a couple of reasons, not just the motor delay, but also the fact that you know, there's this statistic that like a driver who's made it into Formula One, typically their family has basically invested about 7 million pounds into their career through the ages. That's not and you know, definitely didn't have that access my childhood and, and, and that is the thing about most ways, quite inaccessible. It's not like the football you just pick up a ball goes to the garden place and it's just not in you cannot do that. So it's completely the other way around the problem of gaming now which is great. But the physical feeling of you know, driving, it requires, you know, upfront investment. So there's a financial barrier, there is the motor coordination, and then, you know, the the female barrier that that is what it is. And I think what happened to me was like I was a for a while I like, sort of like, didn't, didn't get to do it. But then I went to university, and I happened to be in this place where there were a lot of car collectors in the student community, but random, but it just happened to be that way. And they were all international as well, like this 95% of my universe, international students.
And there was a business school and I just realised that there was a chance that to start a society for Motorsports, particularly because you have all these students who've come from all around the world, they don't do anything outside of London, like they don't realise the heritage that Motorsports has in this country. And you've got half a Formula One teaser here, you've got all these manufacturers, new Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin, and so many manufacturers here based in the UK, just and also just the beauty of the British countryside. So I saw this, you really cool opportunity to start a club that connected people, showed them the best of the automotive motorsport heritage here in the UK, and do events that, you know, really created a community feeling. And we had 800 members, by the time I graduated, we, our events actually ended up being international as well, we did like road trips in the Nurburgring. You know, when you're on a road trip, it's such a sense of camaraderie, and community, everyone's looking out for each other, such a great way to get to know someone, it's just it was amazing to do that during the university times. And because I was fortunate enough to have, you know, a client base, let's say at the time, and I was able to, like learn, literally in the real sense how to run a business. And because I became very serious about it, you know, I got the logo made, I learned Photoshop, I designed the website, I did all the things, you know, that encompass the starting of the business. And, and it wasn't easy also to like, just it wasn't like the clients just came, you know, you had to work to get those clients. And you know, I used to have a promotional stand every week at uni. And one of my biggest weaknesses at the time in university was public speaking, I used to be so afraid of public speaking, and talking to people and putting myself in an environment where I didn't know people, but doing those things. Because I knew I had this business I'm very passionate about I wanted it to thrive. And I knew I had to put myself in that out of my comfort zone. So all of those things in the early years of uni just helped me towards the journey of eventually, taking what I started building upon the idea after graduation, running it today, as a as a as a company that explores the leadership lessons, but in particular for motorsport, and the transferable business lessons that can can arise from motorsport. So when you look at motorsport, you know, let's think of Formula One, you've got digital, an incredible level of digital transformation happen to you right from the onset, every, every race, you know, the the car is changing so rapidly, there are 10,000 moving parts, it's so technology driven, and at the same time, it's a huge an environment of risk. And there's a lot of risk that is it could look, you know, like, well, we're we're where we're at, we're looking at such a huge level of danger. But it's all measured risk. And it's all, you know, environment where so much safety is involved, if you look at Roman versions crash, recently, you know, you would never thought a driver in that situation would have been able to survive a crash, even 10, five years ago, but the measures that are constantly changing the safety of the sport and the sustainability of the sport, it's one of the first sports that has a pledge to go completely net carbon by 2030. Obviously, formula II, there are just so many components. And obviously, peak performance is one of that as well, for drivers for a team, you're in so many different times in all of these really interesting areas, and I feel can have a direct impact to a business, no matter what industry they're in, they can take the learnings from Formula One, and motorsport and adopt some of those practices in their businesses. And that's basically a company that I'm running today. That, you know, allows me to stay incredibly close to my passion for motorsport, but in it in a different way. Because I cannot go and be a Formula One driver, I know that. But I definitely, you know, have this infectious bug for motorsport and want to be a part of the landscape and innovating and particularly,
Tony Winyard 29:32
You just mentioned formula E isn't something I'm not hugely into motorsport, but I'd never heard of that before. So what is that?
