In times of Black Lives Matter movement (reminder: Black Lives STILL Matter, even if your feed is already back to normal), wokeness is a highly debated topic. To stay woke you need to be socially aware of the things that are happening in the world.
But how does Wokeness actually show up in your daily life?
In today’s episode, we speak about what true awareness looks like and the traps you don’t want to fall in your journey to awareness.
Ayishat Akanbi: “Wokeness is a term that a lot of people don’t really understand but in my understanding of it, I would say wokeness is a slang term for social awareness. You can be woke about anything race gender sexuality veganism climate change every issue gaining mainstream prominence can consider you woke”
Sina Port: Assalamu alaykum and welcome to another episode of Shared Diversity. Today I want to talk about wokeness and the three traps of wokeness you have to avoid and how you can actually be woke.
Intro: Assalaamu Alaykum and welcome to the Shared Diversity Podcast my name is Sina Port, brand communicator, content artist, and author and each week I introduce you to an amazing person, story, or message to help you empower yourself in your career and life. Here you can find exclusive interviews with successful businesswomen where we discuss topics around business, branding, and womanhood.
Sina: Salaam everyone, hope you are all healthy and safe. Today I want to talk about something that is a topic in so many places these days. Our whole world is waking up to a lot of new ideas and a lot of new situations that people didn’t know about. People wake up to their own privilege people wake up to their own ignorance people wake up to the ignorance of the people around them.
And everything is about awareness and being woke and today i actually want to talk about you know ways of avoiding that this wokeness can become performative or even counterproductive to the things you actually want to achieve and socially change.
My journey with wokeness
Just as a background I thought I knew a lot of things I always had very strong opinions about race about belonging about being part of a diaspora about oppression about feminism. I had a lot of strong opinions about whether that was in my high school class where I did presentations about the trail of tears and racism because that was only one paragraph in our history books and I was like where’s the rest of the history?
Or whether that was in my university where I had countless conversations with my peers on how racism and white superiority controls our entire lives and systems and I had conversations with my friends and thought I knew a lot of things.
When you think you know stuff and then you figure out you only know a fraction of it or you only know the theory of it. For instance white fragility it’s something that I’ve seen and heard and read of it. I’ve understood it from a theoretical point of view from an academic point of view. But when you actually get into a room of colleagues, people you work with or people you work for, people you collaborate with and they actually start crying when you call them out for something that they said then you understand “Dang it. I thought I knew this but actually, I have no idea. No idea about how to react to this I know it in theory I have no idea how to react to this in practice. Should I laugh should I cry? Should I be annoyed by you? Should I call you out on it?”
And it’s not something that your brain only does as your whole body is confused. Your body’s gonna be like “I wanna start you know laughing but I always also want to start shouting like what am I supposed to do?”.
So in that form, I thought I knew a lot of things and actually, I figured out I didn’t. In another way, I thought I took a stance on things that matter to me that I am socially aware and I’m making people around me understand my point of view on other things. Even if it goes against their point of view. So in all these forms, I thought I was ‘woke’ and I was making sure that people know my opinions and my values around topics that were important to me.
Whether that is women’s rights, advancing people of color and especially women of color. Whether that is politically understanding the oppression of peoples and countries I thought I took a stance. But I didn’t do it loud enough I didn’t do it consistently enough and I didn’t do it radically enough.
Something that I recognized about myself: I thought I knew how people think around me but I didn’t. I thought I knew oh this person is socially aware I can talk to them I understand how they think.
I thought this person is in that position being in that social hierarchy being on that level they had a certain intellect and I figured out they didn’t. Those are three things that I’ve actually on a bigger scale have figured out. I thought I knew a lot of things but I actually only knew them theoretically and not in practice. I thought it took a stance but I actually didn’t do it out loud enough or consistently enough thoroughly enough.
While I considered myself ‘woke’ I wouldn’t call myself ‘woke’ because, to be honest even before all this all these things start I thought wokeness has been commercialized in ways of companies trying to woke-washthemselves.
Showing that they are woke but they are not. It became a slogan for people to show how they know about things and how they are maybe of some political group or some movement.
The meaning and understanding wokeness how to be woke
Let’s talk about wokeness what it means and how I figured out that there are certain traps of wokeness that actually can hold you back in becoming socially aware and doing your social justice work effectively.
For myself, I think my definition of wokeness is actually just being socially aware I don’t have these all these academic thoughts behind it. I thought it means if someone asked me who doesn’t understand the term wokeness.
Being woke for me means being socially aware, actively working for social justice, and understanding issues that affect people around you. However, there are traps of wokeness that I didn’t figure out until I became aware of how my position should be in the world. Whether that is within my family within my friends’ circle within my colleagues and people that I collaborate with.
There are three traps of wokeness that actually want to talk about today because I feel that people are slowly and surely going into a very dangerous place of showcasing how they know things. But actually, it doesn’t make them productive in helping other people know the same things and being on their side.
The three traps of wokeness and how to stay woke
I don’t want this to come off as some kind of criticism to anyone who is doing social awareness work or who’s doing social justice work and speaking about it. Because I believe however you’re doing it I respect you there’s no right or no wrong way of doing it there’s just “your way” and either it works for you or it doesn’t.
But I feel these are three things that I’ve learned for myself that I have to figure out how to overcome to be more efficient and productive in how I do my social justiceand social awarenesswork.
Maybe it works for you as well whether that is in your interactions with people in your workplace or in interactions with your family who might be ignorant or racist. Even with your friends that you don’t want to lose but you understand they have a lack of knowledge and you have to figure out a way how to either part ways or stay with them and go through the process of learning with them. That’s why my hope is this works for you on all these different levels.
In one way I understand that you want to make sure that your brand is and acts socially aware and you want to make people understand that your brand has certain values, a brand purpose, and stands for certain beliefs.
