Crafting a new Myth

Fear does not make you avoid death; it makes you avoid life! And by avoiding fear you also avoid your dreams. This is how a real story, I am about to tell you, begins.

I am comfortably seated in an armchair, having a discussion with an acknowledged leader about how he will turn his new grandiose business vision into reality. The aim of this apparently relaxed but intensely intellectual conversation is to trigger in his mind a way to give his vision a shape, by providing pragmatism in his wisdom. By the way, he is one of those individuals that people call Genius & Crazy. And while our talk is evolving around himself and his desires -as it should- I am caught by surprise when he asks me the two following questions, which, to my ears, sounded like one:

“Dimitris, haven’t you been tired of making other people’s dreams come true? When are you going to make your own dream come true?”

During the last 28 years of my professional life, in order to prove myself worthy of my promise to my clients, to my people, to shareholders, I had to overcome the difficulties they were facing and to always be stronger than them. I had to be able to provide solutions to their problems or to their new creative ventures and projects, by mobilizing every grain of experience and wisdom I had gained through the years.

At the same time, I had to have enough courage and stamina to successfully overcome, for their behalf, any danger and threat they were dealing with, caused by third parties or even by themselves.

And I had to give a lot of love, because this was the only way I could really help them. There is a relevant proverb, saying “Don’t let anybody who has never been in your shoes tell you how to tie your laces”. Everything has always been related to others.

Since I was a young boy, I knew that in order to succeed professionally you have to be able to function in chaos.  Besides, when asked why this is so difficult, life itself simply laughs at you: People have the tendency to not appreciate anything that doesn’t require immense effort.  So, if you can function in chaos efficiently and effectively or, even better, if you can prosper like I have been doing all these years, then what you create is a Disneyland. A Disneyland for others. But a Disneyland that they understand and respect for the difficulties that it took to come true.

This led me to not be fearful when others were overwhelmed by fear, despair, and stress. I was required to be strong, resilient, and authentic, to take their bad luck into my own hands and make sure they came out on the other side.  To the side of their success.

But what were they really afraid of? What was it that made them so anxious that they had to ask for my help? What was the root of their fear after all? It was the possibility that they would have to exit their comfort zone. And they were afraid. Afraid of the others around them. How would they take it? What would they say? In front of them or in their absence.

After everything I have experienced, what I can tell you is that this is the root of evil: The zone around us, the people around us, the circle we have created, seeking to stay constantly in its center. Sometimes consciously, sometimes innermost. Let’s be honest with ourselves. We desire the dot on the center of our circle to be our ego. But then it turns out that the circle, the one we created ourselves, wants to define us. In the end, our creation is the one that causes our fear. We shaped it, we raised it, we made it strong.

And it surrounds us, causing us fear. But why would it want to cause fear to its maker, to its creator? Because it wants him for its own, to be its property. Because this way the circle maintains its consistency, therefore its existence in the future.  And, this way, it maintains its comfort, habits, benefits, results, wins.

So, what do you do if you want to win over your circle, to overcome the fear that you have so meticulously built? Fear does not make you avoid death; it makes you avoid life! And by avoiding fear you also avoid your dreams. Therefore, it takes guts and virtue to be able to define every part of our life, who we want to be, and it takes courage to be able to serve it with passion and love. It’s a decision. By avoiding Scylla and Charybdis but also Lamia and Empousa, as Odysseus’ myth says. By overcoming the slavery of our circle. Stepping away from our hegemonic circle doesn’t mean that we hate it. Besides, it’s not time that makes us mature, it’s our failures and disappointments. Stepping away just means that we respect ourselves. That kind of profound respect that reminds us of and highlights the fact that all valuable things are waiting for us outside our comfort zone.

For almost three decades, Dimitris was not afraid to make other peoples’ dreams come true because he had to do the easy work. He had to show up and face the other person’s circle. That is, he had to face the other person’s fear, and defeat it.

