Mi Amor

Posted: March 3, 2013 by Ray Attiyah in Innovation, Leadership, People, Startup

ray attiyah“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

— Dale Carnegie

Shortly after my wife and I began dating, she took a trip to Costa Rica. After a few days of missing her, I decided to call her, and practice my Spanish. Someone answered, “Hola!”  I responded (in my best Spanish,“Mi nombre Ramon.” The confused party responded “Que?” The silence seemed like it lasted for eons. Finally, my wife-to-be answered cracking up. The person who answered the phone told her I asked for “mi amor,” my love.

The word “amor” derives from the Latin root for the word “amateur.” Amateurs, of course, are typically contrasted with professionals, especially in terms where professionals do their work for a business while amateurs do it simply for the love, the amor.

As I’m writing, it’s 8:28 p.m. on Superbowl Sunday. While everyone else watched the big game, I didn’t even know the score. I had just finished meeting a friend who no longer wants to work for a large corporation to fuel his future. So I asked him, “Why do you want to start your own business?” He said he wants to manage his own destiny, be his own boss, and build something for his kids to eventually join. He believed the excitement of starting something new and controlling his own future would outweigh all the risk that a startup entails.

As we talked about his new enterprise, I shared with him Ray’s three P’s to starting a new venture:

  • Passion
  • People
  • Purpose

Passion. Do something you love.

Starting a new business is hard work, and if you are going to make it through the trials and tribulations, you better love it. And when I say “love it,” I mean that you should have done this for no money before. This is a hobby for which you are now getting paid. The truly passionate people do not see it as work. They see it as the medium that satisfies their life’s desires.

People. Only work with people who you trust, respect, and from which you can learn.

Working for yourself has many challenges, but the one luxury is that you can pick your own team. You should not feel pressured to work with everyone! When I started working for myself, I wanted to work for people who inspired me and with whom I could trust at a very high-level. I also approached (and still do) hiring the same way. I don’t want employees who will just  follow orders. They should be partners who can work with me, and from whom I can learn;  people who will make me better; people who will challenge me.  And I have to work with people I can trust and have unquestionable confidence in their abilities.  Nothing kills your passion more quickly than working with people you don’t trust.  You start becoming the corporate business you worked so hard to avoid.

Purpose. Do something great.

When starting a business, you need to know that you make a real difference. I began my business with the purpose of transforming manufacturing companies, making them innovative and growth-oriented. “Why manufacturing?” Because the industry was declining and in need of transformation. My destiny:  help manufacturers reinvent themselves, so that front line employees could be empowered, so that managers could focus on innovation and growth.

The road to being your own boss is daunting, which makes it more desirable for most, like me. If you are going to do it, make sure you have PASSION, great love, for what you do, with PEOPLE you admire, aiming for a grand PURPOSE.  Have your children look at you and say “he’s always happy” … and still in love with his work and his wife. So, thank you mi amor for your loving support when everyone else said I was (or still am) crazy.

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