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Article: Strong Voice Interview #38: Mona Ghazi

Strong Voice Interview #38: Mona Ghazi

In this Strong Voice interview, we delve into the entrepreneurial journey of a remarkable young inventor who turned her childhood passion for creating into a successful career. She shares her key learnings, strategies for balancing multiple projects, and practical tips for enhancing productivity and reducing stress in a demanding entrepreneurial landscape.

"Fall in love with the customer or the problem, not the solution. I need to enjoy working with whom I work; otherwise, I won’t last long."
Mona Ghazi

 Mona Ghazi

Photo: Lina Retzlaff

Not every teenager thinks about starting a business. You did. Was there a key moment that sparked this interest?

Yes, that’s always a good question. I’ve always been interested in inventing things. I loved creating new things and discovering a variety of stuff. At some point in kindergarten, the question arose: What do you want to be when you grow up? The more I built things, the more I realized I wanted to be an inventor. Then came the question: Can I actually make money with this? Someone explained to me that inventors who have business acumen are entrepreneurs. So, there wasn’t a specific key moment. It was more like football players who have always wanted to play football. Basically, it doesn’t matter to me in which field I do it. However, the following criteria are important to me: I solve a big, relevant problem. I can solve this problem for many people. I have a passion for it.

Three things you have learned over the years as an entrepreneur?

One of the biggest learnings is: “Be the moderator of your own thoughts.” Quite often, you have so many inner voices – everyone does, really. In entrepreneurship, this happens quite frequently because you’re constantly faced with things outside your comfort zone. "Be the moderator of your thoughts" helps me say, "Okay, I hear the voices, but that’s still not me." Basically, it’s another word for good awareness and self-reflection. For me, this is one of the most important skills.

The second is to learn quickly. For this, I seek out a mentor or someone who is already where I want to be. I get the quick wins from this person. So, how can I reach my goal the fastest? This applies regardless of what I’m doing. A good example is my third company. I know that the most important thing in a business is actually marketing and sales. The product doesn’t even have to be finished. So, I worked with a journalist from the start who wrote the pitch for me. I knew it would take me far too long to write the pitch myself. And the third point is: Fall in love with the customer or the problem, not the solution. I need to enjoy working with whom I work; otherwise, I won’t last long. Well, I can last a long time, but I’ll probably break down. Living authentically is only possible if you do something that you enjoy.

You have already founded and successfully sold companies - what's next?

Yes, it’s an exciting phase right now. I am putting together a team, and we are building a group coaching program for workaholic female entrepreneurs who have relaxation issues and want to learn how to relax without feeling guilty.

Can you share a concrete hack that can be immediately integrated into everyday life to increase performance and minimize stress?

There are very few real quick fixes. It would probably be too easy otherwise, and you wouldn’t need to work with a coach. However, journaling is a good way that can fit into even a busy schedule. The following questions can be a good start:

  • How am I feeling right now?
  • What am I feeling right now?
  • Why am I feeling that way right now?
  • What am I afraid of?
  • What am I afraid is going to happen?
  • When was the first time I remember feeling this way?
  • What did I make that mean about myself and/or the world?
  • What do I need right now?
  • How do I feel about meeting my own needs?
  • What new truths and understandings are available to me right now?
  • You currently work “only” about 5-6 hours a day, yet you are a successful entrepreneur, author, starting your PhD, and more. My honest question: How do you manage it?

    It all starts with a decision: the decision that I don’t want to work longer than this time.

    I am also the type of person who likes to engage in many different topics. I know there are people who love to focus on one thing, and I prefer several. This means it’s not easily generalizable. I manage my calendar similarly to my bank account, and I handle it in much the same way. I have a specific budget for opportunities, such as this interview, which I count in the category of Public Relations, for which I have about two hours a week. To help other people, such as free coaching, mentoring projects, lectures at schools, I have about 4 hours a week. Then there is, of course, time for my PhD, which I consider continuing education. It’s not about the degree at the end, but about deepening my knowledge, learning something. Finally, there’s also a budget for the activities that currently earn me the most money, such as coaching, strategy sessions, and keynotes, for which I’ve allocated about 15 hours a week.

    And all the other activities also contribute to these goals. I make sure that the various projects I have all play on the same theme. The mentoring I do, my PhD, the coaching, the keynotes – otherwise, it probably wouldn’t work so well. I can’t simultaneously make energy drinks, write books, study philosophy, and so on. I believe my hack is that there is simply a very strong red thread running through everything I do during the week, always related to the topic of the subconscious, beliefs, and attitudes. This makes it easier for me as I don’t have to switch contexts so much. This is what costs many people a lot of energy in their daily work – constantly switching between tasks. The brain needs time to adjust to the new task each time.

    If someone wants to start with neuro-hacking now, how should they go about it? Are there specific books, routines, podcasts?

    A quick tip for the calendar is: Think about what your ideal calendar looks like. It can be utopian at first. Think about when you would ideally get up, when your first meeting would start, etc. And most of the time, it is actually within your control. There are often weekly meetings you have to attend, but you can also communicate your boundaries – for example, preferring the afternoon to the morning. Meetings are the main productivity and energy killer in a week. The reason people agree to meetings that are sometimes unnecessary and draining is because they fear disappointing someone if they don’t accept the appointment right away, or because the other person might think badly of them. This is especially common among women. You can work on this with a coach like me or with other coaches. At the beginning, you can also work on resolving and redefining beliefs. Understanding what the fear behind it is and where it actually comes from, and then learning to communicate it politely – that’s usually the easiest hack. "I’m happy to have a meeting, but first, send me an agenda; second, think about whether I can delegate it or handle it in writing? So, do I need to meet the person? And third, if the meeting happens, do I feel more like having it in the afternoon or the morning, or do I want a whole day without meetings in a week?" For example, Wednesday is always a good day because many, especially introverted people, can recharge their energy.

    ABOUT MONA GHAZI:

    Mona Ghazi is an innovative entrepreneur who has always been interested in inventing and building something that helps society. From a young age, she knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur. At 14, she began studying business administration, founded her first company at 16, and earned a second bachelor's degree in computer science at 17. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Neuro-Entrepreneurship, researching how high performers can integrate mindfulness into their daily lives. She founded the Neuropreneur Institute to help high performers achieve their best with less stress. For her outstanding entrepreneurial achievements, she was recognized as a Top-20-under-20 founder and Newcomer of the Year at the German Startup Awards.

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