Unknown Speaker 29:41
That's, that's really interesting. And so Formula E is actually owned by Liberty Media Group, which owns Formula One. So they are they have the same ultimate ownership structure. But what is is it's basically a single seater motorsport championship. And that only uses electric cars. So everything is is electric. And basically, it's also got a very interesting way in the ways that, let's say a participant or a fan can engage because you can throughout the race kind of fans can vote for their favourite drivers. And then the drivers actually get an extra power boost during that choice itself while they're driving, which is quite interesting. So yeah, it's a few different different, the format is slightly different. But yeah, in essence, you know, you've worked 12 teams to drivers, hybrid, hybrid cars, and cars kind of look like Formula One car, but slightly different. And typically, the biggest difference actually, is that the racing tends to happen on a street circuit. And so you go to all these cities, like, for example, when they had it in England, or in London, it was in Battersea Park. And in New York, they had it around Times Square, and, you know, quite interesting, and it was set up in 2014. So it's relatively new. And it's been exploding over the years in terms of its success, its impact. Because similar to Formula One, this is a place where so many manufacturers get to test their technologies. And actually, a lot of technologies that we see today in the road come from those things like carbon fibre, comes from Formula One.
Tony Winyard 31:26
And so do you see anyone like a Tesla getting involved in that?
Farah Nanji 31:31
It's interesting, because Tesla had their very closed off. They don't they're not in motorsports. And it's very interesting what like, I'm not sure what the maybe they just want to keep their focus performance very much within their own company, and not not an American sports level. But that question has been explored and questioned a lot what why isn't Tesla part of the sport? But at the same time, you've got other manufacturers, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, you know, who all have teams within Formula E. And actually, a lot of drivers ex Formula One drivers have gone into Formula E as well.
Tony Winyard 32:07
How does performance compare between traditional Formula One and Formula Three,
Farah Nanji 32:14
I think you've The format is slightly different. It's like 45 minute races. But the performance level is still the same, it is a very mental game. And people actually don't realise how much of a mental game major sports is, it's huge mental. And you're always, you know, you have to kind of constantly think how to outperform your competitor on a circuit and not end your car in the wall. You know, if if you if you damage your front wing on a Formula One car, which sometimes you see in in a pitstop, you see a very fast front wing change, that's a 250,000 pound change, just in front of me. So you know, when you're driving a car at that, at that cost, you know, that's, that's a huge amount of pressure. So there's a there's a mental performance, there is then of course, the fitness and I think the fitness is, there might be smaller things in terms of like how they train might differ. But at the end of the day, there is a, you need to be very, very, very fit, a lot of consistency is a lot of like weight is put through your neck through the G forces that are happening. So when you train in your fitness, you have to pay a lot of attention to neck training. And you also have to have very, very fast reaction speed times for obvious reasons. And so you know, a lot of that stuff, like one of the things like I go to get the chance to take my members to Formula One gyms, which is sort of very different to normal gyms, they've got, you know, the essences of like weights and things like that, but everything's kind of really geared towards Motorsports. So like, let's say there's like this piece of equipment, for example, that's like, about breaking, and because you had to do a lot of heavy braking, before corner and you literally almost have to stamp your foot on the brake, but every corner has a different way of stamping your foot in a way. So, this one piece of equipment will have a huge weight attached to it. And but also it will have a screen and then it will have a curve graph and the graph will change and you will also see on the screen how the car is moving. So you can see how the cars taking a corner. And then you see the graph and the graph has like a curve and the curve will always be different. And you have to emulate that curve in your braking in how you put your foot on the brake. And and that's how you practice you know, the different types of braking styles when it comes to braking. But yeah, I think you know, it's it's really interesting when you go to a gym like it over over motorsport, you know league you kind of see some really cool interesting pieces of kit. But the training I think is always saying it's nutrition, it's mental and it's an it's an it's fitness
Tony Winyard 34:52
in a different worlds that you reside in with the DJ and the motorsport and so on what I would Imagine there's a lot of temptation for bad habits in in those sort of lifestyles. How do you resist that?
