top of page
  • Writer's pictureFrancisco Mahfuz

E49. Stop Hiding in Plain Sight with Yuri Kruman

Below is an AI-generated transcript and therefore it may contain errors.

Francisco Mahfuz 0:00

Hi everyone, Francisco here. Just before we get started, I wanted to share something I'm really excited about. I recently launched the story powers bootcamp, a course that teaches you everything you need to know about how to find craft and tell stories that work. But it's not just an online course, because you get personalised feedback from me for all the practical activities in three hours of life coaching to work through any challenges, or focus on specific projects. So it's like if you bought a cookbook, but the chef came along with it. So go to story and click on Course, all the information you need will be there. So please check it out. And if you love the show, and would like to support us, you can go to buy me a forward slash story powers. I drink about five coffees a day, so any support would be much appreciated. All right on with the show.

Welcome to the story powers podcast, a show about the power of stories that people will tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, keynote speaker and storytelling coach Francisco mahfuz. My guest today is your recruitment. Yuri is an award winning entering chro a top rated executive coach, startup advisor and official member of the Forbes coaches Council is the author of what millennials really want from work and life. And his new book, The young commander in chief has been chosen by Forbes as one of the top 21 books to read in 2021. I want to propose to a girlfriend by telling her I've got a passport, you need a passport. Let's get married. But I think URI beats me hands down with this incredibly romantic proposal. We're both homeless. Let's move in together and get married. Ladies and gentleman you recruitment? You're welcome to the show.

Yuri Kruman 1:58

Thank you very much Francisco quite an introduction. That's that's yeah, it's a crazy story.

Francisco Mahfuz 2:06

I make a point of always trying to find something weird for the introduction. And I didn't think I was gonna beat the name of your first company. Juicy juice verse that the the homeless marriage proposal was what was was there? Hello? Yes,

Yuri Kruman 2:25

I'm Russian immigrants. You're French immigrants. Let's get married.

Francisco Mahfuz 2:32

I love I love the idea of you thinking that juicy Jews. It was a great name for a company as in this is the name of the social media. Yes, I'm introduced to Jews is a great app.

Unknown Speaker 2:45

My mother was horrified. She thought you know, this looks like some kind of terrible conspiracy or they're just cute on T shirts. You

Francisco Mahfuz 2:53

know? Your people don't need any help. Cause you know getting your have problems enough as it is.

Yuri Kruman 3:01

Yeah. Be free to show you're right.

Francisco Mahfuz 3:05

There's something else I found out. I didn't know this. Perhaps I'm just stupid. But I didn't realise that I was actually a millennial. But But you and I are. I think the same age. I'm almost 40 So are we millennials?

Unknown Speaker 3:21

We're old millennials. I hate to tell you. Right. We're old. But yeah, we got got that thing says across the forehead millennial you suck. You know,

Francisco Mahfuz 3:30

that's Have you have you ever watched Scott Stratton's millennial rent?

Unknown Speaker 3:37

I've heard of it. No, it's not. It's not on my playlist. But maybe it should be.

Francisco Mahfuz 3:41

Well, so Scott Stratton is a very well known keynote speaker and he's the author of a whole bunch of books on marketing is his brand in he This beats that he does in his keynote, and it's a it's a rant, essentially, it's the millennial rant. Any changes all the time? And the last time I heard it involved him talking about how US apparently, so we as millennials, we are, we're entitled, because things are too easy. So he talks about how we use when we used to make mixtapes, you know, had to wait for the right song, and you had to press play and record together in the seat. You know, sometimes the DJ would say something stupid. And even if you got it perfectly, it was just one song, you still had to get all the rest of them and the bloody thing would stop working. And you needed a pencil to try and fix it. Whereas now we know music is in your pocket. And he goes on to put a whole bunch of stuff talk about hobbies of all millennials and then he puts his article on on the screen talking about how entitled they are and all of that and people are like yes, yes, yes. And then at the end of it, he reveals that this was an article from 1998 talking about Gen Z. And, and I think he's he says that he's developed that bit over the years and he's gone and found an A newspaper article from the late 1800s talking about the you want to end up being the great generation.

Unknown Speaker 5:10

Exactly, yeah, that's that was my whole book that was like, I'm sick of hearing this crap, I'm gonna have basically look at the data. And yeah, the data is pretty much the same. All the same waves of nonsense all the same old people being cranky about a younger generation that, you know, they're entitled and flaky, and they've got it easy. And we had it hard. And it's like, it's just a hate to say it. It's kind of like a circle jerk.

Francisco Mahfuz 5:33

So we can agree that those are are very bad millennial stories, you know, the story being told about our generation is not a very good one. What would be a better story

Unknown Speaker 5:46

won't be a better story. Well read my novel. No, I'm kidding. No, I mean, for me, I can tell you this, when I do coaching, when I do speaking, everything goes back to my own story. It's not because they have no other, you know, reading or anything. It's just because I feel like for whatever reason, God chose me to, to kind of be part of all these different things that are both typically millennial and also just timeless. And I think everyone has those elements of their story is just, you know, selection bias. So if you tell a good story about millennials, I mean, you, you can't just say, hey, you know, you grew up in the 90s. And that was the golden age and all of that stuff. Obviously, we've been through two massive recessions. You know, we've been through a lot of massive change, I think the it's not even the change itself. It's the pace of change. It's the acceleration with which during our lifetimes, during even the last 20 years, I think I got my first cell phone. I'm not exactly a Luddite, but it was one of the last and among my friends to get it in 2003. For something like that.

