#13 - Making Positive, Long-Term Changes by Treating Yourself with Kindness, with Shahroo Izadi


Kristina is joined by Shahroo Izadi in this wonderful episode – a Behavioural Change Specialist, author of the life-changing book, The Kindness Method and an all-round incredible woman.

Her belief that treating yourself kindly is the only way to make positive and long-term changes in your life is a refreshing and practical approach we should all look to embrace as we work towards our dreams.

After many years of working with people overcoming substance misuse and addiction, and battling through her own self-doubt, low self-esteem and an unhealthy relationship with food, Shahroo was able to turn her life around by putting simple, positive and sustainable habits in place – but more importantly, by treating herself with kindness and compassion every day – something many of us find difficult to do.

Shahroo’s revolutionary approach to helping people make positive and long-lasting changes in their life is something that is very dear to Kristina's heart – and something that is also aligned with our brand philosophy at Dream Life.

In this wonderful episode you’ll discover….

  • Simple tools and kind ways to change habits and behaviours in your life for the long-term
  • How to stop focusing on what might be wrong in any situation and start identifying the joy in every moment
  • How to overcome self-doubt, and learn to celebrate your life and all of your achievements
  • The importance of finding what makes you happy, not what you ‘think’ should make you happy, and creating time for that in your life
  • How to steer yourself away from negative self-talk and build yourself up by focusing on the positive
  • The power of journaling, manifestation and setting your intentions each day to help you live a life you love
  • How to make little pieces of your day kinder and more enjoyable, and a whole lot more!

If you love this episode, don’t forget to subscribe for plenty more inspiration! And please tell us what you thought by leaving us a review!

Don't forget to help up spread this inspiring message to even more people by sharing our podcast on social media with the hashtag #101milliondreamers

"So much incredible wisdom on treating ourselves with the kindness we deserve in order to make positive long-lasting changes in our lives." Kristina Karlsson
"I just love Shahroo’s belief that only way to sustain any difficult change in your life is to like yourself more, believe that you’re worthy and believe that you’re capable." Kristina Karlsson



Our dream is to inspire and empower 101 million people around the world, just like you, to write down three dreams, and go chase them! Don't forget to help up spread this inspiring message to even more people by sharing our podcast on social media with the hashtag #101milliondreamers



Kristina:            What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? If you had all the money, all the time, all the knowledge, all the resources that you needed. What would you do with your life if you [inaudible 00:00:17] that anything was possible for you? My name is Kristina Karlsson, founder of global Swedish design and stationary brand, kikki.K, and author of the book Your Dream Life Starts Here. I [00:00:30] love exploring these sorts of questions to inspire people to dream.

Kristina:            Before I started kikki.K, I had a dream that I could bring Swedish design to the world, to create beautiful products that bring sparks of joy into the everyday lives of millions. Now that I have achieved that dream, I want to help you dream big. I want to create a global movement to inspire 101 million dreamers, to transform their lives and [00:01:00] transform the world in return.

Kristina:            Each episode I'll be talking to some of the world's most inspiring people, exploring the powerful impact that dreaming has had on their lives. We'll be diving deep into the power of dreaming with real insights and ideas that you can use immediately to build a dream life of your own, whatever that means for you.

Kristina:            [00:01:30] This episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with someone I truly admire, Shahroo Izadi, an incredible woman, renowned behavioral change specialist, and author of her amazing book The Kindness Method. Shahroo's revolutionary approach to helping people make positive and long-lasting changes in their life is something that is very dear to my heart, and something that is so aligned with our brand philosophy [00:02:00] at kikki.K as well.

Kristina:            After many years of working with people overcoming substance, misuse, and addiction, and battling through her own self-doubt, low self-esteem, and an unhealthy relationship with food, Shahroo was able to turn her life around by putting simple positive and sustainable habits in place, but more importantly by treating herself with kindness and compassion every day, something many of us find difficult to do. Her belief that treating yourself kindly is the only [00:02:30] way to make positive and long-term changes in your life is a refreshing and practical approach we should all look to embrace as we work towards our dreams.

Kristina:            In this wonderful episode, you will discover simple tools and kind ways to change habits and behaviors in your life for the long-term, how to stop focusing on what might be wrong in any situation, and start identifying the joy in every moment, how to overcome self-doubt and learn how to celebrate your life, and all [00:03:00] of your achievements, the importance of finding what makes you happy, not what you think could make you happy, and creating time for that in your life, the power of journaling, manifestation and setting your intentions each day to help you live a life you love, and a whole lot more.

Kristina:            I just love this episode, and I know you are going to love it too, so let's get right into it.

Kristina:            Shahroo, welcome to our Dream Life podcast. Thank you so much for joining me, I'm [00:03:30] super excited to have you. I'm so excited for our listeners to hear about your inspiring journey, how you help people change their own habits for the positive, and your amazing book, The Kindness Method. But first, I would love to start by getting to chat about your childhood, if you had a dream as a child.

Shahroo:           I did. As a child, I wanted to be in a West End musical. I wanted to perform and stand in a front of a whole bunch of people, and make them happy, and make them feel engaged. To a large extent, [00:04:00] that's a lot of what I do now, actually.

Kristina:            Yeah, absolutely. You sure are, in a non-musical way perhaps. Unless you sing [inaudible 00:04:07].

Shahroo:           Sometimes.

Kristina:            That's amazing, thank you.

Kristina:            You're not only an inspiring author, but a successful behavioral change specialist whose fresh approach to change habits has really taken the world by storm. I would love if you could give a little bit of a background on yourself, and the work that you do, and perhaps share a little with our listeners how you got to where you are today.

