I first met Wael seven months ago, when we both started our new roles in Vevey at the same time. From the moment I met him I was really inspired by how genuine, open and kind he was as a person. He knew I was new to Switzerland and in the first couple of days, gave me a book to help me understand Swiss life and culture more, to help me settle in. It’s this kind of instant thoughtfulness, consideration and also humour that makes it always a pleasure to spend time talking to Wael.
His passion for wildlife, nature and respecting the environment is infectious. He is a man of words, but also action, which is always positive to see. By leading by example, he is inspiring many others to make important changes which will no doubt have a lasting impact. For example, I have never seen him drinking out of anything but his reusable coffee and water bottles.
Wael loves to travel, and I am always keen to hear where he is visiting next as he’s got some great stories. Plus, you can guarantee wherever he is, he always finds and shares the best foodie spots and things to eat along the way. Something I value very highly and appreciate a lot!
Finally, I have a lot of respect for Wael as although he works incredibly hard, has a daily long commute, and travels often, he manages to make heaps of time for those who matter most to him, his family and close friends. He shows me that if you really do know what your priorities are, you will always make time for them and nothing else will really be a barrier.
He is genuine, smart, and because of his priorities has lived such a full and interesting life. His career has spanned across many countries, companies and fields, so he’s definitely a good one to go to for learning to stretch and develop yourself. I think we can all learn a lot from Wael, and his infectious positive attitude.
As he says, positivity attracts positivity!
So here are his answers to my twelve questions:
What makes you happy?
This is an interesting one because there are things we know which make us happy, however in reality, it is not always that thing, instead it is the context in which it happens which makes us happy.
My daughter makes me happy, which is incredibly true, but there are certain times when parenting is hard. I love it when my daughter says my name, she says papa, I have found a new level of happiness with something so simple.
In addition to this, interactions with people which are genuine are really important to me and make me truly happy. Increasingly the pressures from our work, society and families and friends have boxed us into ways of interacting so people act and talk in a very non-personal way and often we end up acting like someone else, like the situation dictates. I just instead love it when people are real and genuine at all times.
Of course, good food makes me happy, especially my mum’s authentic cuisine!
Lastly, I am a huge wildlife and nature person, being around wildlife in any form makes me super happy. Just being outside, in nature, has an amazing instant uplifting effect.
What book had the biggest impact on your life?
It’s an adventure story about Canadian kid who survives a plane crash, and lives in the wilderness. All he had was a hatchet. I read it at a young age and I took a few principles from it, mainly being that the impossible is actually possible, and when everything is against you, there is always hope.
What quote, or saying, do you live by?
So this year we travelled to the Seychelles with my dad for his 60th birthday. In the run up, we were planning his present. We gave him a book with sixty letters from sixty friends and it was filled with photos and so many quotes!
So we printed some of his best saying and quotes, and wore them on t-shirts during the week. He is a man full of quotes and because of that I can’t live by any quote as so many are relevant.
However if I had to pick one, I started a website when I was younger and the title was ‘You have only one life, not 1.5’. This has really stuck with me as it’s about being my true authentic self and making the most of the one live I have, as you don’t get to re do it.
What inspires you?
Every single day, there are people sitting all around me that inspire me in a different way per person.
Broadly, mothers in general are just really inspiring. The father part is hard, don’t get me wrong, but mother is ten time harder in my opinion. They come to work, fly to other countries for business, keep a straight face, and then continue to give 200% at home.
I am also really inspired by people in developing countries who often have so little, and yet can do so much more than someone who has everything. More energy, creativity, passion, happiness.
This leads me to often think, why are we killing ourselves to work for more money if we don’t need it for more happiness?
How do you remain, or regain your focus?
I lose focus all the time, it’s like my biggest problem.
I find it hard to stay consistent and focused, but then I think back to the first manager I had, who has been the best in my career, and he once said to me;
‘People who come to work on time at the same time every day of their lives are known to be the least creative in the world’
This saying has then stuck with me for such a long time. Instead of being frustrated about no routines, I embraced it, fluctuation is okay as long you realise it’s happening and you can get back to the task at hand. Be flexible with yourself, allow yourself to readjust if needed.
For years, I killed myself trying to focus all the time, so I am happy to accept the way I am!
What are your top three priorities?
So this is not in ranking order!
- Living the life I want to, to the best of my abilities
- Supporting those that I consider my priority group of people to my best abilities
- Ensuring that there is a better world in general for future generations. I am hot on wildlife and there are so many species I want to make sure my daughter sees as she gets older. Therefore, it’s a priority for me to consume less, in the right way, and pass on that learning to others around me.
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
For those who have known me for a long time, they see me as an extroverted fun loving guy. Which to an extent I am, but I feel I have a strong introverted side where I am just as happy in my own company, with a good book.
What two purchases have you made this year that you really value / had most impact?
- I made a major investment to go to Africa and do a walking safari before I started at Nestlé in Zambia by myself. It was the first time I have ever travelled by myself and I found it was such an important and also exciting way to spend money I have worked hard for.
- I spent 2 dollars for an app called One Second Every Day, and then took a video for my daughter every single day and put it together, it blew my mind how much she changes a little each and every day!
Top tips for someone who wants to do what you do?
For the one person out of eight billion who might want to do what I am doing:
Never assume things are they are or seen from the outside. Always search for the hidden black box in people’s hearts, only when opened will you see the reality.
Come into everything and every situation with an open mind.
Focus on the ‘North Star’. Always think about the big picture, and where you are going with life. It is so easy to get annoyed when you have had a bad day or a specific meeting doesn’t go as planned, but if you instead always look at where you are heading and the bigger picture, sometimes it’s easy to see it really doesn’t matter in the long term so it shouldn’t affect you now.
Oh, and an important one, no one is perfect.
What are you most proud of?
Pride in my family, proud to have been raised by great people that I look up to.
Proud of my friends who I look up to.
I am beyond proud to have an amazing wife who makes me feel so small but in a good way, because she is so great I just can’t compare to her, and this makes me very lucky.
An unusual habit of yours?
Oh man, there’s so many haha!
What do you do every single day?
Have an intention, every single day, to give love.
His Key Advice:
- Positivity attracts positivity
- Respect and nurture our planet and wildlife, and try to get closer to it every day.
- Be proud of those around you and close to you.
- Embrace yourself, and enjoy who you are, as no one is perfect!
- Have an intention, every single day, to give love.
- Never assume things are they are or seen from the outside. Always search for the hidden black box in people’s hearts, only when opened will you see the reality.
- Come into everything with an open mind
If you want to follow Wael, he has an amazing Instagram filled with photos of his beautiful commute and nature-filled weekends with lots of envy inducing foods.