But at the same time, optical allyship and branded wokeness are two things that show up the same way too many times.
Optical allyshipmeans showcasing the world that you are an ally for instance for black people. You post your black squares your #blacklivesmatter hashtag. You put a cute picture of a black hand and a white hand shaking hands and you say “Stand in solidarity” whatsoever.
But in reality, this show of support is only for you to optically showcase that you are an ally that you stand in solidarity that you are woke.
But in your business, in your brand, your career, your life, in your friend’s circle, and in your workplace you do not do the work of an actual ally.
Ally and allyshipis another word that we need to define.
Optical allyship shows up when you keep riding that solidarity wave only so that people will not come to you and say ‘Why are you not doing this?’ `Why are you not supporting this?’, ‘Why are you not standing up?’. You say these things only so people don’t counsel you or so that you show people that you’re actually part of their community and you’re part of the movement.
In reality, you just stay at home and you’re not doing the actual work that is needed. Not only going out for protests but actually going to your family and having those uncomfortable conversations – that’s optical allyship.
To give credit to the person who coined the term here’s a definition:
Optical allyship is a term coined by Latham Thomas founder of mama glowand author of ‘Own your glow‘. Thomas defines optical allyship as “allyship that only serves at the surface level to platform the ‘ally,’ it makes a statement but doesn’t go beneath the surface and is not aimed at breaking away from the systems of power that oppress.”
Optical allyship or performative allyship describe when you show that you want to be an ally but you actually don’t go deep enough to do the work or you don’t go deep enough to talk about the issues that are at hand.
Then branded wokeness is basically when brands jump on social awareness campaigns or jumping on social justice hashtags or movements in order to gain an audience or preserve an audience that they are serving or benefiting from. But they actually don’t do the work on the ground the social awareness work and the social justice work.
3 ways to know if what you see is branded wokeness
Branded wokeness is also when all the time until the movement all you had were white speakers, white models, unrealistic and Eurocentric beauty standards in your ads, or you:
Don’t help your black employees to be promoted in the company or to get to a level where they have equity and leadership in the company, but then now that the movement is coming you put out a brand statement that you actually think black lives matter.
Claim that you actually want to support the people outside and you actually don’t do it inside the company.
Finally, figure out that you need some black model so you send a mass email and all the black influencers and say something like ‘We’ve thought about our work and now we are aware now we want to bring you all in’ blah blah
That’s how branded wokeness shows up. You brand yourself in a way that you’re socially aware but you actually don’t do the work to be it, to actually live the statements that you put out in the world within the company within the brand and within the work you do.
Branded wokeness can affect everyone's personal brand! Do not brand wokeness in order to ride the wave. Instead, be woke, do the work, and build your brand. - Sina Port
Because most people/individuals/influencers nowadays feel the pressure to speak up on issues to appear as woke you find many cases of branded wokeness. But actually, they don’t do the work they just put a cute statement, a cute artsy piece out, and that’s it.
They go back to ‘business as usual’ they go back to creating content as usual they go back to earning money as usual and they go back to taking from communities of color but not giving back to community communities of color as usual.
Wokeness in business: How do you do business? How does that support or go against social awareness and social justice movements? How does it support or go against the benefit of people of color and communities of color?
Wokeness in branding: Are you actually woke are you only branding yourself to appear as if you were? Are you branding yourself in a way that is ‘safe’ for you – so you don’t aggravate people of color and communities of color and their allies and at the same time you don’t offend white people and people who are oppressing people of color in communities of color? In your brand are you actually just portraying that are woke or are you actually doing the work to stand behind the values that you stand for? Even if you are finding a middle ground, ask yourself are you compromising the standards of your beliefs to be safe, or are you actually trying to keep a balance and support what is right? Being radical is not the goal. Being just and working for social justice and awareness in your personal brand is.
Do the work, and share what you stand for by building a Personal Brand that is true to who you are. But do even more good behind the scenes to avoid that you do your work for the public eye only.…
Wokeness in womanhood: What are you doing yourself as a woman to support either if you’re a person of color your own self and your communities and the organizations that help you. Or how are you if you are not a black woman but you’re a woman of color supporting your black sisters? How are you if you’re a white woman supporting your women of color and the black women around you? How are you supporting the sacred womanhood every woman of every background has a right to?
On a personal level: How are you making sure that you yourself are aware of things and are actively part of the change? That your friends around you are actively part of social change? That your family around you is actually a part of the change. And I cannot stress enough that even if you’re a woman of color your family can be racist you don’t even believe it and they never talked to you about it or you kind of like felt microaggressions around you because you have white people in your family and you have people of color who are actually anti-black in your family. You kind of felt the microaggressions once in a while but you never bothered to talk about it. Because it’s uncomfortable or you thought ‘they’re just conservative’ ‘that’s just their view’ and you never try to actually make them understand things. Do you have these conversations now? Do you call them out now do you tell them about their anti-blackness now? Do you talk about racism and colorism even within communities of color now?
There are so many people who have never in their personal lives made an effort to call out their racist friends to call out the microaggressions within their family. But who then they go on social media and start posting ‘super woke statements’.
You have to figure out for yourself: Are you doing enough on a personal level so that you can actually go out and brand yourself as woke?
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Your ego is the biggest biggest biggest biggest trap to actually be aware and make a difference in your life.
The first time I actually heard someone speak about the problem of wokeness was Ayishat Akanbi (YouTube):
“I think wokeness has robbed many people of compassion and replaced it with moral superiority. Compassion and empathy is paramount to any social movement and to any form of progress. Once you have compassion and empathy you can often see that you have a lot more in common with people than you do apart. And it’s the system under which we live that forcefully tries to group us on our differences. What is radical is kindness.
