I’ve found my inner entrepreneur

Soraya Khan, Managing Director, violinist and lawyer

I spent years in training to become a professional musician. I then spent several more in training to become a commercial litigator. Through practicing as a lawyer, I discovered marketing and moved into that space, working for high net worth clients across the Middle East.

On paper, I’ve always looked pretty good, but in truth I always felt like I was in the wrong story.  Looking back, I was trying to logically push myself to excel within frameworks which had been defined for me by other people.  I was told that focus and discipline were the answer to everything.  ‘You must try HARDER’ I said to myself over and over again.  I was pretty good at it, but not content with myself for doing it.

It’s agony being a high achiever if you feel you are achieving what your spirit believes are the wrong things. Climbing to the top of a career ladder is really no fun when you realise that the ladder has been up against the wrong wall the whole time.

Design thinking gave me the confidence to climb down the ladder and find the right path for me.

Around 80% of decision making is emotional. The Design Thinking process gave me the courage to stop relying solely on “logic” to make my decisions: Suddenly I had permission to put the emotion back into my decision-making. That profound shift in behaviour led me to realise that I have a business ambition, not a career ambition.  What I really want is to combine creativity with people skills and planning skills, so I can fulfil my desire of building a learning space that really means something to people.   I would like to be successful.  I want to enjoy trying harder, not because I have to, but because I want to.  That is not something I have to apologise for.

It’s quite a revelation to realise you don’t have to be miserable to put food on the table. I can achieve great things and grow as a person – and support my family at the same time – because I have found the right career path for myself at last. Design Thinking helped me be brave enough to get out of my comfort zone and find my true fit.

Who knew there was such a thing?  They should teach it at school.  (Oh, perhaps that’s what I do now! 😉 I look forward to meeting you on one of our events!)

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Applied Design Thinking

The Inch Hotel

10-12 February 2021

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