Rúna Magnúsdóttir, an internationally awarded leadership coach and mentor, co-founder of #NoMoreBoxes Movement, the Antidote to Division & Black & White thinking and co-creator of The Money Box Game the virtual reality game that expands challenges and changes your social conditions to money and wealth.
Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone! My name is Umar Hameed, I’m your host on the No Limits Selling Podcast where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I’ve got a question for you, do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I’m gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed, not only remove it, but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there’s one that propels you to much higher levels of performance and success. There’s a link in the show notes, click on it to find out more. All right! Let’s get started.
Umar Hameed 0:40
Hello everyone. Today I have the pleasure of having Runa brrll..brrll…brla. Runa, please pronounce your last name for us.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 0:48
That’s, that’s been the first thing you know I have Runa brrll..brrll…brla. Now my last name is Magnúsdóttir. I’m daughter of Magnus.
Umar Hameed 0:57
That is brilliant. And anybody that was a fan of the Flintstones would have gotten that reference, coz he may a situation where was like, Mr. brrll..brrll…brla, which I thought was brilliant. It’s a joy having you on the show and I want you to take us back to March 2018, it’s at the UN Headquarters, your partner in crime, Nicholas Haynes is asked a question and that started the movement. Tell us about that.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 1:24
Yeah, this was a confidence global summit impact leadership and Nick or Nicholas or Nick if I call him. He was on a special panel called Conversation with Man, and the whole topic was around one of the UN sustainable development goals on gender equality.
Umar Hameed 1:43
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 1:44
And Nick is asked why haven’t we reached gender equality? And Nick says, “Well, it’s actually quite simple. It’s because we keep putting people into boxes but not only do we do that, to make sense of things, we expect people to live and behave as these boxes,” and that’s where we go wrong. And his answer when I listened to him, it was this something that click, I just thought, Wow,” I’ve been an advocate for, I would say gender equity that we are valued, more than equal more than we are just valued for being a human being. That’s been..
Umar Hameed 1:57
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 2:30
…my, my, my thing. And I’ve been in these movements and I’ve been working on this and I have come from Iceland with a number one in gender equality for over a decade. And the more that I’ve seen this is growing, the more I’ve seen the, the two genders like going apart is like instead of unity, it’s been like, the more women are taking things over to blah, blah, blah, but you know, it’s like a fight, and that was…
Umar Hameed 3:04
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 3:04
…never, never, never my thought of other, that was the intention. So I’ve been, I was troubled, and so listening to Nick that really made me think. And not only Nick started, he continued this to give you a little more insight into this matrix moment of my business. He continues and says, he talks about what happens if you were a man, and you love nothing more than to get take care of children, your family to create an environment where everyone feels safe and secure. And, and you’re judged, you’re told to man up not to be such a, well, I’m not going to use the word yet, and, and you basically judged. And at that point, I thought I went back in time because my ex-husband for the last three and a half years in our marriage, he was a stay at home dad…
Umar Hameed 4:09
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 4:09
…and I remembered he was judged. And right there when I and when I’m listening to him I just realized not only was he judged by others, but here I was the woman that they wanted equal things, I just noticed I had judged him too.
Umar Hameed 4:31
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 4:31
And that, that just was devastating when I thought about that when I, “Oh my God, I judged him,” and even though he was taking care of our children and of our home to show that I could actually you know be the breadwinner. And then mix it or what if you’re a woman and, and you were just fast forward thinking you’re a go-getter, you want things to happen, you’re told to slow, slow down, not be more of a lady, like be more diplomatic. And I went, “Holy moly,” I thought that he’s just describing myself, he’s just talking about me and my upbringing, I could just literally hear my mom go, “Runa wear a dress, you know, you don’t be so confrontational, be more of a lady,” you know, it was just voices that I could basically hear being judged, because I didn’t think to the typical stereotype of being a woman.