What is radical is understanding. That’s the one thing they don’t want us to do is to understand each other arguing with each other isn’t actually radical at all it’s very conformist actually. I do think that wokeness does run the risk sometimes in reducing very complex issues. Wokeness tends to be quite reactionary instead of responsive. And so when you react you go off emotion and you go off of anger resentment humiliation and that doesn’t necessarily leave much space for nuance.
And nuance is important in order to understand the interconnectedness of the issues”.
She said, “I think wokeness has robbed many people of compassion and has replaced it with moral superiority”. Moral superiority is the name of the game right now! Because people feel superior talking about internalized superiority, oppression, white supremacy. But actually, they feel morally superior to other people who don’t know as much about things as they do. That’s another word for ego.
Ego is one of the things that help it just works against you all the time. Your ego is usually not your friend. So for mem wokeness actually means “being socially aware” right but the thing is you don’t become socially aware at your birth. You’re not a social justice expert in third grade (most of us at least aren’t).
It’s not your birthright it’s nothing that you learn in school. Let’s be honest you don’t learn in school how to be socially aware you learn it over time. Chances are that it took time for you to actually know about white fragility to know about the nuances of anti-blackness to know about the crisis in Yemen to know about Palestine. Right?
It took time for you. But the issue is the more that you learn you the more you get away from the initial person that you were a couple of years ago that actually wasn’t aware at all, the more you learned, the more you get away from the fact that you learned your way to where you are now.
You forget that once some time ago you didn’t know what you know now and that’s your ego coming in place. When people are at the state that you were a couple of years ago, you don’t give people space and time to actually learn the way you learned.
Instead of letting your ego come into the way make sure that you give people space and time to learn the way you did. Instead of thinking about wokeness as a moment in time and a state of being…
Wokeness means you are aware and that you don’t have all the answers being aware doesn’t mean you are aware of everything and that you have the answers to everything. Wokeness means you are aware and you are aware that you don’t have all the answers.
There was one book that I read that I came out of it and I thought this is the biggest takeaway that I get from this book and that was The Autobiography of Malcolm X:
The note I wrote down was that I admire his ability to overcome ego and openly admit wrong values wrong actions and wrong words and change. And his change was actually so public he always admitted openly and publicly about his wrongdoing and overcome the ego that you have in having to fight for your thoughts and fight for your actions and make sure that people understand why you did wrong.
Trap 2: Judgment
In a time of social warriors and in a time where we love to judge people on one thing that we see about them one fragment of their being, judgment has become the ‘how our world works’.
Especially when we talk about being woke most people pick out one action or statement and take it to judge a person’s entire character. I understand that this is a difficult topic. I myself have been the person that really looks at someone and I’m like “I think they’re shady let me look at what they did” and as soon as my suspicions are confirmed I’m like “Oh yeah I was right about my nudge, they are stupid”. And we love to do this, especially when it comes to social awareness and social justice topics: We take a statement of a person and we just judge their entire character.
Let’s think about this scenario: if people would judge your character by one bad thing you did how would your life be? Would you actually have friends? Would people actually like you? It’s so important to give people room to show you their entire being not only one facet of it. Not only one statement of it. Only because people don’t agree with you once doesn’t mean they cannot change their mind or just because people say the wrong thing in your opinion or say it the wrong way doesn’t mean that they actually mean the same thing you mean but just that they don’t know how to express it.
This is not only in the topic of racism or in the topic of social awareness and social justice this also comes a lot when people judge the character of a person that they want to be with, right? So many times I hear people say “I could never marry this person because the person has this opinion about this thing”. The problem is just that you take their opinion as end-all-be-all. You take it as a judgment of their whole character and you take it as if you could not change their opinion.
Of course, you should be in the business of changing people’s character or we just take someone who has a crappy opinion and say “Hey lemme change you, I can make you a better person”. NO. That’s not what I’m saying. I am saying that even if a person has a very strong opinion about something or they have an opinion that you strongly disagree with doesn’t mean that you should cancel them out of their life. Or that you could never have them as a friend or a person close to you. I had the weirdest conversations with people closest to me and I didn’t have the chance to say “You can’t be in my life because you have this opinion” because they were already in my life.
What I had to do is figure out where does that opinion come from why do you think the way you think. Maybe you figure out on the way there that what you’re actually saying is not what you mean or that actually what you’re saying is not what you actually want to say but it’s just something that you say because you were that’s your tradition that’s your culture that’s what people say in your environment that’s what people say in your family. Figure out the root of that opinion and not take it as the last final judgment of that person’s character.
Make sure that you pick with whom you want to have real and hard conversations. Because most of the time when someone around you that you care about has said an unspeakable thing that you disagree with entirely, after having a long hard, and real conversation (mostly conversations over a period of time) it helps you close the divide between you and find a common ground. There’s no winning in having an argument with someone you care about. Because if you win the argument you lose and if you lose the argument you lose. Because that argument can ruin any chance of further connection or mutual learning because you have to figure out where these opinions come from and figure out how can you find a common ground: Does that person actually mean what they said? Or do they just don’t know how to express their thoughts? Where does it come from?
Don’t judge a person by one thing that they said by one statement that they said.
Yes, this could be different in your workplace or with random acquaintances in your life that you actually don’t care about. I’m not saying you have to have conversations with everyone on your social media when they say something stupid. You have to figure out whether to have these conversations or not. Des that really bother me on a personal level because i care about you? –> Then yes you should have hard conversations and not judge one person by one thing they said.
If that person actually ruins your mental health by engaging with them further –> don’t engage with them. Cut it off.
The second trap of wokeness is judging, so to be effective in your social justice work try not to judge people by one thing they said once a long time ago or even once a week ago because people can change their mind. And often people don’t know what to say or aren’t educated enough to express their thoughts make eloquently so make sure that you call them in or you call them out if you care about them.
Judgment is not the best thing for your entire mental and soulful being. Judgment usually doesn’t help you to become more aligned with yourself or happier or more productive.
