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Climbing the Business Mountain: Reflections, Challenges, and Joys | Sameer Rehman

Today’s Guest Sameer Rehman

Strap in as we delve into the whirlwind story of Sameer, an entrepreneurial prodigy who launched his first venture, SI Sports, at just 17! His passion for business soon propelled him from the world of sports trading to the exciting realm of travel with Xplore Travels, and later into the dynamic sphere of digital marketing with Xplore, a small start-up that has since become a juggernaut in the industry. Beyond being a savvy businessman, Sameer is also a lifelong learner and mentor, personifying the essence of dynamic leadership in the entrepreneurial world.

  • Sameer shares his experiences in overcoming various business challenges, emphasizing the importance of learning from mistakes and celebrating how far one has come.
  • He highlights the importance of taking time to reflect on past experiences and decisions and discusses how this practice has helped him in his personal and business life.
  • Sameer talks about finding joy in the process and in small, everyday things. He emphasizes that joy should be internal and not dependent on external factors.
  • Sameer discusses the importance of perspective in dealing with problems and emotions. He suggests that taking time for oneself, even just a few minutes a day, can make a significant difference.

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"You know what? I have found running my own podcast to be really rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I have seen. I have built networks, made friends, and had a platform to champion my customers, my team and my suppliers. I think just about any entrepreneur, or business leader should have a podcast because it has had a huge impact on my own businesses." - Matt Edmundson.

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Sameer: [00:00:00] there's three p's in In my philosophy of running a business or even if you put that philosophy to life, uh is firstly problems identifying the problems, um, then being positive and then persevering and if you can Do all three like firstly because firstly if you don't identify a problem, you can never overcome that problem identifying the problem number one then Uh, you always be positive and think that whatever challenge you have There's a reason why you're in that challenge that challenges meant to push you for the next level.

You might not see it now, but that is what the challenge is. And your thinking should be that you overcome that challenge by, and you can only do that with positive thinking. And then when you persevere by constantly thinking positively and seeing how you will overcome that challenge, eventually you will overcome that challenge.


[00:01:00] Welcome to Push To Be More with me, your host Matt Edmundson. Now this is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work. And to help us do just that, I am chatting with my guest Sameer Rehman from Explore DMS about where he has had to push through, what he does to, uh, recharge his batteries and to be, as well as...

What more looks like for him? Now the show notes and transcript from our conversation will be available on our website, which is pushtobemore. com. And whilst you're there, if you haven't done so already, make sure you sign up for our newsletter because each week we email you the links and the notes from each podcast, they come through to your inbox automatically.

It's totally free. So make sure you do it. Why not? Now, this episode is brought to you by Aurion Media, which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful podcast. Why should I care? You [00:02:00] ask? Well, that's a very good question. Uh, because for me, podcasting is. Perhaps the single best marketing tool that is currently out there.

I have found that running my own podcast to be really rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing I have seen. I have built networks, made friends, and had a platform to champion my customers, my team and suppliers. There's a lot of benefits to podcasting, and I think just about any entrepreneur or business leader should definitely have their own podcast, just because it's had such a huge impact on my business.

Of course, that sounds great in theory, doesn't it? But there's a whole bunch of questions which then come up. How do I know if I'm doing the right podcast? How do I set it up? Oh, I mean, the list of questions goes on. That's where Aurion Media comes in. Oh, yes. You see, I love to talk to people. I'm just not a big fan of all the other stuff, you know, like production and all that sort of thing.

So Aurion Media step up and they take it off my plate. Uh, I get to do what I'm good at and they brilliantly take [00:03:00] care of the rest. So if you're wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, and I think it probably is, do connect with them at orienmedia. com. That's A U R I O N media.


Sameer: And I'm gonna

Matt: Now that's the show sponsor. Let's talk about today's guest. Shall we? Uh, let's delve into the whirlwind story of Sameer, an entrepreneurial prodigy who launched his first venture SI Sports at just 17. His passion for business soon propelled him. From the world of sports trading, uh, to the exciting realm of travel with Explore Travels and later into the dynamic sphere of digital marketing with Explore.

A small startup that has since become a bit of a juggernaut in the industry. Now, beyond being a savvy businessman, Sameer is also a lifelong learner and mentor, personifying the essence of dynamic leadership in the entrepreneurial world. Sameer, great to have you on the show. How are you doing, man?

Sameer: All good thank you, [00:04:00] yourself?. Okay.


Matt: Yeah, good.

I was just saying before we hit the record button, I've just got back from an epic trip, slightly jet lagged, uh, but nonetheless, uh, doing very good and it's great to have you on the show. Thanks for joining me, man.

Sameer: Likewise. Likewise,

Matt: So, I mean, that was a heck of a bio, uh, and, uh, an intro. Now, one of the things that I do know about you, Samir, and, um, we'll get, we're going to get into this, uh, and is actually you, you started life a little bit earlier than this, didn't you?

You started selling cricket bats at school from memory.

Sameer: Yeah, exactly. I started, I think it was in A levels, my first year in, um, A levels, and this is where I, you know, because I, I love playing cricket and, um, I thought the, in the UK, the cricket bats were very expensive. So I was like, look, I, I didn't even know what a word entrepreneur means at that time and stuff.

So the thing is, I just basically, Made a brand called SIS was my initial and then I one of my friends his initial I got some stickers [00:05:00] made and I used to get bats imported from Pakistan Put my labels on those bats and go to different cricket clubs and I used to buy the bat For like 20 quid and then end up selling it for 120.

