Mohammed Ghalayini: You Have Time to Course Correct

portrait of Mohammed Ghalayini
Mohammed Ghalayini Mohammed Ghalayini is an angel investor based in Toronto. He is the Chair of the Board of Directors at Maple Leaf Angels and chair of its Membership & Marketing Committee and also serves on the Investment Committee of the MLA 48 Fund III. He regularly writes a newsletter on topics such as innovation hype, financial inclusion, fintech, digital transformation and blockchain. A serial entrepreneur, Mohammed founded and operated Club Ovahi, a retail mobile app company, and produced and distributed an educational mobile app. He currently advises startups and companies on innovation strategy and business-building. Previously, Mohammed co-created one of Jordan's largest solar power portfolios and founded Yellow Door Energy, a company that finances and builds solar power plants for commercial and industrial clients.

What was your decision-making process in taking your four-month sabbatical period?

  1. It was a few years of not being sure about what I was thriving towards. Essentially, it meant asking myself whether I felt energized by the work I was doing.  At the time it I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. Occasionally, it’s just not the right situation, company, or career path for you.
  2. It was a slow process to decide to take a sabbatical leave. Before taking a step back and getting away from everything, I had to live with the feeling for a while. It’s not an easy decision to make, considering where you are in life, what you will be leaving behind, and whether you are okay with that.

What do you think about the advice of following your passions?

  1. I think it’s good advice but I think it’s very generic as well. It’s hard for me to name something as my passion because it’s a combination of many things in many different contexts. The search for passion could be a big endeavour in its own, and often I like to reframe it as what I want to have an impact on.
  2. If you know what you’re passionate about, follow it. It’s also okay not to have a passion and it’s okay to try different things that could be interesting. The process of trying and failing is the path to take if you’re trying to understand what your passion is. The process of free framing is good, as long as it’s kind of attached to your own kind of sense of contentment. 

If you could go back in time and have a conversation with your 22-year-old self. What advice would you give him?

I was too concerned about making the right decision and taking the right steps, which was a waste of brain energy and power. I would also tell myself to be comfortable with making mistakes. 

If you make a decision, it doesn’t have to be the right one. You have plenty of time course correct or try different things. 

Many people struggle with being present. They keep thinking about the future, and they get anxious about it. Don’t worry too much about doing the wrong thing; just do your best. As an example, if you are studying the wrong thing right now, you can always change, because you can go back to university.