Trap 3: No room for learning
This has to do with cancel culture. (However, I don’t want to go too much into this discussion of the word “cancel culture” or the concept, because the same people who say now “you cannot cancel me because I didn’t shout out black lives matter”, were the ones that canceled you years ago because you talked about Palestine. So people are hypocrites, okay). That’s one thing. The other thing is we have to figure out in what way we want to cancel people.
Because cancel culture is something that is translated from social media into real life right. Yes, I agree. You should cancel people who repeatedly threaten your mental health and state of mind when your values don’t align right, especially online. Why should I follow a person that I don’t agree with? I can cancel you right there, no problem, but in real life, we have to figure out that things are more nuanced than on social media.
In real life, when someone says something or takes an action, try to not judge them but find a common ground. Give them room to learn, because, in real life, things are more nuanced, situations are more nuanced.
On social media, yes ideally people should think more than two minutes about what they post about an issue that is important in real life. People just say ignorant things, but at least when they say the ignorant thing, you understand that they said it because they are ignorant. Now you have a common ground. “You are ignorant” now I can talk to you right now. I know how you feel now. I can have a conversation with you because I’m there with you in person, I’ve seen you say non-ignorant things, I’ve seen you say good things before, so yeah – I think we have a common ground. I think I can give you room to learn. I think I can start a conversation with you. This works also in your wider acquaintance circle or your workplace, give them the room to learn about social justice matters.
Give them the room you needed to learn to learn as well.
1) Kill your ego. Ego has no place whatsoever when you want to learn
2) Be open to teaching. This especially comes as a burden for non-black people of color. Because I believe as non-black people of color, especially when it comes to talking about racism, we have to be at the forefront of helping people understand the issues because we are at the intersection. We have both privileges and experienced oppression. We have both internalized superiority and internalized oppression. So yes, non-black people of color are specifically being called out by me right now to be open to teaching others. We have to have patience. If you don’t have the patience (as I don’t have often), try to learn to have the patience to teach people or at least figure out who you can teach because they have a common ground with you, some commonality that you share. And let others be taught by white people or by people who have more patience. But you have to be open to teach people, don’t judge them, don’t cancel them. Teach them.
3) Give people the time. This is an important one. Okay, you don’t want people to admit to something that they don’t understand or don’t agree with just to shut up all the critiques right. You don’t want your colleague to say “black lives matter” if they go home and tell their family “all lives matter”. You want them to get it and move on from there better. With better understanding and more awareness. So don’t push people into optical allyship or branded wokeness. Make sure that they are aware of the things that you want them to be aware of so give people time it’s a journey, not a race.
These are were the three traps of wokeness that I wanted to talk with you about. It might help you personally in figuring out your womanhood, it might help you professionally and in your business, and it might help you in creating your brand. But, most importantly, it should help you in every single phase of your life, whether that is interacting with your family, your friends, your partners, your colleagues, your collaborators, and the entire world.
So wokeness is something that is a big discussion point, and I would love to hear your thoughts about wokeness about the three traps that I talked about three solutions to being woke efficiently. I would love to hear your thoughts about it, jump on Instagram @sharediversity or, on my channel, @sinamichalport, and share your thoughts.
Share this episode with someone who needs to hear this.
Who is interested in the topic, who you think would love to give their opinion on the things? I would love to continue the conversation about this beyond this podcast, so leave your comments below. You can find me, you can also connect with me on LinkedIn at Sina Port. Just shoot me a message.
I pray that you are all healthy, physically, mentally, and spiritually. So you can keep up the battle and I pray that we all stay woke, ameen.
Thank you so much for being here. And, if you’d like to build your personal brand to get your career and business to the next level visit me on www.sinaport.comto get access to free resources and programs to build a brand that’s true to who you are and I’ll see you next time, inshallah.
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Shahd Batal, is an LA-based content creator who turned her personal brand into a full-time devotion. She came from being a natural hair blogger to building her name as a top influencer in modest fashion and beauty and now creates content around her lifestyle, self-care and real girl talks.
She took the time to speak with us about
The journey from a student to building a money-making personal brand online 1:40
Rebranding herself after deciding to wear the hijab 6:40
Deciding to do content creation full-time 11:15
Having the confidence to put yourself out there 15:15
Being an influencer while working on your character 18:00
Creating content that’s authentic to who you are right now 20:00
Self-care & Social Media: How to preserve your mental health online 24.00
How to create content with intention 33.00
Authenticity: how to build a brand when you’re multi-faceted 38:00
Becoming financially independent with your personal brand 44:00
Working with brands 47:00
Money: Setting your rates 53:00
Dealing with low views & engagement 59:00
Top tips for content creators to start out 1:03:00
Motivation for everyone starting from scratch 1:09:00
Comment below! Shahd’s question for you:
What are you doing right now that you’re gonna be proud of later?
Leave it down in the comments, and share your diversity with us!
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Podcast with Shahd Batal and Sina Port on Building a Personal Brand:
Today I talked with Shahd Batal she shared her journey to becoming an influencer how to create content with intention and how it can be authentic to yourself and your journey and we talk real business making money from your personal brand and expecting the money you are worth so if you’re interested in this kind of content inshallah stay tuned.
Thank you so much for coming on Shahd I got a name right “Shahd”
Okay so for those who don’t know you which I think are not going to be so many people could she introduce yourself in 30 seconds
In 30 seconds Wow. I was born and raised in Minneapolis and originally Sudanese I moved to LA a couple of years ago I am a full-time content creator so beauty fashion lifestyle whatever my interests are honestly I’m lucky enough to be able to make my interests and hobbies into a career but yeah I’m just I’m doing it.
I’m 23 suddenly can’t remember anything else about myself uh-huh but yeah that’s kind of a just in the content creator
Beautiful so actually why I wanted to speak with you was because your personal brand is so strong and you have a very unique journey so you started actually blogging and as a natural hair blogger and yeah I already built an audience back then and then you started to get into modest fashion.
