I need to clarify something right off the bat. Even though this looks like a post I wrote for you, I actually wrote it for me.
If you’ve been writing for any amount of time (even one day), you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s very hard to break out of your protective shell and write in your own voice. It takes years of practice and it still never really feels 100% authentic.
So this post is just me, ripping off the shell like I’m ripping off a Band-Aid, in one swift motion. I’m making it a priority today for me to be 100% authentic with you. So here goes.
In no particular order, here are some fun facts:
1. I’m 40, but feel like I should be 50. I’m not out of shape or anything; I just had a lot of experience in my life. I grew up fast and took on a lot very young. I started working at 11.
My dad got me a cash-paying job washing cars at the luxury car dealership where he worked. I learned how to drive at 13. Don’t worry; it was legal on private property. I drove some pretty sweet cars without fear of the law- just the fear of scratching them.
2. I’m Egyptian-American. I was born in Long Island, NY, and was raised there and in New Jersey.
I have visited Egypt 11 times. It’s not perfect, but it has its charms. Egyptians are known for their warmth and sense of humor. We are also everywhere. Egyptians where the first Arabs to migrate to America in the late 60’s.
Take a look at Egypt: there are a few more structures than just the pyramids. And roads, btw! My friends in 3rd grade insisted that Egypt has no roads or cars, just camels. So eat it, kids from 3rd grade!
3. I’ve been a Michael Jackson fan all my life. I grew up on his music, and I guess there are a lot of childhood memories attached to them. He didn’t have the best public image, but for some reason I never really paid attention to that. I just thought he was a creative genius, probably because he was. Here is me on my 4th birthday trying to get my groove on to Billie Jean.
4. I love to read…I read roughly 50 books a year. I read some books on my Kindle, some in hard or paperback format, some I listen to via Audible. Always non-fiction. There is so much content out there in the world today, but I still feel like a great book can’t be beat at times.
5. I love the movie Inception, because I dream every night. It’s kind of strange for most people to hear that I dream every night, but technically we all do. I just wake up during REM sleep (the time we dream), so I remember that I dreamt every time I wake up.
6. My middle name is Shariff. Yes, my name is Omar Shariff. Like the actor. No, not the guy who plays the terrorist in all the actions movies these days. I’m talking about Dr. Zhivago and Laurence of Arabia. Yeah, baby!
7. I can dance. And I’m pretty good. As you saw earlier in this post, I had an early start. It just comes naturally. I think I get it from my dad. He used to dance professionally on stage back in Egypt for a national folkloric performance group. Rock on, Dad!
8. I’m old school. I prefer to speak to people in person or call them on the phone instead of texting with them for 30 minutes. I believe in manners and old-fashioned values. I write emails with a salutation and a closing. Phones should be away at dinner. If you’re taking a picture, take 1 or 2 for the memories, not 200 to post on InstaFace. I believe in enjoying the moment. It’s all we have.
9. I’m fluent in Arabic. My parents made us speak only Arabic on weekends, or 25 cents would be deducted from our allowance for every time they caught us speaking English. They wanted us to grow up bilingual, and it worked.
The Arabic language is very poetic. Those harsh guttural sounds you hear, when some idiot comedian pretends to be speaking Arabic, is not Arabic. They are looking for a cheap laugh.
Scholars (and the Encyclopedia Britannica!) argue that Arabic is the most well-preserved language in history. I speak the Egyptian dialect of Arabic. It’s the most commonly used and understood because Egypt is the film and music capital of the Arab world. Want to make it big in Arabic movies or music? You better speak Egyptian Arabic!
10. I love old people. I think in today’s society, we over-glamorize youth and often disregard and disrespect the experience of our elders. Anyone that has 20 years on you has tons of stories you don’t want to ignore. If I’m at a party, I’m scanning for wrinkles and grey hair. That’s where the party’s at.
11. I’m 6’5’’. If you never met me in person, you will be compelled to say “You’re so tall!” when you do. Everyone does. It gets old, but hey, I’m a tall guy. To save some time when we do meet: yes, I do play basketball, and yes I can dunk.
12. I lived in Dubai for 10 years. The money was good and I was figuring things out. It was very hot.
13. I have a few nicknames that only Nicole is allowed to call me. I know you are dying to hear them so here are a few: Baby Cakes, Bella Gioia (look it up), Omi, and “Darl” (short for “darling,” but pronounced like “doll” because she’s Australian.)
14. I think that the work Nicole and I are doing will resonate with the right people – our people – and is really going to be successful. I genuinely believe in what we do, and know that all great things take time to shine. We never want to take our readers, listeners, and community members for granted. We know without you, we don’t exist.
15. I love to travel. I truly believe that traveling is one of the best educations you can buy.
What I love most about travel is it forces you to change. It encourages you to question your own ideas and reality. If you want to make an impact on the world, you should make an effort to better understand it.
As Rick Steves says, “The best souvenir is a broader perspective!”
16. I love cats. Grew up with them all my life, but ironically don’t have one now. Responsibilities, man. Cats to me seem like they know something we don’t. They’ve got a grace and sophistication about them that intrigues me. Cats rule. Period.
Wow. I wish I could say that was easy, but it wasn’t. Maybe I’m just a private person, or I have insecurities or think I’ll be judged. Whatever it is, it was holding me back.
Recently, I told myself that I wanted to prioritize an authentic relationship with my audience. You are not just a figment of a person, or a name on an email list. You are a real human who took the time to learn from me and about me. I can’t ignore that.
Now that this post is pretty much done, and my Band-Aid is off, get ready for some posts I’ve been holding back for some time. There are a few things I’ve been seeing in the online business space that I strongly disagree with, and frankly don’t like. Yes, these posts will be controversial, but they will be honest. I am also committed to keeping them progressive and constructive. Stay tuned for those.
If you enjoyed this post or anything else we do, please let us know. If you hated it or can’t stand something we’re doing, we really want to know. Two minutes of your time with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org would really help us make sure we are doing things right. And thanks, for everything.
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