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Australian CEO Tima Elhajj Goes From 500 Linkedin Connections to Over 1 Million views a month! (Hint…she is a MUST follow!)

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Season 2 of “Just Stories with BT” features all Female Executive guests in the mattress/furniture space or other underrepresented industries!

These episodes focus on getting to know the amazing woman behind these roles and giving a platform to talk about getting our male dominated industries more balanced out!

Lifeloom

Episode #21 goes down under with Australian CEO and Founder of Tima Media, Tima Elhajj! She was such an inspiring guest and someone I personally look up to. She was one of the first people I started following on LinkedIn because she posts such motivational and valuable content, and as I began to follow I stumbled on her unreal podcast “Deconstructing Success” that you NEED to start downloading today (after listening to this episode of course : ) We talk about her early business struggles in the financial planning world, LinkedIn personal branding and how she ultimately became a highly sought after entrepreneur. Listen to find out what her most important job ever was, I was so impressed with her answer, guarantee you will be too!

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Full Transcription:

Brett Thornton: What is up, welcome back to another episode of just stores with BT. I’m so excited this week because not only do I have an amazing guest, but I also have an amazing guest who happens to be literally on the other side of the world in Australia. So welcome Tima Elhajj to the show. Thank you for being here.

Tima Elhajj: Thank you. I’m equally as excited to see, as I mentioned earlier, we’ve been talking about this for such a long time. So finally, finally, we’re doing this. So yes, we’re here and let’s do it.

Brett Thornton: Yes, awesome. So as always, I’m going to take the pressure off of you having to talk about yourself and introduce yourself. Because, as you know, being a podcast host, sometimes people have no idea what that means. So I mean like three things or they might talk for 20 minutes, you’re like, wow, you kind of just blew through the podcast. So I’m gonna try to introduce you in like 60 seconds, and then you tell me what I missed. And then we’ll fill in the gaps. Sounds good?

Tima Elhajj: Of course go ahead! 

Brett Thornton: So this is Tima, as I said, she is born and raised and living in Australia. As a child, she loved to be outdoors, whether that was writing or by climbing trees, all things that I also loved on the other side of the world, her first job was in retail, I’m going to come back and ask you about that. And then I love this, I always ask for people like what they did in high school. And they’re always like, Oh, I played basketball, I did that. And Tima told me, well, I really just wanted to get it done as soon as possible and move on. So that was great. And I’m an astronaut, that, that took her after high school and to go into Victoria University, which she loved. And afterwards led into first running, going into a business and shipping where you got into business development. And that kind of spurred your way into the financial sector, where you kind of bounce through, started going up the corporate ladder, building some really big and incredible portfolios along the way. But there was this little feeling inside, like I could probably do this on my own and even better, and so you started doing some stuff on your own. During this time, you had the most amazing gift in the world, which is your beautiful daughter, Zahra, got that right? And then as you progressed, and as you got bigger, and we’re doing more things in the financial sector, you decided in 2018, to take the leap, and get out and be a solo entrepreneur and launch your company team of media, which is a marketing agency focused on all kinds of amazing things. And as that progress, one of the things you realize was that there was a massive opportunity on LinkedIn to not only grow your personal business, but have that as a part of what you’re doing with a marketing company. And so even though you only had 500 connections, you double down triple down and went hard on LinkedIn, and within a couple months had 25,000, then 100,000. And now you get over a million views a month. Yes, a million views. We’re going to talk about that later. And then in 2020, you’ve launched my favorite podcast, which is deconstructing success, which I listen to every episode. They’re amazing. I can’t wait for the next season to come out. Which really focuses on how not just like successful people, but how do they actually get successful. So I love it in your intro, you say like you’re obsessed with finding out how people are becoming successful. And so it’s an amazing podcast. And then here you are on my podcast today.

Tima Elhajj: Okay, you have an amazing intro. Like you need to just hang out with me every day. And as I walk into that intro, that was great. That was great. And I thank you.

Brett Thornton: So what would you say? What would I what would you what do you need to add in there? What were some other things that I would say, people need to know about you?

Tima Elhajj: Well, what to add in there is what I, my business today is not my first business. My first business venture was over 10 years ago, actually, when my daughter was a few weeks old, and I set up a fashion label from scratch. I was still on maternity leave. And at the time, he was really unsure as to whether I was going to go back to work, because we had a few health issues that we had to deal with our daughter. And yeah, so it was, it was a little bit uncertain times at the time. And so I thought what a great time to do something totally different and get into fashion. So that was really my first real business. And that was over 10 years ago. And ever since then, I’ve been working for myself, pretty much and then I went back into financial planning. And yeah, just you know, basically continued on within that industry, which is the industry that I was in the longest for about 16+ years. And then and then as you mentioned in 2018 It took me about a year to make the decision to leave the financial planning industry. And the reason why I left the financial planning industry was before the deconstructing success podcast, I had my first podcast called team up the podcast. And I sold my practice so that I could basically throw myself into the podcasting space and I had one little course that I was selling but I didn’t really know whether Something that was going to go well or not. But my reason for leaving was to set up a podcast. And that was the crazy part of stories that I literally left everything for this podcast, which I then rebranded at the end of last year, basically. So that’s a couple of things just to add to the story.

Brett Thornton: Yes, I love it. And tell me I mean, what was it like growing up in Australia? Where you? Where did you grow up, by the way?

Tima Elhajj: In Victoria, which is the, I guess, the like the southeast of Australia, and the bottom part, probably the colder part, not the coldest, but the colder part. I’m sure everybody’s heard of Sydney. Where like next doors to New South Wales. So Melbourne is the capital city.Yeah so I grew up in Victoria.