So 6x So I was making a lot of money in a levels, but then I ran into Supplier issues and all that kind of stuff, um, taught me a thing or two. I made some money, but it did teach me a few things, uh, whilst I, uh, was running that business.

Matt: yeah, no doubt, no doubt. And it's interesting, isn't it? How many entrepreneurs you talk to that started? Life much earlier that they there was something in them that had this sort of hustle when they were at school Selling all kinds of stuff, but it's a few the first person that I've come across that started their own cricket band cricket bat brand whilst doing a levels So well done on that.

That was great. That was great Now Sameer, let's start with our [00:06:00] opening question because as you know this show is sponsored by Aurion media and we like to ask this question of everybody so

Sameer: was very

Matt: had your own

Sameer: you

Matt: you could have anyone on your show to interview, uh, whether someone from the past or someone from the present.

Uh, the only, the only, uh, boundary here, I suppose, is that they've had to have a big impact on your life. So I'm kind of curious, who would you have on the show and why?

Sameer: Um, well, we'll stick with a cricketing legend, but I think he's been in the news quite a lot these days. Um, he's the former prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan.

Matt: Ah,

Sameer: I mean, the thing is, I've, I've known, we've known Imran from very close quarters, um, because my father was one of the founding members of his political party

Matt: oh, well,

Sameer: and stuff.

So we've, we've been in close quarters with him, but since I was growing up, he's had an impact from that perspective that the guy [00:07:00] never gives up. So he has whatever goals he has, he always goes for those goals and his philosophy. is that you only lose when you give up. Otherwise, you can come out of, you know, any situation as long as you just don't give up.

And this is something which has happened in my life, you know, starting business without any capital. Um, you know, it's some like a lot of challenges and all that kind of stuff. And, um, perseverance is something which, uh, I believe if you persevere with things you can overcome with any problems you, you come across.

And this is something which Imran, um, you know, challenges. He is in a bit of a rut, uh, at the moment as well, given the political situation in Pakistan at the moment. But the guy is still, uh, although a lot of people have left him and stuff and he's still, You know, standing tall and he's like, I'll fight till his last, uh, blood, uh, you know, so the thing is, so that philosophy is something which has had a [00:08:00] very, you know, like, uh, has had a, had a positive impact in my life and I believe in this, that look, you can overcome any challenge as long as you don't give up.

So yeah. So I would love to have a conversation with him to find out where does he get his conviction and faith from because, uh, that is truly inspiring.

Matt: It's a really interesting thing, isn't it? Because um, a lot of people, uh, you know, me included would probably say to the answer this question, I'd love to talk to Churchill, um, who, you know, is famous for saying we never give up. And um, And I'd probably ask him a very simple question, the same as you, where, where does that drive come from, that conviction, that faith, uh, to, to just be that determined to just persevere in the face of setback after setback, after setback.


Sameer: Silence.

Matt: it's, it would be a really fascinating conversation. I mean, why would you, I guess my question here is, uh, Sameer is [00:09:00] what do you, how do you think he would answer that question?

Sameer: The thing is, I think, I think he's, um, he's become very spiritual in his, I mean, the thing is, we all, I don't know. If you know much about Imran, he was known to be a playboy back in the day. He had that kind of persona, you know, any celebrities and stuff like, you know, his, he was always in the news for, you know, those kinds of things.

But I think over the years he's become a lot more spiritual and, and he believes that, um, you know, the thing is when he, when he passes away and like given the faith and stuff, he wants to be seen that look, at least he tried to do his best. Uh, for his country. And I think that is what drives him. Because the thing is, you know, the initiative like he came from a very privileged background, um, you know, in, in, in, in Pakistan, but he, when his mother had cancer, he built a cancer hospital, which.

Is [00:10:00] perhaps one of the only cancer hospitals in the world, which gives 80 percent, uh, like treatment for free, uh, for people because he was like, look, I can, I can take my mother to London for a cancer treatment, but the people back home, they can't. Um, I think, I think that is what drives him that look, he wants, he, he, he wants to that, you know, have that, uh, belief that, you know, he tried his best to serve his people who gave him.

Who made him run, you know, so I think that that is where he gets it from.

Matt: Yeah. Ah, interesting. Interesting. So is that what drives, I mean, if this is a characteristic that you like in him, is this something that you see in yourself, this, uh, persistence, this perseverance?

Sameer: I think perseverance is the key I mean the thing is I always tell my team I say look, you know, the thing is one thing is there's three p's Uh for me, uh, I know in marketing there's four p's but there's

Matt: Mm. Yeah.

Sameer: three there's three p's in In my philosophy of running a business or even if you put that [00:11:00] philosophy to life, uh is firstly problems identifying the problems, um, then being positive and then persevering and if you can Do all three like firstly because firstly if you don't identify a problem, you can never overcome that problem identifying the problem number one then Uh, you always be positive and think that whatever challenge you have There's a reason why you're in that challenge that challenges meant to push you for the next level.

You might not see it now, but that is what the challenge is. And your thinking should be that you overcome that challenge by, and you can only do that with positive thinking. And then when you persevere by constantly thinking positively and seeing how you will overcome that challenge, eventually you will overcome that challenge.

And what that does is it builds your character. and, and, and that is my philosophy because the thing is like. Especially over the last couple of years as a business, we've taken a bit of a [00:12:00] battering in comparison to what we were doing from 2014 to 20. Uh, but it's, there's a reason why we went through that.