Shahroo:           Yeah, absolutely. [00:04:30] I guess there's two main areas that I draw from now, in terms of my experience when it comes to my work. One of them is my own lifelong battle of struggling with low self-esteem, low self-belief, and being very, very overweight or very underweight, one or the other, and abusing myself with my eating habits and the way that I would speak to myself.

Shahroo:           The other is the work that I've done in addiction treatment, in the prison service, the criminal justice service, in the community, [00:05:00] in clinics, learning about the tools that help motivate people, the tools that help people make changes even those people are really resistant and their habits are really ingrained. I discovered that if there was one kind of headline that applied to both of those kinds of situations that I could use to help those people in addiction, and I used to help myself lose eight stone in a meaningful and sustainable way, it's kindness, kindness towards yourself, [00:05:30] and consideration for yourself and your body. That's really what I used to help me change, and what I see helping thousands and thousands of people change in recovery every day.

Kristina:            That's amazing. I would love to explore it a little bit more. But how did you get into this?

Shahroo:           Into addiction treatment?

Kristina:            Yeah.

Shahroo:           To be honest with you, I wasn't hugely academic at university, so when it came to applying for a placement as an assistant psychologist, nobody wanted to work in substance misuse. I think [00:06:00] all the people who had studied really hard, I guess they just thought it was a thankless area to work in, and it's not the most glamorous, to be honest. It was pretty gross. Some pretty gross things happened to me. But I loved it. From the first day that I was placed in a substance misuse service in North London, a pretty rough part of North London, the time would just fly all day because I couldn't believe how easy it was to help people [00:06:30] transform their lives, I couldn't believe how little people knew about the simple tools that were available.

Shahroo:           Sometimes, as you well know, it was a matter of just writing down one sentence that would turn around an entire life, and the family that were attached to that life. It was extraordinary, and this would happen 10, 15, 20 times a day. I couldn't believe that. Then I would go home and I'd talk to my friends who were struggling to make such small changes in comparison, [00:07:00] and I just wanted to tell them, "Guys, this is so easy. We could all do this. It's so easy." I see people without many internal or external resources doing it every day.

Shahroo:           Yeah, working in addiction actually started 'cause no one else wanted to, but I loved it immediately, and so I just stayed there. The opportunities just kept opening up for me because that's what happens when you love something, and you're engaged in it constantly, and people can tell that it's oozing from you. That's why opportunities continue to present [00:07:30] themselves now for me, I think, because I love it. You can tell.

Kristina:            Yeah, yeah. Tell me a little bit about ... I love the Forward by Marisa, because I think that is something that I really ... Well one of the reason I actually wanted you on this podcast because I think that so many of us have those little issues in terms of compared to a issue with drugs or really alcoholism and all that kind of stuff. But I love that you are really [00:08:00] helping people that might not have an issue in terms of having a serious issue with alcohol or drugs, whatever it is, but could be some smaller things. I think I love listening to or reading her Forward because I feel like there's so many people in her situation. I'd love you to talk a little bit about that because I think that could really help our listeners.

Shahroo:           Of course. Marisa contacted me. She's a journalist from The Pool. She contacted me when she heard about the workshops that I was doing at the School of Life. [00:08:30] Those were just general habit change workshops. I was just trying them out and getting a feel for them. She contacted me and said, "I'm not sure you can help me because I don't want to stop drinking altogether, and I'm pretty sure that's what you do."

Shahroo:           From my experience, everything that I had done involved helping people stop drinking altogether for various reasons, political, funding-wise, all sorts of things. In a way, it's more simple to just cut something out entirely, but she didn't want to do that. [00:09:00] I sat and I thought about it, and I realized that if I applied the same thinking to her drinking as I did to my eating ...

Kristina:            Yeah, 'cause you have to eat.

Shahroo:           'Cause you have to eat, you can't be abstinent. I've had to define what the kindest version of eating habits and exercising habits is for me personally.

Shahroo:           I thought, maybe I could help her find that. Maybe I could make it so that she could behave in this way sometimes, but in the way that only she wants to, in a way that she feels proud of. Maybe [00:09:30] if we could help her cut out the occasion when she's drinking because she feels sad, or alone, or bored, or anxious, and help her retain the times when she's drinking for a bit of relaxation, or to socialize, or to genuinely enjoy a bottle of wine, then she could learn to manage this herself, and she wouldn't have to wait until things maybe got really bad, or she felt she was dependent.

Shahroo:           She changed her behaviors. One morning I woke up and I had about 300 emails out of [00:10:00] nowhere, 'cause I didn't know she had published her article, and I was just going along, plotting along with my life, doing what I do. That day, my whole life changed forever because one of the emails was from a book agent.

Kristina:            Yeah, love that.

Shahroo:           Yeah, and then everything just changed. It was amazing.

Kristina:            I bet. I bet.

Shahroo:           I love that story.

Kristina:            What I found particularly inspiring is your own personal experience in overcoming addiction, having lost an amazing eight stone, by putting into place realistic and sustainable habits. [00:10:30] That's such an incredible achievement. Can you share a bit about your personal experience with this? What were the key changes in mindset and habits you needed to make that happen?

Shahroo:           In the past, I was always good at losing weight. I think people who want to lose weight tend to know how to lose weight. When I have clients come in, the first question I ask them is, "Let's just get the food out of the way. If I told you I'd give you 200,000 pounds at the end of the month if you lost weight healthily, would you be able to do it?" Everyone says, "Yes," [00:11:00] so that's not the problem. I think it comes to asking people and getting people to understand what I had to learn, and that is that the only way to keep it off, or to sustain any difficult change is to like yourself more, believe that you're worthy of achieving ambitious and great things, and believe that you're capable of achieving ambitious and great things.