Umar Hameed 5:31
Yeah, it’s amazing, you know, when somebody holds up that mirror to you. When I first got married, I’m not a racist person at all, and my wife pointed out, do you realize that, you know, if there’s a group of people there, you will say, that black guy over there, or that white guy over there that you see color first, and I had no idea was doing that. And it wasn’t with any malice, but a lot of times when we’re in our box, we don’t even realize it because the box has transparent walls.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 6:01
Umar Hameed 6:01
And we can see other people’s boxes, but we can’t see our own.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 6:04
No, it’s so true. And I would have said myself, I would before this incident, I would have said, “Me racist, come on,” but now, I’m saying, “Yes, I am.”
Umar Hameed 6:16
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 6:16
I don’t want to be, the you know, I know I shouldn’t. There’s not like nothing about my knowledge or about my experience. It’s just, if I’m just plain honest, what I have not used to, I look at and I find it a little bit strange.
Umar Hameed 6:35
Yes. We’re all and we come by this naturally and correctly, because what happens is at the heart of who we are, is where we hold our beliefs. And we get most of our beliefs from our parents, or uncles, or aunts, or teachers. And from those set of beliefs, we create a model of the world, how we think the world works. And that model of the world puts everything in boxes and categorizes everything. And what’s worse is, if somebody puts something there, and it’s not in your model of the world that does not exist. And then from that model of the world is where we get our behaviors. And some of our behaviors are overt, but many of our behaviors are unconscious that we do without even knowing and then that gives us our results. And to us, and our model of the world, everything is perfect, is perfectly normal, what are you talking about?
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 7:20
Umar Hameed 7:20
You know, I have nothing against women, whatever, there’s not a, that bone in my body, and then you have somebody point out, did you realize that you did this, and sometimes we get the epiphany, and sometimes we attack the messenger, because we need to hold on to our model. And so…
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 7:37
By holding on to our box,
Umar Hameed 7:40
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 7:41
This is how it is. Yeah.
Umar Hameed 7:43
So tell me about the methodology you guys came up with to maybe either open up the box or dissolve the box, tell me more about that?
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 7:51
Well, okay. So following this whole “aha” moment, Nick and I are actually in a taxi from the UN to JFK, that was supposed to take 40 minutes took two and a half, two and a half hours, because there was dawn coming up and horrendous traffic. So in a taxi, we decided to do something about this, so we decided to create a movement, we decided to write a book, and we decided to create space for people to come together to this a safe space to basically just explore this because we all do this. But it’s when you, when it goes up on the surface, like everything else that comes up on the surface, then, then you can watch it, then you can see, “Well what am I going to do with this,” and then you can do something about it. So, six months after that taxi drive, we have our very first event which was in partnership with the Icelandic Embassy in London, where we got together people in the leaders in the UK market for gender equality and we had our very first what we call Normal Boxes Breakfast Club,
Umar Hameed 8:59
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 9:00
to talk, to talk, at nine months after that taxi drive, talking about a pregnancy with the book, the story of boxes, the good, the bad, and the ugly came out, and that’s actually to answer your question. Because as we will look, one thing, you will look really deep into this and we have a team of neuroscientists with us and energy people then in the energy field and your real professionals that are working on with us on this topic, we saw that boxes can be good, they can make us feel safe, they can make us feel we are secure and here I’m I’m accepted in this environment, and I feel good and that can be a good box. We’ve got that same box, if you’re not aware, it can turn out to be bad and even ugly. And just as an example, I mean if you look at relationships, if you fall in love with someone, wow, that’s a good box, isn’t it? But that relationship can be turned bad and…
Umar Hameed 10:06
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 10:07
…quite turning really ugly. So it’s really about knowing where you are about that flow as well, because then you and I and everyone else are not static, we’re human beings and we have our ups and downs, and we are there all types of things happening for us. So a box can be, it’s about this awareness that, “Am I putting you in a box that is serving you? Am I, and when I put you into a book, am I, am I doing a box that it’s serving me?”
