The Happy Engineer Podcast

021: Discover Self Observation with Jay Abbasi

You may feel self-aware, but how often do you truly self observe? Do entry-level engineers or executives struggle more with self-criticism? How do you interrupt the programming that has been driving you since the day you were born? This conversation, when you apply it, will lead to massive engineering career success.

In this episode meet Jay Abbasi, a former Tesla leader turned career consultant with an inspiring story.

Discover the results of a 7-year search that began when Jay’s father passed away suddenly of a heart attack in 2014. He was devastated. At the time, his marriage was falling apart and he was in massive debt.

The goal? Uncover a methodology to find success and fulfillment in life.

The result? It led to him massive success in his career at Tesla. More importantly, it also led to him finding peace, contentment, and fulfillment no matter the external circumstances. Now he is helping leaders like you to have the same results.

So press play and let’s chat… see what you can observe about yourself through this conversation!


The Happy Engineer Podcast




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Does this serve me?

What a great question. 

I know that this conversation is going to be that pattern interrupt that Jay talked about right? At the beginning of our episode today, did you catch that you have been programmed since the day you were born by all of the inputs into your mind and nervous system, and you need that pattern interrupt to put something new in its place.

So let’s take a minute and ask ourselves, what are we going to do? What are we going to take action on? And how do we need to change ourselves in this opportunity that comes with a pattern interrupt? First thing I want to go back to was what Jay talked about from entry level to senior leadership and the executive wing, there are certain elements that are the same. 

So no matter what level of leadership you are, if you’re an entry-level engineer still as an individual contributor, if you’re a middle level manager, or if you’re a director, VP, CTO, CEO, reading this. Two things that are common among all of those leaders that Jay has coached at all levels during his days in Tesla training: number one, a lack of clarity on what you want. And number two, a common thread of self criticism that you are your own worst enemy. So many successful people deep down have an issue with hating themselves, not feeling worthy, and not actually believing in their full capability.

It doesn’t look like it on the surface, but I think this is so important. I just want you to know that no matter where you are, no matter how far you have gone, we never stop coming back to the need for getting better. And for bringing our own self-worth, self-esteem, and mindset into order. If we want to continue to grow, that is such an important thing.

And I just want you to know there’s no shame if that is you, because that’s exactly what Jay is saying. We’re all in that place, no matter where we’re at in the journey that we need to continue doing work in these ways. That brings us to the next point about the muscle of our career growth. And we talked about delegation in particular about how it’s not binary.

It’s a muscle that you have to practice, but here’s what stood out to me as I reflected on that point: I think that muscle metaphor is applicable in so many dimensions of your career and personal development, you know, positive attitude is. Living with courage and confidence is a muscle, executive presence is a muscle, communication is a muscle, networking skills, dealing with approach… anxiety…

All of these things are muscles that need to be exercised and flexed regularly to keep them healthy and functioning at a high level. You know full-well your technical skills fall into this category. I mean, goodness, how many of my college exams could I pass now? Um, probably not that many because I’ve stopped flexing that muscle. And you must realize as an engineering leader, that you don’t go to one online seminar and master delegation or any of these other skills for the rest of your career. It’s something you continue to grow in and you must continue to get stronger in these areas for you to lead at that next level.

I know that’s why you’re following this podcast and reading this blog, because you desire bigger results. So recognize you need to go to the gym of personal development in your life. Where is that happening for you? Do you have a coach? Do you have a training program? Do you invest time and money into yourself? Every single day?

I tell my clients that a percentage of your income and a percentage of your calendar must be set aside for personal growth and development every single year. 

Are you doing that? 

If not, now is the time.

We talk about self-awareness a lot in emotional intelligence, and I think it’s a great phrase. I know it’s well-intended and the definition varies from person to person, depending on who you talk to. What does it really mean to be self-aware? I love what Jay shared with us about that.

That connects with the engineer in me, and I think it’s going to connect deeply with you when you stop and think about self observation, getting outside of yourself and looking at your own life as if it is someone else. Getting outside and above the scenes of what’s happening in your own life and observing it like a scientist casually observing, without judgment, simply to see what is.

I love how Jay told us to do that daily. It’s not something that you do one time at a retreat. You don’t need to go into the woods and observe and reflect on yourself and seek to become enlightened. No, no, no, no, no. This is a practice. This is something that you do every single day to look and observe yourself as one of those key ways to start creating space for transformation in your life. 

Jay gave you some great tips on where you can begin, but I just want to challenge you right now, engineering leader: are you doing that? Are you taking those moments of pause and observing yourself? Because 95% of that powerful brain, that mind that is resting between your ears, is subconscious.

And that subconscious has been programmed.

