It takes a lot of courage and dedication to bounce back from a near death experience, and even then, it takes even more to be able to give back. Following Richie Harkham’s accident, he decided to master the art of giving through his organization Hark Angel. Richie is a serial entrepreneur that has dedicated his life to providing 100 schools for children living in unfortunate environments that deprives them of education. He joins Paul Higgins on today’s show to talk about his views in life and the shift in his priorities after his accident. He also shares his insight on how life should be experienced and explains the importance of education and forming the right habits.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Art of Giving with Richie Harkham
If you’re a first-time reader, welcome. If you’re a regular, thanks for your support. I’d love to get your feedback at [email protected]. Our guest is someone who’s got an amazing story from pain to joy. It is definitely one not to miss out on. I was so inspired I throw out normal questions and listened. He’s the Director of the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers, MD of Harkham Wines and Cofounder of the Energy Alliance. A five-second life-changing moment in 2014, his life took a turn which now sees him as Chairman and Founder of the Hark Angel Foundation, which is changing children’s lives around the world. Why read? One, his inspirational story of how your worst day can determine your best, the importance of organ donation and why people over plan what they can achieve in one year and under plan what I can do in ten years. You can donate to the charity at HarkAngel.org. Over to Richie Harkham from Hark Angel.
Welcome, Richie Harkham. It’s brilliant to have you on, Richie.
It’s nice to be here.
Tell what it was like to be on the biggest podcast in the world.
I was on Tony Robbins’ podcast. It’s amazing and a great opportunity. Tony is someone which I look up to. He’s changing so many people’s lives. He’s such an inspiring person so it was a fantastic opportunity to be there and share my message.
He was the first act and on the second. I’m pleased with that. Why don’t you tell me something that your family or friends know about you that we don’t?
Maybe that I was initiated into African Maasai tribe. I lived with them in 2013 for a little bit. I was building a facility for poor girls and they initiated me into their tribe. You’re talking to a Maasai warrior over here.
I’ve seen some pretty horrific inductions from TV with sticks and God knows what. How was yours? Tell us how your initiation was?
It was cool. The video, which I can share for you, is me dancing with the Maasais. They’re the guys in the beads that jump. There are some of the fiercest warriors in the world. I was fortunate that I got to experience that rite of passage from being a teenager into being an adult. I got an insight into their world and their rite of passage is having to face their deepest fears by going out into the Maasai Mara and hunting a lion. They don’t kill the lion, but they have to come face-to-face with a lion where they could be killed. They asked me if I wanted to join them doing that and I kindly declined saying that it’s not my rite of passage. I was in the comfort of my cab drinking tea whilst they’re out there but I’m an honorary Maasai warrior, which is pretty cool. Some of the other things they do are they will eat the kidney and drink live blood from an animal and they also get Maasai burns, which I got, and they get circumcised at the age of 18 or 19, so I also kindly declined that one. I’m Jewish. I’ve already gone through that. I don’t want to do it a second time.
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That’s a first. I’ve never spoken to anyone that has gone through that experience or part of that experience, so that’s brilliant.
One thing I’d add to that is one of the things they teach you when you’re a Maasai is not to feel pain, so how not to feel pain in your life. They’re the strongest warriors. Lions are scared of them. It’s crazy. It was interesting to learn the teachings being passed down from generation to generation.
I don’t know if you’re able to do it, but give us a snapshot of what your learnings were on how not to feel pain.
Number one, they’re unique. You and I and the average person, we can’t do this. From children to old people, they’ve been taught this constantly. It goes like, take your head, remove your head from the situation so to take your mind elsewhere. I’ve never mastered it in any token but I constantly thought about it in my journey. As we’ll probably get into it, I have faced a lot of pain in my life. It was interesting to know that.
Not the extremes, but I’ve had a couple of surgeries. One was someone was basically pulling out a major tube and the general wore off. I said to the guy, “I can feel you cutting and putting the stitches in.” He’s gone, “That’s okay. It won’t take long.” I thought of something like the old classics, a beach or something and thought that the pain was calm water over my body. It definitely reduced what I would normally do, but there’s always a nurse that when they go to give you a needle, it’s like, “This is going to hurt.” I’m like, “Don’t say it’s going to hurt.”