Farah Nanji 35:07
Yeah, I definitely think you need to just be very mentally strong, because you cannot be in that environment, if you have a long term game plan, or being in that environment, cannot simply do it by the unit, by doing what your audience does, let's say, your audience are coming there, they're coming there to have to get, you know, to have to get to get have a lot of drinks, or to, you know, do whatever they just come in to do their basic comments release, you know, their week, or they're coming to IB for the holiday, and they're there, they're fully blown on having the best time of their life, because that's what the islands need for giving you the best time of your life. And it's very easy, because everyone knew the club promoters, you know, the club owners, you know, your friends, they want to, you know, can I get you a drink, you know, like this, and that, and it's kind of weird, because it's like, you know, what are the industry requires you, or has this environment where you have, like, alcohol, as, as part of your, you know, like, when you're working, it's really, you know, you don't, you don't you don't do that a normal job, I think you just have to be so mentally strong. And I think, you know, at some point, you're going to break, and that's fine, you need to break to see what it's like on the other side, and how you don't enjoy it, don't enjoy waking up, so hung over, you know, having to get on a plane, nothing worse than that, you know, like, got such a bad headache. I always say I'm never gonna do this again, you know, and or you miss your flight that has a repercussion, that someone else's money, you know, promoter, or, you know, you'd be paid to go there. Like, that's terrible, you can't do that it's not professional. So I think, you know, sometimes you do need to fail to see that that's not what you you want to be and how you want to do it. But ultimately, then, just be really strong. And you'll wake up the next morning feeling so good. Like, you know, I ready to seize the day, I'm ready to do this. I'm not I'm not waking up at a time when there's no sunlight. You know, it's just got a really detrimental effect on your body. So thing, yeah, just being very mentally resilient. And I think Motorsports has given me that resilience 100%, you know, just just the fact that I'm able to be in both environments. And you you're missing this juxtaposition, you see the lifestyle, or you observed people who are living on the extreme end of fitness, they have all these small, small things that they adopt into their life on a daily basis. And then you come into major into DJing was thrown completely out of the equation. Now as a mental struggle to be in both and succeed.
Tony Winyard 37:34
Change in terms of subject dramatically, I suppose you could say, do you? Are you much better reader?
Farah Nanji 37:40
Yes, I love reading I'm definitely a bookworm. I read a lot. And one of those people that I'm guilty of buying so many books that I struggled to find to find the time to read them. But yeah, I have this habit, he tried to set myself a target, like 12 bucks into in one year, so one book a month. And just try and make do that. And, and another habit that we've got actually in the family, which is quite nice. And particularly during COVID. Because before like we you know, we didn't always get jobs or family dinners all the time. And because, you know, we will be hearing them and whatnot. But now, like, we made it a very regular thing, like, you know, you know, we have a family dinner on a Saturday. And every week one of us has to bring something to the table that we've read, that we feel we want to share with our family that has some sort of meaning spiritual, whatever it is. And that's been a really nice habit for our family as well. You know, there's four of us. So it's not too intense, you know, once a month we will do it. Yeah, I love I love to read.
Tony Winyard 38:48
What what what kind of things do you tend to read?
Farah Nanji 38:51
I love to read a lot of spiritual books, and I'm a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle. Totally. His his books are phenomenal. And so love to read books like that. See the souls I am reading at the moment. And books that really just go deep with it. Because when I read, it's really time for me, it's time for me, it's my way of switching off. It's my way of not thinking about work. And but at the same time, I also love to read books for work in that manner, because there's so much thought leadership from so many experts that have written great books and movies for music and to get that level of insight as well. It's not something I'm typically just going to get by looking at the internet's someone's like life work in that. I love reading stories of Formula One drivers, their journeys, what they've achieved, how they, how they've done it, and, and a lot of books around leadership as well because you know, developing teams, I love focusing on high performance within my teams that I build. So I love to read books about that as well and the district perspective
Tony Winyard 39:59
Is it something you do on a daily basis? Or is it something you make sure that you do regularly?