Umar Hameed 10:41
Right. So let me…
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 10:43
Umar Hameed 10:44
So let me ask you, tell you a quick story first and will ask the question. I had these defining moments in my life, and one of the defining moments was, I was listening to the radio in Toronto, Canada, which used to be my home. And there was a story about this new program that the Canadian government had, which was to get people on welfare, and get them to get the education, they needed to get careers that would just change everything. And they had the poster girl of that program, she just become a paralegal and she was going to all the radio shows to talk about the program. And then the interviewer asked this question, “So you know, going from welfare and taking this journey to paralegal, what was the hardest part?” and I figured maybe the education balancing things, they said, “The hardest part was my family,” because they were like, why would you want to do that? You’re getting a welfare check like it doesn’t even make any sense. So A that blew my mind and B here’s the question, is there, I have a box, and my family members have a box? But do we build a box together where all the pieces fit in? And if you try changing your box, You’re upsetting the entire family dynamic, and then the entire family’s like, “Runa, who do you think you are, you need to be the good daughter or whatever.” So talk to me about those family dynamics in boxes.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 11:58
Oh. They can be all sorts, they can be really all sorts. And I think we can all go into that, you know, here is Big Mama or pick that Betty or you know, we don’t talk about these things in our family, that could be a box. It could be…
Umar Hameed 12:13
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 12:14
…you know, I in our family this is how we do things no matter what we have always done it this way. And it doesn’t matter if you’re suffocating we are going to continue doing.
Umar Hameed 12:28
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 12:30
And and often these boxes they might form like speaking of stories, they might form like, you know, it’s a very familiar story. I think most people are familiar with the the Lack of Lamb story, where where the young couple, they are just having their first lack of lamb and making bad in the new home and they decide they need to cut the bone off. And, so let’s say the girl is preparing the meal, she’s cut it up and the boy comes in, “Why are you coffee coffee, the the bone?” And she says, “Well, that’s a good question, Mom always used to do that.” So we, I need to ask actually, so we call such a moms and, “Mom, I’m just making a like a blanket and my boyfriend just asked why are we cutting the the bone off?” And she goes, “That’s a really good question. What actually your grandma always used to do that. Oh, well, I will ask her.” So she calls grandma says, “Well, she’s making this like of lemon with this tiny thing. Why are we always taking the bone off, is that a reason for that?” And the grandma says, “Well, I didn’t have big enough part in those days.”
Umar Hameed 13:39
Yup, it’s amazing how we got caught up. But going back to your, “this is the way we’ve always done it.” That is not just you making fun because pretty much we have our self identity, and that is precious to us. And when somebody tries to upset the applecart on our box that really we go into survival mode, and they may have a smile on their face when they’re saying it but internally, they’ve got that feeling. And some of course, families are externally saying, “You will never change this, we’ve always done this,” and…
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 14:09
Umar Hameed 14:09
…what the underlying is only bad people is not said but that’s really what they’re saying would do it this other way, so it’s a human condition. So how do we take that and get, I don’t even want to say enlightenment, because that isn’t the right word. So how do we get people to switch that norm and realize, wait a minute, there’s this concept called a Spanish prison, I’m not sure if I’ve got it right but this is what it means is let’s say I was a con man, in the creative circumstance, that you voluntarily give me all of your money. And you thought you had freedom of movement, freedom of action, but I made sure that I created circumstances that was the only choice you had. So it’s a prison, we don’t even know we’re in.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 14:50
Umar Hameed 14:50
So how do we get people to first realize they’re in a prison, and then go, “I want to do something about it.” Because sometimes knowing it’s fine, that’s fine, we’ve always on that way, we’re gonna, “Have a nice day.” So how do we take that transition and get people to realize, “Wow, we don’t need to be stuck in this way.”
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 15:07
Yeah, well, there are there, well, we found out and we are really in this, in this research mode and using all sorts of techniques to, to create that space, because that really, if you look, I looked at it, it as if you look at it as a box, and you look at us, first you need to actually realize that you are in a box, that’s absolutely the first thing. So when you realize in your awareness, “Oh my God, I’m in this box, I just keep doing this, I just repeat this thing and appear I know, it’s not the right thing for me,” but I keep doing that, over and over and over again. So it is about having the space and be courageous enough to open it up. Absolutely. Now, if it’s full of things that might have said, not even your parents or grandparents, we could go way backward.