There were certain mistakes which we made, uh, there are certain market things which we should have studied better than there was the comfort zone which we were in. But again, those problems, once we identified, and now we're working on certain things by thinking positively and, and by persisting within.

Our own space we are in instead of giving up I think now we are actually coming back in a better position the way we position ourselves in front of our clients The way we position ourselves Internally, so I think yeah that philosophy It definitely resonates with me in business and in personal life.

Uh, 100 percent. Yeah

Matt: So where did you, uh, I mean, I, I will come back to the three P's cause I'm, I'm quite interested to dig into those a little bit, but I'm kind of curious, uh, Sameer, where did you learn this from? Is this something that you picked up? Is this something you read about? Is this something [00:13:00] that has always been there?

Is this something you inherited from your parents or your family? I'm kind of curious where this driving you has come from. Um, um, um,

Sameer: That's a very interesting question. The thing is, I myself, like when I look back, because when I reflect, I was like, where did this come from? You know, the thing is, I've always from my younger days been known as a fixer. In my family, whatever issues and all that kind of stuff, I was always there and certain things which happened in my, you know, like when I was growing up, um, and stuff, it made me, it made me actually a good listener as well.

Like, you know, for example, my dad cribbing about small things and I'm just there to listen to him so that, you know, I can give him some comfort and stuff like that. Um, but that was actually grooming me. For the, the certain characteristics I, I, I, I've developed in, in, in, you know, this part of my life. Um, so the thing is then I was always inclined towards, you know, uh, not reacting to things, being more responsive and stuff because I [00:14:00] saw within my, you know, like space when people reacted and stuff, they usually turned the situation into like a very negative kind of situation.

So I think observing certain traits within the family and stuff. Um, that did, you know, give me a bit of a perspective. Then I started reading a lot about it. Um, as I was growing up, um, I read a lot of books, um, um, a lot of different philosophers from Rumi to, uh, Krishnamoorthi, there's, um, Socrates to, you know, the art of war and all that kind of stuff, Sun Tzu.

So the thing, then I, I started reading and then the thing is. When I started learning from there and I was like, you know what, this actually, um, if you apply that in your life, there's more, you know, you're more at peace instead of trying to control everything in your life and all that kind of stuff. So I think that the, the, the, the, my, when I was growing up certain, the environment, You know, like that helped me, [00:15:00] uh, you know, like get that drive in because the thing is I saw some people not have that drive in my family. So I was like, I don't want to live that way. You know, the thing is that I want, I was always a bit of a dreamer. So I, and in the So, like, by looking and observing at my family when I used to see that the drive isn't there, I think maybe the opposite happened, because what I do, and none of my family has ever done that.

Um, you know, I've, like, started business, taking risks. They're very risk averse. Um, my dad's a lawyer, my mom's a doctor, my brother is a chartered accountant, um, so the thing

Matt: got all of them, the accountant, the doctor and the lawyer, all in your family.

Sameer: Exactly. So the thing is, I think it was one of those that I don't want to be, you know, a bit of a rebellious. I think, I think that's where the, the, the, the, drive


Matt: I think, I think it's, I, I often say to people, I think the, the, uh, the old fashioned Latin entrepreneur means rebellious. It totally [00:16:00] doesn't. But I think there's, there's an element of, of having that isn't there somewhere in the, in the midst that you, you've got to be a little bit rebellious. So you've, you've had this upbringing then.

And you're obviously very well read. Um, uh, and you've read some, I mean, these aren't like books that you're reading. It's not like, you know, a magazine or a comic, is it? This is, you know, Socrates is, uh, is,

Sameer: Silence.

Matt: oi, the art of war, uh, you know, books that I've read and you kind of think, well, these are interesting, um, but then they're not easy going books.

So, um, do you, I mean, you called Imran Khan, you said he was spiritual. Is that something that you modeled? Do you, do you, would you consider yourself a spiritual person?

Sameer: Yeah, I'm look, I'm not a religious person, but I'm, I would say, yes, I'm more spiritual. I do believe in a higher being. I do believe, uh, in the universe. Uh, I do believe in, uh, working on yourself, uh, more than anything, because I believe that if you can work [00:17:00] on your own character, your own values and stuff, eventually things happen.

And I think that spiritual side has always been there. Um, and again, I would, I would say because that's also my environment and stuff. There, there was, uh, the family in itself has a lot of, uh, spirituality in it. There's a, there's a, uh, I'm not sure if you're familiar with the word Sufism. Um, where there's...

Um, like Rumi, um, he was a Sufi. Uh, they believe in the, uh, in the soul, like working on your soul, working on yourself and all that kind of stuff. So that element has always been inside. And as I'm growing older and stuff. And I think it's becoming a bit more, um, evident in the way I actually manage myself or the way I respond to things and all that kind of stuff.

Because I do have full belief in the universe that wherever I am now that is, this is exactly where I was meant to be [00:18:00] at this stage

Matt: Um, Uh,

Sameer: because it's preparing me for my tomorrow. So that belief is there. I don't know how it came around and stuff, but that. Since I, I've, um, you know, read more into or delved more into this, I've found more peace.

Uh, you know, so I've, so yeah, definitely the, the, the spiritual element, um, is, is, is there not a hundred percent sure how it came completely, but it is there. Yeah.

Matt: Uh, Yeah. It's interesting, isn't it? Listening to you talk about that. Um, I mean, earlier on, you mentioned, um, uh, you know. Understanding what you can't control, I think was the phrase that you used. And And yet at the same time, the one thing I suppose you can control is you can't control what happens to you, but you can control your response to it in a lot of ways.