Francisco Mahfuz 6:48

Jesus that took ages, I had a break a break cell phone that way down my backpack, when I think was in the last year of school in the in the late 90s. I mean, you never use this thing to just call your mom. But still,

Unknown Speaker 7:02

yeah, you're almost like the soldiers in World War Two taken out stuff from the backpack. Like, you know, what I think my philosophy in general is that, you know, all the stories that people tell, they're not terribly unique. Everyone has stories of love and loss, and immigration and war and famine, and there's nothing, you know, light about those things. They're very heavy, and they're very difficult. But there's nothing that prevents each new generation from saying, you know, what, all we have to do is, you know, even if we're monkeys on typewriters, rewriting Shakespeare, we still have to retell those stories for a new generation with a new language and a new psychology. And that's, I mean, that's a pretty fundamental part of what I think the meaning of life is. You have to transmit stories, whether you see that as I don't know vectors, or you see that as helping raise your kids or what have you. But you have to transmit classic stories, which are timeless, you can add cell phones in there, you can add, you know, horses and buggies. But it's really the same thing. The the fundamental part of it is, is the same, again, all the same themes. I don't want to quote Woody Allen, because he, you know, he kind of like, I don't like this guy very much. And he also

Francisco Mahfuz 8:15

he's not, he's not done a lot recently for the for your people.

Unknown Speaker 8:20

No, it's not done much for much good for any people, apparently. No, but the point is that, you know, he always, oh, you know, love and death and Dusty offski and Tolstoy. Yeah, fine. Yeah, he doesn't have to be completely funny doesn't have to be completely serious. But there's something about telling whatever your story is, doesn't matter how triad it is, or you know, how typical or atypical it is, it has all the same components, that someone else a generation before, and you know, all the way back. So it's not in conflict. In my eyes,

Francisco Mahfuz 8:52

there's a few different, you wear many hats. And there's some that I'm particularly interested in talking about, because the focus of everything I do, and the focus of this podcast is stories and how they, how they interact with different areas of life, mostly business. And one of the areas that you've had, you've had quite a bit of experience with is startups. So there's a bunch of things that I know you have helped and do help startups with. And I just wanted to pick on some of those things in in get your take of how much how much stories and being able to tell stories well make have an impact there. And I think the very first one and perhaps the most obvious one is is creating that that pitch, typically to raise funds. So what sort of experience have you had with that and how people use or don't use story particularly well to get that done?

Unknown Speaker 9:49

So first of all, let me let me zoom out a little bit. I think for me, justice for you. Stories are not just you know, let me think of the right story. For this or for that you have to have kind of a big story of story bank. And from that story bank, you can take the same kinds of stories that connect what you're doing all the way to, I went through that I had to solve that problem, I had no other choice. Now, it's my life mission to help others, you know, travel the same Germany, find the same solution, what have you, but cheaper, better, faster, because it's business. So, for me, it's the same idea whether somebody goes, and they want to interview and get into a job, because that's also running some part of someone's business. Right. So if you want to be successful in using your story, to get a job to get funding to build something, to convince others to come work with you, or invest with you, you have to, before you go in and kind of become very clever, and use different language and psychology and you know, keywords and all of that kind of stuff, you have to have some kind of genuine connection in what you're doing to what you've been through. Because otherwise, it's just a cool startup, bro. Right? And people smell right through that. And they see right through that, and it fails miserably. So one thing is if some people get away with this, let's say they go to Stanford, and you know, they're building the next Instagram, they have that massive network of people, maybe they're already connected through their parents or what have you. dumb money, right? So you have dumb ideas, some some kind of new video app that you know, there's a million out there some something that's been done 1000 times, it gets dumb money can go pretty far that way. But all but point 1% of startups don't come out of that. So people have to genuinely connect to their story. When they go on stage. They speak to an investor, they have to say, look, you know, when I was a kid, I had health issues. And because of that, like, I'll take a step back. So I have a client now I'm coaching him to get into corporations who was a teacher for a long time. And he battled Tourette's, as a kid. Imagine that how brutal that is, right? As a kid, you have Tourette's and you have to deal with all this. So he's a learning and development guy. So I help them formulate a story. And he gets he gets really, really far. And he got into the final rounds of interviews with Facebook. Like somebody didn't click so it keeps hearing this back. Wow, you're like, You're so awesome. But like you're different. So I'm like, Okay, well, you're a Wolverine, you know, no, but his superpower is that. Yeah, he overcame Tourette's. And like, nobody knows that he had Tourette's because he's, he's so good at covering it up. But I told him, Don't cover it up. That's a fundamental part of your story. You went through that you suffered, you went through absolute hell tell people that because they're the people know, people sense things. They may not know how to verbalise it, like, you're different, but like, well, you're, you're different from your typical corporate profile. So it's the same idea. You identify objections in your pitch, right? Because you know that those people are thinking, hey, well, there's a million other video apps. Like See, I had Tourette's instead of people think, you know, something's off like something's not quite right. They're like, holy shit, this guy overcame Tourette's, like imagine what what he can do for learning and development, he's been doing that his whole life. So on the turn of a dime, a detail like that, that connects your story to what you overcame, and how you see the world unlocks a tremendous amount of energy and connection. And people say, ah, that's what you want. When you tell your story. Whether you're courting your future wife, or you're, you're coordinating an investor, or you're trying to get a job, it's really fundamentally the same thing when you make that connection for yourself. Like, okay, you know, I'm in I'm trying to do this, I'm trying to build this thing, because I did elements of that as a kid and I had to help my mom with it. And, you know, I helped my friends in college like, Ah, okay, so you really have been building this thing your whole life, whether that's juicy juice or something else?