It has been set up with habits and behaviors, attitudes, and emotions that it goes to by default. If we don’t begin to recognize that the subconscious which is driven by the language of emotion, that emotion is driving your life, even if you’re not aware or conscious. So start observing and start taking action to create the shifts and the transformation that you need in your subconscious.

So that what happens automatically is exactly what you need to get to the next level of your vision and goals. Awesome conversation with Jay Abbasi today. Definitely go look him up. And if you need support in any of these areas, if you’re seeking to build your engineering career, I would love to connect with you.

It’s been a pleasure, and as always, let’s do this.

Previous Episode 20: Leave a Legacy with Tammy Bohen




In 2014, Jay’s father passed away suddenly from a heart attack. It was devastating. At the time, his marriage was falling apart and he was thousands of dollars in debt. This began a 7-year search to uncover a methodology to find success and fulfillment in life.

The methodology he discovered changed his life completely. It led to him joining Tesla and in under 4 years he worked his way up to running Sales Training at a national level. It also led to him finding peace, contentment, and fulfillment no matter the external circumstances.

Now, Jay’s mission is to leverage his skills and expertise to help professionals build careers they love while avoiding stress, anxiety, and burnout through 1 on 1 coaching and group coaching programs.





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: All right. Welcome back. Happy engineers. It’s absolutely a pleasure to be with you again, and you are in for a treat today. I’m with my new good buddy, Jay Abbasi and Jay and I first met in real life, not that long ago, just a couple of weeks ago in San Diego, California for an event called impact accelerator live.

[00:00:27] Our first virtual meeting was online before that is we’re part of a mastermind of coaches together, but Jay and I got to meet and actually embrace like a real human hug for, well, I think it was my first hug with somebody, uh, in 18 months after the world we’ve been living in. But Jay, thanks so much for making time.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:46] To be with us today. And it’s so good to see you again, man. Yeah. So good to see lots of 

[00:00:50] Jay Abbasi: hugs. It was a lot of 

[00:00:52] Zach White: hugging and it felt great. There was a lot of hugging just here. We’re talking about I a L impact accelerator live and just, you know, for the listener, they don’t know what that is. Maybe describe the event from your perspective and you know, why you were there and what that meant for you and the work that you do.

[00:01:10] Yeah. So 

[00:01:11] Jay Abbasi: the event consistent. Like-minded coaches and a community looking to make a greater impact. And it was, it was incredible, man. It was incredible experience. Having the opportunity to really connect in person with people like you. And, you know, as soon as you and I started talking, we hit it off immediately.

[00:01:30] We connected right off the bat. And while there are so many tactical things that I took away from the time we had this. I feel the relationships were probably the most impactful and the most memorable for the people that we, I had a chance to really talk to and get to know and learn from. And in addition to that, there, there was so much discussed on mindset and the importance of mindset.

[00:01:55] And while I know this and I coach people on it daily, it made me feel like I still have not, I’m not doing enough. I’m not doing enough for my own mindset and working through my own conditioning and the things that I default to that leave me in places of fear and not being as purpose-driven. So while yeah, there are some tactical business things I took away and I’m putting those into action.

[00:02:21] I have a huge list on my whiteboard, not too far from, from where I’m sitting, the mindset work and the relationships with the things that have really stood out to me. 

[00:02:31] Zach White: Jay, would you say. Mindset, not enough. There’s more to learn. There’s more to do. I connect to that a thousand percent. And for engineers listening, maybe mindset work, it’s not a, like, what do you mean by that?

[00:02:43] It’s not something that’s part of their rituals or routines. So can you just describe. Sort of on the court in, in, in the, in the day to day life for you, what are those practices or what is it that has changed for you when you say I want to go deeper with my mindset? What does that actually look like?

[00:02:59] Sure. So. 

[00:02:59] Jay Abbasi: The way we all operate is according to our conditioning from childhood. Until right now, I like to think of it. It’s this huge cause effect relationship that has been occurring since the day we were born of the environment that we’re in for, from very young, how we were raised, the school that we went to, and it has led to patterns where when we’re faced with something that’s uncomfortable, something that scares us.

[00:03:22] We default to a certain. Behavior. And so there needs to be some sort of pattern interrupt to that cause effect, relationship to create new cause effect relationships. And so how do you interrupt that pattern? Well, the first thing I do regularly is I meditate. Every day as a way to bring myself to the present moment and not get caught up in that conditioning, not get in that spiral of overthinking and anxiety, which depletes my energy.

[00:03:51] And it’s not the best version of myself. The other things that I do throughout the day is take moments to recognize if I am falling into common patterns that have hurt me in the past. Right. Am I. When I’m doing a specific task, am I working through it to the end? Or am I jumping from thing to thing?