Shahroo:           The time that really changed my life was when I approached weight loss, [00:11:30] doing practically all the same stuff, cutting calories or carbs, or moving around more. All the stuff we know. But the way that I did it this time, funnily enough, was that I decided I was gonna like myself and back myself whether or not I lost weight. That's when the weight came off. The weight just became a byproduct. It became lost in a list of the many ways I was being nicer to myself. That's what worked for me, and continues to work very effortlessly.

Shahroo:           I apply kindness to everything [00:12:00] I do towards my body. Whereas before, it was conditional on how my body looked, and that's just not the case anymore.

Kristina:            I love that, and I think so many people can relate to that. It's a really good tip. Thank you for sharing that.

Kristina:            I imagine it must have felt so empowering once you decided to really take control of your life, which you done in such a inspiring way. Can you share any advice on how our listeners can jump into the driver seat in their own lives when faced with big decision or obstacles that feel outside [00:12:30] of their control.

Shahroo:           Yeah, I think the first mistake that people make is that when they're faced with a challenge, or an obstacle, they focus on what's wrong with the situation, and what's wrong with themselves to why they can't overcome those situations. Now aside from the fact that being nicer to ourselves is just a nicer way to live, obviously, from a practical point of view, identifying what's good about the situation and how it's serving you to be in this situation is actually how you [00:13:00] identify what else you could do that might be healthier or more useful to you. Does that make sense?

Kristina:            Yeah, 100%. Absolutely.

Shahroo:           Then by focusing not on what you can't do, but what you can, you can identify the resources at your disposal to overcome the situation.

Shahroo:           I think first and foremost, stop concentrating on what's wrong. Concentrate on what's strong. Think about where ... Okay, I'm faced on something I find difficult, why am I finding it difficult? It [00:13:30] must be doing something for me that is important, and I should acknowledge and appreciate. Why don't I think I can overcome it? I must not be focusing on all the ways that I've overcome things in the past. I'd say first and foremost, do that.

Kristina:            Yeah, great advice. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing.

Kristina:            Let's talk about The Kindness Method. What can people expect to walk away after reading your book?

Shahroo:           I hope that people walk away from the book thinking that at any point for the rest of their lives, if they want [00:14:00] to change their lives, then they have the tools to do it. I also hope that it shifts their definition of kindness from something that gives them immediate relief, and distraction, and avoidance, to something that they're glad they did in a week, or a month, or a year's time. Those are the main takeaways for me.

Kristina:            Yeah, and great takeaways. Beautiful takeaways. I absolutely love the idea of being kinder to yourself, focus on your skills, strength in a positive rather than a negatives. [00:14:30] It's the first step to making fundamental changes in our lives.

Kristina:            If you could give three tips from the book on how our listeners can start embracing The Kindness Method at home right now, what would that be?

Shahroo:           First of all, the next time you do something that you're not delighted with, whether it's that you've locked your keys in the car, or that you've eaten something you didn't need to eat, try to speak to yourself as you would speak to the person you love most in the whole world about it. Just give yourself a chance to say, to respond [00:15:00] to it, and listen in on how you're speaking to yourself. Because what you may notice is that you start spiraling into an abuse essentially, verbal internal abuse that you would never dream of giving to someone else.

Shahroo:           Not only is that a horrible, mean soundtrack to have, it's also completely unhelpful. If you spend half an hour telling yourself that you're a bad, weak willed, disorganized person because you lost your keys, you're gonna waste a lot more time [00:15:30] as opposed to if you just say, "Oh, nevermind. It's just keys. I'm a great person. I'm not defined by losing my keys." The same way that you would tell your daughter, for example. But a lot of us just don't speak to ourselves like that. First and foremost, I would say that.

Shahroo:           Second of all, I would say if you want to change difficult habits, first create enjoyable ones. I think people often make the mistake of thinking that they'll be worthy of being kind to themselves once they've achieved something. By realizing that you're already worthy [00:16:00] of being kind to yourself, you will more easily achieve whatever you like, I believe. Being kind to yourself, I think, isn't just how you act towards yourself, it's things like being boundaried, and re-evaluating your values, thinking about how you want to spend your time, who you want to spend your time with. Then the specific habits just fits into the valued life that you're living anyway.

Shahroo:           Third of all, what have people found particularly useful. When you're thinking about [00:16:30] how you celebrate, your achievements or your milestones, don't do it with the thing that you're trying not to do.

Kristina:            I get that. Yes.

Shahroo:           I would often think, "Wow, I haven't eaten cake in three weeks. I'm gonna eat a huge cake." 'Cause all that does is reinforce that you were bad, and now you're being good, and now you're gonna be bad again, and that foods are bad. It ridiculous. It puts you back into these very disempowering categories that you don't need [00:17:00] to assign yourself.

Shahroo:           It's also, a lot of us don't diversify the ways that we sooth ourselves, the ways that we celebrate. We find at a really young age that one thing is really effective, alcohol being the obvious example. Like wow, this is a real elixir. This is amazing for everything. What happens then is that we neglect to be more discerning about what behavior we go to for our different needs.

Shahroo:           I would say one thing you can start doing is thinking, "How do I [00:17:30] celebrate? How about in the next month I find two more ways to celebrate? How do I deal with stress?" For example, I used to deal with stress with some healthy things, some unhealthy things, but never anything enjoyable. I always thought, "Okay, I could go mediate." I mean, meditating is enjoyable, but I don't run to meditation, you know what I mean?

Kristina:            Yeah.

Shahroo:           Whereas I decided, "All right, what was the last thing I really enjoyed? Maybe that would help me feel less stressed, or would help me feel present." What I do now, on a Sunday night, when sometimes I can feel a bit [00:18:00] antsy or lonely, especially in the winter, I book myself a karaoke booth for two hours ...