I was going to say that it doesn’t always hurt that much. Nothing hurts that much. It’s waiting for the pain that hurts the most. I’ve also been in a situation. For me, a couple of my bad ones where I’ve been in situations where they’re stapling me, pulling out staples, pulling a tube from my body, or digging around in my leg with no anesthesia. I feel your pain. You’ve gone through a lot. I laughed at the last time we spoke. I look up to you as well. You’ve got a lot to teach people.
Let’s talk about a bit of your journey because normally I have people on that have left their job to run their own business and you’ve been an amazing entrepreneur all the time, but you did have a bit of a life-changing moment. I can’t remember, was it back in 2013?
It was 2014. To give you a little bit of context about me, maybe I am one of nine children in my family. My father was a migrant to Australia. I came here with nothing. I grew up watching him. He basically didn’t finish school and was thrown out into the world of business. I’m with my uncles and my grandparents and they all had to make it from nothing and it inspired me so much. I couldn’t wait to start working. He used to work in the rag trade business. I used to go out to his factory when I was a young boy about 8 or 9 years old. I still love it. It was always the hustle. It’s like, “We’ve got to get this number of dresses completed. We’ve got to cut this and sell this.” He’s always selling and I couldn’t wait to start working. I started work at twelve years old and I’ve worked my whole life all the way through.
In 2014, I would work so hard. I worked six days a week. I’d worked night and day to get to where I need to get to without any real direction. Before 2014 when I had an accident, I started to get some traction. I entered the workforce after university at 21 and I never stopped. I’ve owned many different businesses and I was on top of the world in 2014. One day, I woke up feeling a little bit off and I felt a little bit satiated for the first time in my life. It was weird. I finished the harvest and I got back from an amazing trip away. I felt a little bit bored with things. It’s weird because I’ve never felt bored in my life. If you know me, I’ve got a million things and ideas going. Have you ever felt like that or a little bit off before?
Definitely, in the last years of my corporate life. That’s another story.
I felt that all of us are feeling a little out before and that day was weird. I didn’t go out. I didn’t do anything. That evening, I committed to a friend of mine to go for dinner with him. We were going to dinner at Potts Point in Sydney, if you know that area. How much do you know the area?
I know it well.
There’s no parking there and I only had my ute and my motorbike, so I dart up there and back. I didn’t want to go. I’m one of those people that I like to please people. I don’t like to upset people and I pushed myself into this commitment. If I say I’m going to do something, I will always do it and you’re probably the same.
Sometimes to my detriment, but you could do it.
I’m exactly the same way. Off I went on my motorbike. Looking back, it was a bit of an eerie evening with a big, full moon in the sky and I was riding up South Head Road and I remember the love that I had for this motorbike. It was a 1994 custom sports Harley Davidson. We stripped away all the parts and built it from scratch. I used to love the beautiful roar on the free road on the motorbike. I’m cruising up the road thinking about how much I love this bike. I made a right hand turn off Old South Head Road in Bogey Hill into a road called Victoria Road.
I thought, “Why have I gone this way? I’ve never gone this way in my entire life.” Up ahead, I’m in front of the traffic and I could see on my left-hand side it was a white station holding wagon waiting at the brick gates in an apartment building. The driver had no lights and no indicator on and was looking the other way. As an advanced motorbike rider, you see this maybe 4 or 5 times a day and this will happen to you when you ride motorbikes. Some idiot on the phone, someone not watching, and changing lanes without blinkers. After seventeen years of riding motorbikes, basically what happens is you scan the road for potential threats and you avoid the threat before it happens. Do you get that?
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Totally. I ride bikes as well and I know exactly what you’re saying.
Every time you get on your bike, something will almost happen and you will avoid it.
I’ve always got the view that the motorist around me is going to hit me. How am I going to avoid it? That’s my default position.
It’s called defensive riding and any advanced motorbike rider would say the same thing and it has served me. This guy was in the driveway. It was a low-level threat because he had 30 seconds. I presume he was coming out to make a right. It was pretty dangerous where it is, but he had so much time to do it and he’s looking the other way and he had no lights. You wouldn’t think he would be moving. As I approached him, I’m looking and he didn’t make any moves. He was a low-level threat and when we approach something, we slow down. You look at him and as you go past, you accelerate. As I started accelerating past him, he slammed on the gas and he started to quickly come out and I’m about passing him. There was nothing I could do.