Brett Thornton: Nice. I love it. I spent a little bit of time in Sydney and a little bit of time up in like up in Brisbane, which was awesome. And yeah, I actually have some pretty funny Australia stories I went to I spent an entire summer in Papua New Guinea, which is like, Oh, wow. Yeah. So but on the way and in the way out, we spent time in Australia, you know, like both ways. I got this on there. And I’ll never forget, because on the way in, I’m a big surfer. I love surfing. So we, you know, we rented boards, and we serve we serve Bondi Beach, of course, because it was like, Well, you know what else I’m gonna go out on we’re from California, we’re going to Bondi Beach, you know, and, and it was really fun. We had to wait a great time. And then I went to papa New Guinea. And I was there for two months and I had an opportunity to fly from Papua New Guinea to this little island called the island of West New Britain, it’s off the coast. And there’s literally like, it’s all it was all just like native people, like still very tribal. And, and the only way to get in is you fly a little Prop, twin engine plane, you know, you’d land on the water. And so we flew with just four of us, the pilot and three other three of us, and I sat in front with the headphones on. And when we were flying, you know, this, whatever, it was half an hour fly or something. I was talking to the pilot. And he was and I was like, why are you here? Why are you doing this? He’s like, oh, well, it’s the best diving in the world here. Because the Great Bear reefs all so much tourist. It’s all polluted. He’s like, so this is where I come. And that was like, fine, or whatever. And then we’re flying. And he goes, oh, yeah, you know, one of the things I love to do on the way is look for big sharks. And I’m like, oh, yeah. And he goes, Oh, yeah, my brother is the is the most famous great white shark, great white shark hunter in Australia. And he starts telling me, all these great white stories, and I don’t know if he’s like lying or if they’re true, but like he tells me for the next 20 minutes, he’s just telling me about all these stories, you know, oh, yeah, right there in Bondi Beach, though, you know, my brother caught this great white. And he pulled three wristwatches out of it, all this stuff, you know, and so when we went back on the way back and surfed I remember being is the it was the scariest I’ve ever been like, I didn’t want to admit that I was scared. But every time I was paddling, I was looking around convinced I was gonna get eaten by a shark.

Tima Elhajj: How funny. How funny. No, it is. It happens a lot here actually. Yeah, it does happen. So amazing stories there. Look at you. That’s, that’s incredible. Who would have thought I can see you as a Brisbane boy. I can. I can because the water is beautiful there. The surface beautiful there. The weather’s 100 times better than it is here in Victoria. So I can definitely see you living there. 

Brett Thornton: Oh man, I love the people. I mean, everyone was so nice and so friendly. And it was funny because I just naturally like everybody, because I just I think that I speak on behalf of probably everybody in America. But you know, how does it feel? Knowing that every time you talk, everyone here just thinks you sound really cool?

Tima Elhajj: Oh my gosh, I think it’s the complete opposite. I do not like the Australian accent.

Brett Thornton: What!

Tima Elhajj: I’m doing a disservice. It’s true. I’m probably like, betraying my own kind. But I just think the Australian accent is so lazy, so hard to understand. I prefer the American accent. And there is studies Actually, I don’t know if you’ve looked into the spread. But there are studies that people’s attention is toward an American accent or a British accent over any other accent out there in the world. And the Australian accent is not as authoritative, if that makes sense. So like podcasts and movies, and you know, they’re the two accents that people gravitate toward the most, which I find makes sense because for me, I love this into the American accent so but it’s so it’s so weird because I oh my gosh I get really self-conscious sometimes with my accent So yeah, I don’t really love it. So I don’t know, I don’t really share your views.

Brett Thornton: Well, we’ll both we’re Trading Spaces. So either way we’re exactly um, so you have to answer a question for me. And I don’t want to offend anybody in Australia. So when I was in Papua New Guinea, I was there with a bunch of kids like we were all like 20 and there was a guy from Australia. And there was a girl that was in our group and we were walking down this hill, and it was like hedges rain, like, you know, kind of that tropical rain like it does in Australia. And so it’s like super hard for men and stop and so it’s kind of muddy. And she fell and like landed like runner but and got her pants like super dirty and she stood up, and she’s like trying to kind of wipe off herself and she goes like, Oh my God, my Fanny is so dirty. And the guy from Australia, like freaked out, and he was like, you can’t say that. That’s like a bad word. I’m like, yeah, is this really a bad is it actually like a bad word?

Tima Elhajj: It’s referring to a certain body part and the female body part and so that’s what we that’s how we refer to it like as in a sling in a slang language. It’s an It’s a bit like, it’s a bit like we refer to flip flops and thongs and thong. Is not thongs, like in the American culture it’s something else? Right. So you know, I’ve said to like some of my American friends. I’m wearing thongs today and they’re like what? [Inaudible].

Brett Thornton: Nice. A little too much information, but that’s okay. So, translation, yeah. Oh my gosh, so, alright, so one of the things before we get into asking you some stories, you know, why don’t you give everyone because obviously, there’ll be people listening who don’t know you. So give us like the 10,000 foot view of what you’re doing now, like with Tima media and, and the podcast, like, just give us the 10,000 foot view.