Kristina:            Ha, ha, ha. I love that.

Shahroo:           ... order a coffee, and just sing. I sit there too. I don't perform, or put the hats on or anything. I sit there in the corner like I'm Barbara Streisand, being interviewed on Oprah or something, and I just sing for myself for two hours. By the end I feel less stressed.

Shahroo:           That wouldn't have come about if I didn't give myself the consideration to sit down and say right, "How much joy are you [00:18:30] getting in your life? How much of your life is purely remedial? Just waiting for something bad to pop up and then dealing with it. How about if you went out and preempted that you are gonna want to enjoy your life and did things that make you feel engaged, and alive, and like your phone doesn't even exist?" Things like that.

Kristina:            Yeah, I love that.

Shahroo:           So I'd say, find your stuff.

Kristina:            Yup, I love that. Thank you so much for sharing. That's a great one. It never even have come to my mind to book a karaoke bar, or whatever, booth.

Shahroo:           [00:19:00] I'm the only person who I've heard of who's done it on their own. Do you know what? You have to really own it. This is where the self-esteem bits comes in, 'cause when I go in every single time, they say, "Are you expecting someone? Do you need another microphone?" I have two options, you know. I can either say, "Oh no. It's a bit embarrassing," or I can just own it and say, "No, stop asking me. I'm about to have the time of my life on my own. If anyone wants to interrupt me, tell them to go away."

Kristina:            I love that.

Shahroo:           You know?

Kristina:            [00:19:30] That's actually a really good ... I get a lot of questions about self-esteem. Have you got any tips for our listeners when they are lacking self-esteem?

Shahroo:           What can be helpful is to think when you were a child, if I had told you that by now you would have overcome the things that you have, got through the things that you have, achieved the things that you had, created the life that you have with the love that's around you and the support that surrounds you, would you expect to like yourself more by now? Would you expect that those things would make you feel worthy [00:20:00] of liking yourself more? Everyone always says, "Yes."

Shahroo:           Just think of that child there, and the life that they aspire to have. A lot of us, whether knowing whether we're conscious of it or not, have created that life. Or that life's come and found us even if we resisted it. I would say, think about that. Doesn't someone like you deserve to like themselves more? Think of all the things you've achieved, think of all the things you're capable of, [00:20:30] think of all the things in 10 years' time you wish you'd appreciated more now. That certainly helps me.

Shahroo:           I also, I think, having grown up with such low self-esteem, and such low self-worth, there is a part of me that thinks, "That's it now, I've done enough of that."

Kristina:            Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

Shahroo:           Even with all that, look how far I came. Imagine how far I could go if I liked myself.

Kristina:            Yeah. Such a good advice. Thank you for sharing [00:21:00] that. It's gold for people, I think, and it's so true because I think we all evolve with life, and all of a sudden you are at places that you never thought you could get to, and then you just want more the whole time. We're never really satisfied, which is a wonderful thing in many ways, but it's really good to take stock as well, and look back, and look at all your achievements.

Kristina:            In my book I actually talk about, or get everyone to write their accomplishment for the year, because I think we forget so many little things that we love, [00:21:30] not just the achievements in terms of where [inaudible 00:21:32] business, or the big holidays, but it's also the little things that makes all the difference, the sunrises, or the sunsets, or the little things.

Shahroo:           Absolutely. If you think about it, the last time you achieved something really extraordinary, for example, maybe you [inaudible 00:21:48], or you did something that made you feel really proud, like you got a master's degree or whatever, how did you feel on that day? Probably like nothing could touch you. Like you could [00:22:00] take on the world, like everyone was just a wonderful creature, and you were one of them, and everything. The sun was shining even if it wasn't.

Shahroo:           What happens is it starts wearing off. Real life creeps back in. I'm not saying every day I'm gonna jump around like it's my birthday, although times I do, but the fact is that that accomplishment hasn't been taken from you. You're starting to take it from yourself by giving it caveats, and conditions. The things come in like, "Oh, but I could have got a higher mark," [00:22:30] or, "I could have done it in a speedier time," or, "Maybe if I was a few pounds lighter I would've ..." All the caveats and conditions come in.

Shahroo:           I think one of the ways to also increase our self-esteem is when we give ourselves a compliment or a pat on the back, stop there. That's it. There's no negotiation. That was an accomplishment, you deserved it, it's yours. No one's taking it. If you want to jump up and down the next month about some news you got today, that's fine. [00:23:00] The novelty doesn't have to wear off.

Kristina:            No. Great one. Thank you.

Kristina:            You're helping people all over the world to take steps to move closer to a life that they love, which must feel amazing. Do you feel like you are living your dream life and have your dream career? How are you feeling about where you are right now?

Shahroo:           Yes, I have my dream life. I can't imagine anything ... I mean, I can now imagine more things I want, but if you told me even five years ago that this would be my life, [00:23:30] I wouldn't have believed it. Even now, I can't really believe it. I have to pinch myself all the time.

Shahroo:           But yeah, absolutely, I'm living my dream life. I get to help people and perform, I get feedback every single day about how much my work is helping people on a day-to-day, in a real way, I get to write, which I love doing, I get to meet people everyday and get contacted by them. I don't even know enough [00:24:00] to be contacting people myself yet, and I get contacted by these extraordinary people who I've admired, and I've read their books, and they tell me that they like my book, and that's just a regular thing that happens in a day right now. Yeah, absolutely.

Shahroo:           I've always loved self-help books. I love living in London. Nothing gives me more joy than London. Yeah, every aspect of my life at the moment ... There is a couple of things that I could improve, I guess.