[00:04:09] Right. Which is something my brain tends to do because it likes novelty. It likes shiny objects. So it goes for different things. Right. So I have to constantly be reminding myself that the way I need to operate is focused on one thing. And get it done. And then th the, the third thing is what’s the environment that I’m in and who am I speaking with throughout the day to ensure that I keep my mindset in the right place.

[00:04:35] And I stay purpose-driven rather than in a state of a fear or a reaction. So I make sure that throughout the day, even if it’s text messages, I’m reaching out to people that are on similar paths as I am on similar journeys. So I can keep myself in the right state. 

[00:04:53] Zach White: That’s a really interesting distinction on environment, Jay.

[00:04:53] I think most of us hear the word environment and we think about the physical space that I’m in right now, which is absolutely part of it. Sure. I’m not sure everybody would include, text messages and things as part of their environment. So can you expand our thinking when you say environment and shaping that intentionally, how all can that show up?

[00:05:14] What does that mean? 

[00:05:16] Jay Abbasi: I have an example cause it happened yesterday with you. Right? So I was going throughout my day. Right. I was about to make lunch and you gave me a call. I called you back and we just started talking about the business, what we’re going through. And just that conversation was uplifting for me.

[00:05:31] It changed my mental state to feel more motivated, more inspired and feel like, Hey, there’s someone else who’s doing this too. in a similar space that I’m in and he’s after it. And it motivated me. It got me really pumped to be able to continue on my day and to succeed. And the result was I did deliver more, uh, in terms of success for the business later that day, you know, I had a few calls with some, some prospects and people who wanted to enroll in the program and we were able to really bring them on and support them in services.

[00:06:02] If I don’t have that environment, mental environment, right. That space to where I am constantly feeling that motivation, that inspiration, I can fall into feeling siloed, feeling alone, feeling like I’m trying to do this all by myself. And that pressure can affect my energy throughout the day. 

[00:06:21] Zach White: Yeah. Yes.

[00:06:21] Engineering leaders, especially J I have found under pressure under stress. Tend to pull into isolation more and more. If we had to paint with a broad brush, that’s the behavior I see over and over again. So I just, as an encouragement to the leaders, listening to this conversation, think about your environment in this broader context.

[00:06:44] How can you get into proximity to the people who are going to pull you forward and taking back to IIL? We were just talking that’s that environment on steroids, right? It’s like, it’s just this complete immersion. Into an electric environment of support and accountability, accountability, and, focus towards a common purpose and goal.

[00:07:03] So it’s part of why I already see Jay as a great friend of mine, and we’ve only really spent a few hours together, but because of the energy behind that. So tell us, then you’ve mentioned coaching and we heard it in the bio at the beginning of the episode here, Jay, but just for the engineer who’s listening, like tell us about the coaching you do and how you got into this.

[00:07:23] Yeah, 

[00:07:23] Jay Abbasi: sure. So how well, I guess I’ll start with how I got into it. You know, when, uh, I w I was working for Tesla for a number of years, and at Tesla, I did work in leadership development, sales, coaching training, and, um, I spent a lot of time running the national training program where we would have to execute.

[00:07:39] Greater coaching programs and these greater training programs from entry level up to the VP level. And what I found was that a lot of the people of whom I were, I was coaching, it was stress, anxiety, overwhelm, lack of clarity that they needed the most help with. And then when I left Tesla, uh, it occurred to me that there are many people out there that can write.

[00:08:03] That kind of help. They feel stuck. They feel as though that they’re not clear as to how they’re going to advance their careers. And of course, look, while we like to think of these work and life as separate things, you don’t leave life to go to work and you don’t leave work to go to life. It’s all your life.

[00:08:19] So I’ve decided to then bring, uh, or enroll clients into a coaching program where we can gain that clarity for them, help them to take step by step. Uh, take steps to be able to advance their life in their career and optimize their potential and make the greatest impact that they can make, because we all have potential.

[00:08:38] Everybody has potential and sometimes a coach, a guide, some customized support is going to help people to really make that great impact and unlock that potential. And so it was really my experience at Tesla that. Got me interested in being able to deliver this to, uh, to corporate professionals.

[00:08:57] Zach White: Can you, this is interesting. You’re gonna, you know, what is now, just looked at as like one of the premier growing and profitable organizations on the planet, you know, how many years ago we might’ve thought are they going to be around now or not? And Tesla’s done some incredible things in terms of changing the industry.

[00:09:12] When you talk about coaching programs for entry-level all the way through VP level. I’m really curious if you can tell us, like, what is different about the way or, or how, or what you’re coaching between those extremes. And when you’re thinking about coaching somebody who’s entry level at Tesla versus someone who’s in the executive wing, so to speak, what is it that stands out to you as the same versus.