Tima Elhajj: kay, so well, I’m, you know, in growth phase and my company, and we’re growing, and we focus on basically established companies that don’t necessarily have the digital presence. And I do specialize in LinkedIn space, purely because of my own success on the platform. And that’s just what people want from me. And yeah, we pretty much specialize in the corporate space. We do deal with a lot of different industries, but my role is to really help really bring people’s presence online, really, to help them build their profiles, so they can become, I guess, the go to in their industry, it’s not about lead generation. It’s not about any of that sort of stuff. It’s more about them becoming known for their industry, getting podcast interviews, getting asked to speak at events, panel discussions, those sorts of things, and really becoming thought leaders in their space. So it’s a little bit different to your typical marketing agency, even a lead generation is part of it, but my focus is to really just really just master that space. And I do have a couple of other things that I’m working on, that are in, I guess, complimentary to what I do, but I’m in sort of early stage at the moment with that, and, and the podcast, oh my gosh, I have so many dreams for my podcast, I rebranded it deconstructing success, because it really resonates with how my brain works and how I am as a person and how I speak with people and get to know people, I’ve got really big dreams for that, I really want that to be of an educational style type platform in the future, I can see so many things that I can just add to it, you know, once we can start to travel again, which is so sad that we can’t do any of that at the moment in Australia. You know, my dream was to travel the world and actually interviewed the best people in the world and they don’t have to be the most famous, but the most intriguing and the most masters in their field. And it’s always been a dream of mine to do that and actually do in person interviews. I mean, these are great right through zoom, but there’s nothing like doing in person interviews and I’ve got other dreams for my podcast, but right now I’m really focused on building the systems out for my business building my team, which is really interesting actually doing that. And, and just really focusing on that and at the same time focusing on my mental health, you know, we’re still in lockdown here, unfortunately, Melbourne and it’s been the whole pandemic thing we’ve really I think we’ve been hit the hardest in terms of the rules and restrictions and lockdown so my focus is really making sure that I’m okay and then I can do everything that I need to do for my company, but also my daughter as well. You know, she’s being homeschooled and making sure that she’s happy and healthy and all those sort of things. So yes, my company is a priority that will grow in time. That’s just a given. That’s just organic. But everything else is a priority too because we don’t the world is not normal at the moment. It’s kind of a bit messy. So I’ve got to at least cover that off with the with the question because we always think people’s life is perfect. But we will make sure that everyone’s got everyone has chosen a pandemic [inaudible] because he’d all of us in different ways. So

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m definitely lucky like being you know, on the west coast in Southern California and we, you know, we didn’t shut down much, you know, we had definitely locked downs but at least, you know, arrived by the beach and we can serve and go out. But at least my kids were able to go back to school this year, which was nice, you know, so they started, right, like after Christmas, they got to go back and kind of at least for the back half of the year, which was nice, because, yeah, last year, I don’t know if it’s up to you. But you know, my son, my daughter was in third grade, and my son was in in middle school this year, but last year, he was in fifth grade. And so fifth grade math is not like fifth grade math when I was a kid. Like, it’s, it’s not even its nothing’s the like in in America, they launched this whole new like, learning platform like, five, eight years ago. So my dad, they call Common Core. And so it’s a whole different way to learn. So I’m trying to help him with I feel like I aged 10 years in that like six months to help these kids with their homework, you know, like, I have more respect, potentially like, I have more respect, potentially

Tima Elhajj: its test your knowledge, test your knowledge, like oh, my gosh, long division, yes, long division, improper fractions, I remember all these things, you know, mixed numbers. It’s so funny. It’s so true. It really, really does. One, it reminds you of all the things that you were taught as a kid and you’re like, I’m pretty sure my child actually know how to do this, like, you want to impress your child. And Google’s like my best friend at the time, remember, doing all of these things. But yeah, I remember my dad teaching me long division. And that was not a fun exercise at all, because it was important to learn these things when we were kids, but now kids, you know, it’s not as important, but it’s important to learn the process, right? Because it’s not even about having to use long division. It’s more about the process, but it’s definitely it’s definitely reminded me of the things that I really did not enjoy doing as a kid. Oh, 100% Yeah, you have to support your child. So…

Brett Thornton: So why, um, you said in in your intro, or I said about your intro that you sent me was, you know, you wanted to kind of just get through school through high school. So what was behind that? Was it just I want to I got plans in life, I want to move on a good to college, or what was it?

Tima Elhajj: I guess many things really, I knew that I had to do school, like I never fought having to do school. But at the same time, I knew that it wasn’t like for me, and I knew that I mean, education was for me, for sure. But I didn’t enjoy school as much, I guess. And it wasn’t about being bullied or anything like that. It’s just, you know, I had friends and it was fine. It was civil. It was nothing. I didn’t have any traumatic stories. I did get teased for other things, but, but I had friends and all of that. I think I always, I’ve always been like a big dreamer. And I’ve always wanted big things for myself. And I think just school just never really felt like it was for me, I just didn’t feel like I belong there. Even like, for example, you know, here in Australia, especially in the last Gosh, I would say especially the last like five or six years. I feel like I’m kind of like, I don’t really belong here. I feel like I belong somewhere else. And I don’t know where. But I feel like I’m sort of building toward that. And it’s kind of the same feeling that I had in high school. And, and school in general, maybe more in high school, I would say and yeah, it’s just that feeling of there, there is something bigger and better for me, but I just don’t know what it is. And let’s just find out. And that’s exactly the feeling that I have right now. So, you know, the, the Australian mentality is fine, but I have so many American friends and it makes sense to me because I’m not saying all Americans think like this, but your culture is different. You know, you’ve got more of an open mindset, more of a growth mindset, you guys promote each other, promote yourselves, there’s no shame in being successful. There’s no shame in in literally, you know, putting your business out there and doing all of those things. It’s a little bit different here. It’s a little a little bit more conservative. So if that same feeling of I don’t really belong here, but this is where I need to be right now. And we’ll see where it goes. So yeah, that’s pretty much in line with the same thing that I had in high school.

Brett Thornton: Yeah, I love that. So what is the undercurrent for that? Like, you’ve got these dreams? Right? And you you’re doing these different steps? Is your mentality right now that I’m just gonna keep going one step at a time and to see where it goes, or do you matter?