Francisco Mahfuz 13:58

Well, I guess that in the Tourette example, and again, maybe this is for a corporate job is perhaps fuse less, would feel less suitable than if it was a startup. I mean, if it's a startup and you're doing anything to do with with development and language, then it would be the craziest thing in the world to try and hide the Tourette's in a corporate for a corporate interviewer can kind of see how someone would think okay, well what how is this necessarily a great advantage but obviously it is because it shows that you have struggled against something that is a lot harder than most people struggle with. And hiding that is this idea that there is such a thing as normal, in a normal is good, or actually normal if you pull it off perfectly. You might have just talked yourself out of a job because now you blend in you're less memorable as just just a normal guy instead of the guy with Tourette's that but it is swear all the time. Now he didn't actually didn't swear the whole time once through the whole interview because he says As you know, he's worked on anything he's gotten over it that will stick with with that interviewer. If nothing else, that guy will get talked about when they're discussing how to hire might not get hired. But But still, it'd be crazy to hire that.

Unknown Speaker 15:13

I think it's a very important point you bring up. When when you're doing your pitch, you're doing your interviewing, you're doing your whatever, okay, when you're telling your story, you're not doing it, because you have to please everyone, you're not going to know that, right? Whether that's an a corporate job. Yeah, you're not going to please everyone, there will be people that say, Well, I didn't know that. And for maybe legal reasons, they might kind of, you know, say something else that says something else is off. But the point is, when you're fully aligned with who you are, you're comfortable with, who you are, and where you come from, and what you look like and what you're trying to do in life, then it doesn't matter, because you actually attract the right people by being fully yourself, and the rest fall off. So if you don't get the job, I mean, it may look terrible now, but you're probably you're probably avoiding a giant pile of steaming, you know what? And that's good. That's a good thing, right? So similarly, with investors, if those investors, if all they want to hear is, oh, it's a new video app, and let me throw my dumb money at it, you probably don't want that either. Because that's, that's going to harm you later on, they're not going to help you grow, they're not gonna help you with their networks, they're just gonna help you with their dumb money. That doesn't doesn't take you for. So anyway, you have to have that longer term view, and still say, yeah, it might cost me in the short term, but in the long term, it's going to be much better telling my story that way I see fit with all all those steps of alignment. So that, you know, I learned this the hard way. I'm in my sixth career, right? So in most of the other ones. For me language and psychology, that's my thing. I'm an immigrant. I'm pretty good at languages. And I'm pretty quick at understanding who, who needs to hear what, right but when, when you're not sure of yourself. When you're young, you're seeking who am I? What am I where am I going? Who am I helping? You're kind of like you start to grab for things that you shouldn't grab for because it's, it's just not who you are, like, how I ended up in a finance and operations role as an associate director. It's insanity, right? I'm talking to the guy for 18 months. Love your company, okay, we see eye to eye when he's like, come for lunch. Okay, I come for lunch. He's like, Look, I need someone to do finance and operations. I have a director, but he's like, should have been a red red flag for me that he's saying bad stuff about his employee, I need someone to come and replace him. I'm like, Well, I don't. I've never done finance and operations. No, no, I get it. But you know, I know you're a quick learner. And I really like how you see the world. Okay, so I was in the company by next Monday, I was at their off site the next morning. And, you know, it seemed like a great idea. And like, I talked my way into it, because I was speaking with him all those other times. What did I step into? Why did I step into this giant pile of steaming excrement? Because I'm always looking higher, I've got to reach higher because you know, I have to make this much money. Yeah, I mean, I have to support my family and pay off my loans. It's not It's not trivial stuff. But in my mind, I'm like, oh, adventure, adventure adventure. And it's not, it's not like, This is who I am. Or this is what I'm aligned to their elements. But at that point, I'm not strong enough to recognise why I should say no, why this is a bad idea.

Francisco Mahfuz 18:26

Yeah, sometimes we can talk ourselves into things I remember, my very first job was, was in local government back in Brazil. And I can't remember what the job was meant to be for. But at some point at the interview, or or just when I started, someone asked me, if I knew anything about websites, and you do this thing where you're just kind of like, yes. And it says, Great, because we need to, you know, sort of give a fresh look to the whole website of the of this part of the Department of the local government. I had barely been on online by them. So I had no idea what I was doing. And then they had to, they basically send someone in to teach me other HTML. And it's here, I have never done this before. And I'm spending hours on HTML was like, oh, yeah, this would look a bit better if I put another line here. There was just no way. I had the capacity to do that job. But it was so embarrassing to say to them, Listen, you know, I actually vide I don't know how to do this. Is there any, anything else you can give me? And eventually they figured it out. And they gave him something else to do. But it's, I think it's something that a lot of people do, and perhaps not in such an obvious, obviously stupid way. But an opportunity presents itself you pursue it. Something feels off while you're going through it. But perhaps you don't have it very clear yourself, what you're about. What's your purpose? What are the things that inspire you? And you talk yourself Often to a job and sometimes spend years hating it, then it's I think that's a problem that that perhaps happens a little less now than it used to happen when people stayed in a job forever. But but I'm sure it still happens plenty,