[00:09:40] Totally different. 

[00:09:41] Jay Abbasi: What’s the same is that everyone I find could use some help in gaining clarity on what it is that they really want and how to get there. I haven’t had a single client tell me, oh, I know exactly. Clearly I have my path written out. I know the direction that I’m going in and I know how to do it.

[00:10:01] That is a common pattern. So that’s one, the second one that is a combination. And this is interesting because I didn’t know. I did not realize how prominent this was in people, regardless of their experience, which is everyone has a, everyone criticizes themselves quite a bit. And judges themselves to a point where they are their worst enemy.

[00:10:27] This. With every one of my clients I’ve worked with from every level, some people who have incredible success, people you would think, why would they ever think poorly of themselves are feeling as though they are not worthy feeling like they are not doing a good job, that they don’t have the skills or they’re not good enough.

[00:10:46] This is a common thread throughout everybody I’ve ever worked with varying degrees, of course, but it comes up. Now those two things I think are common amongst all people that I’ve coached. Where is it, where does a bit different is with the VP level? The leadership level, usually what’s what’s required is determining how to more effectively delegate their work and be able to take things off of their plate and to be able to stay in their creative zone.

[00:11:13] I find that that comes up more with the people who have the, uh, they’re at the higher levels in the organization, and they have a great deal, more responsibility. It tends to be. The delegating and saying no to things is something that comes up more often. Whereas with the entry-level person, is isolating, what are the skills that they need to develop and strengthen to be able to get them to the next level?

[00:11:37] Um, so yeah, I would say that those are some distinctions that come to mind 

[00:11:41] Zach White: with delegation. This is a topic that comes up with my engineering clients all the time. Yes. The first place it really manifests is when you land that first manager job, you know, you’ve actually gotten out of IC focused work to where your ability to contribute is no longer the thing that defines success.

[00:11:59] And now you’re a manager for the first time. And what, what I’ve seen, Jay, and I want you to tell me if you’ve seen the same or how you would frame this. People look at delegation as this binary skillset. I either, I’ve never been good at delegating and I just, I developed that skill and now I know how to delegate and it’s kind of like either can do it or I can’t.

[00:12:19] And what I’ve seen is, is actually. No, that delegation is something you keep learning and improving and developing and taking deeper. And, And, and there’s, you know, you know, once you become an , you’ve got multiple layers under you, or if you get to this director, VP, you know, enterprise level leadership delegation takes on a whole new life and a whole new level.

[00:12:38] That’s the kind of perspective I bring to that. But I’m curious for you, how would you describe that growth around delegation and what it really is? 

[00:12:48] Jay Abbasi: Yeah, I would describe it as a muscle that needs to be strengthened. And you know, some people, maybe they feel, Hey, I don’t have that muscle just yet, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t strengthen it.

[00:12:58] It just means you have to do the work. And just like going to the gym and lifting weights. If you’re trying to lift weights and you haven’t done it in awhile, it’s going to hurt at first, you know, it’s going to hurt to have to let go of the things that you are scared to let go of. It’s going to hurt to.

[00:13:13] Trust and empower others to do things that may be in the past. You’ve tried to always perfect, but to be a great leader, you need to do that. It is not possible. You know, I, I worked at Tesla. You think Elon Musk is doing all the work, right? Elan has found the greatest minds. He can. And with SpaceX with Tesla and the other projects that he has to be able to take responsibility and ownership of the work.

[00:13:40] And his job is to stay in his creative zone because he is an engineer mind. He doesn’t like to do the, the CEO of type work. He said that many times he wants to be in his creative space. Delegated effectively. Now he had to learn that skill. He had to strengthen that muscle. So I am in complete agreement with you.

[00:13:58] It is not binary and it is something that can be learned and needs to be strengthened over time. 

[00:14:05] Zach White: I’ve never connected delegation to the muscle metaphor. And I’m curious, Jay, do you then think delegation skills atrophy, if you stopped going to the gym. You lose your muscle mass, you get out of shape. Is it the same with that skill of delegation?

[00:14:23] Where if you don’t keep sharpening, keep using, keep improving that it atrophies. 

[00:14:28] Jay Abbasi: Absolutely. And especially with someone with like an engineering mind and an engineering background, because your default is most likely to be. I’m in isolation. I do things all by myself and I can get it all done. And going back into those old patterns is a very easy thing to do if you’re not being consistent with your own growth and your ability to.

[00:14:50] Zach White: I love this. So for the engineer listening, it’s not a one training, one, you know, corporate sponsored leadership training where you learn how to delegate and here’s the five steps to great delegation. And now you’re done. Like not it. You’ve got to go to the gym. Of leadership and delegation every single day and keep, keep flexing those muscles.