I recently experienced a failure while I was working on a vision. It was one failed attempt after a series of other visions that had successfully come true. Many successful attempts had created a Disneyland of results. It took just one failed attempt to lead to the conclusion that I was no longer focused on my circle. My circle defined me, creating the expectation that, no matter what the task would be, I would succeed.   That single failed attempt happened, my circle tried to limit me within its boundaries and started dictating to me what I had to do and how to do it.

So, it was time for my own circle to try to frighten me. It would try to define me. It would try to dictate my judgment.

At this juncture, the question came from a completely unrelated source: “Dimitris, when are you going to make your own dream come true?”

That was the moment I hired Dimitris. He was the one who helped me realize that the circle I had meticulously built, through sacrifices, for many years had been shackling me, keeping me from looking outside of it. Through stable and high wages, among large teams, for famous brands, in stylish offices, looking at the world with a glowing extroverted gaze. It was Dimitris, with his gained fearless approach, who triggered in me the realization that when you are in a situation where you are not feeling OK with yourself, or where your circle tries to define you, this is not a problem. This is not a problem that should bring you down. This is not a problem that should scare you. This is the ignition that should inspire you to overcome your fear. This is a sign showing the way to your wellbeing.

This is how I decided to become a businessman, a manager of myself, of my fear and of my freedom and to use all my strengths, the lessons I had gained through failures and successes, and turn my own dreams into reality.

For the sake of truth, I now work as a businessman in the mobility and technology sectors, I am highly active, and I pursue a dynamic growth plan. I have always loved the concept of growth. I consider it to be the solution to any problem. This is what life has taught me: Creating systematic and profitable organic growth for companies, their clients, their employees, their suppliers, society, and their shareholders, is a prerequisite for prosperity. Prosperity for all.

In addition, I venture in the field where I was raised and where I matured professionally, the one that generously offered me so many unique, mind-blowing experiences. My vision in this field is to passionately support those who have earned the right to be called Genius & Crazy. They are the people who are so strong that they don’t show us their strength. They are strong enough to constantly win their battles without us knowing about it.

I have experienced it; I have seen it and I have heard it with my own ears. I had the luck to come across them. To stand by their side, with them, in front of them. Sometimes on their most difficult days, other times in their most creative moments.  But the one thing that makes them belong in this unique group is the word AND. Genius AND Crazy at the same time. The emphasis is on AND.

When it’s rightful, this AND is what interests me most. It’s an exciting challenge for me. I believe it is the same for all of us. The challenge is an invitation for each one of us, together, to add a little stone, building the path for a better future.

When this AND is big then the distance between those two qualities, Genius & Crazy, is big. In this case, one quality surpasses the other one, but they clearly coexist. And when this AND is small, then the distance between the two qualities is almost balanced.  Every AND has to do with the ego of a person, with his “I”. A line, whose thickness defines our ego. The intensity we want to attribute to the center of our circle, therefore the magnitude of our dependency on it.

All the “I”s, the egos, exist and they will keep existing, thankfully for me, because this means substantial recognition and absolute freedom of diversity for every person. Because I genuinely believe that in our Club, we are Genius & Crazy people. Therefore, the uniqueness of each one of us, our ego, the thickness of our “I” lines is the one that creates the size of our fear for every next important decision. Whenever that comes up. Today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow.

When this beneficiary moment comes for you, I suggest that you think in a way like that:

I am standing one decision away from a totally different life. And what if this decision leads me somewhere much better than what I initially imagined? What if these changes that will come lead me somewhere better than where I dreamed? Obviously, things may turn bad. There may not be any substantial change. But this is something you will not know before you make that decision. So, please, the next time you must make such a decision, when you think a lot about it, when you will over-analyze or get scared, at that moment, think of the path ahead. Think of the destination. And what if things turn out better? It is also possible, it might happen! And probably this is exactly what will happen because this is what life has taught me that happens to Genius & Crazy people. It will happen!

Speech made on CEO CLUBS FORUM