So I really want to know what was your journey and I guess it’s gonna be a longer answer: What was a journey creating your personal brand and then also rebranding yourself from after you chose to wear the hijab?
Shahd’s on becoming a modest fashion influencer and making money from her personal brand
Yeah, so it’s definitely a very unique journey I so I was just I grew up very normal ahem did I had a very average good upbringing I was in school I was studying public relations and I really loved it. Honestly, if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now I would be on the other side of what I’m but it’s interesting because the PR that I studied is much different than what PR is now.
But I was just in school and I was having kind of the same crisis that a lot of college kids have of like is this what I want to do is the direction I want. And I’m lucky that my parents never pushed me to be a doctor a lawyer because my parents were not doctors and lawyers so it was anything in the arts was some or like had anything to had to do with writing was okay.
I guess I could say my parents are as cool as it gets for Muslim parents and that’s really important to my story. So I was in school. I was a YouTube baby like.. I grew up watching YouTube. I grew up watching the oh geez, but none of them looked like me and I didn’t. I don’t think I necessarily took that in, but I was just like., So I can’t say that I did. I started doing what I’m doing because I didn’t see anyone that looks like me. It was all like very fluid for me, so I actually, on one day on my MacBook air, decided to film a YouTube video in my dorm room. It was horrible, it will never see the light of day ever again, but it was that first step that I needed, and so I made a video I put it online. I think I was so excited when I got a hundred views. I still remember like hitting a hunt. I was sitting in my English class when I hit a hundred subscribers like these things, which are all very fresh. In my mind like this was 2015 -2016.
Because it’s been about four years now and I was doing it but I didn’t tell anybody right and I don’t fully remember what my first video was I think it was a chatty video it wasn’t a natural hair video but I started doing natural hair videos.
Because it was my journey of going from damaged, hair to healthy hair, and it meant more than that, it meant it meant a kind of coming into myself that, a lot of stuff, my whole life. I had been straightening my hair and relaxing right here, but now I’m like this is. I want to feel good about my natural hair, so it did mean so much more to me and I think people kind of followed that journey of natural hair, and even with the natural hair videos, I would always talk.
If anything I was more vocal back then before I then I am now because, unfortunately, there are so many other factors. There is someone that always has something to say. You do always kind of want to be politically correct. So there are barriers that, unfortunately, privacy reasons, there are just so many reasons that I’m not as available. I have to take more precaution now, but I just I said what I wanted to say.
I was young. I was dumb and I was making these videos and then I said I didn’t tell anybody, but people started finding me and they came up to me. “Hey, I found your videos” and I’m like “That was… that’s not me.”. I don’t know who that girl is. It’S not me. I was so embarrassed, it’s kind of like I was living on Hannah Montana life.
I have to tell my parents before anybody else tells them that their daughter is making videos on the internet, because I don’t even know how they would react to that or what, where their mind would go. So I told my dad first and I said “Hey Baba, I make videos on the internet” and he was like what I’ said .”Don’t worry, I can make money off of it and I can do this and this is why it’s a good idea” and he was like”. Okay, don’t do anything dumb, don’t embarrass yourself, don’t embarrass our family, but you can do it” and I was like wow. No one else’s parents would have been that cool about it.,
And I told my mom and I think until this day they don’t completely understand what I do, but they are supportive and I have had to be very patient because they don’t understand what I do. I have to baby feed them so that I have., Because having their support, is so important to me and so many times I get questions from girls saying “Oh, I want to do this. My family doesn’t support it” and I can only say honestly, the last resort is not to have your family on your side.
Just being very patient with them and ham did. I things are good now or they never we’re, not good, but so told them, and I thought okay now I have a little bit more confidence kept making the videos.
Rebranding and starting to wear the hijab
I think at this point I had twenty-thirty thousand followers and around it was in 2016. Yeah. I was those around elections, I decided to start wearing hijab and there were so many different factors and reasons why I wanted to wear it. I always knew that I wanted to wear the hijab, but I always just thought it would be later in my life because my family said, wear it when you’re ready and in there it wasn’t the number one thing.
So I always knew I wanted it, but didn’t know when, but I think for a few months before I had this overwhelming feeling of I feel ready because I was kind of I was in a difficult place in my life, where I turned to the Dean and I was relearning a lot of the things that were just kind of taught to us that I didn’t question before, and anyone could attest to learning it on your own.
It has so much more meaning to it. So it was just a place., I remember as I would say. Okay, I’m going to make sure my prayers, I’m not missing any prayers, and so I would always have a scarf with me, and I was one day I was Ramadan thinking “This is annoying, I should just wear a scarf”.
So I didn’t think about the social media aspect. I thought if it doesn’t work, it isn’t the path for me.
If people stop following me, cuz I get it. I f you follow someone for natural hair and they stop posting natural hair videos, there’s so much other content you can watch. I don’t take that personally, but again I didn’t think about it. I just kind of thought. Okay, I’m ready to put it on whatever happens, and I knew that it was above me and I just had to go with it. So I put it on I those were around election times. There was just that video that I have up. I was so emotional today after the elections, it’s so embarrassing. I want to take it down, but for the culture, I can’t take it down, because that was real. That was where I was in life at the time. There were just so many stories about girls.
Taking a hijab off out of fear and it was just so ugly and I was like I could do something here. I could do something that matters here. That would encourage these girls and everything I do from the jump is for these younger girls are for the younger me right because I do. I grew up hating my natural hair right and I don’t want any of these girls, my daughter, inshallah, to ever to feel like that.
I don’t think that you have to unlearn. I don’t think anybody else needs to unlearn things that I’ve had to unlearn. You could just not learn it in the first place, so that was kind of where I was so all over the place but and things weren’t good initially. So I started. I was doing Beauty here and there., But I wasn’t a heavy Beauty person, but once it started to run the hijab I was thinking. Okay, I’ve got my face to work with now, so I got more into makeup and it was God I loved it at the time I was very glam, I was learning. I wasn’t a makeup artist and that’s the thing is: I have never been a professional than anything. I’ve never claimed she’d be an expert at anything.
