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“Five things I wish someone told me when I first became an author”, with Soulaima Gourani

Writing a book means writing. You must write every day. Writing is just like a muscle. Writing really does require discipline, and no fear of failure. My goal is to really inspire and show readers that you must really understand your background. Communicating certain things is hard at times because I write in different languages […]


Writing a book means writing. You must write every day. Writing is just like a muscle. Writing really does require discipline, and no fear of failure. My goal is to really inspire and show readers that you must really understand your background. Communicating certain things is hard at times because I write in different languages and I must keep an eye out for not only to the language, but also the culture.

As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Soulaima Gourani, a motivational speaker, philanthropist and author, with approximately 200-plus global talks per year. She advises major companies on topics such as sales and service and customer loyalty, strategic relationship-building and change management, employee motivation and the future of business. Today, she resides in Palo Alto, California, where she continues to advise American leaders, entrepreneurs and companies in areas such as strategy, management and leadership.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

I wanted to help others. I have had many struggles in my life. I had a difficult time at school and moved a lot. I was the only non — caucasian kid in my communities. I felt so alone. It took more than 16 years before anyone could see any talent in me…and what I was good at people kept telling me to stop doing (communicating/speaking). Today, I have written and co-written more than 14 books and spoken in more than 35 countries. I waited till I was 30 years old before I really pursued my dreams. I want to help people to find their talent and trust life. No one should feel alone or feel that they do not belong.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

My path in life came in 2007. I was laid off while I was pregnant and had to make a living. It was my most challenging moment; a mom to be and the breadwinner with no job. On the spot, I decided never again to be in a position where anyone could fire me. That same year, I started my own consulting company. You can call it a burning platform. All I had was my skills within sales, sales training, strategic sales/strategic partnership, supply-chain management and strategic networking. Those are my “hard core” skills and talents, and it was easy for me to teach others. I decided to start training others. That was my beginning as a keynote speaker, author and now as an investor. My path to success was mostly strategic networking and to dare to stand up and speak out on topics I am passionate about! I created a name and reputation for myself.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am launching an online community for women called, “Womenreignite”. Women Reignite is a proven online self- help method for women that want to become happier, healthier, and smarter, in both work and life. We imprint the “achiever mindset” by providing readers with the Life Design Formula, a step by step tutorial that helps guide you to get more out of life. I want to provide women a safe place to discuss, develop and grow anything. It is a gateway for women that are seeking advice, inspiration, and a supportive network.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?

Becoming a book author requires passion for writing, vision, problem solving and thinking skills. You need to be willing to share your life with your readers. People love stories from your perspective and it will allow them to trust you more if you’ve walked the miles yourself.

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

I shared my personal story, and how I went from being an orphan to a Young Global Leader. My background/ childhood is full of adversity and I know by sharing my story, I will motivate thousands of people and show them that you don’t have to be well-educated to “make it”. I love to motivate and to empower those who might think they are the “underdogs” and the outcast. The future is bright for us all, and we can all become winners only if we have the framework.

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?

They will gain the full picture on how to craft the perfect job for the future, know how to live according to their values, and stay extremely motivated during the process.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

Writing a book means writing. You must write every day. Writing is just like a muscle. Writing really does require discipline, and no fear of failure. My goal is to really inspire and show readers that you must really understand your background. Communicating certain things is hard at times because I write in different languages and I must keep an eye out for not only to the language, but also the culture.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

I learn from life, not from books, so to say. My life and all my many trips around the world, thousands of interviews and meetings with world leaders gave me so much unique inspiration. That is what I want to share with my readers…how do you think your writing makes an impact on the world?

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?

Do you like to write? Can you sit still for hours and hours, thinking and writing? If you like that, and if you dare to publish whatever your soul desires to communicate you should follow your passion for writing. If you got zero or low tolerance or passion for writing — then don’t force it.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

When I wrote my first book back in year 2007–2008, I did not understand that the script was just a draft. Meaning that the real work begins when you start when editing. You will spend more time editing than writing your book. This way it becomes a great finished product. Don’t be afraid to write from your soul and heart — I was so “professional” in the beginning and did not want to share my story with me readers. However, when I finally did — it was an instant success. Writing takes courage, but it is worth it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

#Dontbuyboobsbuybooks. I created this hashtag it in 2014 at the WEF summit, Davos. I want to inspire women to invest in themselves. Invest in books, not “looks”. Breast augmentation led the list of the top five surgical procedures for women. A recent survey of women aged 18–25 found that 41% would prefer having large breasts instead of having a high IQ. More than a quarter of those who responded said they would trade their IQs for bigger breasts. Americans spent nearly $10 billion on cosmetic procedures last year, with more than 9 million surgical and non-surgical procedures being performed in the United States alone. I want to inspire them to read and study become smart instead of trying so hard to look good

How can our readers follow you on social media?

IG: @soulaimagourani

Twitter: @soulaimagourani

Facebook: @soulaimagouraniglobal

Thank you so much for sharing all of this!

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About the author:

Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.

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