“The 10 big rules I live by”
Design star, restaurateur, CEO of the LIFE Group of Companies, and GLAMOUR Women of the Year winner, Maira Koutsoudakis is our dream mentor. Listen up!
brains, beauty, creative vision and organisational skills, award-winning entrepeneur Maira Koutsoudakis has it all – with crazy-good style for good measure. So it’s no surprise that her career is equally wideranging, starting with studies in interior design, history of art and literature and expanding to include corporate innovation and strategic design.
The daughter of a single mother, Demitra Tsouroulis, who ran a catering business to support her family. Maira and her husband John launched the LIFE Group of Companies in 1999, and what began as a coffee shop in Sandton, now includes seven and Life Interiors Architecture Strategic Design, which works with luxe lodges, corporates and private homes around the world.
When she’s not honing her empire, Maira is out and about, doing yoga or
happily at home with her husband and children, Demi, 10, and Max, eight. What keeps her going and inspired? These 10 awesome beliefs.
Good is the enemy of great
Do something brilliantly, or not at all! Excellence is a behaviour to adopt and practise until it becomes a habit.
Growing other people buys freedom for you
I employ 520 people and I love seeing them flourish. There’s great satisfaction in being able to make a positive impact and allowing myself the freedom to grow at the same time.
Happiness is the prize, so if you aren’t enjoying your life, success is worthless! Ideally, your work life should be enjoyable and not feel like work, and for me this has meant choosing projects where the location, client or brief are stimulating and result in professional and personal growth.
Hone your skills
Talent is a refined skill; the more you work at it, the sharper and more instinctual decisions become.
Become a Ganesh
Whenever I have a new venture to consider I think about how it will stretch me and affect my commitments. If it will benefit these, I emulate the Indian god Ganesh and just ‘grow another arm’ – the uniquely female multitasking talent we use to grow the resources we need!
Know the flow
There are moments of doing what I love when I feel energy and flow coursing through my veins: the feeling of being truly alive and just where I’m meant to be. Strive for this feeling and know what inspires it in you.
You can’t leapfrog to success
Call me old school, but I believe in building strong foundations, studying to acquire deep knowledge and doing those 10 000 hours to achieve mastery.
You are not alone
I believe God is with us in life, in love and, yes, even in business! So go forth in faith.
Go in prepared to go out
Enter business negotiations knowing where you’ll negotiate and what you’re prepared to concede. And be prepared to walk out if your principles, plans or passions are compromised beyond that.
Grow your energy
Relentless work and excellent delivery, like meeting deadlines and following briefs, are my litmus tests for success on projects. Great energy brings tenacity, temerity and will get you everywhere, so cultivate it!