Tima Elhajj: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, of course, I have a vision you have to have a vision. And one thing that I’ve learned over the years is to have patience with myself. And I’ve definitely made those mistakes in the past where I’ve just wanted everything and then you try and either skip the steps or you make really bad decisions in the process where now you know, I’m older, I’m wiser and I realized that it’s, you know, I don’t have to have it today even though I would love to have it today. But it’s more about the process of getting there and learning because you know, you would know this Britain, I’m sure people that are listening. We do we evolve. It’s not necessarily changing our mind, but we evolve we learn more about ourselves, we may want different things as we as we are in that process of whatever it is that we’re creating. And, and that’s one thing that I’ve realized over the years, I am okay with being more patient, that’s not being lazy. I’m not okay with being lazy. But I’m okay with being more patient and just seeing how things unfold and allowing myself to really think about. Okay, well, what is my next step? Now? What do I do now? Rather than okay, right. Everything has to be done by you know, whatever age and this month, and, yeah, that’s not to say that those goals aren’t necessary they are. But I was really, I mean, I’m still very hard on myself, by the way. But I was really, really hard on myself when I was younger. And I think just being a little bit, that’s just being immature, because I was younger, and, you know, that’s just life you learn then these sort of things. But, but yeah, I do have a vision. And I do know, not all of the steps, but I know, part of what I need to do. And then the things that I don’t know, I’m like, okay, I just need to figure it out as I go, or speak to people or ask someone that’s a lot more successful than me, or somebody else that has done what I want to do, which is the hardest bit actually, because I don’t really know many people that have done or are doing what I want to achieve. But you’ve just got to really figure it out as you go sometimes and, and trust yourself and trust the process as well. Such an overused phrase, but you do have to trust yourself and trust the process as you go.

Brett Thornton: Yeah. No, I love that. I love that you said that. And I think you know I can I can sense that from you. And I get it in the podcasts. Because the way it comes across to me is that you know you’ve done a lot of things you’ve had a lot of success you’re building you’re building but also with the podcast. I can tell that like you’re also feeding from all these guests like they come on and you really innately are like I want to know how you got here and then you’re pulling stuff from it because I know that’s what I’m doing when I’m listening I know that like the first season of the podcast I did on my series was all CEOs that have you utilize giving back as their main was a huge part of their business strategy. And what I went into it just like hoping I want to learn more because I love philanthropy, and it’s an it’s a big thing I’ve always been a part of and then when I came out of it was so different than when I thought which was the resounding message after these, you know, eight CEOs that I talked to for all this time was that their happiness and their fulfilment in life was coming through their philanthropy arms, and not anymore through the business arms, because they had already then been a lot of method talk. You know, these are people who have made 200 500 almost a billion dollars and all the money in the world, but then they were still working for free with foster kids now or, you know, helping homeless or whatever, you know these things, because that’s what they kind of had come full circle, you know. And so it was kind of an interesting way. But I like soaked it in, because you kind of understand, you start to understand that, at least for me, anyways, what I’ve learned, I went to the same thing exactly, you’re talking about where the patience issue, but on a different end, which was I was around a bunch of people who were going up to slow corporate ladder, right, like, so I worked for a larger company, every three years, you try to get the promotion and yeah, you know, so that’s what I was like, judging myself on. And then later in my career, I’ve gotten to work with companies and do things who are super entrepreneurs. And it’s changed my entire mindset because of something around people who are never stagnant. And there is no real path is just like, we’re just going no matter what hurdle like we’ll figure it out. And I think that was what was so exciting this last year for me during the pandemic, like there’s obviously all of the tough times of a pandemic. But what I’ve seen is so many people emerge as such unbelievable leaders and entrepreneurs, because they learn how to pivot. And like any challenge, it’s just like, Okay, let me take it, internalize it and pivot. And that’s what I’ve seen by most of the successful people that I’m around is that, like, they just, they just didn’t take it in, and then boom, we just go and take a step and take a step. And like you said, you don’t always know where that big dream is going. But you just know, listen, I’m just done with this life, I want to, I want to be successful. I want to, like leave an awesome legacy. I want to teach my kids XYZ. And like, here I go. And I think that’s, like, just such a great mentality, you know?