Farah Nanji 40:06
I don't get the chance to do it on a daily basis. I try and do on a weekly basis. So the weekend for me, is that time to switch off and just go go a bit deeper into that. To those things.
Tony Winyard 40:20
Only one you talked about, you had a fear of public speaking, and yet you've done a TED talk.
Farah Nanji 40:26
Tony Winyard 40:28
So does that I don't think there's many people who have done a, you've got a fear of public assays, probably not sure. Because there's probably a lot of people who've got a fear of public speaking yet still, etc. But yeah, tell us more about the total.
Farah Nanji 40:38
Yeah, no, for sure. I think to be fair, I think, like, when you first do your TED talk, I don't think most people no matter who they are not gonna get nervous, like, I've I've now had the pleasure of watching many TED Talks, you know, in a live environment. And I know, firsthand, some of the speakers have been speakers for the UN, you know, they've spoken at these World Economic Forum, they've, you know, been on some of the biggest stages. But the TED Talk always gets them. And I think the biggest reason for that is you're not allowed notes. Everything is like, you and the audience have no barriers, there's no lectern. And that's the beauty of a TED talk, he knows is really a human dynamic from from head to toe, with how you speak, and how you deliver. So that experience was unreal. And I, I think in the lead up, in the two years, prior to ever doing a TED talk, I suppose I'd had the opportunity to, let's say, test my public speaking, because it's a journey, you know, went through this whole thing in you in childhood, where I literally couldn't make eye contact, then I became very comfortable with who I was, I became passionate, I found my passions, I then realised that in order for your passions to succeed, you need to be a great communicator, whether that's putting yourself out there getting your business heard, or even just communicating within your teams. And then very, very quickly, within that I loved sharing knowledge. And so I became a mentor for many, many artists, and entrepreneurs. And then also I started doing a lot of guest speaking at universities, and delivering workshops, and, and also delivering keynotes for brands. So prior to my TED Talk experience, I had had, let's say, a level, a certain level of exposure towards, you know, putting yourself in a room and talking to people. But the TED Ted experience, you know, was like, unlike anything I've ever done before, and there are a few reasons behind that. Number one, is that they're the platform itself. And secondly, it's the fact that, you know, you've only got 18 minutes, and it's got, it's your life's manifestation. And you never know if you ever get to do one again, it's, you know, the first one you do is always it's like, a huge thing. I have six weeks notice to do the talk. And, and, you know, I was in six countries and those six weeks. So that was very, very, very tough. I was from the United States, Africa, Emirates visa. And, you know, it was like, it was intense. So to think of the topic, what I'm going to write about struggle with all these timezone differences. And in all those time zones, I was working really intensely, I had one of the biggest events happening for my companies during that point. And, you know, that already was tough enough, like I was in a DJ booth, and maybe third, every breakout was like, on my phone, like doing sales, like, you know, making sure everything was going okay, for this, this event, it was it was quite intense. And then having this TED talk in the back of my mind with it all. So there was a lot going on. And the experience itself was was unbelievable. I also had, because it was in the Philharmonic Hall of Luxembourg, I, I sort of, you know, sort of asked if I could do a musical performance to kind of also complement the things I spoken about. And so that actually caught my that by doing that, I had to have a shorter speech as well. So even more pressure to condense everything into what you want to say. And then, you know, some of the things I learned along the way from Tech speakers was like, people on average, who prepare for a test speech, practice, one minute of prose, they put they practice one minute speech, and they do that for one hour. So they literally repeat the same minute for an hour. And if your talk is like 18 minutes, that's 18 hours which I did not have the luxury of doing. So there are so many things that like freaked me out. But you know, just went and did not sleep could not sleep an inch the night before could not sleep a wink. Like I tried so hard. I was just but I was just like, just couldn't do it. Couldn't sleep. So I went in on the talk, just like not, you know, fully overtly, you know, not not my best self. Let's say. My sister thank God was there and she was like, she knows me. She'd been used to me or alive. She knows my problems with sleeping. She knows how I can get into a frenzy. Sometimes When it's a huge work thing, and I can't sleep, and so she was literally in the in the in the changing room before she was like doing Lion's breath of me, she was like, doing all of these, like amazing like things to help me out. And yeah, but then I went and did it. And to be fair, like the first couple of minutes for sure, like, super daunting, and you know, you walk into that room, there's 1500 people watching you.