Unknown Speaker 20:15

you're actually bringing up another idea about millennials, which it's, I think it's a pretty central theme. So for, for us, because we're kind of like the, you know, we're going up a mountain with time and everyone, everything is getting better, and opportunities more plentiful. And you know, all of you should be, you know, Nobel Prize winners and playing at Carnegie Hall. Not quite right. But especially when, you know, you come from, let's see immigrants and all of that stuff. Like, it's just things are ratcheted up, like you have to, you can't sit and twiddle your thumbs, you have to go and you know, be the best of whatever. So, whether you're an immigrant or just, you know, Joe Schmo, and then whatever, the expectations for millennials are huge. When you I mean, at this stage, you know, we're all kind of like family, people, whatever things are a little little bit off the curve, but same idea, right, you have to go and, you know, you have to know who you are, you have to know what you want from life. And you know, rah, rah, rah, you should read, you know, 10,000 self help books and listen to 10,000 graduation speeches from Steve Jobs, right? And everything will be well, no, I mean, life is, I think, fundamentally meant to go through struggle, if you're going to get anywhere, you have to take a lot of wrong turns, you have to tell the wrong stories in your head and, and go through a lot of upheaval and change, if you're going to amount to anything. I mean, quite frankly. So I think the disconnect between what we were taught how life works, everything should be lined up, you should have you know, savings of x at this age, you should make this much at that age, you should have a 2.1 car garage at 35. You know, all those idiotic kind of pictures, like why why do I need to attach myself to that, you know, if I if I let's say, okay, sake of argument, let's say at 17, I would have seen in Kentucky, okay. gone to college, you know, done really well, it would have been probably, you know, top students in the class, gone to law school, you know, probably done pretty well there. I'd be doing really well for Kentucky standards. And it's nothing, it's nothing against Kentucky. I love the place I grew up there. But it's like, it's just a very different atmosphere, right? It's not this crazy competition, to have that, you know, four bedroom house with two, two car garage, you know, three kids, whatever, relatively easy. You don't need a lot. You don't need that crazy debt. Because, you know, college and grad school are cheaper. They're so okay. I mean that that's a hypothetical. It doesn't do much for me now, because I live in Brooklyn, and the standards are very different. But the point is you choose you choose your journey, right? So if I would have just said, Okay, well, that's where I top out, okay, fine. It's not a bad thing. It's not a good thing. It's neutral. But for whatever reason, you know, being having been raised on on novels and fine literature and all of that, you know, Don Quixote here he comes, you know, so I had to go to using saying,

Francisco Mahfuz 23:18

you know,

Unknown Speaker 23:20

I know, I know, trust. Well, but that's, you know, you grew up with these ideas.

Francisco Mahfuz 23:26

Hold on your, your Russian, shouldn't you have grown up with significantly more miserable ideas than then, you know, all the the aspirational Don Quixote stuff?

Unknown Speaker 23:38

Russians don't go looking for misery it finds them on its own. But, you know, we left for that reason. No, nobody wants that for their kids. But yeah, I mean, that's, that's a big thing, right? The narratives that you grow up with, whether you read Don Quixote or Saul Bellow, or Shakespeare, all these things, stay with you as a kid, especially when you're very impressionable, and all you know, is change because you, you move and you know, your parents get divorced and like you're changing careers, you're dating people from, you know, funny parts of the world that you've never visited. You know, you, you become very impressionable, and that means your development into your full self meaning like, Okay, I have barriers, and I know now who I am and what I'm meant to do and how to do and that takes time, and that's fine. That's normal. All the mistakes are not unnatural. They're not, you know, but most people don't have the appetite to keep making mistakes with aplomb. Like the Churchill quote,

Francisco Mahfuz 24:36

I think you have repeatedly said that you've made many mistakes with a blonde. It's something I found very interesting for someone who, who does talk about about stories, because what a lot of people do, and I understand that this is part of as well when people do change careers. There is an element of okay, well What are the common threads of what I've always done that I can maybe sell as my strengths. So in sometimes this is the most natural thing to do, you know, I now do a lot of speaking. And if I think back, it's not particularly hard to remember that I was the kid that stood up in front of class to present and then I was a teacher, I taught English to teenagers, which is not the easiest thing in the world to do. And every single job I ever had, I was usually the one who did the training for the big accounts. So there is a theme, they're not making anything up when I say that I've spoke or presented for most of my career, but a lot of people just tried to tweak those and make everything sound like it was building up to this to this great climax. But you, I've not heard you do that at all, you want to describe your life story, it's, I tried this. And that failed, then I tried this other thing, and I didn't have the chops for that. And this other thing, and I don't know why I did that job, because I have no interest in finance or whatever. In then you go into coaching. And that's when that part you do say, how this was something that was natural to you that type of approach. But my question there, both for yourself, and how you coach other people to do that, when they're going through their interviews, or whatever they're doing is, do you feel that the journey needs to start all the way back and get you to where you are now. So you can pass that whatever trying to do now as a strength? Does that? Should that not be the case? Or is a very much case by case basis for each individual person?