Tima Elhajj: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there’s so many that I could just add to everything you’ve said, I mean, ultimately, you know, the legacy piece, I find really interesting. And I mean, this may sound really selfish, of course, of course, the leaving a legacy is important. I mean, one thing for me that I really want to be a part of, and I want to be that person in my family, that changes the trajectory of the wealth component, the generational wealth, and, or the lack of it, let’s say, and I wanted to be, you know, like, I wanted to be flowing, when I am no longer here, but at the same time, when I am here, I want that legacy to be visible to me as well, because that’s what will help me and keep me going to, that’s not to feed my ego or anything like well, maybe it is, who knows, but it’s to remind me that you see that tangible change in that tangible, successful people around you. You know, like, for example, let’s say like, you know, let’s say you wanted to change someone’s life, and it required them money. And you can see that you can do that for them. And you have that money available. I mean, that’s amazing that you can actually see that it makes you want to do more, you’re like, Okay, great, I can actually make a difference in my parents lives or my brother’s life, however, it is that you want to help in your in your circle. And, and I think that’s really important too. But also, like with my podcasts, for example, initially, it was like my, when I first started the podcast, initially, it was so that I could learn from these people. But what I realized is that they’re not really telling me any different to what I can listen to in anyone’s podcast. Or that’s not to say that my podcast is generic, I mean, obviously, I need to improve 100%, I’m always learning. But for me, in the end, when I realized that success, it doesn’t really matter what type of success it is, whether it’s financial success, or health success or spiritual success, there is that one component that everyone has and that they apply. And that’s consistency. And it’s not anything that requires a lot of intelligence or a high IQ, it’s just that great of consistency. And with the podcast, yeah, the original was to, you know, have like really learned from the best of the best. But what I found myself getting lost in in a good way is I really enjoy these conversations. And I really want to get better at making people feel comfortable with me, even though they’ve never met me. And it’s really, really tough to do it through a screen. Yeah, really tough to deal with through a screen. But at the same time, what I find interesting is that I don’t get intimidated by don’t care how big the person is or how important the world thinks they are. I literally just see them as a human being. And I think that’s something that I’ve really held on to from the very beginning. And that’s why I find the whole conversation piece very interesting is that you are literally exchanging words with another human being and the influence that comes from that is really interesting. So how this one person has so much influence on the world, or on people around them, or people in the room, you know, that they’re sitting with and, and I find that really interesting. So for me on a personal level, that’s my own. One of my selfish reasons as to why I have the podcast is just getting better at communicating, getting better at asking questions. Just getting better at connecting with people, like it’s a real passion of mine is, is connecting with people. You know, I love knowing that I’m, you know, interviewing someone, and they feel comfortable with me. And they feel like they’re just talking to me, but ultimately, that’s going to be listened to 1000s and 1000s of people, but knowing that they feel that comfortable. And it’s not about exposing something so personal that you know, it’s going to be in the newspapers or anything like that all over the world. It’s, it’s like building that trust with someone that you’ve never met before. And I think that’s a really special thing. So like, for example, when I am when I interviewed Grant Cardone that was so interesting to me, because I thought I was going to be really nervous. And I thought I was going to make all these mistakes, which I’m sure I mean, I’ve definitely made mistakes. But one of the things that I was, it was kind of like not many people know the story. But I initially had, say 45 minutes to an hour to interview. But then I was told I literally had 15 minutes and are in my head. I was like, Oh my gosh, like how am I going to build a rapport with this, you know, incredible person that everyone loves, and everyone’s so excited for the interview. And I’m personally excited. How do you build a rapport with someone, just like that, like, just like that? And, and that’s when I realized that was really in that moment, I was like, this is like, really why I’m doing what I’m doing these podcasts like this is actually really fun to know that you can just find a way to like, connect with someone pretty quickly and get them to trust you and that was such a such a great experience for me because I in my head, I’m like, it’s just gonna go to plan. I mean, you know, I’ve walked in and I dealt with their team, and, you know, all this sort of stuff. And I was waiting patiently outside and, and all these other people interviewing and I was watching their interviews, and I’m like, gosh, my interview is gonna be so much better and, and you know, that competitive nature comes into play. And then they bought into the room and I’m like, Okay, you’ve got 15 minutes and like, how am I gonna do this? And so? So I dealt with that really? Well. I think internally, no one could say that I was stressed out at all. But I’m like, Okay, this is a real challenge. How do I get Grant really, really feel comfortable with me, knowing how busy this man is, and whatever is going on in his head, he’s probably thinking of, because I literally had to catch a flight. And I’m like, okay, Tima, you’ve got it, you’ve got to get through, this doesn’t matter if you’ve got five minutes or an hour, you’ve got to get the best out of him and make him really feel comfortable with you. And you need to enjoy it. Like I needed to have fun in the process. I’m like, this is such a great opportunity just to sit with this, you know, such a, an, honestly was my best interview. Like, I don’t know what the world thinks. But for me, it was the most fun experience that I’ve ever had, like in terms of my podcast. He was so much fun to be around his energy was amazing. He made me feel like I was a part of his world. And that’s what I find so cool about the whole podcasting space is that you can meet total strangers and really built an incredible connection. So I know I’ve gone overboard with that but the passionate about. 

Yeah, no, I love that. And I did I did get that from that interview, you know, and I think that’s as you know, you know, sometimes some guests just they just get on and they’re natural and they make you feel comfortable and you kind of roll in some guests you kind of have to kind of pull out them a little bit to try to get some stuff that’s this is what it is you know my so as far as what the world thinks that was a cool episode. My favorite was the Joe the Darrell Joe episode. That was my favorite one. It was like and you have two parts because it was so long and my commute is like 10 15 minutes when I go to the office, and so I like finish it you know, and I was like sitting in the car like I had to finish it because this story was remarkable. So anyone out there listening? Yeah, go to the deconstructing success podcast. That’s my favorite [inaudible] Darrell. Thank you. I always ask for some stories and you kind of just told a little bit of entertaining one with grant but I really love to know about what was a time in your career can be you know, now or before we get into financial planning when you had what you would be considered, you know, a really hard time of failure or something got your way and like how and how did you kind of come out of it and Learn from it?

