How Richard Branson Touched My Life.

Yesterday I managed to get myself into the du CEO forum to hear Richard Branson speak! I’m pretty sure people were looking at me funny, wondering what on earth I was doing there because I was obviously NOT a CEO… they probably thought I was a “social media winner” or was on the hunt for a rich CEO husband or something but no – I actually used wasta* for the first time to get in there (wasta meaning begging my friend who was organizing the event).

I have a confession – I have not read any of Sir Richard’s books…but after last night, I definitely want to read them and even make notes about some of the truly inspiring things he has to say. He not only has a great business mind, but from a few comments here and there, I realized that he could also be a great source for life lessons and providing ways to be a better human being.

One of the things I loved most about hearing him speak yesterday was seeing that he’s taken the successful business model that has served him so well in each of his ventures and has been applying the skills and resources from them towards making the world a better place.

If you ever get the chance to hear him speak live, I highly recommended it, but until then, here are some key points that stuck with me after yesterday’s experience:

– Creating a great business is about finding something you LIKE and turning it into capital.
– A company is nothing without the PEOPLE behind it – motivate them and encourage innovation by being a ‘YES’ type of boss, giving people room to make mistakes without reprimanding them and using positive reinforcement. “People do not flourish if they’re not praised.”
– There’s no point starting a business unless you can do what you do BETTER than the others in your sector.
– The secret to success is not to look for the ‘cheapest way’ to do something, but the ‘most AMAZING’ way to do it.

And finally, the point that struck a chord with me and made me look at Sir Richard Branson as not just a great man, but a beautiful soul: his emphasis on the importance of forgiveness. He pushed the idea of forgiving, letting go of conflict and ensuring that you have no bad blood with anyone in your life – whether it be an ex-spouse, business contact, friend, child, parent – whatever – forgive and clear your heart. That advice was not only inspiring, but enlightening.

People like this are the people who inspire change in this world. That’s how we will save it.

richard branson ceo

*for a general idea of what “wasta” is, find it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasta

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A True Legend.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
Bob Marley

From the first time I heard the off-beat drums and guitar riffs of reggae music, I’ve loved it.

There’s just something about the vibe of the music that makes you feel like your soul is being transported to a happy place.

But Bob Marley’s music is something more than that. It’s not just the combination of the instruments and voices and beat that makes you wanna dance – it’s the depth and meaning of his songs that gets me.

I watched the movie “Marley” this week – it’s a documentary-style film based on the life, music and legacy of Bob Marley.  If you thought his music was inspirational before seeing this movie, I think you will be even more moved after you watch it.

Ever since I watched the film 2 days ago, I haven’t been able to get Bob Marley music out of my head. I’ve listened to my “BOB” CD about 37.5 times. I made it years ago with all the big Bob songs: Could You Be Loved, Waiting in Vain, No Woman No Cry, One Love, Exodus, Three Little Birds, Jammin’ and more. I’ve been trying to pick a favourite out of them – but it’s near impossible.

Now that I’ve seen the movie, I’m noticing, understanding and being moved by the music on a completely different level.

The movie exposed Bob Marley’s passion for music and love for humanity in a way that I hadn’t really understood before. It showed how simple Bob’s life philosophy was and how he used his music to communicate with and inspire the people. It was all about the people for him. One Love.

The movie is filled with stories and anecdotes from people who had been around him in various stages of his life. It’s got plenty of footage of Bob himself and shares the raw truth of the emotions that he stirred within his loved ones. You can see it on their faces and hear it in their voices as they think back to the time when he brought hope and sunshine into their lives. You can see how much people respected and admired him. He was a good man. He was a generous man. He was a man who lived his life by following his heart. That inspires me.

All of these things play on my mind when I’m listening to his songs now. The lyrics speak to me in a way that makes me feel empowered – like I can stand up for what I believe in, like I am free, like I am filled with love.

Bob Marley believed that LOVE was the answer.

If only he were alive today to help spread that belief throughout our world…maybe it would be a better place to live in.

A True Legend.

“My music will go on forever. Maybe it’s a fool say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. My music will go on forever.”
Bob Marley

Perspective.

Life is all about perspective.

Something that seems awful and terrible at a particular point in time can all of a sudden feel “not so bad”.

Earlier this week I was supposed to MC for ComedyDubai’s Get Up Stand Up event at the Pavillion. We advertised it, I rehearsed with them, I spent all day preparing and had made a commitment to be there.

I left my house early to get there because I was SO worried about making it on time, and ended up getting stuck in traffic on Emirates Rd for 2.5 hours because of a crash.

I missed the ENTIRE event.

I was SO upset… if I’m honest, I really acted like a child and almost cried from frustration and then sulked for hours after.

But then – everything was put into perspective.

I was complaining to my friend Tati, and she said “I understand your frustration, and it really sucks that you missed your event, but look at it this way: if it was a really bad accident then you may have missed your event, but there’s a family out there who is now missing a person.”

With that, I said a prayer for whoever was involved in the crash.

That totally changed my perspective.

The Feeling of Gratitude

You know those days when you just wake up in the morning and your heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for everything in your life?

That’s how I felt this morning.

It’s often easy to get bogged down and into a slump with all the responsibilities, bills, errands, broken hearts, work and overall pressure to make ends meet, but sometimes we just have to stop and take a deep breath and say “Alhamdullilah”.

Be thankful for the little things. For me, this weekend was filled with laughter and love from my wonderful friends, great music, beautiful weather. But there are so many more things that we just take for granted every day.

This thought reminded me of a song by Destiny’s Child that came out ages ago – like way back when I was in high school. The words are inspiring. Something to reflect upon.  Have a look:

I woke up this morning
The sunshine was shining
I put on my happy face
I’m living, I’m able
I’m breathing, I’m grateful
To put on my happy face

Woke up and realized
This world’s not so bad after all
Looked at it through a child’s eyes
And I saw these beautiful
Things that you never think about
Like the ocean, moonlight, stars and clouds
It’s amazing how we don’t
Appreciate our blessings

There’s plenty of people who don’t like me
But there’s ten times more who love me
And I love myself
Sometimes, it gets tough, it gets tough
But I can’t give up, can’t give up
Just take a deep breath, close my eyes
Feel the love and give a smile

It’s me, and I just wanna be happy
Uh, just be happy, uh, just be happy
Today is the day, I am willing to say
I will put all the past behind me, no more enemies
Ready ’cause, I’m living in this world
I wanna make a change, I’m gonna make a change
Put on my happy face

So put on your HAPPY FACE today and approach the world with a smile.

Somehow, a simple thing like that can make everything better.