I was just a normal girl, navigating being a young adult, so what happened? Next, I would still talk a little bit here and there, and things were rough for a couple of months. It didn’t. I was thinking “Okay, YouTube, is not gonna be a thing for me anymore. No one cares anymore and that’s fine. I need to go back to school.”
Then one day one video did well and it was kind of this influx of new people and what it felt as if the old people were leaving (the subscribers that I was losing) and a whole new group of people coming in and it felt like a different community and no people always knew. I was a Muslim.
It’s different when you’re visibly Muslim, so it felt good. It felt there was a lot of positivity at the moment and there still is time to die, but that’s kind of that, and things kind of just picked up, and I was still doing what I was doing. I think at the time I had 3000-4000 thousand subscribers, that went and I again was still I don’t even know.
If I mentioned this, I should mention I’m a horrible storyteller, so please bear with me. I did miss this part out. I was going through a lot and I sent my parents down and I was thinking “I want to pursue this” if you give me one year and if I can’t do anything with it, I will go back to school, and so I was taking that time. I took that year off school., I did not go back to school. I moved to LA in the most cliche form, so I was doing. I guess it’s kind of a blur to me honestly in the past couple years have gone by so quickly and so much has happened.
So I’m in Minneapolis making videos in my parents’ basement. I think one day I’m doing a panel in New York at Columbia, for it was on diversity inclusivity. I remember just talking about taking risks.
And I was thinking about how I’m such a hypocrite because I’m living so safe and so fine in my parent’s basement and I had been wanting to move to LA, for I knew that’s I just I knew it was what I wanted so I booked a flight from New York to LA I moved to LA or I come to LA and like I’m gonna look for an apartment, now. And I cuz. I thought I was just growing – I’m 21 at a time and I’m like. Oh, no one will give me an apartment. If I have no rental history, I am a child. I can’t really. I don’t have any credit and I can’t prove that I have a real job, so that was a little tricky to navigate got a spot and it was such a risk.
I remember, calling my parents saying “Hey Baba. I got an apartment”. It was a little rough at first, but I knew my parents, like our relationship, are like we’re friends and they are there to guide me. But it’s never been like I’m afraid of my parents, type of thing, which is such a common. You know a thing in our communities but move to LA and now it’s kind, it’s the past couple years have been., I always say like I was making videos in my parent’s basement and I loved it, but it was just me and it was safe because I didn’t Have to work with, I didn’t have to do anything. I knew what I was doing. It was just me. There was no one to tell me. Yes, no, no one critiquing me, it was just me.
Now I feel like I’m part of an industry, and there are good sides. There are bad sides, but I for me. I only work with people that I love to work with people that I like to work with because I think life is too short and work doesn’t have to stress me out as much as I allow it to stress them out. I also find my first grey hair in the summer and I feel, like my life, has been different ever since I mean I don’t let myself get stressed out anymore, it was funny because I called my mom and I’m like “Mama. I found my first grey hair” and she started laughing at me. Her sister is like “Yeah. We are, the women in our family, grey early”, I’m like “Great good to know”, but yeah now it’s., It’s there’s the content creation side, but I do have an incredible team that helps me out that helps me on.
The negotiations and things that I was doing before by myself, but I’m no good at I’m, not a lawyer. I don’t know how to I don’t. I look at a contract and I’m done I’m so endowed so I have. Luckily, I have people that can take care of everything on that side on the logistic side, so I’m able to just focus on creative
So multiple things over the time when you started, how was your level of self-confidence and what brought you from the idea of there’s YouTube, and I grew up with it and there’s this too – that I can use to them actually saying: there’s potential to make money? And then, really to going and taking the step to move to LA at 21, which is pretty young.
How do you gather that self-confidence to just put all of what you had in this one?
Yeah, I fully believe and fake it till you make it because that’s exactly what I did, I think I was making even till this day when I make you know, I have a series on my channel called Shai with Shahd to where I, just like a Q & A.
When I do these types of videos where I am very vulnerable, it’s 100% things that I need to hear myself and I’m just trying to believe it and. So that’s kind of how it was. I was never like the kid that fit in anywhere. I was never. I never had like a group of friends I never.. You know. I really struggled with my relationships when I was younger and you know to this day I mean now.
I haven’t I found a good group of people here in LA but I never had that before so it was solely me and you know in a way it was good because I think had I had a lot of people around me and a lot of opinions are on me I would have been too scared to start YouTube.
Because I would have been scared too you know what would what are people gonna think and blah and I kind of was like that because I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing but I think that was the best way I could have gone about it.
Cuz otherwise I would have been so shy I would have been too embarrassed and yeah it ended up working in my favor and I think over the time over time it just you have to yeah I mean you have to do the work of course but it does come with age it does come with the longer you’ve been doing this.
It doesn’t go away, I think the like any issues that I have with you know self-worth their confidence. It doesn’t go away, it just comes over time. It just comes in different ways and your triggers change. And when someone I think when I was younger, it was like I am I pretty, am I like cool and then you get older and you’re like: Am I a good person? Am I actually lovable?
But there are so many I think you have to put in the work to figure out you deal with it. I know and honestly, now a lot of it is with the love of the people in my real life, because, as great as you know, love on social media is it’s not always it’s not real., Not to say that it’s not real, but it shouldn’t justify it. Shouldn’t be the basis of your self-confidence, and I think, unfortunately, that’s the case for a lot of content creators, but if I was to take all the good that means I have to take all the bad. Yes, you know
That actually reminds me of something that I just heard I think it was a pastor saying it he said nowadays we need to figure out that our influence is not wider than our character deep so saying okay I want to share how I deal with you know my self-worth or how I deal with my Islam or how I deal with modesty. And then from yourself, your character is not that deep that you’re kind of not keeping up so you’re creating content about a topic where you really think people need to hear about it and yourself you also need to hear about it.