Tima Elhajj: That’s a good question. So my hardest was, or the most challenging. There’s two components that actually, my internal dialogue when I was younger, was not powerful at all. So I didn’t realize I was pretty amazing. But I didn’t realize that, that’s actually kind of sad to think about it now. But at the time, I knew I was super driven. But I was so terrified of not getting to where I wanted to be, and not be seen as smart or not be seen as whatever it is that I wanted to be seen as at the time. That that definitely held me back in terms of my confidence. And confidence is so important. So if anyone is listening to this, and they’re really young, your confidence is what is going to help you get anywhere. And that’s the truth. I came across as confident, but I wasn’t confident inside, I knew all the right things to say and you know, all of those sort of things. But I was really, really tough with myself, but not in a productive way. So that was definitely a challenge for me. My other real challenge was, I was in a, I was in my financial planning role at one of the banks that I was working at. One of the big four banks here in Australia. And my manager called me into this meeting and I, I knew it wasn’t going to be a good meeting at all. I wasn’t doing very well, my sales weren’t great. And with financial planning, it’s not necessarily the kind of job where you’re measured on how much your clients love you. Its how much business have you written? And my clients loved me. But there were certain points that I didn’t need. And I really needed help. I needed guidance. But it was such a, it’s such a tough industry that and I said, like I said at the time, I was so hard on myself, and I didn’t allow myself to grow. Because I was so hard on myself as well. But anyway, I went into this meeting and my manager at the time, he was not supportive in any way. And he basically said to me, we didn’t even get into it, you know, like as in, we didn’t even get into the, let’s see how I can help you. It’s you’re not doing well, you’re not meeting your numbers. By the way, you’re never going to be successful at anything you do. So there’s no point in trying, and I really don’t know why you’re here. So it was kind of like, that’s a really quick summary as to what he said to me. And, and in the moment I was, I heard what he said, and it didn’t affect me instantly. Because I’ve been in other traumatic situations and other like stressful situations. I’ve been through a lot. But like when I when I was sitting there, I was kind of like, like, I let him speak, I let him say his thing, and I didn’t really react to it. I basically I think maybe one of the things I would have said is you know, well, I need help. And that’s why I ask and I don’t want to lose my job because I was I was quite young, I was in my mid 20s at the time. And of course I don’t want to lose my job because that’s like failure in my head. Right? And, and so I didn’t lose my job or anything. It was a start, I walked away realizing Wow, and he said some really nasty things to me. Like he wasn’t even just saying I wasn’t good at my job. He was basically saying that I’ll never amount to anything, and that I will never be successful. And there’s actually no point even trying in anything that I want to do in my life. And so those words actually really, really affected me afterwards that night, I thought it was a lot more tougher than that. And the reason why they affected me so much was because I really wanted to do well. And I had the best of intentions. And I knew what the problem was that I just didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t know how to sell like I was really good at being very loyal to my clients and taking care of them and doing all of the nurturing things, but I just didn’t really know how to close and the clients that I did close with the ones that didn’t need to be closed, if that makes sense, because I really needed something. But it’s such a sales driven environment that you had to sell even though people didn’t really want something. And that never really sat well with me. And as you get older you realize well that didn’t really meet my values. No wonder why I didn’t really push myself when no one did why didn’t get it? No wonder why I didn’t but that was such a short period of my career. I wasn’t unsuccessful in my entire career. That was just a small part of it. But, but what eventually happened was, I ended up leaving that organization. And, and it wasn’t, I didn’t get what I wanted, because I, I wanted to make a point out of how I was being treated, because I was completely ignored. After that I was not treated well, in any way. I wasn’t even included in like team meetings anymore. It was like so you, I was being shunned. It was terrible, actually. And I remember reaching out to HR, and also the CEO, I mean, who the CEO wouldn’t even really care about me on my email, but I thought I’d write it anyway, because she was a female, but maybe she might care. Who knows, because they’re all about women empowerment in this organization that was a complete, that was not true at all? And I spoke to HR and told them of my experience, and I was basically told, well, it’s your word against yours, and there’s no proof. So I kind of walked away feeling like it was really damaging to me, because I all I wanted was for someone to say, what happened was terrible. And whatever happened should not have happened. And we will give you the support that you need. And that would have probably been okay, or maybe enough, or maybe not, I don’t really know. But I can definitely tell you that I walked away thinking he doesn’t really understand how competitive if I am Yes, I’m very peaceful, and I’m nice and all those sort of things, but he doesn’t know how much I want to succeed in my life. And, and I saw him about a year after. And I was doing really well in another organization. I was like one of the top 20 nationally, consistently, actually. And, and I saw him and I had my friends from my previous job where he was at an a unit to speak to him like, of course I am, of course, I’m going to go speak him, I’m not that kind of person. Because in my head, I thought, what person would do that someone who is probably terrified of his own job, maybe he was being threatened, you know, he was a middle manager, middle managers get replaced all the time. Maybe he didn’t mean it. Maybe he’s just an unhappy person. So thank goodness, I had that year to sort of like, process it because I did speak to him. And I said hello to him. And I asked him how he was. And I think that was really good for me. Because you know, for some time, you know, those words do impact you and that was probably the most challenging thing out of my career than anything else.

Brett Thornton: Yeah, no, that’s, that’s, that’s tough. Did you? Do you think that that interaction with him as a boss, did that impact you as you kind of move forward? Did it give you, you know, different? Did you approach your supervisors after that differently? Did you were you anxious about meetings? Like, did it have like a long term effect?

Tima Elhajj: It’s a good question. So well, one, when he was saying this, originally, I was, you got to understand, like, my background is Middle East. And so we’re like, we’re brought up to think of reputation and what people think about you and what they say that to you, and all those sort of things. So at the time, I was like, Oh my gosh, like how many people know about these, like, how many people that I work with personally know what he thinks of me. So there was like that shame component. But when I left the organization, going back to your question, I said, Okay, this is now my opportunity to become a different person, to be better, to be stronger, to not allow people to speak to me this way to believe that I can be successful. And if there are things that I’m unhappy with, I’m going to speak up, I’m not going to just be quiet anymore. And that was exactly my approach. So when I walked into the next organization, I just kind of in a way had to not necessarily play a character, but just be the person that I wanted to be in that meeting, if that makes sense. The stronger part of me that I wasn’t aware of, or didn’t know how to be because I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I didn’t want to be disrespectful and all those sort of things and but when I went into my new role in the new company, one on negotiate my salary straightaway, I’m like, I won’t work for you unless you give me what I want. That never happened before. I didn’t know how to do that. And then I had the best relationship with my manager. You know, I was that go to salesperson in the end where he’s like Tima we need another 20,000 this week, can you find something, I find a way to make that 20,000. So it wasn’t like I didn’t have it in me. I just allowed myself to be stronger, more transparent with my communication. And you’ve got to remember to Britt, like it’s a male dominated industry. So I can’t compete with the boys. And I don’t want to compete boys, because we’re different. And I knew that and, but I had to play to my strengths. And but yeah, it was a totally different experience. I was like, you know, they had big plans for me in that company. They wanted me to get into management major lead a team, you know, all those sort of things and allowing myself just to be stronger and going, I won’t settle for less anymore. And I’m going to be that person. I know I am that I should have been in that meeting. And so that was kind of the approach that I took.