I presumed he was going to see me and slam on the brakes and I worked out that if it touched the brakes, I’d be able to get around him. Rather than braking, he accelerated even more. There’s nothing I could do so I braced for that impact because he’s going to hit me. He smacked me and T-boned me in his car in my legs against my motorbike. I felt a breaking feeling. I didn’t feel any pain. It was unusual and he slammed on the brakes. My motorbike was pushed like it’s going down by pushing oncoming traffic and it was dark. All I could see were headlights coming to run me over. The lights were blinding me. Death is right there in that moment.
They say your whole life is in front of you. Automatically I started thinking about all the good things I’ve done in my life. I was calm. It was shocking that I was calm and I was at peace with dying. It was odd. When a car veered off and missed me, I had to get off that motorbike. I pushed back with my might because it was going to land on my already broken leg. I closed my eyes and pushed and pushed as much as I could. My left foot was skewed. That was the first time I noticed that my foot wasn’t straight. I pushed off in my right and I cleared the bike, shut my eyes, hit the ground first with my head and completely broke my helmet. The second I touched the ground, I opened my eyes and I did a stock take of my body.
The minute I was out of danger, I had the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I was bleeding out of my pants and there was an exposed bone. I was screaming from pain. People tell you that pain will make you pass out. It’s the opposite. It’s the most conscious feeling in the world. I couldn’t get away from it. I was half screaming from pain and I was half in shock that the day before, I beat my running record and I was the strongest and fittest I had ever been in my life. I was 34 at the time and I couldn’t understand how in one second our lives can change forever. It takes one second. It was amazing. I was screaming out, “Why God? Why me?”
I couldn’t get my head around that this had happened to me and I was scared. I waited for 25 minutes on the side of the road screaming and blood coming out. With motorbike accidents, it’s horrific. You don’t know how bad it is and someone’s screaming and all the traffic stops and ten people came around me. The people that came around there were heroes. One woman was a doctor and she was trying to help me and a guy. They were trying to tell him to put a wet cloth on my leg and I was like, “Don’t touch my leg,” because I was bleeding out on the road.
That’s an incredible incident that in one split second can completely change your life. I was interested where you said that you’re at peace. I don’t know exactly, but my knee experience was a simple operation that turned complicated. In short, I was bleeding to death. I was so angry that I was going to go and I fought like crazy. I was swearing and basically saying that I’m not coming back. The doctors say that it was probably due to the drugs post-surgery and it never happened.
I believe that. You were fighting. You’re a fighter. What are you talking about?
There was no way that I was going to go. Your elevation and all the things that you hear other people saying stories and you think, “Doesn’t it happen? Does it happen?” Personally, that happened to me.
I’m a bare-knuckle duster. If you give me an analogy of who I am, I will hustle until I die. I never give up. You knock me down 50 times, I get back up 51 times and that’s a person that I am. In that situation, there was nothing that I could do. It was my body saying, “It’s cool. It’s going to happen. You can’t do anything.” I love that I went there rather than freaking out like this is the end. Back to that, that moment was the biggest moment in my four-year journey that I’ve been through. It was one of my most powerful moments.
Later, I suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, not about dying but about if I did die, there were so many things in my life that I hadn’t done or I had put off doing. I could have done a little bit better, and what a waste of life it would have been. Since that moment, I’ve chased down every single thing that I put up doing and I’ve accomplished in my life. I changed my life around. It was an awakening point in my life. It was that one moment. It was that one five seconds. It’s crazy.
Tell me some of the things that you’ve done particularly around the Hark Angel and the way that you’ve changed your life and started giving. I know you haven’t lost the hustle, but I suppose you moved your energy in different ways.
I will chase down things a lot more. I play knowing that I’m going to die. How many people can say that in our lives? How many people have come face-to-face with dying before? Through my journey, I’ve stopped breathing. To recap, what happened off that accident was I shattered the whole left leg from my knee downwards. I had compound fractures, tibia, fibula, and my tibia plateau, which is the bottom of my knee, shattered into maybe 57 different pieces. Later, the top of my knee, which is the femur, collapsed. It burns and everything else that happened to my leg.