But at the same time, people should be able to meet you in person in private and understand your deepest thoughts and be even more impressed than when they see you online sharing these things with a wider audience. Yeah so I feel that is very important when you create content that you’re at the same time you preserve your personal health and your personal life and work on your character ongoing the same way or and even more than would you put out as an influencer to the world. But then I look at your channel and you’re creating so much content masha’Allah so.
What are very practical tools that you use for yourself to preserve your own character to grow as a person and develop yourself and at the same time create content that can as you say benefit those sisters and those younger girls that you won’t intentionally be influenced by your content? How do you navigate that practically?
Yeah I think I’ve never wanted to feel like I was being performative right I think my content has always been this is where I am in life right now and I can never speak for my entire journey or in the future.
This is where I am right now and it would not it wouldn’t be natural for me to you know always talk about how high my man is and how all of these things are because that’s not the case you know even my journey with modest fashion I guess if we talk about that. Because there’s a lot of conversation about what I think I went from not wearing the hijab not always being the most modest dresser to being like okay I want to wear it.
And mind you I do have a platform at this time so there are people watching the whole journey okay I think I’m gonna wear it I was wearing you know half of my hair was out and I was wearing what I was trying I was in a weird in-between phase which I’m so glad I went through.
And then you know there’s a phase where I will be really conservative and then I face what face where I’m not thinking it’s such a fluid thing but I’m aware that there are people watching it the whole time.
But I can’t perform and be like this is this is where I am all the time because I think when it gets performative is where there’s a lot of resentment that is unnecessary that I don’t think we’ve really had to deal with before social media and so for me I’m doing the best I can not be the face of all Muslims.
I cannot speak on behalf of everybody but this is my journey and I’m lucky it happened today I feel like the reason why people have stuck around through all of these changes. Because I’ve been five million people since I’ve been on the Internet is because I’m I do speak about things that matter to me in the midst of the beauty in the fashion like I said I’m really grateful that I get to make my hobbies into a career.
But it’s bigger than me you know it’s everything I do as much but it all has a much larger meaning from the natural here that journey to my journey of what does modest fashion what does modesty look like when I first started wearing it.
Thinking everyone and modest fashion the internet was a lot of dresses a lot of skirts which were beautiful and very modest but I’m too reckless to wear a dress every day of my life.
I just I didn’t know my personal style so I think people were watching that and I think through the evolution of this mmm I can look back and be like wow I have grown so much my self-confidence I’m not looking for that type of validation that I think I may have when I was younger.
But even now I really am loving wellness content I’m really loving self-care I think those are my favourite videos to create to edit I feel I feel like that it has a larger impact for me at the moment because and for other people because that’s what I’m passionate about at the moment and I’m not I do still love beauty but I don’t I’ve fallen out of love with it a little bit so for me to continue doing something that I know people.
I know people want to see but doesn’t feel authentic to me I just I know I’m going to start to resent it or I’m going to start to zap myself at the internet for not being authentic to where I am at the time and that’s why I always say when people ask me where do you see yourself in five years ten years and moans like I just I hope I’m doing something that feels authentic at the time. Because if I had guessed where I would it would have been five years ago where I would have been now five years ago absolutely not where I am right now but this feels authentic.
So I want to go more into self-care because one of the big campaigns and just shout outs from your brand that I really loved was “Buy yourself flowers”. Every single time I see someone buying flowers or I see like a stand where you can buy flowers and I’m thinking “I should buy myself flowers”. I mean I should also buy my mom flowers because she’d be really happy but I should also buy myself flowers.
It just gives you so much joy so I think it’s a real big deal even at whether you have a small brand online or a big that how do you preserve your mental health how do you take care of yourself how do you how are you happy and how are you also content with maybe not being happy at that moment and then at the same time trying to create content that inspire people or that give them value or that educate them so how do you navigate your own mental health and being present and online on social media.
That is a loaded question going back to buy yourself flowers that I think you know that was an accident that started as a tweet that I accidentally wrote “buying myself followers” every day and then it was too late and people were laughing at it and by the time I saw it it was too late for me to like fix it.
I was like well I can’t delete it now because I’m gonna look guilty yeah he’s gonna look at his spot followers so I just left it there and it was a joke and then people like. Oh, it’s Friday by yourself followers it was like no “buy yourself flowers!”.
And initially, it was very surface level it was literally I was buying myself flowers but then over time it kind of felt like I can do that in different ways so I think the phrase means so much more than just the phrase but how I take care of myself with social media. I just I try to be honest with myself first and foremost and if I’m not okay I think I used to be really hard on myself.
And I think it’s really easy for Gen Z’ers and Millennials to just be hard on ourselves all the time I think there’s a lot of like Muslim girl guilt on top of that. Or it’s am I doing enough am I doing the right thing how do I navigate anything in life but I think being honest with myself first and foremost and I write a lot I don’t share all my writing within everybody but it’s really important for me to journal.
Because once you write everything down it’s real and it’s out there and you can surprise yourself.
So what do you write about?
Anything! I will literally wake up in the morning and be like you know this is the mood for the day or if I’m having a great moment or like a really good night with my friends, I will try.
Even if I don’t have time I’ll write down like little details that I remember so I can go back to that and like oh this was the time where you know I felt very loved by my friends and you know really supportive.
You know I this with my family or whatever at what it is like I write everything down just so I can go back to it but also I love looking at my growth right so if there’s this particular situation that’s weighing really heavy on my heart.
I’m writing about it at the moment and I’m writing about it two months later five months later a year later I’m able to look at my growth and that’s something that helps me be like I’m okay.
