“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!

Glamour (South Africa) - - Work / Lessons learnt -

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.

En­joy life!

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!

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