I was in a huge accident, which left me in and out of hospitals for a few years. I spent hundreds of days lying in a hospital bed for more than twenty hours a day and I was in chronic pain for over three years. I’ve had eight major operations, seven of which have failed me. I had a golden staph infection which turned into osteomyelitis. That was 200 days in the most aggressive antibiotics in the world. I had a world-first operation twice in Germany. I’ve gone through a lot in my life to recognize that we live once and I’ve been on the other side. You’ve experienced this a little bit, Paul. You’ve been on the side of being unwell and not being in the world of the living. When I say that, every day I never gave up and I always made sure that I live my life the best I could with where I was, even if it was minute by minute and day by day.
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There are two sides to life. There are the people who are capable of living and there are the people who are in the system. You’re going through something, you’re in pain, you’re suffering and you’ve got operations hanging over your head. It is such a privilege to be on the other side again. After four years of being in the medical world where you’re in the system to now be able to live life the way that you and I want to live my life. Once you have that perspective and could see things from that way, you would chase down everything and you will live every moment like it’s your last moment to live. Let me ask you a question, Paul, before I get into Hark Angel. Since you’ve had your medical experience and now you are much better, what have you changed in your life since then?
For me, it’s more of a calmness. I was always chasing something, which was good but a lot of the things that I chase weren’t what I love to do. I woke up in the hospital and I had stitches all over my body, etc., and I thought the great thing is the biggest change I’ve already made which was to leave corporate and build my business called Build Live Give. That was a life-changing moment for me because now I’m better with my family. The thing that resonated with me from there was like, “How are you going to give back, Paul because you are only focused on you still? You say that your focus broadened up but you’re only focusing on you.”
That’s when I realized, for me, first I’m going to write a book. I’m sitting in the hospital. I’ve got nothing else to do, so I’m going to write a book to help people like me who have left corporate to run their own business. The second thing is you’ve got to give more. That’s why I’ve approached you and I’d love to talk more about Hark Angel. How can you truly give back rather than, for me, a bit lip service? That was probably the biggest awakening, but there is a calmness in doing that. I’ve experienced the worst so now make the most of your life but be calm about it.
You’ve done a complete 180 in your life. You’ve achieved so much. As hard as it is for someone like you or me to say, but it’s true. It’s one of the best things that could happen to you or one of the worst things to happen. That is our job in life. I’m a motivational speaker and my topic is called A Return on Resilience. Resilience is about bouncing back and what I’ve come up with is a framework to help you find an opportunity in bad things that happen to you or to us. I’ve come up with this framework called Kadima, which is a mystical Hebrew word for moving forward. In everything, God gives us challenges to make us the people that we are. We have to accept that we’re going to go through things, but the biggest thing is to be prepared for that, to be prepared for what you’re going to go for and to pull an opportunity. Find the goodness in something that happens to you. There’s an amazing author. Her name is Caroline Myss. I don’t know if you’ve heard about her before.
No, I haven’t.
Carolyn Myss came up with a term called woundology. I’m doing research for one of her books. It’s called Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can. It’s an extraordinary book. This term woundology while she came up with it, it’s a recognized psychological condition. Her book became a New York Times bestseller. It is people that become consumed by their illness. That’s all that they can do or that it takes them over. They’re in denial about their lives. All they have is their illness and it’s important rather than be like that. I suffer from that front a little bit, I’m sure. Rather than be that, to pull some goodness find the opportunity in bad things that happened to you, which is what I’m all about and that’s my message.
Back to your question on Hark Angel. I was granted an amazing opportunity from a young boy who passed away. He was driving with his mom in Germany in a convertible Mercedes Benz, a truck came around the corner couldn’t stop, saw them and planted into the back of them. The mother was killed instantly. The young boy hit his head and was pronounced brain dead. In hospital and life support, his father had this terrible decision to turn a life support system off or allow his son to become a donor.
The thing with child donors is there are none of them and there are hundreds of children in Australia on a waiting list, waiting for organs, for tissue. It’s so hard for a parent to allow their child to become a donor. I don’t know any parents that will have a tick on their child. They don’t have licenses but allow their kids to be a donor because you never will even want to put that energy on a child. There’s a major shortage in Australia. For anyone who’s reading out there and if you’re open to it, it’d be amazing if you could put a tick to being a donor because you have no idea how many lives you can change.