Kristina:            Like we all have, of course.

Shahroo:           Yeah, but for the most [00:24:30] part, yeah. I couldn't wish for more certainly work wise. It's just amazing. I'm absolutely living my dream life. There's no two-ways about that.

Kristina:            Love hearing that.

Kristina:            You're helping people all over the world to take steps to move closer to a life that they love. In your book, you encourage regular journaling as a practice. I know you're a big believer in the power of writing and manifesting what you want to achieve. I, of course, absolutely love this, and it's a huge part of the Dream Life movement, and in my book. It's about [00:25:00] encouraging people to write their dreams, visualizing what they want, and sharing it with the world.

Kristina:            Research has shown that people who do this are more likely to achieve their dreams. Can you tell us a little bit how this works for you, and perhaps any advice on how our listeners can begin journaling and manifesting in their own life?

Shahroo:           The idea of journaling and putting time aside to journal every day was something that I always found difficult to keep up, unless it was put in bite-size chunks that were easy to fill out, which of course is why [00:25:30] I love your book. I also didn't like the idea, you know when people would say, "Write in a diary at the end of the day," for me it was always a sad process, like write about what made you sad today. I really wouldn't really want to do it, obviously.

Shahroo:           What I do every day, my journaling process is I wake up every morning and I give myself five minutes to quickly write down what my intentions are for the day, and what challenge I [00:26:00] think I'll meet, and if I do meet them, how I'm gonna act. That's what I do. I use it as an intention setting exercise so that I can later on in the day, when a number of factors internal and external are making me doubt myself, or doubt how I want to act in a situation, I almost surrender back to that person who wanted the best for me, that 8:00 a.m. person version of me.

Shahroo:           Then at the end of the day, I spend literally five minutes, unless I want to do more, but I tell myself it only needs [00:26:30] to be five minutes. I keep it by my bed, I keep my journal by my bed, and I just write down any headlines, learnings, or things that I'm proud of myself for that day. That's it. That's all I commit to every day, regard less of what is going on. Five minutes in the morning, five minutes in the evening. I'm telling you, it's changed my entire life.

Shahroo:           When it comes to self-awareness and behaving in a way that you're proud of, forewarned is completely forearmed. When you take shock out of the equation, when you turn up and you go, "Ooh, [00:27:00] I feel nervous right now. I feel threatened right now, I knew this would happen." How did I say I was gonna act? I said I was gonna take five deep breaths, I said I was gonna remember what I was capable of, and I said that I was gonna behave in a way that I'd be proud of tomorrow, so that's what I'm gonna do.

Kristina:            Wow. I love that.

Shahroo:           That's how I set my intentions every day. That's what I used journaling for. Writing something down in your own handwriting, as you well know, especially if it's dated, it's very hard to argue with.

Kristina:            Yeah, absolutely. [00:27:30] I love that you do it in the morning first as well, 'cause I find that often then you are your true self in the morning, 'cause you're not influenced by anyone else, and you have the time for yourself to think versus when you're in the middle of the day, you have so many other things around you. I love that you do that in the morning. That's something I do too, and I love it.

Shahroo:           Yeah, and I think one of the things that makes it much more effective for me personally is that I tell myself I have to do it before I've looked up my phone, or opened a computer, because I think it's [00:28:00] overwhelming.

Shahroo:           I often think that if someone created some sort of animation or skit of literally all the things we expose ourself to on our phones as soon as we've opened our eyes, like imagine if before you'd even got out of bed there was a weather report, and some harrowing news headlines, and a Victoria's Secret model, and then loads of people yelling abuse at you. This is what we're doing when we turn on our phones the first thing in the morning, before we've even got our heads into gear and decided how we want to do our day, to be discerning and to [00:28:30] filter what we want to absorb, and what we want to expose ourselves to. Sometimes, throughout the day, we won't have control of that. But there are little nuggets of the day when we do. I think we should really respect those.

Kristina:            Yeah. But I would love to talk about the phones because I get so many people asking me how I have time to read. I always say, "Have your time to go on social media." They always say, "Yes, [inaudible 00:28:55] social media." [inaudible 00:28:57] is your time for reading, so you have to choose. [00:29:00] But of course I am not saying go off to social media, but sometimes we scroll mindlessly.

Kristina:            Can you tell us a little bit about or share some tips on phone addictions in terms of when we say phone addictions, it's probably not as serious as addictions that you are dealing with, but it's something that probably take away from people living their dream life because that can take up the hours in a day.

Shahroo:           Yeah. I think first and foremost, whether it's tech, or it's gambling, or it's sex, or it's cocaine, if it's a problem for someone, it's a problem. [00:29:30] If it's making their day-to-day life difficult, and it's making them unhappy, then it's a problem.

Shahroo:           Tech, yes, is certainly something that I have a lot of conversations about. But more than tech, it's the content, so it's things like social media, as you said. People are finding it very difficult to give themselves validation that the outside world maybe isn't giving them more because there's such an effective way of getting that validation, and letting other people define what [00:30:00] attractive, what's not attractive, what's funny, what's not funny. A lot of my work I concerned with helping people unlearn a lot of that stuff, and strip it back to what's important to them.

Shahroo:           One of my friends told me the other day that he asks himself, "What would I do if I couldn't take any pictures of it?" I think that's a really important question, especially for young people to ask themselves now. How would I enjoy my day if no one was ever gonna see a picture of it?

Kristina:            That's an interesting one.

Shahroo:           Yeah. But I think a lot of this stuff is about looking [00:30:30] at the bigger picture and saying, "How is this behavior serving me? Is it serving me? Am I gonna be thankful I engaged in it?" When it comes to the tech, a lot of the time peoples' answer is, "No."