Um, and, um, listening to you talk, I'm kind of reminded of that actually, that, you know, my character, my response, how I, how I [00:19:00] deal with whatever it is I'm facing today. That's the, the bit that I can actually work on. That's the bit that I could actually do something about. And in doing that, a lot can change.

So that's, I find that quite fascinating. And I guess, um, if I could maybe ask this question to me, which I mean, it might sound slightly odd, but does that sense of peace, that sense of, um, self result in contentment or is it a, are you still quietly discontent with life? Um, um, um,

Sameer: No, the thing is, uh, when you get to the stage whereby, you know, you have that complete conviction that you are meant to be at this very moment, we are meant to be wherever we were meant to be. And that is part of the bigger plan. I think that's where peace comes. And when you have peace, then you do have contentment, um, and, and, and, and, and, and stuff like that.

So yes, I'm overall like very content, [00:20:00] but at the same time, I'm very ambitious, like in terms of my, my business, where I want to take my business, where, what do I want to do with my personal life, my goals, because I also believe in that, you know, you cannot get stuck at one thing, because if you get stuck, like you've achieved, for example, Um, you know, a certain business goal and that's it, you stay on it and stuff.

That's where your growth dies. So the thing is, when you reach one stage, then you have to aim for another one or aim for even a bigger challenge and stuff. So because that's where the continuous growth is. So the thing is, I think contentment is there from that perspective that I need to accept what is happening in the now.

And, uh, the, the, the ambition is to continuously, you know, grow a business personal and all that kind of stuff so that, you know, I don't become stagnant. So that's, and again, that's also gives me contentment because. I'm constantly doing that because if I don't then I think [00:21:00] I'll be more disc like I won't be as content Uh, so yeah, so that these both factors Um, you know give me contentment as well as the drive to continue the the journey i'm on

Matt: That's a really interesting point, isn't it? Because at first glance, you kind of would think, well, contentment, there's a tension between contentment and ambition. But I like the way you put that in the sense that actually, I'm content because I'm ambitious for growth. And because I'm ambitious for growth, I'm content.

Um, and. If I'm not ambitious, if I'm stagnant, then I'm discontent, uh, which is, I think is a really interesting way of looking at it. So, um, So let's talk then, Sameer, about some of the challenges that you have had to face. So, you know, this philosophy that sort of guided you through life. What's some of the big things that you have had to face?

Um, you know, going back to your three P's, the first P problem, what, what would be some of those? How long have we got in the podcast?! [00:22:00] At least as long as you're on man Ahahaha! Mm, mm, mm hmm hmm

Sameer: Look, there's been many problems. I mean, the thing is, as I said, look, when you start, I remember in, um, Um, When I graduated, I took a year out from uni, uh, in I think 2007. I went to University of Westminster in Harrow Um, and I started my travel business. So the sport, the, the sports business, I had one supplier You know, that was one of the beginning problems.

I was making money. I was churning these bats I was bringing, but then, you know, getting it from Pakistan to, to England and stuff because I had an issue with the supplier I had some orders, it didn't come on time, you know, and it caused me issues. So again Identified the problem, and listen, do not put your eggs in one basket.

So when I started Explore Travels, uh, Explore Travels, I started, um, in MK, in Milton Keynes, um, because in Milton Keynes, there was no service based travel agency catering for certain markets, such as the Middle East, [00:23:00] Asia, Far East, and stuff like that. At that, I think I started in 2007, yes, or 2006, because I took a year out, um, from uni, my penultimate year.

And, and I started that, um, what I did was learning from the problem I had with SI Sports, instead of having one supplier, I had many consolidators, consolidators, for example, in the travel space, the consolidators, the way they work is so one consolidator, the airline will have a special deal, like Emirates might have a special deal with one, uh, uh, travel agent who will then sell.

the tickets or the stuff to other travel agents and stuff. So instead of just partnering with one consolidators, I tied up with multiple consolidators learning from my problem at the SSI sports front. Um, and so, but now then, when I was running the travel business, because I was in uni, I had a business, I was a bit younger.

I was a bit cocky. I was like, okay, I'm [00:24:00] running a business and I wasn't making money. I was making, doing revenue. Uh, but revenue is, uh, vanity, profit is sanity, you know, that's the, the, so, but I was in revenue and I was used to get some free tickets. So I used to travel a bit because of that, because I made contacts and all that kind of stuff.

So I was enjoying that part of the business, like talking to different people. Um, and one of my best sales was a ticket I sold to this guy and I made only one pound on it, but then that became a business. Uh, Uh, long term business contact because that was my first business contact within the travel space, but then we made hundreds of pounds, hundreds of thousands of pounds from those guys in the future.

Um, but yeah, so the thing is when, when, uh, when we, uh, what's it called the, the, the consolidate a problem, then the problem, um, you know, of profits, uh, that there was no profits, the revenue, there was more revenue, not much profits. Um, then [00:25:00] after some time, I. Instead of selling the business because I didn't even know you could sell a business when I got into explore like my digital side of things I was like I got an offer from someone to sell the database to a consolidator and they would have bought it for like 20 30 thousand pounds or something like that because over the years with my travel business I made Like the revenue was quarter of a million pounds.

The revenue was good, you know, just first year we turned over quarter of a million pounds and stuff but I hardly made any profit. Then second year I learned a bit and stuff like that. Uh, but then again I was I identified that Learned from that problem that look if I make a successful business Even if it's not making money if someone comes in they can put the money in And they can scale it and then they can make more money from that business.