Umar Hameed 16:09
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 16:10
Way, way, way. And, and you have the courage to open up and create that conversation about just like that conversation about the Lack of Lamb, why are we cutting the bone. So you, you ,you open up for, why are we still doing this? in a way that is not like you’re not judging, you’re just like, I’m just curious,
Umar Hameed 16:33
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 16:33
why are we still doing this noticing, why we’re doing and how is that serving us today? And he was like, well, “This is our tradition,’ ‘A tradition? Ah, okay, so for what.” So you can instead of making it so static, and then like you, you are not going to be, you’re not going to be part of this family anymore, if you don’t follow this or whatever that conditions become, it becomes more of a conversation about, “Oh, it used to be like this,” I would kind of like thought it was cute to continue just to give, you know, it was what, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents used to do when we come like, “Want to hold that? Ah okay, it’s just a tradition ,yeah, I’m just gonna put that pin in here and that’s my vision,” off I go. That creates a little space, so…
Umar Hameed 17:22
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 17:23
…think out of that box, things that are no serving, and you open it up so that it’s space for new things to go in, or this is one way of seeing and this has been really interesting to see Umar, how we how we are different human beings when we talk about this because for some people, yes, the thought of opening something up, yet the long to tidy up, they just get a frightening feeling. So conversations about, you I know, I know because you’re on neuroscience, you know how language is important. So when we talk about expanding the box, the how can we expand that box? so not only do you have more oxygen to breathe,
Umar Hameed 18:14
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 18:15
And look at how is this serving me today? How is this serving my community today? How is this serving the my world today? If not, what am I going to do about it? So it becomes your choice, then you can start to have that space to allow other people to come in with you, have fun at it, create and make it a good one or the idea, well, in our what we ideally want to create is that each and every one of us, starts to think about, how would my life be without these boxes? What would that look like? And we stopped at, and we start to create what we call the human space. And each and every one of us, we have to create that because that’s a co-creation, where we want to be, what do I want to have and be and live in. So that there is a, there is a certain amount of flow in it and there is this both self-acceptance, self-love and kindness to yourself, others and the planet around you, but that takes of course, it doesn’t happen overnight. But what we want to do is to create that space for us to at least start to make that drawing, how does that look like?
Umar Hameed 19:47
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 19:49
And that’s a journey, that’s just the journey because I can tell you it’s been now close to three years since we founded this movement,
Umar Hameed 19:59
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 20:00
so we’ve done quite a lot. And I can just see that the more boxes that I, I stumbled upon, every time I put another person into a box these days, which of course I do.
Umar Hameed 20:15
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 20:17
I’m just quick good at noticing. And I’m quick good to see to make a choice of what I’m going to do with this, am I gonna hold that person in that? And how is that really serving me? Do I really need that today? So it’s been a lot of reflections going on in the last three years.
Umar Hameed 20:40
So balance this for me, if we were meeting in person, biologically, at a split second kind of decision making, I have to initially sort you out in which box, safe or unsafe?
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 20:55
Umar Hameed 20:57
And then if I’ve got you in the unsafe box, then he goes down a different path and if I get you in the safe box, then he goes down a different path. So A that’s, that we’re just hardwired to categorize and then the second part of the question is this, is that you met someone new, you put them in a box, but that box went in your big box. But many things in your big box are incredibly useful and make you delightful and loving and joyous and a wonder to be around. So sorting out those smaller boxes in the big box of the good ones, from the ones that are not as good is self-reflection. So is there, can you and I develop something to add to your movement? And I’ll tell you a quick story that I’ll ask you the question.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 21:40
Umar Hameed 21:40
So when I was married, our, my marriage started off a little rocky, but it got stronger and stronger as we went. And at one point, we came up with this brilliant idea that every Sunday morning that we would have a discussion of what happened this week, and you made me feel loved on Thursday evening when you did this and on Tuesday, you son of a bitch, when you said this, it made me really angry. And it was it was just weekly, just sorting the good and the bad and just chatting about it without judgment.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 22:09
Umar Hameed 22:10
Just strengthen the marriage and we moved on. Is there a way we can actually help each other look inside the box on some kind of thing where it’s not, you’re not beating yourself up? It’s more like a joyous discovery because doing it ourselves is hard to do, any thoughts on that?