Brett Thornton: I love that. Yeah, I had, I had a really interesting conversation a while back with a close friend of mine who used to be like, he was one he was my boss at one point. But I had my first job in college was with a, like a really cool surf skate clothing company. And I was actually the first employee, like the first on payroll, and so I was the sales rep. And I was like, oh, cool, like, how many accounts do we have? No, we have one account at one search shop. And they bought 10 t shirts. And I was like, Okay. And then over the course of like, the next four years, we blew up. And we had to, you know, accounts all over like the US, Japan. And I had, I had not I was the National Sales Director, and all this stuff was going great. And, and I made like this, this. I’d look back now and go, yeah, it was kind of a mistake. But there was two bosses, like the visionary and the guy that owned the factory. So the guy who owns the factory, I started dating his daughter. And then the guy that started the company started dating my sister. And we were all like, super close. So all my best friends, all my family, like everyone’s wrapped around this company. And then one Christmas, right before Christmas, both those relationships ended and work got so weird, like, literally is like, this is the most uncomfortable place I’ve ever been in. And the guy that owns the factory, that was all the money behind it, he walks in, like a week later, sits down. And he just looks at me and says, you know, this is not working out, you know, you’re not doing a good job. And I was like, wait, what he’s like, yeah, you know, we just, you know, you’re just not living up the expectations of what we think, you know, should be a national sales director. And I was like, what, like, first of all, this guy, or either one had never told me what the expectation was ever. And all we had done is grown. And the reason why he was saying this had nothing to do with the job. But like, I don’t know that, you know, I just, I’m a kid, I’m like, 22, or whatever, 23 or something. And I, everyone I knew in my life was involved this company. So I literally picked up, took a job in Chicago and left. Packed all my stuff And I left because I had to, like get out. And what I didn’t know at the time as like a 23 year old that would have such a drastic impact on my career. Because it good and bad. Because I had this insatiable drive to succeed. I was like, I’ll never let that happen again. But on the bad side, internally and emotionally, I always felt that I wasn’t doing a good enough job. And so it didn’t matter how many awards I won, how fast I moved up in an organization, it didn’t matter how It did never mattered, I always just assumed I’m not doing good because I was always afraid, oh, the CEO is gonna walk in one day and just tell me, you know, you’re not doing the job. And a couple years, like I was working for this company running a nine figure business on my last organization, and my boss one time, sat me down, and he literally, like grabbed me by the shoulders, and he’s like, dude, you don’t need to come in and tell us all these things you’re doing, you’re doing amazing, like stop doing this because like, we know, you don’t need to do it. And we had like, we actually went out on like, we were having a cocktail or something. And we kind of just got deep on it and talked about it. And I kind of opened up to him about this. And he’s just like, and it kind of finally realized, like here it was in like my late 30s. And realizing like oh my God, this one instance at 22 has been making me have this like, anxious feeling for all these time, you know, and I finally like, let it go, like, let it go, you know, which was kind of crazy. Yeah, all these years later. So let me ask you this. Because I know you have a time thing you have your daughter at school or something you got to help her with so I’ve only got a couple more minutes. So two things I want to ask you one. What if you could sum up one of your greatest moments of success in your career? What would it be like what the moment you look is back and go like I cannot believe that happen?

Tima Elhajj: I can’t say my career it has to be motherhood, to be honest. I mean a career it can be done all over again. But you know, I feel very blessed to be a mom, I feel very blessed to have my daughter in my life. That’s my number one career is, is being her mom. And it’s the hardest job in the world. It’s the hardest job and not to be her mum, but to be a parent is the hardest job in the world. Because you want the best for your kids, and you want to give them everything and not just financially, you know, mentally, spiritually, all those sorts of things. So, when I realized it wasn’t definitely a moment, when Zara was like, literally a few days old, I was looking at her and I was thinking, I’m responsible, I was looking at her beautiful, cute little face. And I was thinking, that brain that is sitting inside of her is, is the most precious thing. And I’m responsible for what happens to that. And what is fed into that and how she feels about herself and what she thinks about herself. And, and the things that how she perceives the world. You know, I know that it’s not all of our responsibility. But we all know that the first few years of a child’s life is super important. So I realized how big my job was going to be. So I was like, Okay, this is not going to be easy, but I’m going to do my best. And yeah, so that’s my number one career is being a mother. As cliché as that sounds, it’s the truth.

Brett Thornton: Absolutely. There is nothing better. I recently had a friend, he’s like my age like 40. And he, he, he’s just stabbings as his first kid, you know, and so he called me kind of panic, because it wasn’t like a plan thing. And I just said, like, you know, all these years, when you hang out with all of our buddies, everyone has kids, you know, and he’s always like, the guys around with no kid. And we said, like, we always want to talk to you about stuff. But sometimes there’s just something you can’t describe without having a kid, there’s certain things you know, and we’re like, you’ll finally understand, you know, especially once you get past the first couple of years, and you’re not as tired any more than then we’ll under you’ll understand, but you know, there’s nothing like it. So tell me before we go. I mentioned it in the opening, you know that you once you launch your company, you really double down on LinkedIn. And that’s how we that’s how I know you. That’s how we connect on LinkedIn. I’ve loved your content followed it since I started doing LinkedIn really. And, you know, you went from 500 25,000 to 100,000. Now million views and stuff. So what one thing I’ve noticed on the platform is that it’s changing a little bit, but there’s still so many people out there, you know, who are just these amazing people, they’re amazing in their business, they have great stories to tell, they could be producing great content, but they don’t because they’re, you know, working for a company, or they’re just not sure like, is LinkedIn a place that I shouldn’t be promoting myself? Because I think it used to be kind of taboo. But now it’s like, you really need to get yourself out there and kind of build this brand, like, what are your thoughts around that?

