Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Turban Thinker Thoughts. This is where I share my own personal perspective on matters that are relevant and really important to me. Today the subject that I’ve chosen to talk about is, who is the Turban Thinker?
Now, I’m not talking about Asil Attar, the fashion retail brand expert or the businesswoman or in fact the CEO, I’m actually talking about the Turban Thinker.
So I recently posted on my new Insta page a section called People Always Ask. I wanted to share the answers to the many questions that I get asked and have been asked over the years. The first one that I chose was, is it true you have seven heads? And my reply, I don’t know which one of my heads are you asking? I then went on to describe that for many years, the people that I worked with, and for, have often wondered if I truly have seven heads hiding under my turbans. Because of the freakish ability that I have to make informed, constructive, immediate decisions, or take quick actions or have a strong financial and creative stance. And definitely because I have a strategic mind, along with the multitasking that I do and the insane speed in which I do it.
Now I’m really proud, of course, of all of these abilities. And it seems over the years, bizarrely, the speed and thought has just become quicker and sharper. And in the same time, this has also been really challenging for me and definitely for those people around me trying to keep up, trying to understand how I can go between 10 different meetings a day with different department functions, able to absorb, react, find immediate solutions, but constantly keeping a strategic outlook.
Sometimes I to find it really difficult to explain and I don’t understand, neither can I control this, even though as I get older, I’m really trying to manage it. And whilst I joke about it, actually, it’s something that’s really challenging for me to manage and definitely for those around me, whether it’s personal or business. For years I’ve survived on two to three hours of sleep and I get so exhausted that every couple of weeks I absolutely crash. My teams have always joked, oh my God, you’re the speed that you are with no sleep. What are you like when you do? And then they regret this because the day I actually do rest are like, oh my God, is going to be crazy because you’re going to be working a trillion times faster than the usual pace.
So who is the Turban Thinker? Why am I sharing this with you? And why do I have these seven colours in the word Thinker?
Well, the turban thinker is my alter ego and I created it to enable myself to go out in public and do what I do. And those who know me, know that I’m incredibly private. I’m an introvert, extrovert. I’m a Mad Hatter, a compulsive obsessive, definitely a nomad. And whilst people assume that I’m a social butterfly when they meet me, because of the nature of the business that I’m in and how I portray myself, because I do motivational talks and speaking engagements, they always assume that I’m outwardly. But in fact, I’m quite the opposite.
When I leave work, which is typically a 16 hour day, I usually disappear if I’m in Dubai right into the middle of the desert where I choose to live, the furthest point outside, surrounded by nothing. When I’m not in Dubai. I’m definitely then in the countryside again, surrounded by nothing. The Turban Thinker, in fact, allows me to be the other me. Now let’s talk about the seven colours, because they all represent the seven different traits, my strengths and the passions that I have.
So black, for example, represents my corporate side, the business side, the Steve Jobs part of me, the focus strategic visionary side. And then pink. Well, pink is the woman empowerment part of me, because I’m really proud to be the ambassador for women all over the world, to be confident and to really, really encourage them that they, too, can achieve and be anything that they want to be if they work hard and have the desire to follow their dreams. It’s also my compassionate side, my ability to lead with empathy and emotionally engage everybody around me.
Yellow is my mission to inspire and leave a legacy. And those of you who know me know that that’s a desperate desire for me to transfer as much of my learnings and my knowledge through my talks, through my masterclasses, through the podcasts that I do. And also, through the different projects that I’m involved in. Green is my passion for social responsibility for protecting this planet, supporting charities, using my skills to create impact and make a difference wherever I can.
Coral is my creative side, the artistic side, the design lead or brand led the fashion savvy side. It’s also my obsessive compulsive one. It’s also my perfectionist side and the energetic Mad Hatter in me. Blue, of course, is the calming side, which represents my faith, my strong belief that guides me and is absolutely the base for every single decision and action that I take every day in my life. And lastly, purple, this represents my deep respect for humanity, my ethics, dignity, the values which I represent, and definitely the entrepreneurial, independent side of me.
So while I’ve managed to sort of capture and represent these traits and introduce them to you, I still have to manage and juggle them. Now, imagine for a minute working both left and right side of your mind constantly. And then these actual verticals are always competing with each other for my thoughts and for the priority.
Let me tell you, that is not easy. As a matter of fact, it’s exhaustive and really mentally challenging, especially because they all work at the same pace together all of the time. I’m sharing this with you because many of you have asked me to talk about mental health, because this is incredibly important subject and one that I’m really happy for the last few years has come out to the forefront. But I chose to address it from my own personal perspective.
Because the mind is extremely powerful and also extremely vulnerable. It’s something that I’ve learned that is almost impossible to control, and because, believe me, I really try, and I continue to try every day. And now with the added pressure of the environment that we’re facing with COVID, that’s put an additional strain on everyone’s mental health. And of course, I can’t imagine those who’ve already been vulnerable in the past and how they’re dealing with it. But in the past, I’ve always hidden my OCD or I try to contain my rapid thinking or the pace in which I work, and I’ve also put everyone sort of in the forefront and before me.
But I’ve learned that this almost uncontrollable ability that I have is, in fact who I am, and I’m not going to be embarrassed to talk about the pressure of having a mind like this or the madness that it drives me or the OCD that really challenges me, or juggling this creative and commercial thinking constantly. And I’ve learned over the years that being a hybrid is really what makes me unique. And this has been a key ingredient to the success or the accomplishments that I’ve had.
And it’s really those around me that have to learn to understand who I am, not just me trying to rationalize or accommodate them. And basically, it’s also taught me that together both sides have to sort of understand how to work with each other and most importantly, that I have to share who I am and explain to people because it is overwhelming. People do not understand how I do all the different things that go on in my mind.
And like I said, for me, it is an exhaustive situation and I really try to manage it. And really, the most important message I’m trying to tell you and for everyone, is that you have to feel that you can express and share your feelings no matter what. You have to vent your frustrations and you have to be totally open about the things that are constantly challenging you and that are in your mind.
There’s always, always somebody out there that’s going to be willing to listen, and it’s really interesting because I was thinking of this age old saying the other day that says, keep your thoughts to yourself. Well, I’m totally in disagreement to this. I believe that you have to share your thoughts. You can’t keep them inside, whatever they may be, because when you do that burden that you have, trust me, will be lifted. And sometimes sharing them with people that are least close to you might be a way. Because often the main reason why we don’t share what’s going on in our mind is because of the fear of being judged or the pride or some other factors that keep us from really being open.
And on the other hand, your closest ones are also those that care for you the most. So whatever you decide, you have to find someone, anyone and pour your heart out to them, because believe me, they will listen. They always do. Until next time. See you soon.