Why family matters

I come from a background where family matters. And as i get older and wiser i realize how lucky i am to be blessed with a great family. I write this post to pay tribute to those i love, speaking from the bottom of my heart.

My father is a great man. Academically accomplished, super intelligent, once an academic turned business leader and later in life an entrepreneur. I learnt many things from him but most of all its the importance of loving what you do. The importance of values and principles over superficial success. More than anyone i know, he’s a man who’s endured the roller coaster of wealth to poverty and back to wealth by sticking to those values. Working hard, loving what you do and respecting your name and reputation more than the perks it brings you.

My mother taught me empathy, humility and love. Like me, she is an acquired taste, full on, loud, out-spoken, adamant in what she believes in and relentless in its pursuit. Sometimes tiring.  But she has the biggest heart in the world, bigger than anyone’s I’ve ever met. She is a humanitarian, charitable, empathetic, loving, compassionate and caring. In ways I only dream of matching.

My brother, Stelios, is the nicest guy on the planet. Humble, level-headed, grounded, smart and perceptive in ways he cares less to reveal. He cares less about his ego than the result. He is the epitome  of the old saying : the best way to get results, is to do it in silence. He moves quietly and cautiously, but he always knows what he’s doing, and he’s calculating.We didn’t get along in our youth, he struggled to show affection to his younger brother but that’s probably my wrong doing, being a  difficult and obnoxious kid as i was. He taught me the power of doing things in silence, unnoticed, claiming no glory for the result you influence and achieve.

My sister – Stefani – is my weak spot. She’s my darling, the one special spot in my heart that will die last. I’ve somehow managed to inspire her and i consider that my biggest success in life. She worked for me in my startup for a while and in that gig i failed her, something for which i am very sorry about. I failed to give her what she wanted, to open her wings and let her dreams come loose. But somehow, despite me, she found the strength to resurrect and now she’s doing her own startup and learning from my wrong-doings. She deserves all the credit for that. I admire and revere her determination and stamina. 

One of my family members I’ve been the closet to is my late grandad whom I’ve been named after. He died a few years ago at the age of 93. I loved him so much. My mothers dad.  I remember the day my brother called me in London  and told me he went into a coma and will probably die. That same day i had an important speech to deliver to a crowd of a few hundred people, which i’d been preparing for months. After my brother called me which was 7am  London time, without blinking i marched straight downstairs, with only my passport in hand, and headed for the airport. I managed to get home and see my grandad one last time alive. He came out of the coma , flamboyant and humorous as ever, but died shortly after. It was the best most impulsive move i ever did.

My mission in life as a kid has always been to make a difference. As a kid, i believed that passionately. I didn’t know how, or why, or what it would be in, but i believed in the end result. That i would make my small dent in the universes. That belief is what drives me every day, it’s where it all begins. The ‘how’ gets refined over time. The ‘what’ is with you from the start. I have no clue what drives that, what plants it in your seeds, what bakes it in your DNA. Some people have it and some don’t. But i do know that it starts from family, the values, beliefs, confidence and equally the insecurities they instill in you, at an early age. Willingly or not.  Sometimes by design, but more often circumstance.

So being where i am now, i feel lucky. That my family got me to where i am, and that i still have them around me. I’m not proud of  everything I’ve done to get here. At times i was an asshole. And i regret that. I let my lust and passion for the goal surpass those values that got me there in the first place. But I’m human and I’m flawed. At least I’m reflective and self-critical. Every single day i get home from work i look at myself in the mirror and reflect. I ask myself ‘what mistakes have i made today’ and i learn from them.

It takes courage and stamina. But if you keep at it every day, you’ll get somewhere in the end.

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