Tima Elhajj: I mean, there is this sense of urgency isn’t there, everyone has to be out there building a brand. And it makes sense, because that’s how the world is operating. And that’s just how you, I guess get known or that’s how you create opportunities for yourself. If you are in business for yourself, I would absolutely say it’s really important. Like when I had my fashion label, I did things in this, I created beautiful products. But I didn’t have a brand, if that makes sense. If I had my fashion label, now, it would be very successful, because I have my brand, where I didn’t realize that personal branding was important back then. So it is important, if you do want to generate money, and you want to make an impact in your industry, and you want to get known for something. That’s just how the world operates. You know, it is really, really important is LinkedIn, the space for everyone. I do think it’s a great platform. I don’t believe it is for everyone. But it is a fantastic platform. There’s a lot of opportunity there. I don’t think it’s you know, you have to be a certain industry to be on the platform. I mean, you and I’ve seen plenty of different stories on there. People that do really well that aren’t in your like typical corporate type of industry. I think LinkedIn, what’s so great about it is the mindset of the user, versus the mindset of the user on Facebook or Instagram or really any other platform. You can have the same person that has a LinkedIn account and an Instagram account or a Facebook account, but the intention of when they’re on LinkedIn isn’t twice time. I mean, he jumps onto LinkedIn to go I feel like watching an influencer doing an unboxing today, or I feel like watching a cat video. You know, we’re on there. For a reason, and that’s why I personally love LinkedIn because of that intentional visit on the platform, why people on there, and it’s not to waste time. I mean, yes, of course you get those and do waste time. But the majority of the users, in my opinion, are therefore, either wanting to connect with people want to do business with people, or wanting to learn something that is going to help them progress in their career. And then obviously, people looking for work as well. So I think that it’s a very intentional platform. And I think it’s important that if you do have a product or a service, that you do need to build a brand. Because if you aren’t, then you are invisible to the world. And unless you have a very strong network in your real world, you may not, you may or may not that you may not get there, but it may be a lot difficult, a lot more challenging to get to where you want to be without having an online sense.

Brett Thornton: Yeah, absolutely. And what are your thoughts on you know, See, the thing that I believe is so important about LinkedIn, at least in my personal experience, is that I feel it gives you an opportunity, it gives anybody in the world an opportunity to connect with anyone they want to doesn’t mean they’ll get the connection or have, you know, someone will respond or whatever. But if you build a brand, least you give yourself much more of a shot to be able to have a connection with someone that you may need it for work or for whatever it is, you know what I mean? Whereas if you go back in time, 1020 years ago, like that, that’s an impossibility. You know, so like, Yeah, You know what I mean?

Tima Elhajj: Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree with you. I mean, we’re just in close proximity to me. Many important, influential people in the world that we live in right now. And I think with LinkedIn, just the way it works with first degree connections, second and third degree connections, it’s kind of exciting to know that your first degree connection, we’d like someone, some, you know, famous entrepreneur, or like Gary Vee, or someone like that. So, you know, it is it is a great way, it is a great way to connect with people, for sure. I totally agree with you.

Brett Thornton: Okay, so last question, because I know, I’m way over time. So this season, season two, you know, is has all just been focusing on different female executives. And, you know, I love to kind of end the interviews by asking you, you know, if you were, you know, your, if you could go back to that 22 year old self, you know, you  just graduated from Victoria University, you’re you’ve got these big dreams, but like you said, you don’t quite have the confidence yet, you know, what would be the like, a main piece of advice that you would give to yourself at that age, like, hey, I want to be a successful female entrepreneur, executive, whatever it is one day, like, how do I get there Tima?

Tima Elhajj: All right. I knew I was going to get there. I didn’t know that. Because I’ve, I’ve always been competitive. And I’ve always wanted big things for myself. I what I would say to myself, is to be very, very, very particular with who I decide to spend my time with. And rather than save, invest, and also to work on my personal development. And to not be fooled by this concept of having to compete with men, because I’m a female. If anything, men were my biggest asset in the industry, it was the females that weren’t so nice to me that the men were and to believe in myself. And to I mean, such a cliché, believe in yourself, but to actually believe that I’m very capable of whatever it is that I set my mind to. And then if I can’t figure it out, it’s not because I’m dumb or not intelligent. It’s because I just don’t know what it already is. And I’ll find out whatever it is, just to believe in my capability of allowing myself to get to the point where I need to get to, and then you just figure it out as you go. I think that was my biggest thing is that I didn’t look at things that way that I did, I can figure things out as I go. Because I wanted everything. I just wanted the world like I just wanted it now. So yeah, so these are the things I would say to myself.

Brett Thornton: Love it. I love that I love all those actually. And, um, and I would agree. So that’s fantastic. So how can if people are listening, a look up team on LinkedIn, and you’ll see all the awesome content, and they’ll drive you to all her different sites. But if somebody was out there thinking like, hey, I want to get involved, I need help on LinkedIn or I need help in my business and from a marketing perspective, what’s the best way they can reach out or find out more information

Tima Elhajj: Well just let me know that you found me through the amazing break and just send me a direct message on LinkedIn. And that’s the best way to connect with me.

Brett Thornton: Awesome. And last thing, which is what is so outside of Grant Cardone, what is another [inaudible]? No one knows about decongesting success yet, and they’re gonna go listen, do you think they should start with just episode one Grant Cardone? Is there another one they should listen?

Tima Elhajj: Ah, yeah, well, there are two other favorites from people. So there’s James Clear his interview with the author of atomic habits. People just love that interview. The other one is Dr. John Demartini. His interview was great. I have to say he just spoke so much about finding your purpose in your life. You know making your existence feel like you’re actually being fulfilled in your life I think is really important episode, but there’s so many of us don’t really know why we’re here and feel empty and feel confused. And I would say that’s definitely another episode. These two episodes for sure.

Brett Thornton: Well thank you so much Tima! I really appreciate it and I love the episodes of people whom I don’t know of. So everything is new. Which was awesome. Take care and we’ll talk soon.

Tima Elhajj: You too, take care. Bye!

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