[00:15:11] So I love that. Jay, can you then just tell us a little bit about how you became, you know, the, the coach and the compassionate, loving leader that you are, you know, The sales trainers and people I’ve met in my lifetime. And I look at Jay bossy, like there’s parts of the story here in terms of how you became this amazing coach and this amazing leader.

[00:15:31] So tell us a little bit about your journey and those moments of life that made you, who you are today. 

[00:15:36] Jay Abbasi: I had a. A change in my life where the trajectory of my life and career was altered due to, um, um, personal loss. So a little over seven years ago, um, my father passed away suddenly and it wasn’t that he was sick.

[00:15:51] It was just wake up one morning. He had a heart attack and he was gone. And so, uh, when that happened, it led me down a path to figure out one, how do I manage. This type of grief where, uh, it was so sudden it was so unexpected and I know many people have experienced this kind of loss. And the other thing that was staring me right in the face was my mortality.

[00:16:18] You know, life is short, right? That’s the cliche, but it’s true. And it was staring at me in the face that life is short. My dad went to dinner the night before with my mom right now, and then that morning it was over. So. It changed the way I saw my life and how I would, oh, how I had been letting other people author my life.

[00:16:38] And I was living according to the design that someone else was making. And I didn’t want to live that kind of life anymore. And that was a time where I was working for a finance company that while I liked the people there, I didn’t feel that it was aligned with really the impact I wanted to make. Uh, Even just personally, uh, I was in a marriage that ended up not working out, but I was unhappy there.

[00:17:03] I was in an immense amount of debt things weren’t in a good place, but I worked through all of that because I got help. I got coaching. I went to seminars, I read books. I worked on myself and in working on myself, not only did I. Learn how to manage my own overthinking, mind, my own emotions and the things that held me back from my own development.

[00:17:28] I saw results in my career. You know, I joined this company named solar city. It was acquired by Tesla. I started entry level within four years. I was running the national training program. And while yeah, there are some tactical things that I did. I know for sure that what really brought me, my success was the work that I did on myself.

[00:17:45] And so. That is why I think the coaching program that we provide gets the kind of results it gets because we provide that real transformative 

[00:17:54] Zach White: work. Jay, you said something that I want to come back to that I think is so important that the, the tragedy and the loss, and I’m so sorry, man, like incredibly hard moment.

[00:18:06] But before that Other people are other sources outside yourself where offering your life, how would you articulate the story? What, what was the story that had been authored for you before that moment? it 

[00:18:22] Jay Abbasi: was you go to college, you get into a. Student loan debt. You get married young. Cause I come from a traditional middle Eastern family where that was the idea.

[00:18:34] Get married, young, have kids have a nine to five and you’ll work and that’ll be it. Right. And you hope that you’ll get raises and promotions and you hope that things will work out for you and yeah. Just live in debt for much of your life, you know, and hope that you can retire by the age of 65. So it was a story where there was a lot of, there was a lot of dependence dependent on situations that if they would just work out for me, rather than me being proactive and manifesting and designing the life and career that I really want for myself.

[00:19:10] And so. That was the big shift. It was from being reactive and allowing life to just take me for a ride, to being proactive and deciding what I truly want for myself. And I’m blessed to say that the things that I have put out there since that time, since that tragedy have come to fruition, 

[00:19:32] Zach White: why do you think it’s so hard for people to discern.

[00:19:38] Whether they’re living a life that was authored by the world around them or their parents or something else versus this authenticity that you’re describing on the other side of tragedy, does it take that rock bottom or, or, or grieving moment to wake someone up? Or why is it so hard to discern that in our lives?

[00:20:01] Do you have any thoughts around that? I do. I 

[00:20:03] Jay Abbasi: think. First and foremost. Yeah, sometimes it does require a rock bottom moment, not every time, but that’s definitely how it was for me. And I know many people who have similar stories and I think there is a lack of what I call self observation. You know, sometimes the word self-awareness is . Used, but, uh, what I mean by self observation is to be able to zoom out and take a look at what’s really happening and to pause, we don’t pause.

[00:20:30] We are constantly going. It is task to task, to task. One thing to another, to another, and this kind of rollercoaster that we’re on, never grants us this opportunity to take a look and say, is this really what I want? Is this really what I’m good at? Is this really what I am here to do? We only have the short amount of time on this planet.

[00:20:54] And if we are not pausing to ask those hard questions, we are going to live a life that someone else authored for us. So does it require a rock bottom moment? No, it can happen if you take that time to Paul. Reflect build up your self observation. And that’s why I’m such a proponent of meditation and the value of the benefits that it’s given to me and the people that I’ve coached, because it gives you that opportunity to do that introspective work, to pause, and to then be able to design your future.