Shahroo:           I help people a lot by doing things like first, taking tiny breaks from your phone. Before you do anything else, just notice what happens. Is there a panic? Are you anxious? What do you think is happening on your phone? That's the interesting thing that I'm writing about in my second book is that in a world where everything is becoming frictionless, [00:31:00] everything is becoming very easy for us, at the tap of a fingerprint there's a toaster at your door in half an hour. The world around us is making it harder for us to change our own habits, so we need to impose friction. We need to make it hard for ourself to do that stuff.

Shahroo:           For example, when I post something on Instagram, I immediately not only delete the app, but I log out of the app. That means when I go to check it, when I feel that impulse to check how many likes I had or whatever else, I know that I [00:31:30] have to go through going to the app store, downloading Instagram, logging in again. More often than not, I choose not to do it.

Shahroo:           I do that with everything. If it's takeout, for example, if I notice that I'm working hard into the night and I'm likely to want to get a pizza, and I don't want to eat a pizza at 3:00 a.m., what I end up doing is immediately logging out and deleting the pizza app because I know that I'll think, "Oh, it's probably easier to just eat three apples that are over there."

Shahroo:           [00:32:00] It's about us when it comes to tech, if we want to change our habits, we have to accept that we are going against a very strong current to make it easy not to.

Kristina:            Yeah. Such a good tip. Thank you so much. That's great.

Kristina:            In my book, I talk a lot about the question of who can help. Is there anyone else who have been in your support team to help you go through the rough times?

Shahroo:           It's not a direct support team in the traditional way, but the people I work with who are in long-term [00:32:30] recovery are people I've learned from the most, the people who have had childhood trauma, the people who have been at the grips of addiction to the point where they've lost everything, their homes, their health, their teeth, their hair, and who are able to live a life of gratitude, and productivity, and service. When I see those people, even now, I get goosebumps all over. When I see those people, I feel like I can do anything. I feel like one of the greatest gifts I was given is to [00:33:00] work in those circumstances whilst I was trying to lose weight, and whilst I was trying to like myself, because people ...

Shahroo:           You know, I've done things in my life where I ... I hadn't even done things. I would just been things in my life that I decided were bad. I was meeting people who had done things in their lives who pretty much everyone in the world can agree are bad. They were finding a way to forgive themselves, to give themselves, to feel compassionate, to make healthier choices, to make kinder choices. They were finding it in themselves.

Shahroo:           [00:33:30] I was thinking, "Well of course I can do it." They were teaching me. I'd ask them, "How are you managing to overcome this craving or this urge?" They would tell me, "I'm doing this, I'm doing this. I talked to this person. I take care of myself this way. This is how I serve the urge." All these things, people in recovery know more than the average person does about personal development.

Shahroo:           I've got kids as young as 17 who I volunteer with, who will tell you about boundaries, and projection, [00:34:00] and visualization, and manifestation, and resentment. These [inaudible 00:34:05] that have only come to me through academia, or self-help, these guys know because they have to think about it all day, every day. They have so much to teach us, really. That's one of my main missions, is to tell the world how much people who are in long-term recovery from addiction can teach us all about self-awareness, about resilience, about self-esteem, and about kindness towards ourselves and others. They really [00:34:30] are the heroes. Really, I am so grateful to them.

Kristina:            Yeah, amazing. Something I like to share with readers in my book is that I have found great inspiration from the dreams and experiences of others. Who would you say inspires you?

Shahroo:           Again, the first people who come to mind are the young women that I work with. I work at a recovery house for young women who are in recovery from alcohol, and other drug abuse. They have really changed their lives around. They allow themselves [00:35:00] to dream, despite no one ever teaching them that they could. That's because they've overcome difficult things, and they've acknowledged that they have, and therefore that they're worthy of dreaming. They really, really inspire me.

Shahroo:           I'm also very inspired by women who sit in rooms with lots of men in them. Because in addiction treatment, you see that a lot. There are a few women who stuck out for me who I saw sit in boardrooms, or on forums. Back when I was taking notes [00:35:30] and just allowed to peep in or whatever, and I would see these women, usually there was just one in a room of 10 or 15 otherwise men. Not only were they able to hold their own, but they weren't too concerned with being liked. I always grew up obsessed with being liked.

Kristina:            So many people do.

Shahroo:           Yeah. I would see that that wasn't their priority. Their priority was to change policy, or to do something that they were passionate about, or to make their voice heard about something that was important and needed to be heard. Whether or not those men liked [00:36:00] them wasn't really on their priority list. I found that really refreshing. In a way, it's sad that I thought that was refreshing, but I did. That really inspired me. Now when I often find myself in a room full of only men, I try and embody those women.

Kristina:            Such a good example. Thanks for sharing. I completely agree.

Shahroo:           The funny thing is when you stop wanting to be liked so much, you become much more likable. You know, [00:36:30] that tends to be the case, because you're not everything to everyone, and people can tell you're not compromising yourself, and the authenticity is just so much more attractive, becomes a nice byproduct that you didn't ask for.

Kristina:            Love that. A big crazy dream of mine is to inspire 101 million people around the world to write down three carefully considered dreams on paper and start chasing them, which is a really exciting dream. It struck me a couple years ago how few people take time to dream, to imagine a future they want, and then chase it. [00:37:00] What three dreams would you write down if you knew that anything was possible, and you couldn't possibly fail to achieve them? Love questions like this.