And you're just like, oh my god. But as soon as you get into your flow, as soon as you get to you what you're there to transmit, you just enjoy what you're, you got to enjoy it. Like, you know, it's a very personal thing. And I think the beauties of talks are the ones that have to have some level of interaction. And so you can see how your audience is feeling as well. And that's the first thing that I did is I opened up my speech with a question, which was, how many of you guys in the room struggle with maths? And that's quite a universal question, you know, and, and so I could immediately I kind of gave myself a little break for like, five seconds to just, like, see the room and see who I'm talking to you and see them kind of be curious amongst themselves and like, how, how, like, you know, what the energy is like, and yeah, so it was all it was all it was all over much faster than then it lemat than it was, when it ended, I literally, like, passed out, you know, like a like, when outside of the room out of the philharmonie. There was bench high, just like lay down, like 10 minutes, just shut my eyes. And I was like, wow, I really I did that, even now is unreal. And, and it was like, you know, it felt like you're climbing this the Mount Everest of public speaking, you know, because it's like, one thing is what happens in the room and the room and that day in that moment. But, of course, the second part is knowing that it's going to live on the internet. And that talk could go viral, or it will just get you know, certain will just get traction. Or it may not, in fact, as well.
Tony Winyard 47:03
Do you know, do you know how many views is?
Farah Nanji 47:06
Yeah, so it has had traction is had about 80,000 views now. And you know, so it's it's hard. It's it's continuing to grow. But I think you know that you can't have any expectation towards it. Because you There are loads of people that have a great talk, and then it just hasn't had the traction. And that that sometimes is the downfall of the platform. Yeah.
You know, so, yeah, that's, that's been my experience is giving a giving a TED talk.
Tony Winyard 47:32
And you talked before about, you know, so communication and speaking and so on. And one of the things you do is a regular podcast, you want to tell us about the podcast and who it's aimed at?
Farah Nanji 47:42
for sure. I'm loving the world of podcasting. And I basically just actually, before Coronavirus, happened in January 2020.
I had this incredible privilege of DJing at the World Economic Forum and also being a keynote speaker for a conference out there and, and obviously managing an event. So there's quite a lot of things going on. And, and actually, Southern Kai unfortunately happened to be where I slipped on some black eyes about about three days into the conference. And I broke my elbow, and was something I had to struggle with throughout the whole year. Because I had to have a surgery there. But then the surgery actually was done wrong in Switzerland of all places. And and then Coronavirus happened to the hospital staff became much harder to access. And, and yeah, it was just really a very complicated thing. And we need to see what she talked about for a whole year had to like just do intense physio, and had a second surgery and all this. So as I was there in the mountains, you know, like really, really disappointed with myself because I was so looking forward to this experience. And I never got to fully experience what I went out to achieve. You know, and, and I was thinking then, you know, like, wow, like I, you know, what's led me to this point and how they got home and then kind of, you know, just doing a reflection, like so many people always asked me like, what is it like to be in the musical motorsport industry? We've got so many questions, you know, you know, quite easily instantaneously. Like, as you demonstrated, there's so many different things we can talk about and be here for hours, about so many different things. And it can relate to everyone on a human level as well. And and I felt like you'd be great idea to start this podcast that delve more into the mindset of new leaders and music leaders emerge sport as leaders in business as a third category. And sort of see what other sort of obstacles they've had to face. And what are the misconceptions. There's so many misconceptions about both of these industries. And that would be a great place to start a discussion and hopefully empower other people on their journey. And whatever it is, and just, you know, elevate their mindset and