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My life changed

Simón Cohen



“We have two lives: the second begins when we realize that we have only one.”

On May 6, 2006, in Hong Kong, in one of the fanciest restaurants in the city, my heart failed and my life changed. The next thing I remember is riding in an ambulance with my wife by my side.

I was 32 years old, and for the first time I felt that the future was completely out of my control. After so much time of constant hard work, of looking everywhere and at all times for ways to become a millionaire, not only was I facing the possibility of losing everything, but I would lose it away from what was really important.

That’s when I understood one of the phrases I like the most:

“We have two lives: the second begins when we realize that we have only one.”

Then began one of the most important revolutions in my life as a person and as an entrepreneur: I had to learn to delegate, to understand that not everything could – nor should – depend on me, and I began to treat my illness at its root. I approached meditation and tried to return to sports in a leisurely way, I tried several techniques to sleep better and I learned to eat correctly, in a very healthy way. I understood that these activities are basic to have a good life.

I also made peace with my family: to get my family back I had to learn, we all had to learn. I decided to devote my energy to building, not to destroying or fighting. Life gives us a limited amount of energy every morning, and we have the right to choose how and where we allocate it. To fight and be destructive, or to reconcile and be creative. It is our choice.

The personal learnings from this experience made me reflect on what I wanted from my life. I wanted to connect with nature and disconnect from technology and work, I needed quality time with my daughters and my wife, to be still for a moment without worries. I needed an awakening of the spirit and to start living again.

We were on the seashore lying on the sand watching the stars. It was the most beautiful sky I had ever seen, with thousands of stars. My daughters lay on my abdomen, and I lay on my wife’s legs. And there, with the greatest treasure a human being can imagine, I finally felt an enormous peace.

At that moment I was the happiest and luckiest man in the world, I began to cry and finally let go of the fear of dying that had been with me since I was a child and that had been accentuated by the terrible experience in Hong Kong.

I am who I am because of my family. My father always found a way to be different, to give more; as we grew up he tried to make us do the same. If there was anything at home it was communication, I was taught respect and hierarchies. Learning to express and defend my point of view was as important as doing it without offending anyone.

My mother, my warrior woman, has had to fight her way through life.

In addition to being an extremely present mom, she was in charge of nurturing our inner strength. In my case, so sickly as a child, so fearful of many things, she would tell me: “You can do it, don’t be intimidated” and “show your education, you are not less than anyone else”. She is an excellent motivator and, to this day, insists that we be disciplined and go the right way.

My wife is brilliant in every way; I admire her deeply. Ever since she appeared on my horizon, she has helped me to put my feet on the ground, to be a better person. My parents taught me to live up to my standards and awakened my ambition, in the best sense of the meaning. She came to ground me. That combination of ambition and humility is what made me dream of being a human very human.

High performance, happy people

Since Henco was born, we strived to offer its employees the experience of belonging to a big family, and this could only be achieved by sharing success and challenges, developing human relationships, building well-being and caring for people in an honest way.

At Henco we try to understand why we do what we do, that the products we move have a meaning, a motive and a reason for being. This changes the perspective of things and gives meaning to our daily work.

From the beginning, I knew that personal relationships and positive treatment of my colleagues had to be a fundamental part of Henco’s competitive advantage. Happy employees mean satisfied customers and, consequently, positive results.

This is how the Henco culture was born: High Performance Happy People, a virtuous circle that is built on three pillars: Wellness (sleep well, eat healthy and exercise), Mindfulness (meditation, spiritual connection, gratitude) and Happiness (enjoy life, family, friends, give, inspire). With this, and by working every day on the basis of respect and trust, you are taking the first step to happiness and success. As a consequence and in balance you will be a high performer.

In my experience, there are six basic concepts that help to find the treasure of life:

  • Gratitude is the purest feeling a human being can have. If you are not grateful, problems will come your way in droves; if you are, you will always have solutions at your fingertips.
  • Trust is not something that is delivered half-heartedly. It either is or it isn’t. Earning the trust of others is no easy task and it takes focus to achieve it. Getting it right or wrong can be a turning point in your career.
  • Respect is the right of others to think differently than you. In Henco we love to listen, the voice of any person is worth the same and we give it the value it deserves.
  • Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. It’s that hard and that easy. What is right is right even if no one is doing it, and what is wrong, even if everyone is doing it, is wrong.
  • Humility is one of the most important characteristics of a good leader. Dream big with your feet firmly on the ground: that your example as a leader inspires others to be humble, with high goals and aspirations.
  • There is one thing that is yours, yours alone, and nothing but yours: attitude. The attitude we take in the face of life’s obstacles, successes or failures, depends on ourselves, let’s always see the glass half full!

Sometimes we believe that being the best means being the richest or the most famous; for me, being the best means doing what you do with passion and all your will, always open to discover more, to make mistakes and learn from it.

At the end of our days, the only thing we have to analyze to know if we had a full life is the number of people we inspired and helped along the way.

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