Shahroo:           Yeah, me to. Okay, the fir ... At the moment, 'cause they change all the time, obviously, because sometimes I just get them, and then I need a new one. But the other day when I wrote down my three dreams, again, using your book, one was I want a Kindness Method HQ. I want a building in Central London, ideally I want to live on the top floor, and I want my office [00:37:30] there, and I want support groups to take place there that are totally free, and I want everything Kindness Method themed, and options for people with all sorts of different budgets and merchandise, and I just want it all in one building, one big kindness building. I want that in town.

Kristina:            Love that.

Shahroo:           Second of all, I want some kind of TV show or radio how where I help, where I facilitate people who are in recover from addiction giving advice to people who are having [00:38:00] problems changing day-to-day habits, any day-to-day habit. I want a panel of people in recover advising [crosstalk 00:38:08] every day.

Kristina:            Love that.

Shahroo:           My other dream, to be honest, is to buy a beautiful home for myself, like a whole one. A whole big Georgian terrace house.

Kristina:            Beautiful.

Shahroo:           That's my other. There are my three at the moment.

Kristina:            Gorgeous dreams. Beautiful.

Shahroo:           Thank you.

Kristina:            So often I'm asked by people, "How can I live a balanced life?" It seems [00:38:30] to be modern day epidemic that people feel like they're living out of balance. What would you say to people who ask you that? If they say that they live out of balance, and how they can fix it.

Shahroo:           I say first and foremost, write down what you think living in balance means. I think then consider what makes you feel good, not what you think you should do, or you think should make you feel good when you decided what you're gonna give your time to.

Shahroo:           I think a lot of the time, we feel out of balance even though we're on paper [00:39:00] doing all the stuff that we should technically do to feel balanced, and moderate. But actually, because it doesn't align with our core values, and actually make us feel balanced, it doesn't work.

Shahroo:           For some people, that may be making sure that they schedule in a lie in, for other people, that may be making sure that they go to yoga, for some people that may be talking to no one for three days. You know.

Kristina:            Yeah, I can relate to that.

Shahroo:           Well yeah. There would be some people who would find that really isolating, and that it would give them low mood. Depending on your [00:39:30] judgements, we can often make decisions for ourself, and what constitutes a balanced life based on what other people have told us, or what we think looks best or sounds right. But don't think back to how you want things to be, think back to the last few times you felt really good. What was going on? Make sure that those are the kinds of things you do to counteract the inevitable challenge, and resistance and strain that also of course comes with everyday life.

Kristina:            Yeah, I love that. I have that [00:40:00] in my book actually, to design your perfect day. When I say perfect, it's of course it's not perfect 'cause it is no such a thing as perfect. But in terms of if you could design your perfect day, what would that involve?

Kristina:            For me on Sundays, that means absolutely nothing like reading books, and drinking tea, and spend as much time as I can in bed. But for some people, that would be the most boring, crazy thought for people who love brunch and being social, that's obviously not their thing. But it's so important to take that time to really design what we [00:40:30] want. I always encourage people to do maybe one day, to start with Sundays often. If you are lucky enough not to work on Sundays, that's a really good day to start because often we have a choice on the weekends, compared to work.

Kristina:            But even then, days at work, you can sometimes just use imagination if you could have your perfect Monday, what would that look like? Maybe you can just make a couple of those change, 'cause often, it's not often the big things, it's often just have a coffee on your own, or watching the sunrise. I love watching sunrises in the morning. Things like that, that it's really [00:41:00] achievable, and you can still do all the business of life.

Shahroo:           Totally. Very often you can just carry on doing the business of life, and create kinder habits around it that make it more of a day that you're happy to be in, be it little things like every night, I cook at the same time. Okay, maybe if you lit a candle and put on some music, that would be a nicer experience. Tiny things like that that just create the landscape of a life that you prefer.

Kristina:            Yup. Love that. Thank you. I would love to finish off by asking [00:41:30] a few quick questions that I know our listeners will love to hear you answer. Do you have a particular morning routine to set you up for a productive day? I know you talked a little bit about how you start a day, but is there any other things that you can?

Shahroo:           First of all, no phone for the first 20 minutes. I stretch, then I shower, then I have a coffee, then I write my intentions. I might do a few affirmations or 10 minutes of guided meditation, and that's it. That's it. [00:42:00] Then again, I do not look at my phone. That's a huge, huge part of it. But that tends to set me up. Yeah. Sometimes I exercise depending on the time that I have. That's it. But the journal's the most important bit.

Kristina:            Love that. Do you have any other particular rituals to help you live your dream life, not just in the morning, but any other rituals that you can share?

Shahroo:           I make an effort all day to find pockets of joy in everything. Say for example, [00:42:30] I've got five minutes to spare. I'll do something nice for myself, I'll go sit on a bench and look at a tree. I know that sounds so simple. Or if I'm walking past a car that happens to be blasting out a song that I like, I'll loiter around for a little while and listen to that.

Shahroo:           It isn't huge changes, it's just an all day reminder that I'm worthy and capable of having a great life. That's in everything I do. Even if it's that I decide, okay, I'm gonna look at the tops of the buildings in London 'cause they're so beautiful, for the next [00:43:00] 10 minutes while I walk. These are the tiny things that I integrate into my life all day that remind me that I'm worthy of taking care of, and I'm worthy of having fun, and I'm worthy of forgiving myself. It's just all these little sprinklings peppered across my whole life.

Kristina:            Yeah, I love that. Yeah, that's really good. A lot of great tips there for all of us to incorporate it too, today, and very easy to do as well, and free.

Shahroo:           Free, totally. Again, easy. [00:43:30] But you have to be in the mindset already. That's why the morning routine is actually really important, is to already be in the mindset of thinking, my intention today is to make this the best day for me possible.

Kristina:            I love it. Have you got a favorite kikki.K product, and if you do, what is it?