Unknown Speaker 26:38

I would say like this, each my view again, it's you have to start with big picture philosophy. Right? So for me, because I know the power of story for myself, and I've had to repeatedly, you know, first there was adjusting, it's like, well, if audience adjust to just the justice, oh, wow, it's so good to get in there. But again, when you don't do the hard work of anchoring that to the ground, and to your beginnings, and to your roots, also, something will do that for you. Because someone will say, Oh, well, you're really this and they gotta Oh, right. So in order to avoid that, do it yourself, ground yourself, figure out how this relates to who you are, where you come from your traditions, your ways of seeing the world do that for yourself. Yeah, it's hard work. And so it's a lifelong process, probably. But when you do that, it nobody can can kind of come and knock you off and say, Oh, you're a fraud. There are plenty of people out there, they'll come in, they'll just, you know, place like New York, they'll tell you to your face, you're a fraud, you're full of shit. What? Right? So instead of doing that, just be consistent throughout and stick with your story. Because when you stick with your story, again, the right people will be attracted to you, whether that's employers, that's advisors, investors, what have you. And that's, that's what you want. That's the way things work when they work. And when they don't work, it's because you're half assing the process, you're not being thorough, you're not being comprehensive, or very frankly, honest with yourself, you don't have integrity internally. And that's, that doesn't work. So when when you whether it's for myself, and you know, I try to do this with humour, it's not like, oh, I failed. And I'm, like, I don't really consider it failure

Francisco Mahfuz 28:27

is not a Russian approach. I mean, it's an adventure or treat yourself for 700 pages of a one thing. God knows I did

Unknown Speaker 28:35

enough of that. I have way too much of that crap in my background, and in my probably genetics and epigenetics. It's not like I don't examine things deeply, but I turned everything inside out. And they say, Yeah, okay, you know, there's some nasty parts here, there's some good parts here, I'll take the good, I'll remember the bad I'll, you know, make sure the thread runs through that. So that I can usually to teach others. It's not even for myself anymore. Essentially, I see my path through six careers, you know, immigration, parents being divorced, you know, moving 20 plus times. All of that had to happen. For some reason, again, I can only think backwards and try to understand. I mean, that's where the faith component comes in. Right? You just believe that, okay, God sent me here at a certain time in a certain place with certain people with certain capacities to go through this process and these experiences in order to derive some kind of learning some kind of understanding. distil that. I mean, you know, whether that's through writing, whether that's through coaching, speaking, what have you, in order to help people better their lives. So it's kind of like I've been through a certain journey, and the journey is always ongoing, and it's not like, oh, I reached the top of the mountain, I'm a guru. No, you go up and down the mountain every single day and you notice new things and you learn new skills. You know why you know where you're headed and what it's worth. Now, you learn the path, you bring up others with you up the same mountain, you help them with the same process. So it's kind of like, sounds a little bit like a pyramid scheme, in all senses, but it's a good one, because that's what are we doing in this life? That's what we're doing. We're going up and down that mountain. And we're bringing up others with us. And if we don't bring them with us, then we're probably not really fulfilling our potential.

Francisco Mahfuz 30:28

Well, the the pyramid scheme that she described, sounds perhaps a little more optimistic than the Sisyphean struggle that a lot of people believe life to be where we just, you know, push that rock up a hill and the rock comes down, we can come back down and push it up again. I think that I agree with with with most of it, you said, I think that our brain is looking for patterns. And it's one of the most natural things in the world to say, Wow, if that hadn't happened, this couldn't happen. Now, sometimes that's obviously going to be true. Sometimes I think there, it will be random. But we find it very difficult to integrate random events. And not only it's difficult, but regardless of them being random or not being random. It's just so hard to to have that piece, not fitting any narrative. And I'm going through this now in a fairly painful way, where I am going through through a tax audit. And the Spanish tax authorities don't like some of the absolutely legal documentation that I provided them to show, you know, some rental income. And I'm at the moment, I haven't won the, you know, they want my money, and they're probably going to get it before I can get it back in it's driving me mad, because I cannot fit that into a satisfying narrative. It's not Yeah, but I cut some corners. So now, you know, it's karma. It's just well know someone is just woke up on a bad day. And they're giving me a hard time. I can't, I can't learn anything from it. And it's driving me crazy that I can't find an angle that allows me to say, Okay, fine, I can see how that happens. And this is the lesson from it is just like

a zealous auditor. Yes,

the reader wants, how do I how do I build this into my life so that I'm stronger for it? I'm not It says I often say this, that all great stories are a journey from pain to power. You need to be able to do more or no more at the end of it. And you were the beginning. I'm just getting the pain, looking for that power. And I'm not letting not finding it anywhere.

Unknown Speaker 32:47

Maybe they'll find some tax loophole for you. I don't know, you never know.

Francisco Mahfuz 32:53

So a lot of the stuff you're describing, is that what you normally refer to as founding stories?

Unknown Speaker 33:01

Yeah, so finding stories. I'm glad you brought that up. So for me, actually, if I really tell you very frankly, why do coaching that's why that's the one piece because ever since I'm a kid, you know, I'm a writer, and I'm reading God knows so many books from all kinds of different traditions. So what what am I what am I doing since I'm a kid, I'm trying to understand my narrative arc, as compared to I don't know, Augie March or Don Quixote or whoever a whole bunch of different characters and I'm, I'm trying to pick up it's almost as funny as it sounds. It's almost mathematical. I'm trying to figure out the tangent across that curve. And to see how that, does that inform my path is that should I expect this so it's a lot of chewing on the same thing, trying to get out more nutrients, same kinds of stories, but that's my process. That's my founding story. Right? So for me, I look when I coach people I look at so I'll give you an example. There's, there's a guy one of my first clients and coaching on paper, he looks like okay, he's a jock. He's from Upper West Side of Manhattan. He went to Vanderbilt. Looks like just a regular white dude. Okay, so you works in an investment bank? Credit Suisse. Oh, great. Awesome. So this, this is easy, right? So I meet up with him in a co working space, and we sit down and for about 90 minutes. I'm like, I'm methodically because I think like Sherlock Holmes, because that's again, part of my part of my arsenal. I'm looking for all of these different angles and what what can what can there be what can I hang your hat on? And soon enough, he you know, I asked the right question. He's like, I don't know if I mentioned my mom is black. Your mom was black like, well, you know, growing up on Upper West Side, your dad is Jewish or Mama's black. Whoa, that's kind of a big deal. Is like yeah, oh, there's another thing I forgot to mention. When I was born. I could only eat three foods. What was like? Yeah, I was in the hospital. for like nine months, because, you know, they had trouble feeding me. I think we got our funding stories Ding, ding, ding. Right. So this guy, he again, on paper, everything looks like, you know, pretty bland, pretty pale