On that, I had the gift of my best mate donating a kidney to me but what I didn’t realize is most families, even when you’ve ticked it, you’ve made the decision and even if you’re 40, they change it. There are only 600 kidneys donated a year. It’s about a 6 to 10-year waiting list if you’re on the donor list. I’m with you. A lot of people say, “Why don’t you post so much about your condition?” I’m like, “It’s not because I’m trying to hang on to it. It’s because I want other people to donate. That’s the only reason I post it.”
Not only that, Paul, because of what you’ve gone through, you also come from a position of understanding and you’ve gone through things where you can share with everybody else. I love listening to you talk about it. That’s another thing is you were given the gift. Of course, you want to also give back a gift. This young boy was brain dead and his father had a decision and he said, “Yes.” I was one of the people and his name I’ll never know. He became the inspiration in my life, to be honest with you.
I was blown away by his story. I know his father lost everything in the accident and had the courage to allow his son to become a donor. What happened to me was I had done this transplant surgery. I was the first person in the whole world to get a graft of a knee transplant by an amazing surgeon in Germany or one of the first people in the world. We’re not sure. He used 3D software technology to do it. Later in my hospital bed, I met and heard of seven other people all who got parts or who were enhanced by this young boy and it blew me away. In his death, he could give life to so many people. I was inspired. I also wanted to give back. I also wanted to change the world. He was a child. He was a young teenager and I wanted also to give back to children. What’s the best gift that you can give to a child?
I’m assuming it’s education.
Where do they need education the most, Paul?
Probably developing and underdeveloped countries, I’d say.
Since 2013, I’ve been doing international charity work. I started in Kenya, Africa. This happened to me in 2016, when I got this operation. That’s what I knew and I wrote a letter to the father and I said, “I want to give back,” and I want to build a school in the son’s honor in places where children don’t have the privilege that we have. His son’s spirit can live on through all these children going to these schools. When I’m talking about underprivileged places or third world countries where education is not a right, where a child can be born or sold into slavery, where child labor is the norm, where a young girl is circumcised and sold to an older man for a cow to be married. Unfortunately, what happens is a child’s life is picked for them. They lose their childhood. They end up becoming adults and they have their whole life to get out of that cycle. It will be hard for them because if you have no education and you work, that’s all you’ll do in your life, a workhorse.
What we do is Hark Angel comes in there. Hark Angel is a registered charity. In anything that I do in my life, I try to think big about it. I have this thing where I think that, “Everyone overestimates what they can achieve in one year, and they underestimate what they can achieve in ten years.” Whatever I do in my life since my accident, I always times by ten. I thought, “We’re going to do schools. How many schools do I want to do?” I wanted to do one for my donor. When I saw all the goodness out of it, I thought there’s a return on my resilience and turned it as an opportunity and that was to create the Hark Angel Foundation. I thought that ten schools would be a lofty goal. That’d be unbelievable to have ten schools running.
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In everything I do, I times that by ten, so now I have 100 schools that I want to build. In Hark Angel, we want to build 100 schools in the poorest place in the world where the world is forgotten. Where kids aren’t in school, they start working 8, 9 or 10 years old and we empower them in their communities to change their lives through education. We go in there and I actively meet with them. I meet all the children, elders, the chief, school committee, and I talk to them. We watch them over a period of time and we always ask them what do they need, what do they want, what are the aspirations, what are their dreams for their children. Most of these people are farmers. Drought affected farmers. I’m working in Myanmar and they make between $2 to $4 a day if they’re lucky. They need their wives to work. They’re peanut farmers and they’re also drought-affected and they want to have a different life for the kids.
In a lot of the place we build schools. They all have some form of a school that they can be studying outside or in a broken building but it’s always too small for the community that they have. It’s always 40 or 50 years old and a new school costs $30,000. You’re making $2 a day. How many wages is that to get a new school? It will be impossible for them. In these countries, people live hand to mouth living. It means that whatever money they have goes straight to food and living. We will come in there, speak to them, we will watch them, and speak to the government. They’ve got to donate land before we do anything and put in the application. Once the government will approve, they will give us ongoing teachers so we don’t have to pay for ongoing teachers, which is a huge saving. I always tell them once we have the school, that’s the start of our relationship. I’m good friends with them. We’ve done eight schools already. My goal was ten. It’s hard to think that in a few years I’ve already done eight.
You’ve got 92 left.