So the thing is again learned from that so then when Explorer happened, uh, the digital side of things. When I lost, uh, launched the agency, I was like, I need to be a bit more flexible because I wasn't [00:26:00] being flexible, you know, in my previous businesses, because I didn't listen to perhaps. Someone who gave me the advice of like, you know, speaking to someone they might be able to, you know, put a proposition and so

Matt: yeah,

Sameer: I remodeled we started to explore as an infrastructure company first, like how solutions and stuff are, um, you know, and this was my degree, by the way, how technology is used to run a business.

Um, I started off with that. Um, but then I quickly remodeled because I didn't enjoy it. And I was like, listen, if I want to work somewhere nine to five, Or when it's your own business, nine to nine, um, and stuff, I want to enjoy it. So then I remodeled and became more into marketing and digital side of things.

So yeah, there was a lot of problems which carried on from the different businesses I, I, I, you know, uh, ran and stuff, which I continuously learn even now, because I've still made, um, you know, uh, mistakes in the, in the last two [00:27:00] years, but we've identified that. working on it, being positive and all that. But the main thing is like taking time out to actually reflect because sometimes you don't, when you're in on a high, you don't actually reflect back on the mistakes you make.

So this is something which I've started doing a lot more, but yeah, the problems are, I can go on each problem for like four hours, but there's been many problems in the business. Uh, but. We've managed to, you know, overcome, uh, quite a lot. There's still a lot of challenges, but it's not about, you know, how far you, you have to go.

Sometimes you have to look back and see how far you've come, because that gives you perspective. Because if you look, then it's a mountain, and you can get scared. So yeah, so sometimes you have to look back and say, listen, we've come a long way. We've got a long way to go, but as long as we learn from the little mistakes we've made, that makes a difference.

Matt: Yeah. Ah, very powerful stuff. Very powerful stuff. So you, you talked about, [00:28:00] uh, at the end there, you talked about taking time to reflect and this is something you now do on a regular basis. What does that, what does that look like for you?

Sameer: Um, basically, you know, the thing is, first thing is like, I remember like a few years back, if there's any issues and challenges, I want to, I would want to address them like there and then. Um, and stuff. And sometimes when you try to do things, um, because in my, in my personal life, I, I am, uh, I majority of my decisions, I make it on the whim.

Even in my business life, I used to make it on the whim, my gut, I still trust my gut a lot. But what I've done is that Instead of reacting to them instantly, trying to solve them or whatever, just take a step back, just pause a bit, just digest it properly, instead of, you know, just trying to solve it, so that we can address it in a better way.

So just the approach has been a bit different. Instead of trying to sort it out there and then, just take a bit of time, digest it, [00:29:00] you know, do some war gaming, the Sun Tzu out of war kind of thing, like see the difference, and then try to work things out accordingly. Um, so, yeah, so that slight change.

That's that's what we've done.

Matt: That, um, I mean, that's top advice, isn't it? And I, I'm thinking of a simple example that, um, for me, uh, I, I wrote down in my journal the other day, I really must stop send, if an email is like super important, like seven, eight, nine out of 10 importance, um, I really must stop sending it straight away. Uh, and so we developed, I developed a system whereby it doesn't go, it goes into a, uh, a separate program.

I get to mull on it for a few days and then I get to send it. It saves me no end of drama. Um, but this, this ability to stop. and reflect. Um, it's quite an interesting talent and skill that you've, that you've developed, Sameer, because I think I like you, I think life is so [00:30:00] busy for a lot of people, um, that their heads are down just all the time and coming up for air and is, is their main priority, let alone coming up for air, stopping and reflecting on, on what's happened and letting things ruminate for a little while.

Um, have you found, have you found this practice hard to do or has this been pretty straightforward?

Sameer: Um, no, to be honest with you, I think this is, has, has been in me for, for, for some time. So I haven't. found it challenging. I think I've developed it a lot more, uh, as and when, you know, like with my experience and all that kind of stuff. Uh, but I, I would say that it came naturally. And again, this is where you have to go back to your, you know, childhood and all that kind of stuff.

Certain things, you know, like being in certain situations when you're at a younger age, sometimes you don't know why you're at, why, why, you know, you've, you've like, you start to complain that, why am I, you know, in that situation and stuff, but then. As I look [00:31:00] back, because I do spend a lot of time in solitude, because I do like to reflect a lot in my personal life and in my business life.

And when I look back and I'm like, you know what? This situation happened because it was teaching me this now.

Matt: mm,

Sameer: So the thing is, this is why I've, when I look back, and there's a lot of tough situations when I was growing up, um, you know, at that time, probably I was, as a kid, I used to complain or like I didn't like those situations and all that kind of stuff.

But now when I look back and I'm like, you know, I'm grateful because that is what has taught me to become like, for example, a good listener. To just not respond, not react, respond to things and all that kind of stuff. And don't get me wrong, as humans, we always, there's certain things which we all get triggered by.

And, and, and so do I. But if I get triggered by something, I would reflect back when I'm on my own. And say, listen, next time I don't want to, I don't want to, I don't want this thing to trigger me. And stuff. So this is, this is where the [00:32:00] continuous growth comes in and all that kind of stuff. So that's something which I am.