Francisco Mahfuz 35:16

condition of white privilege,

Unknown Speaker 35:17

pretty much right. And I mean, whatever it is that works in like one of the top entertainment firms as a lawyer. So it's not it's not a question of whether there is privilege or not. It's like, what goes on in this person's head? Right? And when I when I kind of poked in the right place, and this is this is kind of like that $10,000 mechanic on a ship, right? That that kind of scenario. When when you know what questions to ask, stories will flow because you'll know sort of what you need out of that person. Regardless of privilege, not privilege, someone's really entitled really flaky millennial or whatever. When you get that out of them, you see the inner struggle, when you see the inner struggle, you can map that inner struggle to a story arc, you can help them to understand themselves better, because they themselves probably, you know, have that cloud of let go and privileged and like, Okay, I don't really care. I'm not here to examine I'm not auditing your privilege. I'm just here to help you figure out who the hell you really are and what to do it career wise, or business wise, right. So when when you get that out, you make people feel human like there's something yeah, there is something maybe special, not in the particular story of this health issue, as a kid grew up poor was an immigrant. None of that is original in its own right. However, the combination of stories and the particular involution of that story curve. Yeah, they are unique. And yes, you can go back and maybe map your journey to I don't know Stephens vibe, and then his escape from Europe. And I don't care, right. Every generation needs a retelling of the same kinds of stories. So don't try to say I need to make it to that Nobel Prize, or Carnegie Hall, or absolute nothing. No, start from scratch. What have I been through? What does that do for me? What is my direction? From that? That's what matters, whatever your starting point, doesn't matter. What have you done to map your journey since then?

Francisco Mahfuz 37:19

I know that juicy juice wasn't at the end, a brilliant idea necessarily. But the privilege auditor, I think that one has legs, David that your next lecture next startup, you know, auditors a privilege produce a certificate with a score. And you can see nail

it to your forehead.

Social Justice Warriors will be kicking themselves over gave me those certificates. That's the that's the one.

Unknown Speaker 37:46

Not bad. Not bad. That's that's not a bad one. But I think you should run with it since you're good.

Francisco Mahfuz 37:52

This is a problem. Perhaps for the both of us, we have too much privilege to run with this. We need someone with less privilege than we do. And you mentioned that if you know the right questions to ask, then the story flows. Do you have any favourite questions to ask that you find get you a lot of do a lot of heavy lifting?

Unknown Speaker 38:11

What's your shoe size? No, I'm getting there, there are certain things I usually probe for any traumatic events. I'm not a therapist, I'm not trying to do therapy. But by definition, my work involves pulling out that kind of trauma because it informs the rest of life. So some people have again, health issues as kids and you know, the they have to live in a bubble, you know, real bubble or otherwise, financial issues, because we know what a massive stressor that is when you always have to think about money, especially as a kid. It really, it makes you squirm. And yeah, maybe it makes you more resourceful, but it also kind of, you know, maybe kind of like you get it, you spend it, that's kind of the message that you you seek perhaps or perhaps it's the opposite. It's all about risk management and your savings rate has to be you know, 60%. So, those kinds of things inform worldview, they become lenses for how I see the world. So if I'm an immigrant again, right, so I moved from Moscow to Kentucky. What

Francisco Mahfuz 39:21

I mean, a time a timeworn tradition, Moscow to Kentucky.

Unknown Speaker 39:24

Yes, indeed. So my lens is again, I have to blend in. Yeah, I'm Jewish. So that's kind of like, you know, it's a little bit of a trump card if you have it, but essentially, I have to blend in I have to speak the language I have to make myself understood. And I have I'm not looking to be popular. I'm more of an introvert if anything, believe it or not, but I have I have to just make sure that things are stable. like nobody's looking at me funny. Nobody's bullying me like just stay stay hidden in plain sight. And what I found is The vast majority of people, again, I don't think it's a millennial thing. I think it's just generally human nature thing. Most people find that comfort zone where they're hidden in plain sight. And when they get to a point in life where their golden handcuffs, no longer do it for them, they feel some kind of somebody's waking up or something is bothering them or it's spilling over into their family life or whatever. They usually seek out help they seek out a coach or therapist or what have you. They might, you know, watch Steve Jobs, graduation speech, I was something is calling out from inside of them. I'm tired of hiding in plain sight. I'm tired of that. I want to try something new. I want to feel fully myself. I don't like my battery. You know, I forgot. The guy is an Israeli Arab. went to Harvard, he does this show for wisdom for you. Nice, maybe not as daily. Alright, so he had this t shirt, you know, 34%. Like, he's 34 years old. And like most people walk around with that not because of their age, like their battery is just not full. And they don't know why until it hits them. Like I'm not living my full life. I'm not fooling myself. I'm just kind of mediocre hanging out hiding in plain sight. So when that happens, the story is what brings it out because the you know, patterns or patterns can be better than that it's gonna be good. The biggest part of my my book, the biggest chapter of this beer on commander in chief is about biases and notions. Because that's the pattern detector up here. going bonkers. Selection bias, you know, you have confirmation bias, you have literally 100. And I don't know how many, almost 200 different biases, right? So you have to account for the first you have to be aware of them, because most people don't even understand what is Dunning Kruger or any of this stuff. So be aware of it understand that your brain seeks patterns, even when they don't exist, and then reverse engineer those patterns and say, okay, that that has flaws, right? So when you unlock all of those different biases and notions about yourself, nevermind about the outer world and your privilege and all that, you start seeing like, ah, oh, okay, it's more complex. There's more soft tissue. But wow, is it super interesting, I forgot to have this whole house with 100 rooms in there, I'm just hanging out in one room, worried sick about, you know, not seeing the view. I've just got to clean, I gotta clean the view. I gotta go to other rooms and remember who I am. That's what coaching is. Yeah,