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 22:26
Before, I love that question, I’m really do. One of the things that I felt has been really useful tool for me is to understand. Well, I get, are you familiar with this term, treat others like you would like to be treated?
Umar Hameed 22:46
Yeah, there was a guy called Jesus, He’s in the Bible. Yes, I have heard that.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 22:50
Exactly. Well I understand the whole concept, that’s not the thing but I think, it has been more valuable for me to turn this around as I treat people like they would like to be treated.
Umar Hameed 23:03
Yes, in the US, they call it the first rule is the golden rule. And the second rule, the one you just said they call it the Platinum rule, which is more valuable.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 23:12
It’s more valuable. And that of course does mean that I have to you know, those good stuff is where I’m judging you, I just have to be really aware that it’s just my own shit that I’m getting from.
Umar Hameed 23:28
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 23:28
Excuse the language, you know.
Umar Hameed 23:31
So for me, my wife passed away three years ago, and
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 23:35
I’m sorry for that.
Umar Hameed 23:35
I’m in new relationship now, thank you. Now, it’s like, really, really new, two weeks. And one of the questions I asked last night was, how do you feel loved? because I have no idea. But asking that person you how do you feel loved and though what they answered was kindness, making me laugh, so it’s just simple, basic things. And it doesn’t have to be a lover, it could be, it could be your son, it could be a new co-worker, like oftentimes I asked, you know, how do you like to be led? sometimes people can answer that. Tell me in high school, which was the teacher that got the best work out of you, what did they do? And sometimes this enlightening for them, it opens up their box, then it gives you the valuable information, “Oh, you like to be beaten, not a problem? I can,” no, you don’t have to do that.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 23:41
Well, you can go deeper than that but yeah it’s true. And isn’t that a more interesting conversations?
Umar Hameed 24:34
I think, I will leave you with two really important human traits that we should strengthen. One is curiosity, and the other side of that coin is creativity. And be curious about yourself around the people around you and then that creativity comes in to go, “Okay, how can we do better?” with that Runa chick she’s doing this which is like super cool and wonderful. That’s not in my box, how do I bring it into my box to make it one of my things. So Runa before we part company, and we’re gonna put all the links to the movement, and you because you’re a brilliant coach for leaders, could you please share one mind hack, one simple trick that you use to get more productivity or happiness or love? What’s one little trick that you use to just get more out of life?
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 25:23
I have, I have, I have quite a few that I, that I kind of like to reach out to in times of need. So one of one of my favorites is, especially when I need to be brave enough when I need to be courageous to step into something that I’m maybe a little bit afraid of doing, and that is, I tell myself, “Runa, just do it. You’re never going to get out of this life alive anyway.”
Umar Hameed 25:51
Thank you for sharing that. Get out alive. Let me tell you why I think that’s really funny. There was a woman that wrote a book on the self help movement. And the interviewer asked her so you know, “How long has this been going on?” And she said, “Oh, you know, ancient times she had, she had this one text that was written by a pharaoh in Egypt for his son to be a good pharaoh so it’s like, ‘What’s it like to be a pharaoh? She goes, “Yeah, it kind of was.” But what brought it up was Marcus Aurelius was one of the books she cited. He had this workbook, I forget the name of it, Basic, the chapter structure was like this. So let’s say you’re talking about family, and he’s talking about, you know, all the challenges with family, and the punchline was, “At least you’re not dead.” Then he was talking about politics and office politics, the punchline was, ‘At least you’re not dead” like there’s hope. Runa, this was such an honor and a delight to have this conversation with you. And hopefully, this is the first of many, thank you so much for being on the show.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir 26:48
Umar Hameed 26:53
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