x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Life lessons: Hala Fadel

Words of wisdom from the chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan-Arab region.

Hala Fadel, chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum.
Hala Fadel, chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum.

Hala Fadel chairs the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan-Arab region, which aims to promote a culture of Arab entrepreneurship. The native of Lebanon, who is married with three children, was in Dubai recently to conduct the MIT Arab Business Plan competition.

1. Follow your passion. Very often we feel we have our passion on one side and a secure job on the other, and that these are two parallel lines that will never intersect. In fact, they can meet. If you are put in the right environment with proper support and guidance, it becomes only natural to follow your passion and drop the secure, boring job. It is the only way to be really successful at what you do.

2. Work like a slave. When I was an entrepreneur it took me everything from cleaning my office floor minutes before the CEO of a client walked in, to pulling all-nighters on a Saturday evening when everybody else is partying. Get ready for an ego-less trip because if there is one thing that dies when you work like a slave, it's your ego. Embrace this as an inflated ego is worthless.

3. Command like a king. Following your passion requires leadership skills and the knowledge that there is little we can achieve alone. Engaging a team and motivating people to work with you requires as much leadership as a king should have during war times.

4. Create like a god. In today's world, everything is open to competition. The day you think of a new idea someone else is working on it. As the author Thomas Friedman puts it: "The world is flat!" There is no place to hide. So we really need to create like gods from day one. And once we have created a business and fly solo, what a feeling of achievement, pride and freedom this brings.

5. Say "Thank you". Chances are you would not have achieved what you have without help. So make sure you thank all the people who helped you. The words "thank you" contain some great positive energy that motivates people to continue helping others so that it becomes part of everyone's culture.


As told to Jemma Nicholls