adopt some of these, you know, habits as well as high performance. So that that's been the thinking behind mission makers. That's the name of the podcast. We launched it. Then from between January to October, I spent 10 months just working on the idea. It was a very, very long, intense process. Got a team around it. And yeah, we don't you know, October, we're doing like a season format. So each season has 11 episodes, we're going into season two, soon, in March. And I'm not sure actually when this episode is going to be aired, if it will already have been shown to be aired. But our our season opener is with Carl Cox, who is a phenomenal one of the world's best DJs. But surprisingly, not everyone knows this. He's also a huge big sports fan. And he actually has a Motorsports team himself. And so we felt felt like he was just the perfect guest to launch Season Two with and yeah, it's been an amazing journey, like, just, you know, a lot more work than I thought. And I've been tracking my hours on this podcast and like, already, we're in, you know, we're in for Thursday, I've already put in 25 hours this week into just the podcast production itself. And because I'm one of those people who think I could go back down to me just what I'm an absolute perfectionist. And so it's not enough for me just like recording some audio and put it out there. I want to just go full, like full on with everything around it.
Tony Winyard 51:26
So if, people want to find out. Your podcast is called Mission Makers.
Farah Nanji 51:32
Correct? Mission Makers,
it's on all the podcast platforms, iTunes, Spotify, wherever you listen to podcasts, we also have a video component to it on YouTube. So if you just type in mission makers on YouTube, it will come up on my DJ channel ninja. And yeah, that's that's that's kind of where you can listen to it.
Tony Winyard 51:51
Other other social media? How can people find out about your motorsport stuff?
Farah Nanji 51:56
For sure, so I've DJ hyphen ninja on SoundCloud. That's the best way to hear my music. On Instagram DJ dot m one and J. A. That's the music stuff. And then the company Promoter Score I'm running is at Regent's racing, on Instagram, and same on the internet regions, Titan racing.com. And that is that is all of where I am. Present online.
Tony Winyard 52:23
It's been it's been a pleasure speaking to you before we finish on believe you have a quotation that you particularly like?
Farah Nanji 52:31
That's true. That is correct. Yes. The quotation is by Rumi and it is what you seek is seeking. And there's a lot of depth behind that statement.
Tony Winyard 52:42
What is it that resonates with you?
Farah Nanji 52:45
I think we all have a, in a secret mission given to us by nature. And nature has given us all something that we're here to achieve, to do to contribute. You know, when we look at the ecosystem of our planet, everything in nature is here for a very, very specific reason, intention. And those gifts and all those those clues that are revealed to us in childhood, and what we saw in our early lives, is seeking us always coming back to those roots and staying anchored in that centre point of what is truly seeking us and what's not serving us anymore as well. Being very aware and mindful of that. As we continue on in our journey on this on this planet.
Tony Winyard 53:36
Farah, I love that quote, and thank you for for the last 50 or so minutes. It's been an absolute pleasure speaking to you, so thank you.
Farah Nanji 53:44
Thank you, Tony, thank you so much for having me on the show. Really appreciate it. And I hope to catch up with you very soon.
Tony Winyard 53:53
Next week, Episode Four with Shannon Beer. She's formally studied at King's College London and she's a certified nutritionist. She's also certified in fitness. She's done training in Motivational Interviewing, ACT, food, nutrition and health and many other things. And she's lived and spent time in a lot of different countries. She's currently out in Bali and in the last few years she's been in Vietnam and Thailand and Melbourne, Sydney, LA, Singapore, Dublin, Hong Kong, the list just goes on and on. So that's next week's episode with Shannon Beer. If you know anyone who you think would get some value from this week's episode with Farah, please do share the episode with them. And why not subscribe to the podcast and please do leave a review. It's really useful to know what you think of the show. Hope you have a great week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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