Fear of the "Un-experience"

Monday, March 2, 2015 12:17 PM

My husband and I moved to our dream home this past summer. We absolutely loved the house but one thing about the house that is a challenge is the driveway. Our driveway is steep! Steep is actually an understatement. People visiting us made many suggestions including zip lining, buying a helicopter, etc. You get the picture?

Since we moved in, we had a fear about when it snows or sleets. We lived in that fear from June through February. In February, our fear came true. Our driveway iced! It was on Tuesday and that is when our garbage pick-up is as well. My husband decided that it is business as usual and took the trash can down the driveway only to slip on the icy slope. We are lucky he did not hurt himself badly.

After this experience we realized that we feared the un-experience so much. When it actually came, here is what we learned:

1. Worrying about something that has not been experienced is much worse than the event itself. Going through the icing experience of our driveway was not as bad as we anticipated it to be. We essentially wasted 8 months worrying about it.

2. Being prepared for the event. Having salt and sand to put on the driveway and parking our cars on the street was a major help. Having food and water in the house.

3. So what? The "so what" if it snowed and we were house bound for a few days. It is not the end of the world as long as we were prepared.

Do we have the same issues in business? Are we afraid of the unknown and sometime we "freeze" as it was our case with the driveway (no pun intended here)? How scared are we in business of the "un-experience"?

As I work with many expatriates taking assignments in a different country, this "un-experience" has a huge impact on them. Attending cultural training before they go on their assignment. A country expert providing the expatriate and his or her family with insight into the new culture from a business as well as a daily living perspective gives them the skills and tools they need to be successful.

Everything I know I Learned from My Mother!

Monday, February 23, 2015 11:18 AM

One of the main misconceptions that most people have about Arab women is that they are oppressed. Sometimes it is not a question but a statement. I would like to share the example of my mother as a model for how Arab and Muslim women contribute to the world. Yes, the world!

My mom was a medical doctor and a researcher. The main reason our family moved to the U.S. was my mom. She was offered an opportunity to further her research at Southestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. Even though my mother passed away 8 years ago and before that she had Alzheimer's yet when I google her name her research and her writings come up. To me this is very remarkable. Not only did she contribute to further the medical field but she was a compassionate physician who loved and took excellent care of her patients. Her profession and commitment did not come in the way of taking care of and loving her family.

Lessons learned from my mother:

1. Love what you do! That way it would not become work but a pleasure to do it.

2. Love the people. She cared for her patients and to this day I have items that her patients made for her to thank her.

3. Don't be afraid to work hard. She did that not only at work but also at home. Her days did not stop at a certain time.

4. Never stop learning. She was always reading and keeping up with the latest medicines and procedures in her field. She just loved to learn!

5. Never give up! It is really remarkable she made a career change from being in academic medicine and research to pursuing a residency in her 40's. She always had her eye on her goal and worked very hard.

My mom's legacy continues not only with the impact she had on my sister who is a Chemistry Professor and me but also on the next generation. My nieces are so talented and strong. Each one of them is pursuing her dream and that ranges from doing an MD/Ph.D program, to being a pastry chef to working as an Engineer on the oils rigs in the Middle East to being a Student Advisor at a university to studying law to working as a Chief of Staff for a state legislator. We are so proud of the women in our family!