Really big on so I think over time. It's definitely helped me But I think that's the part of it was actually quite natural

Matt: yeah, that's interesting, that's interesting. I liked the um, I liked how your three P's start with the problem because again, one of my observations about people, and I include myself in this category, is it's easy to bury your head in the sand and not actually define the problem. Um, I remember very early on in our marriage. We had some financial issues. It wasn't because of my wife. It was because of my stupidity before we got married. Um, and I found actually, if I, if I wrote down on a big piece, I got a piece of wallpaper and I wrote down our financial situation and put it on the back of our bedroom door, um, Once I found that I'd done that, in the middle of the night when my brain [00:33:00] is going loopy, I could, and it's imagining all kinds of things, because I'd actually defined the problem, I could look at that.

on the back of the bedroom door and go, actually, no, this is, this is reality. So, you know, it sort of centered my thinking and my thoughts and my hopes and my prayers a lot more, um, because I could define it. And so I, I think I learned at this point, actually defining the problem is half the battle, um, and, and, and, and not burying your head in the sand, right?

Is that, is that what you, is that what you found?

Sameer: Yeah, exactly. Because even like, you know, you take any situation, you might be feeling disappointed because you've got certain email or a certain text or a certain thing. The moment you identify the emotion,

Matt: Yeah.

Sameer: you automatically, you know, you, you, you become a bit more calmer. The difficulty we have is we are unable to identify and given The, um, you know, given the life, uh, we [00:34:00] have these days, the lifestyle, it's like very fast paced, always on the go, and you know, that kind of stuff.

We don't give ourselves a moment to just breathe, uh, and just think, or just reflect. Because the thing is... It's happened with me many a times like, you know, certain I'm like, why am I so pissed off today? Like why am I but the moment I identified that this is what pissed me off It was that ah, like it just gives me that so identifying the problem makes a big difference Identifying the emotion makes a big difference And stuff, but it all starts from giving it some form of perspective, you know And giving it a but and that can only happen is when you reflect And the issue is, these days I see people don't have the time to reflect.

Um, you know, it's the same rut, it's the same circle of life, it's the same thing and stuff. So this is where I feel that, you know, like giving yourselves even five minutes on your own, no distractions and stuff, that can make [00:35:00] a big difference on your, how you end your day or how you start your day. Uh, because it will help you identify, you know, problems or certain emotions.

So, yeah.

Matt: No, I agree. I, for me, journaling is, uh, I find journaling a really powerful tool, uh, in helping me do this, um, uh, uh, for other people. It's other things, but I, I, I, I have a prayer journal and that's what I use a lot, and it's just super helpful , uh, for helping me process a bunch of these things. I'm curious, Sameer, um, as, as, as we move on, um, where do you find joy?

Sameer: Uh, little things. I think if you look for joy, um, you know, in big things, and I think, Sometimes it's difficult to find that joy. I think joy can be in little things, uh, you know, and, and it, and it needs to be internal. It can't be external. Um, and because if you [00:36:00] expect joy to come from, you know, like an out, like someone else, I think you're always on the back end call of like an email or a deal being closed and all that kind of stuff.

I think the joy needs to be in the process. Um, you know, doing a good pitch, um, doing a good, uh, proposal better than the other proposals you've done. Um, you know, like spending time with nature, spending time with your loved ones, um, can also be switching off, you know, but again, I think as long as we identify, for me, it's in the, in the, in the little things, um, uh, which, which gives, um, you know, me joy that, that, and, and also giving, I think, um, when you, when you give without expecting something in return, I think that also helps enjoy, yeah.

Matt: yeah, no, very powerful, very powerful. So I mean, you've talked a little bit already Samir about, um, taking time to reflect, um, you obviously do a lot of reading, but what, what are some of [00:37:00] the key things that you do to recharge your batteries, you know, to keep, to keep you going?

Sameer: I play a lot of sports. Um, I like, um, well, cricket, of course.

Matt: Of course. I, why would you, you, do you play a lot of cricket?

Sameer: Well, I used to in the UK, I used to play a lot more. I was my, uh, club captain in between and my uni captain and, uh, Um, so I played a lot, like three days a week, Saturday, Sunday, in

Matt: Mm,

Sameer: Um, since I moved to Dubai, um, we play indoor cricket, um, here because it's boiling outside. Um, so yeah, we do play cricket, but then I love swimming.

Um, going to the beach, the sea, I love swimming in the ocean. Um, so yeah, these are the things I like to run. Um, strength, like going to the gym,... strength training and all that kind of stuff. Then I'm not, you know, that I've started going back again to the gym. But, um, [00:38:00] uh, main thing is like being active. Like that, that, that, that, yeah, that's the key.

Matt: doing some kind of sport you enjoy. Uh, is people always say, well, I say it was people ask me a lot, you know, if they, um, I like going to the gym, I like working out, have a gym at the house, um, work out with my kids. Uh, well I did before they moved out and went to uni, um, but it's that kind of, I, I, I like you.

I really enjoy that. And one of the questions people ask me quite a lot is. If I want to start getting fit, if I want to start working out, what's the best exercise I should do? And I always say to them, something that you enjoy, uh, because that's going to keep you doing it, right? And um, let's, let's start to build some habits.

And so, um, uh, I, I'm sorry to say Sameer, cricket's not on my list cause I, I was just really rubbish at the hand eye coordination when I was at school, you know, with cricket and tennis. I

Sameer: What sport do you play?

Matt: I don't, I, I, I used to play football a little bit. I got injured too much and now I just go to the gym.

