I was both curious and confused first time I connected with her. To me, her simple, open attitude and communication style didn’t match my expected image of a sharp, assertive serial entrepreneur with her experience and track record and all the fights and hurts that I would expect to come with them.
Probably this curiosity and confusion conveyed my own struggle to understand and practice the right balance between completely letting go of our past experiences and reflecting digested lessons on our present character, attitude and expectations.
Believing that keeping it real, and avoiding past pitfalls would require us to keep something from the past, you know, a genuine scratch here and there, a sharp eye contact, a reminder that we had been through hell and back a few times already.
I’m sure you already know that life is quite tough, and you probably also know that the world of starting and growing your own business is much more tough, critical wounds don’t come from the natural turning of events, it’s the hurts of human-induced betrayal that stays for years and often shape the next chapter if not the remaining story of our lives.
If you hadn’t been used by your honest mentors, betrayed by your trusted confidants and back-stabbed by your team mates, then you’ll probably hardly relate to the wrinkles of our hearts and the psychological energy it consumes to recover from these incidents.
Some people lead very “stable” lives, and pride themselves of record free of any heart wrinkles or betrayals and they have our respect for their choices, though, once you decide to risk and venture into the unknown, the unsure and the unstable, you’ll have to encounter all these experiences.
So far, to me, Riham Abu Elinin seemed to be an exception, she maintained a wide smile, open communication and almost childish fresh spirit in whatever comes in.
I would have never left that without investigating.
Like I always enjoy to do, mixing my own curiosity and drive to learn with the need to communicate stories of Egyptian entrepreneurs to the world, I requested an interview for Egypreneur’s Survival Guide.
Growing up pampered by her father, a self-made entrepreneur who started with nothing and made it big in the world of media and advertising, Riham Abu Elinin lost her father to an accident at the tender age of 17, her mother was left with five siblings and no income.
It was time for her to face the world on her own, while still being an undergraduate student of Fine Arts, she started a career in Graphic Design, Arts and Training and started growing a thick skin, making her way in a tough world for ambitious young ladies.
With a liquidity event of her father’s past companies, finally she was able to seed her first venture into petrochemical sector, with the challenge and excitement of setting up something new, acquiring new experiences and finding innovative ideas and solutions to what kept everyone else in the industry challenged.
The young lady’s ambition, drive and ability to navigate her way in the industry with much success, yielded the usual result of being considered a threat to powerful, connected individuals, who used their influence to block her progress and the power struggles, landed her into the back of police arrest car (Known as Box), handcuffs on and some detention time.
Though, even the handcuffs, shaking of the back of a police truck and direct threats in detention didn’t stop her, a patterns of resilience I have witnessed with successful entrepreneurs.
Though, when the enemy fails to get to you, it’s often those who you expect their betrayal the least are the ones who deliver you, betrayed by her partners, Riham were stripped out of a company she started and her rebellious entrepreneurial journey seems to have reached an end.
As I hear the story, I could feel memories of similar betrayals excelling in my mind. When your walls are not collapsing and it’s your confidants who deliver your flesh to the enemy, this is a point in time when you guarantee that your ideas, character and attitudes will be different.
Despite the terrible experience, being stripped off the success she created and betrayed by some of the closest, Riham Abu Elinin proceeded to found 4 companies not only that but these terrible experiences and tough times didn’t change her attitude or the way she welcomes every new morning.
Realizing that Riham’s experience was actually tougher than most entrepreneurs, next step was to understand and analyze, how does this work? How can you let go of similar experiences and move on without anyone realizing what you had to go through.
I have listened to probably tens of hours of advice, speeches and philosophies on letting go of past hurts, but seeing a living example was more inspiring to pursue the same route.
Don’t let whatever happen to you change who you are.
If you are still polluted by stories of the past, you won’t be ready for new opportunities and blessings coming your way.
Wash your face every morning and take off, the hurts, the pains and the betrayals of the past. Facing the world fresh as if it’s the first day of your life.
Egyptian culture and popular songs almost glorifies the idea of being betrayed and what the world has done to you, you probably hear is as frequent as I do, that it almost becoming an excuse to bad attitude, gloomy face and unproductive life.
There is no glory in letting the world know that you have suffered or that you are suffering, refuse to give the world anything but a fresh smile and glowing face.
In every morning, while washing your face, make sure it gets to your heart and mind, that what happened yesterday and the day after is gone. And it’s not an excuse for you to be unhappy, unproductive or to spread that among those you get in contact with.
Riham Abu Elinin also wrote:
Turn your face to the sun and all your shadows will fall behind … Good morning universe …I am watching one of your sunrises..
For inspiration, you might turn back to some decent music:
Hamza Namira – Kollo Bey’addi:
Hassan El Shafei ft. Abla Fahita:
Hamza Namira – Hansa:
Digested lessons and step by step process to recover from the dusty, hurtful world of business will be featured in section 4: Leadership and dealing with people at Egypreneur’s Survival Guide. Request an interview to share your experience with fellow entrepreneurs.