[00:21:26] Zach White: Yeah. So if you go back as much as you’re willing to J into those days and moments after waking up and dad has gone, there’s a lot. Cliche things talked about with, you know, live like there’s no tomorrow. And, and if you changed your mindset to think that way, you know, you do all these different things, but you lived it where one moment of life, everything was a certain story.

[00:21:49] And literally the next moment, it’s a whole new story. Do you remember? When, you know, maybe after sort of the reeling from the news was over any of those first things that you just decided like this will change or, or this is what I must do in my life as a result of this wake-up call. Like, what were those first things that shifted for you?

[00:22:12] Jay Abbasi: Well, yeah, I mean, the first thing that really shifted for me was the importance of spending time with my family. Was by far the first thing, just my daughter was two at the time. And just holding onto her a little bit tighter and savoring every one of those moments. That’s the first thing. And being there for my mother and being there for my sisters and making sure that, you know, weeks didn’t go by where I didn’t see them and, and pick up the phone and make those phone calls.

[00:22:41] Those are the things. Initially, really stuck out, stuck out to me. And then after, you know, a few days of just really realizing, uh, or making that shift in how I how I spend my time, I then realized that now is the time there is no other time, but now, you know, yes. Are we most likely going to live to tomorrow shore?

[00:23:00] Yes. Most likely we will. Right. And at the same time, Even tomorrow when you do it, it’s still going to be. Now, it’s going to be like, now is the only time where you can make the difference where you can do the work that you want to do and get the results that you want to get in your life. So I realized I have to stop procrastinating, all the things that I said I was going to do and all these dreams that I had.

[00:23:24] Where things that I thought I’ll get to one day, or they’re going to show up for me when the time is right. And I realized that that is not the right way to live. If I want something, I need to take action consistently to get those kinds of outcomes, 

[00:23:40] Zach White: Jay, I really appreciate your candor on the family piece.

[00:23:43] And it’s, it’s the perfect time for Zach white to hear you say that. And I’ll tell you my short story. I have a trip to Arkansas planned next week to visit my whole family. So my mom and my stepdad and my both my sisters and their husbands and all the nieces and nephews, you know, all going to be in one place, which with COVID has not happened a single time.

[00:24:09] And even before would, if we were fortunate, it happened once a year, maybe twice on the rare occasion and. In the business right now here at OACO, there’s a lot going on. And, you know, being an entrepreneur as you know, is always full of surprises and adventure. And I was very close to not going on the trip because there’s work to do there’s clients to serve.

[00:24:36] There’s some gaps in the business right now that I’m closing. And my story that I’ve lived in. Often is that the way to solve those problems is to work harder, work longer. We already talked about delegation and it’s great for the coach to be coached on this conversation. And I did make the decision. I booked my hotel and I told my wife like, we’re going, this is a priority.

[00:25:01] Uh, if I’ve got to tell my clients that it’s, this is how we do things. I got to live it. Right. I want to let it out. And so I’m so glad that I’m going, and it is a priority and it’s precious and it’s special. But I say this. So for the engineering leaders listening, just to recognize it is so easy to say, or to know, you know, air quotes for the folks watching this on YouTube.

[00:25:23] See it, but what is the thing you value? The thing you want? Et cetera, but it exists only in that thinking part of your brain or on a great spreadsheet somewhere in the arena of your life and in the, the true core and where, where the emotion and the challenge and the fear and all the crap of life can actually.

[00:25:47] It’s like it isn’t true at all. You know, for me to even have the thought that I would skip the once in two years trip to go see these people who could wake up tomorrow and not be with like, would I be happy that I spent those extra hours? At OACO. Absolutely not. So, anyway, Jay, thanks for just making that real for us.

[00:26:08] And I feel really fortunate that I made the right decision. Oh, you definitely made the right decision. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. A hundred percent. One of the themes that has come up a couple of times here, I wanted to pull this thread more cause we’re talking for the sake of the engineering leader, listening here and how your journey may support them in theirs.

[00:26:27] And you’ve talked through this idea of kind of learning how to. Past this overthinking part of yourself. And I love this idea of self observation. I’m going to use that phrase as well as it’s another way to maybe shift your perspective about what we normally would consider awareness, but a self observation and the scientist and the engineer and us kind of like observing.

[00:26:49] We’re good at that, but tell us more about your journey through overthinking stress management and that whole space what’s been the secret to success for you and what insights do you have for engineers listening? 

[00:27:02] Jay Abbasi: I have a similar response to that word. You know, it’s not one, I can’t take credit for coming over that phrase.