Uh, and, uh, I, I quite enjoy [00:39:00] lifting weights usually with my kids. Um, my, my, uh, over lockdown because we had the gym at the house. I'm like, this is the best investment I've ever made. Uh, because my boys, um. Spent all time in the gym. The downside to that is my middle child, my youngest son Zak He is so much stronger than me now and part of me is really proud and part of me is like stupid competitive trying to keep up

Sameer: Hmm

Matt: And so um, but yeah that that tends to be It's more the gym and hiking.

I love to get out in the hills and hike. But, um, yeah, I wish I could play cricket. I have a cricket that if you walked outside my front door, I don't know why I'm pointing to it because you can't see it, but right outside my front door is a cricket. pitch that has been there since I think the 1800s. Uh, it's one of these old style cricket clubs, um, that's got all kinds of planning conditions, so they can't build on the cricket field.

So we get this lovely view in the summer. Yesterday we had the door open, you could hear [00:40:00] the people playing cricket, uh, and it's great. So, um, so yeah, we've got the Ashes starting soon, I know that much, but,

Sameer: I don't know. I think it's already is day three or day four today. Yeah,

Matt: oh yeah, yeah, I'm playing jet lag. Uh, I'm just a little bit behind.

Sameer: Thank you.

Matt: So you, you like to do sports. Um, you like to spend time alone, solitude, um, just sort of reflecting. Um, so in the midst of all of this, what's the plan? What does more look like for you? Where, where, where's the, what's the future hold?

Sameer: Business wise, um, um, we're working, we've been in this space for 12 years, um, in the digital marketing space, uh, for 12. And we still feel there's a big, big gap, knowledge gap between clients and agencies. Um, uh, you know, clients do not understand what a brand [00:41:00] means. Um, they think brand is a logo. Um, agencies do not educate the clients in terms of what brand is,

Matt: Hmm.

Sameer: or what branding is.

Because I think it's the job of agencies to educate the client, but agencies wants to close the business and all that kind of stuff. So they end up doing a half baked job. Um, so we are actually, what more looks like for us is we want to be... And we're working on something without going into too much detail, which we feel is going to disrupt the marketing agency space.

Because again, as I said to you, the three P's are still here to play. Like two years as a business, as a business, we took a bit of a battering, um, you know, due to multiple reasons, um, like our growth went downhill a bit and stuff like that. But in that, that gave us the time to take.

Matt: Hmm.

Sameer: And so we were doing.

You were in a comfort zone and an idea was born at that stage, which actually [00:42:00] solves, you know, the issue of educating clients, um, so that they can make. informed and better decisions. Um, it, I will actually help, uh, um, reduce operational costs for an agency without compromising on quality. And it actually gives back to the resources who are working in an agency who are always lookout for, you know, more like work outside of an agency and who get bored and stuff.

Um, uh, you know, if the work they're perhaps doing in an agency is because they're working on similar clients. So. So we would, that is what more looks out, is basically disrupting the agency space. And that is our focus at the moment, um, and, and, and this is where we're spending majority of our time, uh, at present.

Matt: So disrupting the agency space. I love this word disrupting. Um, and so maybe, uh, when you've, when you're allowed to share a little bit more of that, you'll have to let me know what's [00:43:00] going on. Cause I'm super intrigued. Uh, I'm, I'm super intrigued by all the different possibilities and ideas. So Sameer, it's got to that time of the show, my friend, where we turn to.

The question box. Oh, yes. State of the art graphics

Sameer: Shall I be scared?,

Matt: No, no, I mean you can be if you like. I'm just thinking what I could do, uh, I could just, I'm, I'm looking at this on my, uh, let's, let's press this button here. See if this works, hang on. There we go. So we got the stupid sound effects going on. Right, I'm going to flick through the cards, and you're going to tell me when to stop.

Wherever we stop, that'll be the question that I ask. So, uh, you go for it.

Sameer: Stop. Oh, wow.

Matt: Okay. So, this is an interesting question. What's the worst thing that could [00:44:00] happen to you?

Sameer: That is very interesting. Hmm, okay, um. I think losing my drive probably, um, that is the worst thing which can happen to me because the thing is so far, you know, anything which we've come across, if I didn't have the drive or the ambition, I don't think I would be able to over cross those hurdles. So yeah, I think losing my drive, uh, might be the worst thing which could happen.

Matt: That's a really interesting answer. So what, I guess my question to you then would be, well, what would cause you, do you think, to lose your drive? Or what do you think causes other people to lose their drive?

Sameer: I don't know. I mean, the thing is, I don't want to sound like overconfident or there's a fine line between arrogant and overconfident. I don't know if I can lose my drive. Um, but I actually know, you know what it is. I [00:45:00] think, I think what causes people is, and this is where we started this podcast from, I think it's setbacks.

And when you give up, you know, because when you fail in one or two, because the thing is, it's not just the failure. It's how you look at that failure. And it's never a failure, as you've learned. It's cliched, you know, we all hear this kind of stuff. But it's, I think, the setbacks, the constants, because sometimes you'll get setback after setback after setback.

And it's not, and this is why I'm, I'm also a champion of believing that you need to internalize stuff. So that. It's people around you, they'll come in your ear and say that, listen, this is never going to work. You'll never be able to do it. You'll never be able to do it. And eventually that drive will go and stuff like that.

So it's actually having the ability to what we said, not giving up. I think if you do not give up from anything you encounter, eventually you will overcome [00:46:00] any problem you might face, whatever the problem may be. Um, but I think, yeah, people usually setbacks and failures and what other people say to them.

