I usually look at my life in terms of peaks – a peak can be a high, but it may also be a low. Personal crises should not be wasted. A lot of good may come out of such a crisis. I speak out of personal experience. When I think back on the first 42 years of my life, certain events stand out more than others. Some of the events are so sad that they have forever put their mark on me, others so positive that they have shaped me and my values in the right way.
When I was in the United States, studying at Harvard Kennedy University, my professor Bill George (the author of the “True North”) asked me to draw my life. Draw it as a heart rhythm. A long line shaped like the rhythm of the heart. You begin with year 0 (when you were born) and continue up until today. Let your hand draw the »rhythm« and put some words on your peaks. Create a summary of your whole life and the events that have left a permanent mark on you. When you draw your life this way, you get a really good overview, and you actually have a strategic tool in your hands, which allows you to ask yourself the question: Where am I from, and where am I going?
My basic rules for a good life are as follows:
Your life story shapes you for better and for worse – take ownership of it and be proud of who you are. I’m a working-class girl, and I am really proud of that. Seeing yourself as a victim doesn’t take you anywhere.
- Take advantage of even the smallest and most fragile talent that you have and make it a career.
- You can always change your destiny.
- You CAN reprogram your brain to be more optimistic and ready for change, to get rid of demons and abuse, and to learn new skills.
- Understand your own horizons – are you living mostly in the past, the present or the future? Bet on the future.
- Be happy that your past isn’t coming back. For example, your childhood is over. All people are somehow messed up. Your life may well have been hard, but move on!
- You may wish – but you have to act – nothing comes out of just wishing.
- If you keep doing what you do now, the results – or the lack thereof – will continue as well.
- If you are unhappy with your life, do something else.
- Even small changes can make miracles.
- If you want to change something about your life, you have to do it yourself (nobody will come and save you).
If I had listened to all the criticism and read the statistics, I would never have made it to where I am today.
As a brown woman growing up in Scandinavia, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t need a lot of chances, I just need a few people, who dare to give me a chance. And if they’re not there, I just create it myself. And I can tell the difference between a good and a real chance, and that takes me a long way. Apart from my companies, I am just so proud about how many people I motivate every single day, through TV, my books, on the radio, at courses, master classes and through my lectures, to take responsibility for their own life and their work life into their own hands.
Hundreds of people shed their fears every year, and they become independent, they quit their jobs or take on a new or better position, they get higher wages, travel the world, write a book, make a movie, start singing or something completely different, because I help them do it. In these times, we need the light and the hope and the future. And you can create it. I am who I am today, because of the few who never gave up hope.
And remember, you can go out and spread love and hope as well.
Soulaima Gourani is a seasoned global business woman, corporate counselor and author. At the age of twenty-eight, Soulaima Gourani received recognition as one of Denmark’s brightest business women when she received the prestigious Rising Star award and the Talent 2004 award. She exploits her vast knowledge and experience as an adviser and speaker for some of the world’s most innovative companies, when they seek inspiration and motivation. Read her interview on LadyBossBlogger here.
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