[00:27:09] I didn’t, I can’t take credit for it, but when I heard it, it really resonated with me to be able to. In a way, observe yourself as if you are observing someone else. And it sounds a little funny, but it can be done. We can watch ourselves. And so for me, the way this unfolded was to daily, take time to pay attention to the way I was thinking to pay attention to how I was responding to situations.

[00:27:44] I often with my clients use the terms take inventory. So I constantly would take inventory throughout the day and notice, huh? Look at that. Look at how I’m responding to this situation. I get this email, huh? Look at how I felt triggered. Look at how my body responded. Where are the feelings in my body?

[00:28:05] That are tense right now. Where is it? Tense in my body? And this kind of study is like very much like a scientist. That’s studying a subject, something that is trying to gather data from. And so what I found in this process of doing it, Zack is shedding the light of awareness. On oneself is the way in which you can free yourself from the patterns that you often go down.

[00:28:33] If nothing gets done, or let me rephrase. If you aren’t aware of something that’s happening, how can you fix it? You need to be aware of it first. So practically what that looks like is. Through a meditative practice. Some people prefer yoga, some people going out for walks, but it’s some sort of activity or time that you’re allotting to not be caught up in your thinking and your planning and what happened before.

[00:28:58] And what’s going to happen in the future to be here and now to be present and to notice what’s happening in your mind and in your body to pay attention. That’s a simple, but no. Uh, simple but difficult things for most people. It’s not overly complicated. It’s quite simple, but it feels difficult for most people because it’s not natural.

[00:29:21] The natural thing to do is let my thoughts run and I go after them. I’m just chasing my thought one after another, after another and respond, reacting to the feelings that come up naturally.

[00:29:30] Zach White: I see engineers often seek to solve the problem of overthinking. With thinking. And, and one of the things you said that I just want you to unpack a little more, if you’re willing is like, it’s not just observing the thoughts, but also you said your mind and your body, you know, like what’s happening in the feeling part of who I am as well.

[00:29:55] And. This idea of presence. Like those two things both jumped out at me as like, yes, that’s where I, I see us missing the mark as, as technical analytical engineering minded folks is we want to put our thinking into the past and the future. And we want to solve thinking with thinking. And this . Whole idea of like checking in with my body is really a.

[00:30:19] Concept. Why would I do that? Or what does that even mean? So can you just take it one step further if somebody has never really considered that? What does that look like? Or how do you begin getting more present and more into that feeling? Part of what you’re saying? Sure. 

[00:30:35] Jay Abbasi: So I’m going to reference what was covered in that workshop that we were at and ill.

[00:30:41] It stood out to me and I knew much of the research, but. bring it here. Cause I think it’s helpful, which is that over 95% of our behaviors, our habits are coming from the subconscious mind. So that which you are not conscious of and as was covered in the conference, the language of the subconscious mind, our feelings, our emotions, right.

[00:31:04] Emotions is a better word than, than cause feelings come up. Consciously emotions are coming up without us being conscious of it. So. That means that you are being led by your emotions, whether you know it or not. So I’m going to say that again, you are being led by your emotions, whether you are conscious of it or not.

[00:31:25] According to what the research and the science has proven from their studies on human behavior. So. When you are only using your thinking mind to try to fix your overthinking, you’re taking, what is your 5% capacity to try to fix 100% of your behavior? Therefore, need is there to be able to go into the emotion, right?

[00:31:47] And to have a bit more of consciousness brought and awareness brought into how you are feeling and to work through those feelings. So you are not, so you’re not at the mercy of the subconscious. Not at the mercy of what those emotions bring up to you now for you to be able to tap into that. You have to be present.

[00:32:06] You can’t be your attention. Can’t be brought caught into the past the future. How can you deal with what’s happening now when your mind is dealing with what’s ha what happened before or what’s going to happen? You have to take. What’s oftentimes referenced as the monkey mind, right? You have You have to, to tame it to be able to come here.

[00:32:22] Now, notice what’s happening and be able to work through it and detach from the natural emotions that are arising so that you can make better decisions and that you can make decisions in the face of difficult emotions, whether that be stress, anxiety, fear, or whatever. 

[00:32:40] Zach White: Yeah, I think it’s really well said.

[00:32:41] And I want to repeat this key point because engineers love the numbers. And this is something to ponder engineering leader, listening to this, take this home. All right. 95% of the computing power of this machine between your ears. You do not have conscious access to meaning, no matter how hard you think about it.

[00:33:04] It’s the thinking part is the 5%. Knowing that power of that machine is happening in the subconscious, the unconscious and the language. And the energy of that is driven in the emotion in your emotions. You are solving a hundred percent of the problem with 5% of the computing power. Wow. Like that makes it so simple to understand why this matters.