Ninety-two to go. When I did one, in my head, everything that I do I have a goal and nothing will stop me. I’m a dog with a bone. When I did one, I was like, “There’s one school,” and people would laugh at me. I’ve got 8 in 92. It’s getting better, but we’re getting there. It’s amazing to go there and to see children from years ago, and that’s the payoff for me. It’s to see kids who were much younger, which they struggle in their lives or they couldn’t get to a high school. We’ve built a middle school, a high school or primary school and you see them get older staying in school and get happier and happier. In your heart, you can get no better feeling in the world than giving back. For me, the purpose of my life is to help other people achieve their happiness in their life. When I see these kids being happy over time staying in school and making something of their lives, it gives me so much joy and pleasure in my life that nothing matches that, not a Ferrari or Lamborghini. Those are quick fixes.
It’s brilliant and I could sit here and listen to you for hours. You’ve got such an amazing story but what I might do is change gears a little and ask you a couple of questions. First, what I’ll do is read out a little discussion about my book called Build Live Give. I go through the lessons I learned from leaving Coca-Cola to run my own business, how I scaled and kept it going whilst going through my transplant that we’ve talked about. Part of having Richie here is to inspire me but also you reading to do the give bits. I’ve signed up to write three books. The first one is Build, Live, and I’ll have a Give one. You can get it at BuildLiveGive.com/book to get your copy. You do such incredible work, you’ve got the winery, you’ve got Hark Angel and you’ve got six companies. You’re incredible, but what are some of the daily habits that allow you to be so successful across all aspects of your life?
Habits are important. You have to make sure you have the right habits. For instance, if one of your goals is to lose weight, then go to the gym in the morning. If you have the habit of going to bed at midnight, you’re not going to achieve your goal. I’m conscious of my habits. I’m conscious to put in habits that will lead to my success. For me, I’m a morning person. I will always get up in the morning early.
What time do you normally get up?
Between 4:00 AM and 6:00 AM. I will get out in the morning.
Do you ever set an alarm or is that natural?
The craziest thing is I have to set an alarm every single morning, but I’ve never once been woken up by an alarm in my life. I love to start my day. I love to get out of the house straight away. I’ve got one big habit though. I believe that my best energy, my most thoughtful part of my day will be first thing in the morning. If I ever have a big problem in my business or in my life, I will never try to resolve it anytime past lunchtime or in the evening ever because you only have so much brainpower that gets replenished. If you think about when you wake up, you’re strong as brainpower. I sit with things and in the morning before I do anything. As soon as I’m up, I will deal with what I need to deal with. That’s the first thing that I will do. If there’s anything tricky in my day, it’s already done first in the morning and out of the way.
I like to get out of the house. I will make myself a cup of tea and I’ll get straight out of the house and I train every single morning. I love to train. I live most of the time in Bondi Beach. I’ve walked on Bondi Iceberg. It’s a beautiful part of the world. Even in the winter, I jumped in the water every single day. In my life, in what I’ve been through and in my recovery, I learned not to allow my brain to dictate what’s right and wrong for me and I like to push it to the norm so I like to jump in cold water. Tony Robbins does the same thing. He jumps into an ice bath every single morning. A lot of people do it, but I don’t give my mind the opportunity to say, “Richie, don’t do it.” I force it so that’s a good habit. When I come back home, I pray quickly, and I get in at least ten minutes of meditation. At 8:30 in the morning, I start my day.
For the International readers, Google Bondi Beach and icebergs and you’ll see what an amazing morning that Richie has each day because it is one of the most beautiful parts of Australia, if not the world, and I miss it. I’m living in Melbourne now and I definitely miss it, the walk from Tamarama. My daughter, when she was a two, because both my kids were born in Sydney, I used to take on my backpack and walk every day. You’re blessed to be there. Great people deserve good things now.
Thank you. I also believe if you win the morning, you win the day. A lot of people talk about this. I believe that and happiness has cultivated. You have to put the right things in your day to make you happy.
You’ve talked about Hark Angel and I know that people can get more at HarkAngel.org, but give a little bit on how someone can contribute to helping young children as you’ve helped.