Francisco Mahfuz 42:35

I agree. I think that it the parts you talk about, where you're describing people walking around with a half full battery, it's something that you can try and explain to people, if they're if they're doing work that they're not passionate about. And there's word that people love throwing around on purpose, if they're doing work, they don't feel is meaningful, then they, they just don't get how much of a difference that makes. It's a bit similar to any trying to explain to people what having children is like, and they can get some of the idea. But you can say you can say whatever you want to someone about how how you feel about a child. But if they haven't felt that, they just know explaining it and or they will understand the concept is Oh, yeah, and I've had a dog before, fine. And that's, that's the you got the category, right? But you can't grasp the intensity of what we're talking about. And I think a lot of with a lot of people, that that idea of hiding in plain sight, which I like a lot is, is something they know that something is missing, but they don't necessarily know what finding it does for them, that they tried to fill a hole. But it's not just a negative thing. I think you might feel no particular gap in your life, and not realise that if you if you were doing something that meant more to you, it will become a plus. It's not just it's not something that just cures a problem. It's something that actually improves every aspect of your life. When you when you when you find that, that that mission,

Unknown Speaker 44:25

you have just made me think of something. Actually two things one is in Kentucky, they tried to give us a taste of what childbearing is like by giving us those electronic babies and you have to put the key in the mouth. Like to aim. It didn't work. It did not work. Here we are three kids later. The other thing I wanted to mention this is actually I think this is a very interesting idea. So if you if you take a mathematical analysis of

Unknown Speaker 44:49

what a person might feel what I think all of us feel in a way because things are so fast things are so fast moving, you know those businesses personal, maybe the most difficult thing in life to achieve is when you know, think of a map, you have a GPS, Google Maps, you have two things happening. Number one is you have your path plotted, I'm going from point A to point B. So all of us almost by default, we're always thinking about B. Okay, okay. I mean, maybe about a because I'm starting there, but almost nobody really cares about where am I now? And why? Why is this the right place for me to be? And yeah, there are many detours or many options to get to point B. But what if I just focus on that point, that little arrow where I actually am now? And what can happen from there just being happy with being in that place where I am now? In time in space? With the people I'm with? What if What if that's the real, what if that's the real key to life, it doesn't mean that you're not aware of your destination, or where you came from. It just means that you're focused on Okay, here I am. And in this moment of time, I can notice 1000 things. I'm driving through Manhattan. Let's see. Right, I noticed 1000 things I noticed 1000 memories, I can help people when I'm in this place, while I'm on the journey by perhaps giving them guidance or coaching them or you know, just giving them a smile. What if that's the real key to life, as opposed to point B? And then point C and D? And? Or oh, where I came from? It's all about point eight. No, it's it's just like you're there. You're flashing on the screen, you're moving, maybe sometimes you're moving faster, traffic is faster. Sometimes you're slower, because you're you're stuck. But you're you're focused on that point. And you're not focused on Oh, crap, I have to make six figures by 30. Oh, crap, I have to have 2 million in savings by 50. It's not really interesting, because you don't really know what lies in your path. I mean, hell, there could be a detour, there could be an accident. I mean, you don't bloody know, maybe there's a, there's a boss that's gonna come and cut you off. Nobody knows. So maybe, maybe the key to life is you're that little arrow, and you're, you're flashing and you're going across the screen, and you're just doing your best in that moment in that place with those people to give value to help them through your channel. Maybe I mean, that's, that's what I found. That's, that's my little, my little conclusion from my little journey and what have you, you know, if you set up your life, through a lot of hard work and gather, you know, four pieces, a conversation with your body, that's the foundation so nutrition, fitness, breathing, sleep, etc. Number two is mental models. So you address your biases and notions. You learn how to make decisions well, from a workplace, how to manage expectations, manage stress, you'll learn how to manage your finances, career and business. You learn how to deal with other people, the third level going up that mountain, where okay, how do you deal with advisers, investors, employees, bosses? How do you make sure that you're with the right people, you cut away all the wrong ones, and then you're 300% present, you're that blinker on the map with those people in that time, in that space, you're giving value, you're making lives better, right? Through your startup, through your job, your book, whatever, you're that flashing thing. And people are drawn to that. Oh, wow. Like, what? What is that? And they want to go on the journey with you and then up top? Okay. What about the big picture? What about God in the universe? What does that conversation look like? Is that meditation is that rituals? Is that prayer? What is that right? How do I how do I balance, feeling like a complete nothing in the grand scheme of the universe, and the most important thing without which the universe would not work? Had I not arrived at the exact time when I was born and been through whatever I've been through? Right? So again, maybe that's the key piece, you work on those four pieces, and you go up and down the mountain, you bring people with you, and you more or less focus on that blinker, you're in that time you're in that space, what can I do? How can I be better at serving other people? And perhaps, you know, if you're so inclined, if that's your religious tradition, you know, how can I make a place for God in this material? Place? How can I bring godliness here? How can I help others to find the way not by telling them what to think but showing them teaching them how to think