Shahroo:           Yes. The gold [inaudible 00:43:50]. Just changed my life.

Kristina:            Ah, that's my favorite too.

Shahroo:           I love it so much. People think I'm awesome when I get it out. Have you noticed people are like, "Ooh, [00:44:00] check you out."

Shahroo:           I've always had fancy pens, I have to be honest with you, 'cause it's always just made me feel like what I'm gonna write is fancy and important, but this pen absolutely. It really, I've been telling everybody.

Shahroo:           You know, a few weeks ago I put it on Instagram, and I don't advertise anything. But I was like, "Anyone who writes anything needs to get this amazing pen." I love it. Love it, love it, love it.

Kristina:            Thank you. It's funny...

Shahroo:           Thank you.

Kristina:            ... I only sign my book with that pen. I love, love, love that pen [inaudible 00:44:30]. You don't [00:44:30] need a lot of pens if you have that pen. Just a few refills with you, that's my theory.

Shahroo:           Yeah, totally. It's everything. It's sleek, it's modern, it's sexy. I've got a lot of time for it.

Kristina:            Really?

Shahroo:           I'm very into this pen. I'm glad you asked 'cause I've been saying this at a lot of dinners, and lunches, and coffee.

Kristina:            Well thank you. Thank you very much for your support of my favorite pen as well. I love hearing that.

Kristina:            As you know, I'm a big book lover. If you could share your [00:45:00] favorite book and why. I know you probably have a few 'cause I know you love reading as well. But if you could think of one, what would that be?

Shahroo:           Gosh, my favorite book. That is a difficult one.

Shahroo:           You know what, I really like Gabor Mate's In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. It talks about addiction, and health, and I'm a big fan of his work. Actually, that was one of the first books that I read on addiction, I thought, "Wow, yeah. This is how I feel about this."

Kristina:            Oh, great.

Shahroo:           I'll send you a copy. It's a really, really [00:45:30] good book. Gabor Mate is one of my greatest heroes.

Kristina:            Oh wonderful. We'll link to it in the show notes so people can get access to that as well.

Kristina:            The one last question for you, and I think this is a perfect last question for you 'cause you will have so much wisdom, if you could go back to your younger self, say when you're in your late teens, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?

Shahroo:           It's funny because all of our inclinations is to say, "Be nicer to yourself. Don't sweat all the small stuff," and all that stuff. But I think about where I am [00:46:00] now, and it's because I wasn't nice to myself, and it's because of those mistakes, and it's because of the challenge, I wouldn't be where I am. I know it's a cliché, but I specifically wouldn't be where I am, giving the advice that I am giving unless I had suffered that many years of not liking myself. That's not one of them.

Shahroo:           I would say I would tell myself, as long as you do what you love, truly love, everything else will work out. Just concentrate on that. Do what you love, and if what comes to you [00:46:30] naturally is not well received by some people, change the people, not yourself.

Kristina:            That is such a good advice.

Shahroo:           That's what I would say because anytime that I've been truly authentic in all the ways I grew up to think were embarrassing, or too extra, or too emotional, or any of those things, when I've truly been those things for long enough in a really authentic way, the people who I connect with most have found me, and the opportunities that suit me most, that I can [00:47:00] take on with the most ease just found me.

Kristina:            Yeah, yeah. Love ending on that note. You know when I got asked when people want to start their own business, they always ask, "What's your number one tip?" I always say, "Find something you're passionate about, or something you love because when you start your own business, you are gonna have to go through so many ups and downs, regardless how successful your business will be, it will always be lots of ups and downs. The downs are sometimes [00:47:30] really tough. If you do something you love, you will get through them so much better." That's really in my line of advice as well. Thank you so much.

Kristina:            Can I just end this amazing conversation by saying a massive thank you first for your time, but not just that, but for what you do to the world. It's just truly inspiring, and truly amazing. I know you know this, but it's what you do for people that have obviously addictions, but also for the everyday person who might not think that they have a problem that could get [00:48:00] so much help, it's truly amazing and truly unbelievably beautiful. Thank you so much.

Shahroo:           Thank you, and back at you, needless to say. Thank you very much indeed too.

Kristina:            Thank you.

Kristina:            What an amazing chat that was. So much incredible wisdom on treating ourselves with the kindness we deserve in order to make positive long-lasting changes in our lives.

Kristina:            I just love Shahroo's belief that the only way to sustain any difficult change in your life [00:48:30] is to like yourself more, believe that you're worthy, and believe that you are capable. Such a simple yet powerful message.

Kristina:            Like Shahroo, I'm also a huge believer in finding the joy in everyday, and taking time to acknowledge all the amazing things you have achieved to help you realize how talented and capable you are, which is why you'll find chapters in my book, Your Dream Life Starts Here, dedicated to reflecting on and celebrating who you are and where you are right now.

Kristina:            If you [00:49:00] haven't got a copy yet, I encourage you to do so, as it's full of essential and simple steps you can start today to help you on your journey of uncovering and chasing your dreams, whatever that may be. Also grab a copy of the Dream Life Journal I have created to go with it. Another great place to start is to check out my 101 Dreams Audio Guide at kikki-k.com/dreamlife.

Kristina:            If you loved this episode, don't forget to subscribe for plenty more inspiration, [00:49:30] and please tell us what you thought by leaving us a review. I really enjoyed reading all your reviews and feedback. I'm so grateful for all your comments, so please keep them coming.

Kristina:            I would really appreciate your support with my big crazy dream to inspire 101 million people to write down three dreams on paper, and go and chase them. Please help us spread this inspiring message to even more people by sharing our podcast on social media with the #101milliondreamers. Until next time, don't [00:50:00] forget to dream big, and chase your dreams.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.