There are numerous things that we do. I always try to bolster up the community. If anyone has companies out there that think that they could help, I’ll give an example of some of the things that we’ve done. We joined up with an amazing organization called Bikes 4 Life, where they fix up all bicycle and they ship them over to our kids. They sent 500 bicycles and it went to children, which we have a primary school and the closest middle school is five kilometers away and they can’t get there. They can’t get to our schools and now they’re able to ride there. We are looking to do any joint ventures with people who think they can help us. I’m looking if anyone has any old laptops. There are no computer labs in the schools. They have to be working laptops. They can be old, it doesn’t matter, because I want to put computer labs.
I’ve got eight schools and computing is such a necessary thing, which they want to learn. I’ve invested about $700 for the library in the schools. If anyone wants to help out, they can do a fundraiser or hold a dinner with friends. If it’s in Sydney, I’ll come along and I’ll speak there. If anyone wants to get involved by even coming on our trip, we go in April of 2020. It’s six days that I promise will refresh your purpose and give you a whole other perspective on life. You get to see other cultures, you get to give back, you get to immerse yourself and be out of your own heads for five minutes for six days, which is a liberating feeling. It’s HarkAngel.org. You can even donate $20 if you want.
The last section is the Action section. I’m going to ask you some questions and get some rapid-fire responses. The first one is what are your top three personal effectiveness tips?
One would be I suppose is not to be scared of failing. I like to fail frequently. I have a board in my office of every time I intentionally fail, and every time I fail, I mark the board. I put where I failed and when I get to 25 fails, I buy myself a good gift. The second one is to be effective. You have to know what’s holding you back. You have to know what your internal dialogue is telling you. You have to be conscious of that. A lot of us do things and we don’t know the reasons why we do things. It says that our subconscious mind is about between 85% and 95% of why you do things. Start to know where your internal dialogue what’s going on the inside. The third one, I suppose would be what we touched on is to create habits that suit your life that would want you to achieve your goals in your life. Be conscious while you have time. You’re doing yourself a big favor if you have habits that will help you become more effective.
The next one is what’s some tech that is essential for you running your multiple businesses?
We’re using Zoom. It’s so effective in interviewing. It’s so easy these days to click a link and set up a link and you’re there. You can meet people anywhere in the world, which is amazing. When I think about tech, I think about third world countries and about some amazing tech coming out there. Digital healthcare tech, which is if someone has diabetes or being able to help so many millions of people in this next tech revolution. I’m invested in a digital health fund. The next revolution of digital health tech is going to change so many lives. I’m so excited about it. It’s crazy.
The last one is what’s your best source of new ideas?
The best source of my new ideas is I love, first of all, reading books and listening to podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts. I feel that there’s no excuse not to learn. Whatever you’re going through in your life, life is hard. Everyone’s going through something. I was looking at the statistics and 20% of Australians suffer from depression. 25% of Australians suffer from anxiety. One in ten people can’t constantly know they’re going to fall asleep without taking some form of medication or drinking alcohol. 50% of us are getting divorced, accident, illness, the death of a loved one and betrayal from someone. Life is so hard and to counter that, we need to grow as people. We need to get better as people. We need to constantly learn and get inspiration. There’s no excuse. There are podcasts and your podcast is amazing. There are so many amazing podcasts out there where you can learn constantly. I love an app called Blinkist. Have you heard of this app for your phone?
I have a bit of ADD so it’s a little bit hard for me to read long books sometimes. Even I do love reading so I’ve got to love the book, but it summarizes books for you. There’s another app called Pocket, which is for articles. Have you heard of Pocket before, Paul?
It’s fantastic. You get to see what people are reading out there and recommend things. I’m an avid reader on Pocket. Once I have all this information with me, I’m an ideas man, and I’m an execution man as well. The biggest source of my ideas is I like to sit there and manifest and let things boil within me. Once I come up with the right idea over time, I go out and I validate it by speaking to over 100 people. I slightly change it to what people I believe in and I respect to think about it and come up with what the right idea is. Being an entrepreneur, what we do is I’m able to see things from another perspective. I see an opportunity that other people don’t see or I could do things that other people are scared of doing. What the difference is a lot of people have one of those two things. They either see things, an opportunity that people don’t see, or they’re good executers. I’m conscious about doing both of those things in my life.
I’m not going to ask you the standard question here that I normally ask everyone else at the end. I’m going to ask you a different question and that’s when your parents, your mom, and your dad read this, what are they thinking about you the person that you’ve become? What’s in their mind?