Francisco Mahfuz 49:29

I am not particularly religious person, I'm very much into into meditation, and I have a lot of sympathy for the philosophical and psychological aspects of things like Buddhism. But there's one thing about most religions, but particularly the the Abrahamic religions, that I would 100% be delighted if it became more than norm, which is that their teachers are based on stories of all the things that people can get from religion, this is one that is staring them in the face. And you still have to, you still have to convince people these days that it's a valuable form of communication and sometimes the best form of communication depending on what you're trying to do. And they will argue against that, and then go back to their Bible. Thank

Unknown Speaker 50:22

you. Thank you very much for saying that. Because that's exactly what I think. It's like, it's a massive resource. And you're just like completely ignoring it.

Francisco Mahfuz 50:30

I think maybe, maybe the pitch, particularly my case, because this the story part is my focus, I should I should ring up conference that I know professed to be to be say, Christian, which will be very common in the US and say, Listen, it was good enough for Jesus, you're saying is not good enough for you and your company? Now, there's one thing this this, it's not a particularly serious question, but I know that your company or one of your companies, is called Master the talk. Right? And I remember that, I heard that and I know

Yuri Kruman 51:07

that you're you have two girls. Right? Two girls and a boy. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So

Francisco Mahfuz 51:12

I think what I heard, it might have been an earlier podcast, where you just had the two girls, and they think they have similar age to mine. Mine are four and one and yours are a bit older than that. Yeah, seven and four. And I heard the name master the talk. And I thought, Geez, not too long. For now, I'm going to have to have the talk with my girls. I mean, I, I must master that talk, because that's what I couldn't go wrong.

Yuri Kruman 51:36

Talk to your mother, she's French. Yes.

Francisco Mahfuz 51:39

I had the feeling that that's one of the talks, you don't want to have to master

Unknown Speaker 51:45

at a certain at a certain point, you get disabused of pretty much all the notions, my wife, God bless her. She's an engineer, she has zero filters. So one great thing about that is in the first few years, you're just like, you know, there's like a nuclear explosion in your face. And the second one doesn't have as much and eventually you're like, Okay, well, what if what if I do that nuclear explosion, like what happens and then eventually you have the URL filter, and you just have the conversations and you just like, approach it as a rational person, you have all the layers, you know, there's the religious, the secular, the common sense this something else and like, okay, okay, kids, listen, here. We trust you. Here's what I know. I don't know everything. I've got flaws. That's how it that's how I talk to my kids. I'm like, Look, I don't want you to think that I'm some kind of Guru. I'm not. I've made a lot of mistakes. I'm pretty open about it. And I'm not gonna, I'm not going to tell you that this is God's truth. I mean, as far as I know, this is what I've read here, the citations. Here's what I know from my story. Like, I want you to learn to make decisions and have understandings for yourself. Yeah, I'm trying to teach them not what to think. But how to think.

Francisco Mahfuz 52:49

I don't think we have any, we're under any risk of our children thinking of us as gurus, Yuri, think that we should go heavy on, we shouldn't go heavy on that, to maybe see if the notion takes us up to the beginning of the teenage years, because I think things are going by the time they're like 10, or 11. We've already we're already off the pedestal. And most of the stuff will say they go, this is true. I just googled that that's not actually true bad. But I wrote a book and wrote a book. So this is this is when you understand why people weren't in favour of everyone learning how to read, because there's just too many sources to disprove whatever you're trying to tell your children. Right. Your new your latest book is VR on commander in chief, when is that out?

Yuri Kruman 53:41

On March 2, and hardcover will be out in April.

Francisco Mahfuz 53:46

Okay, perfect. And if I know you've you're a few different places online, but if people want to find you, what's the what's the best place to look for you?

Yuri Kruman 53:56

Just your

Francisco Mahfuz 53:58

I'll stick that in the show notes. You it's been a it's been a great pleasure.

Unknown Speaker 54:03

It's been a great pleasure, Francisco and I don't have too many conversations that go go like this and end up right here. Thank you.

Francisco Mahfuz 54:09

It's always my goal to have a different conversation. If I've I know you've been to a tonne of podcasts. I think that life has enough struggle to make you repeat the same interview over and over. So if we managed to touch on different parts of your your expertise and your opinions, that's that's what I was going for.

Yuri Kruman 54:32

Thank you really, really well done. Alright, everyone.

Francisco Mahfuz 54:35

Thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves. And until next time.

I hope you enjoy the show. And if you did, I'd love for you to subscribe and leave us a review or rating on the Apple podcasts app. It's very easy. You open the app and find this show and scroll down a little and when you see the stars tab. I'd really appreciate it and it does have For other people find us and if you'd like to get in touch or find out more about what I do reach out to me on LinkedIn or visit my website story

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page