I think that that is what causes, uh, that has shattered a lot of dreams, uh, in, in, in, in, in, you know, like over the, you know, in, in the world. Yeah,

Matt: That's a really interesting point. And it's what, what fascinates me about your stories, Sameer, because I'm listening to you talk and there's, I, I get the philosophy of don't ever give up, but I also get the philosophy of you need to recognize when it's time to change. Um, because you know, you spend, you can spend, there's a phrase we have in England, uh, which, you know, I don't know if it translates internationally for our international listeners, it's called flogging a dead horse.

Uh, and it's that, it's that recognizing, um, that, and I, I'm listening to you. Talk about this philosophy, but I also recognize in your life, you pivoted from the cricket bats to the travel to the digital. Now you're disrupting again. So it's. Not giving up is not sticking with [00:47:00] the same thing when you shouldn't be sticking with the same thing.

For you, not giving up is you just keep charting your way forward. You keep navigating the ship, don't you, and it might be a slightly different direction and that's okay, but we're going to keep going and we're going to keep learning. Uh, we're going to keep growing and I think that's such a valuable thing, uh, such a valuable lesson, uh, in life to have.

And, um, yeah, I like that. What's the worst thing that could happen? You could lose that ability just to keep going. That, that ability to lose your

Sameer: yeah.

Matt: Um, yeah. Fascinating. Sameer, listen, what a brilliant conversation and I feel like, uh, we could definitely keep going on this. Uh, but if people want to reach out, if they want to connect with you, if they want to find out more about your digital agency over in Dubai, what's the best way to do that?

Sameer: I think LinkedIn, my personal LinkedIn account, these days I'm quite active in terms of dishing out certain case studies or certain, uh, presentations, which actually are [00:48:00] designed with a view of educating our audience. So yeah, the LinkedIn might, my personal LinkedIn might be the best shout. Our website, of course, it has details, but the LinkedIn side of things, because it's a bit more personal.

Matt: No, fantastic. We will of course link to Sameer and his website and his LinkedIn profile in the show notes as well. So if you get those, you'll also get the links to Sameer, but do reach out, do say hello, do head over to LinkedIn. Do we just search your name, Sameer Rehman, uh, or is there something else we need to search for?

Sameer: Um, I think it is Sameer Rehman. Yes. Um, uh, Sameer Rehman Explorer. I think that that should be, but my name should be able to. Yeah. But if you add all two of them by the company name and my name, then you should be able to find it.

Matt: you should definitely, you should definitely come up. Uh, if.

Sameer: Well, I hope so.

Matt: Yeah, something's wrong with LinkedIn that


Sameer: exactly. Otherwise, yeah.

Matt: reach out through the website.

Sameer: LinkedIn. Yeah.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. How do you find LinkedIn? I find [00:49:00] LinkedIn both a really fascinating platform, but also slightly frustrating at the same time. Um, it's sort of, uh, I've got a love hate relationship with it.

I don't know about you. Um,

Sameer: Same. I think people, look, when people try to cold, like, you know, use it as a cold sales channel, I think that's where the issue issue comes. Because the thing is, people don't even do any research. Otherwise, it's a great, great platform to be able to find. Some information about the person you are connecting to, the kind of content they've engaged with, the kind of content they've posted and published, and then have a conversation with them.

You know, like, uh, not just try to sell. Like, I got an email the other day. Like two emails and LinkedIn saying that we're doing software development and stuff. Why don't we do? And then it's just like pure cold sales. And I was like, I never speak to you like, you know, I would never talk to you. But had you gone into a bit more, you know, uh, effort in terms of finding out, you know, what we have done, what we've done with our clients, their case studies, and then plug yours, then I would have said, [00:50:00] listen, these guys have done some looked into it, then I might connect with you and have a dialogue.

So I think it's a great platform, but you need to, uh, put in effort. You cannot just use it as a cold sales channel. I think you can build relationships, but as with any relationship, you require, it requires effort and LinkedIn is no different.

Matt: That's very true. I like that. Yeah, very, very true. Well, so if you reach out to Sameer on LinkedIn, just be, you know, do your research. Don't just try and

Sameer: Exactly.

Matt: There's a bottom line.

Sameer: Talk about cricket.

Matt: Talk about forgetting Imran Khan. The way to your heart. Uh, no, that's brilliant. Sameer, listen, thanks man. Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Super, super enjoyed the conversation. I love your positivity. I love, um, in a lot of ways, the simplicity in how you approach life, uh, and you know, the lessons that you've learned along the way. Super inspired. Thanks for coming on and just sharing your story, man. Really [00:51:00] appreciate it.

Sameer: No, appreciate you having me. It's been great fun.

Matt: Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. What a great conversation. A huge thanks to Sameer again for joining me today. Also a big shout out to today's show sponsor Aurion Media. If you're wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business because it creates that two way conversation that Sameer was talking about, do connect with them at aurionmedia.

com. That's A U R I O N M E D I A dot. Now be sure to follow Push To Be More wherever you get your podcasts from because we have yet more great conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them. And in case no one has told you yet today, you are Awesome. Yes, you are. It's just a burden you have to bear.

It's a burden Sameer has to bear, it's a burden I have to bear, it's a burden you have to bear as well. Now, Push To Be More is produced by Aurion Media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your [00:52:00] favorite podcast app. The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Estella Robin, and Tanya Hutzilak.

Our theme music was written by Josh Edmundson. And as I mentioned, if you would like to read the transcript or show notes, Head over to the website, push to be more. com. Uh, and whilst you're there, make sure you've signed up to the newsletter. And all of this stuff comes to your inbox automatically for free.

That's it from me. That's it from Sameer. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week, wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time.