First of all, they’re busy people. They’ve got nine kids and I’ve got 25 nephews and nieces. There’s a new one and she’s cute. Her name’s Mira Rose but they’re extremely busy people. Hopefully, they’ll get a chance to read this. My mom is the most amazing person to me. She’s been by my side through my ups and my downs, and my dad as well. Hopefully, they’re proud of me. My journey is just beginning. There’s so much more to do. There’s so much more business to do. I love doing motivational speaking and helping people and I can change one person’s life. I’m making a massive difference. There are so many kids out there in the world that needs our help, Hark Angel’s help. There’s one thing that I would like to say. Do you remember who introduced us?
Yes, it was Bonnie.
Bonnie Power. I was put in touch with Bonnie in November and I heard the story of his son. His name is Jack Power. Jack was tragically killed crossing the road in Melbourne. They think that he was hit by a driver that ran through a red light and Jack was ten years old crossing the road with his sister and a friend. They managed to get all the way but Jack was hit. Like all donors, Jack hit his head and was taken to hospital at ten years old. Bonnie is such a courageous woman. She’s such an amazing person. She lost the thing which she loves in her life so much more than anything and she had the courage to allow Jack to become a donor. Jack, his tissue and his organs went to 36 different people. He was a hero and that’s what Hark Angel is about.
In Hark Angel, one of the big things is the donors are heroes. The boy, which was my donor, he was an angel to me. I had to call the charity something and I called it Hark Angel. When I heard Jack’s story, I was so blown away. I decided to allow Jack to be the new Hark Angel, so school 5 through 10 is dedicated to Jack Power. We have a plaque outside every school with Jack’s story. Bonnie came, his mom, and she put up on the plaques at a school opening in April. It was an emotional but amazing experience. The thing with donors is, because they’re dead and we don’t know who they are, for the most part, you can never make them into a hero and they’re like unforgotten heroes. Part of what Hark Angel is about is celebrating who they are and bringing names to people who have become donors. Even if they’re dead, they still live on through all of us.
Bonnie is a good friend of mine. She’s an absolutely inspirational person, as you are, and everyone reading will go and make a positive change in the world based on hearing your amazing story, Richie. Most importantly, what you’re doing now. Your story is great, but if it’s left as a story, it’s not complete. I love the ability for you to have your story but also go and implement. You can find everything about Hark Angel at HarkAngel.org. It’s an absolute pleasure having you here.
Thank you. I’ll leave with one last thing, which you’ve touched on. It’s what Hark Angel is all about. You don’t have to build schools to make a difference in this world. Whoever’s reading, do one little good deed now. If it’s helping your grandma with her groceries or telling somebody you love them who needs it, you are changing the world. That’s what Hark Angel is all about. It’s one little good deed. If we all did one good deed in the world, the world would be a different place. Thank you so much, Paul. It’s always great to speak to you.
It’s the same, Richie. Thank you.
I love Richie’s energy. It was an amazing and incredible interview. It’s definitely one that I’m going to read many times. If you believe someone you know would benefit from the blog and I’m sure many would, please share it with them. Richie would love to get your feedback and appreciation by donating at HarkAngel.org. You can get the Build, Live, Give book at BuildLiveGive.com/book. If you have it and liked it, please leave a review. Please take action to build new revenue streams to fund your lifestyle and give back.
- [email protected]
- Australian Institute of Personal Trainers
- Energy Alliance
- Harkham Wines
- Hark Angel Foundation
- Richie Harkham
- Tony Robbins’ podcast – Richie Harkham’s episode
- Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can
- Bikes 4 Life
- Bonnie Power
About Richie Harkham
Richie is a serial entrepreneur who owns several businesses including Energy Alliance, the Australian College of Physical Education and Harkham Wines based in the beautiful Hunter valley.
After Richie received a life-changing knee transplant from a 14-year-old boy, he was inspired to give back in his honor and began the registered charity the ‘Hark Angel’ Foundation, which has already built 8 schools out of its mission to build 100 schools in developing nations all over the world. Richie’s near-death accident on his motorbike in 2014 saw him battle through eight operations, a knee transplant and a golden staph infection. But this is only the beginning, not the end of his story.
As a speaker, Richie combines his growth through adversity and success as an entrepreneur to capture an audience and inspire rapid change, disruption and the identification of purpose.
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