[00:33:30] And, and I’ll just say bluntly, you know, coming from the place of having no idea. We are talking about right now at one time as an engineer, uh, it, it, isn’t going to make sense initially. I just remember the first time my coach took, took me into the body and we had this conversation . Around emotion, you know, energy in motion in the, my physical body.

[00:33:50] And it’s like, what is this? But, you know, I’ll tell you it’s absolutely worth digging into for all the reasons Jay just said. So Jay, if you were going to give one to. On, um, a practice or an exercise to, to begin for someone who’s listening and they want to play with this or something they could do on their own to experiment.

[00:34:08] Would, would anything pop in that they might try? Yeah. You 

[00:34:11] Jay Abbasi: know, a simple breathing exercise is helpful to be able . To tame a very overactive mind and, uh, in today’s world, we are addicted to thinking. So what I encourage as a practice is to. Sit comfortably, no need for any crazy postures to sit comfortably in a chair, It could be five minutes, maybe even less. It could be two minutes and just sit there and observe the breath in the inhale. Observe the exhale and then count. Without saying it out loud. So in out one in two, notice your mind will go away. It will start thinking, is this working or what do I have to do today?

[00:34:53] Or what am I going to have for lunch? That’s what’s going to happen. That’s okay. Don’t get mad at yourself. Don’t judge yourself. Don’t beat yourself up instead. Bring your attention back to okay. In out two in three, get to 10. When you get to 10, bring it back to one. Until your timer is up for however long you want to do this.

[00:35:14] But as a way to start is a very healthy and simple, but it will be difficult at first, but it’s a simple practice that will get you started in being able to tame your monkey mind and be more. 

[00:35:27] Zach White: Yeah, I love it. I love it. And what I love about it is that as an engineer, if I put myself back into that lens of my life, Jay, I hear you.

[00:35:36] I understand that exercise. to your point, it’s very simple. I can go do it, but I immediately want to. Sort of refute like, well, what, what do you talk about, how is that going to do anything to help me in these areas of my life? I can not see the connection between what you just said and, and transformation in the areas that we discussed on this call.

[00:35:54] And that’s what makes it so beautiful to me is like engineer, you’ve got to trust. Process in this journey. And this is just step one to Jay’s point tip of the iceberg. There’s way more to this than we could cover today, but, uh, early, appreciate that. And I’m going to do that exercise after our call today.

[00:36:10] That sounds like a perfect place for me to go. So, Jay, we got so much, I’d love to ask you, but just in respect of time and to let you get back to life and helping your clients with everything you do, I’ve got one more question I always end with and. I, I really believe great engineering has in common with great coaching, that the questions we ask bleed and answers follow, and we want to be really intentional to ask ourselves the right questions and the best questions to get what we want out of life.

[00:36:41] And so if, if the engineering leader listening to this conversation wants to be happy and fulfilled, they want to achieve success. What would be the. Question that you would leave them with today.

[00:36:57] Jay Abbasi: I would give them a question to ask themselves, and that is with everything that you’re doing. Ask yourself, does this serve. And so rather than me asking the question, I would turn it to the engineer, the engineering leader. And I would say, when you go throughout your day, ask yourself, does this serve me?

[00:37:19] Zach White: I love it. So powerful. Does this serve me? Take that and meditate on it. Engineers see where that takes you and Jay, I have a feeling, many of them are. To get more from you along this journey. So would you be so kind, just, just tell us, I know the work you do is amazing and your clients get incredible results.

[00:37:40] And if the engineer listening here may want to reach out to you or they know somebody who would love to get connected with you for that kind of support and coaching, tell us about your business. How can people find you and connect with you? You know, where should they go? 

[00:37:52] Jay Abbasi: The best place to find me is LinkedIn.

[00:37:55] I’m quite active on there as you know, Zach, I see on there too. And find me on LinkedIn, that’s the best way and feel free to shoot me a connection request. That’s always one way or my website, Jay has some information about more information about my story and, uh, the type of, uh, programs that we offer.

[00:38:13] And, uh, yeah, I would say that’s the, that’s the best way either LinkedIn or my website. 

[00:38:17] Zach White: I absolutely encourage everyone listening to go connect with Jay and follow him on LinkedIn. His content is great, but also to really consider reaching out to him and asking for support is an incredible coach. I can’t say enough great things about Jay and what he’s doing and the impact he’s having in people’s lives through the work he does.

[00:38:36] So take action on that. And Jay, thanks again for making. To be with us today and sharing your wisdom and really very vulnerable about your life story. And I know it’s gonna have a huge impact, just tremendous value for our engineers listening. So thanks again, man. Of 

[00:38:51] Jay Abbasi: course, man. Thank you for having me brother.]