MUSE: Life lessons from inspirational women — Aida Sahraoui

MUSE: Life lessons from inspirational women — Aida Sahraoui
Aida Sahraoui is the founder and CEO of Dubai-based digital agency WONE. (Supplied)
Updated 01 November 2019

MUSE: Life lessons from inspirational women — Aida Sahraoui

MUSE: Life lessons from inspirational women — Aida Sahraoui

The founder and CEO of Dubai-based digital agency WONE on trust, over-delivering, and the life-changing power of ‘The Little Prince.’

Women are often perceived in a biased way. If you’re too feminine, you’ll be seen as silly, and not taken seriously. If you have a strong personality, you’ll be seen as bossy, whereas a man would be seen as “manly.” The problem is that only women really see this. The biggest challenge for women is simply having to prove that we have brains that actually work just fine, regardless of how we look or how we say things.

People may think I’m being pushy sometimes. When it comes to work, I can be very straightforward. I want the work to be great and I never take no for an answer. So maybe I am pushy — or maybe it’s the only way to obtain the desired results. We all benefit from great work, don’t we?

The best advice I’ve ever had is, “Under-promise, over-deliver.” It’s more relevant today than ever — particularly in my line of work, where, I’d say, 90 percent of agencies over-promise but under-deliver.

I’m so proud and grateful to have my own company; to have transformed a passion into something tangible, to wake up in the morning and create great work with the team for our clients, and to see my team gain independence and confidence in their work. It’s a total blast.

Trust is the foundation of any kind of bonding. When good intentions are there, you can have a lasting relationship — whether that’s a friendship or romance. And, of course, the opposite is also true. But trusting someone else can only happen if you feel confident and good about yourself. When people are jealous, or judgemental, it’s often because they have issues with themselves.

Destructive comments are not part of my life. I choose to eliminate all negativity around me. However, you can realize things about yourself when you are confronted by others, and that’s not a mean thing — it’s a constructive one. There are countless things that I’ve heard that have helped me improve, and I’m proud of it.

I think men need to learn to listen. Really listen. But I also think women can learn from men’s straightforwardness. I do believe we’re highly complementary.

A book changed my life. Ever since childhood, Saint-Exupéry’s tale, “The Little Prince” has been an inspiration. It’s such an interesting read, and it helps me keep in mind that even through the bumpiest times, there’s always the hope of encountering specific characters that will change the way you experience the moment.