Hopscotch Heros: Cynthia- Helena Rif
3 minute read: Read about Cynthia-Helena Rif, WitWork CoFounder, which links freelancers and entrepreneurs with under-used spaces in hotels and restaurants in UAE
Tell us a bit about your daily routine:
6:00 AM wake up and get the kids ready for school
7:00 AM Gym
I usually work from home unless I am in Dubai for meetings and events
Evening, dinner time with the kids, followed by story and bed time and later Netflix to unwind
What is your family background/current situation and how has this influenced your life today?
I am from Lebanon, I came to Dubai almost 16 years ago. My parents live in Lebanon, I have a sister who lives in Edinburgh and a brother who lives with his family in Switzerland. I am currently married with 2 boys, 8 and 4. The fact that my parents enrolled me in the Girl Guide Association (Scout) and were very present and supportive of my activities and achievements. The scout lifestyle has also had a big influence in my life and has definitely contributed and shaped the person I am today. We underestimate it but it teaches us leadership, management, communication, flexibility and adaptability. My family is definitely my number one support system
What three key tips could you share in promoting work/life balance within your family?
You have to set your priorities straight.
1) Yourself: take good care of yourself. Your physical and mental health are very important for your family to thrive. If YOU are ok then everything else works out around you. Whether it's about delegating, going to the gym, doing yoga and most of all not feeling guilty about missing out. Kids will eventually forget, as a working parent you are setting an example for your children about self fulfilment, commitment and hard work.
2) Your couple: nourish and maintain this relationship. It's not a given just because you are married. Take good care of each other, eventually in many cases, you are stuck together for a long time after the kids leave the nest, so prepare for that.
3) Your children: when you are with them just be with them. To me I am fine if I don't get much time to play with my children. I find bedtime and meal time very important. This is when I get to talk to them and ask questions about school, friends, activities and know more about how they feel and if they are ok. We always make sure that one of us is present at school gigs.
Who do you look up to and why?
Definitely my mom, because she taught me resilience and grit. As an entrepreneur you realise that these 2 are vital for your success or overcoming failure. She also thought me that anything is possible, never give up and no matter what just keep going.
What keeps you moving forward and what threatens to hold you back?
The excitement of new challenges and the goal of wanting to make a difference are what keep me going. Mental health and anxiety are very much the things that could hold me back. These moments where I feel down, question myself and doubt my ability of getting things done. This is why it's very important to have a tribe which is a positive support system to fall back on.
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