Because I am growing and that’s enough and a lot of people feel like they’re we always feel like we’re not doing enough and that in itself like existing is an accomplishment and so for me, I like to write everything down just to have a better sense of just so I can I I guess so I can look at things objectively too but when it comes to social media.
I can’t always be creating content if I’m not feeling like it so like I said I’m not I’m trying not to be as hard on myself anymore and if I’m not feeling it I will turn off you know I’ll shut down but when I do shut down I try to not just spend my time passively right so I’m still trying to feed my mind because those are the times I need at most at times where you are just like ready to be done with everything.
That’s the time where you need to be nurturing your mind your body your spirit I mean as corny as it is that’s when you need it the most so instead of spending it passively and sometimes you need doesn’t go in you to turn off and watch Netflix but reading you know for me I love hiking I love being outside and it’s just like little things and I think people too people it’s easy to overlook how big such little things are like for me.
Like one thing I like to do when I’m procrastinating or anything it’s like literally counting to three and then okay I’m going to get up and do this and that is something that’s helped me but not spending my time possibly and or just being around people sometimes that’s it sometimes I need water sometimes I need a good meal and I that’s actually something that I want to look into more and I know it’s it’s something that’s very classist it’s a very privileged things but I think that the quality of your meals as well can definitely determine the quality of your life.
And I remember Oprah saying something my queen about how that’s how she feels and I truly believe it so I have been I was vegan for like three years and now I just, my body started craving like eggs again and I realized it wasn’t the eggs it was the protein that I needed and now I just I don’t eat meat but I’m still very mindful of the food that I eat. And I don’t think everybody needs to be a vegan I think it’s very impractical to tell Sudanese people that they have to be vegan but I just tried to be mindful about the food I eat I tried to be intentional I tried to actually spend time cooking.
Because that’s usually when I feel better when I feel nurtured and a lot of it is you we can get really lazy with these things that do matter and there are things that I’ve taken even from my mother like you know I always watched my mom put perfume on before she goes to sleep and I and when she cleans and she like does the behold and the Ruth it’s not just like to do it like that’s a form of self-care and so I think my ear pod fell out yeah it’s a form of self-care and I’ve always lived with that and for me work matters.
But I think people forget that there are so many other aspects of our lives that we don’t prioritize I think like this association with how hard you work or your success and your worth is really dangerous and it’s a very Western view but I think if we just start believing that we’re worthy before any of this or without any of these external things we’d have a lot fewer problems than we have right now.
That’s a lot of things that you’re mentioning I guess come down to self-awareness so practising self-care through being aware of what you need whether you that is your mind or your body or even your spirit or your soul and really understanding.
And I think that is also big deal where you come along and say okay writing is a form where I get more self-aware and I kind of can track my mood but also track what I can be grateful for and remind myself of that entire where I feel I need it because sometimes we need the reminders we just forget so easily and so quickly.
Yeah and the thing about writing that I love because I don’t share it publicly it’s like I don’t care if I’m a good writer or not I don’t care no one’s gonna see this is for myself and not how I feel like that’s such a rare thing but not everybody can do that right and for me.
That’s how I found my outlet but some people don’t know how to do that some people need to talk to somebody some people need to you know to be around people like the way I recharge is on my own but some people recharge around people like I think if you know how you can’t take care of yourself unless you know how to unless you know how you regain your energy.
Yeah and that has to happen by yourself internally understanding you know what you really want and that only looking outside how other people do with it.
I was just gonna say I’m constantly checking in because that is something that can change right. When I was younger I think I was a lot more extroverted than I am now but like I said constantly checking in on where you are at the moment.
And last time we spoke you also said you should constantly check in on your intentions when you create a brand or you create something for yourself or even your career so I just want to know okay building something bigger than yourself creating a legacy for yourself. These things sound very overwhelming for people that are just starting out creating a personal brand for example who are starting on their career and wanting a personal brand to support that.
So how what are the steps that you can take to really be intentionally based in your branding and create something that is bigger than yourself?
Yeah so constantly checking in for me when I first started my channel I wasn’t doing it for anyone like I said I I wasn’t thinking oh there’s no one that looks like me I have to do it and it’s gonna be this big thing and you know it’s gonna help other people feel good about themselves. No actually if I’m being honest I just wanted to do it for myself and then I really realized what that meant and if anything that helped me fall in love with it more and more but constantly checking in with your intention to saying.
Okay, why did I start this right? Like I said for me it was I wanted to do it too okay what can I do with it or who is this for because I don’t think that you are ever gonna find fulfilment and just doing something for yourself ever and especially if you’re gonna make something a career this is why there are so many studies that are like you know money doesn’t actually buy you happiness.
And that’s why there are so many issues with people that have all the money that has everything they want they’re still not happy so constantly checking in okay so initially it was okay I would love for you know these younger girls to feel like they have somebody that looks like them that is a normal person just navigating Minneapolis or LA or the industry or whatever however you want to see yourself in somebody.
Okay, that still matters to me but now how can I do how could I give back how could I do even more with what I’m doing how can I love creating content is this still the way that I want to be creating content and is this the path that I want to go down.
Oh actually oh it’s been a couple of years now my interests have changed a little bit how do I incorporate every like how do I switch things up how to do I it’s like what is that game where you just took my tongue I’m just constantly swishing around the puzzle pieces. I guess for lack of a better term but it’s really important because I think if you don’t check in that’s when going back to the resentment thing you’re gonna start to not enjoy what you do and when you start to not enjoy what you do.
That’s a huge indicator that you haven’t been checking in with yourself and that’s okay it’s okay to get there cuz we all just put life on the backburner we put you put a ream out on the back burner but you put things that are so crucial to our survival on the back burner and we get so caught up in day to day. And it’s okay to get there like don’t be hard on yourself but that’s a huge indicator that maybe what you’re doing is what you want to be doing but you never want to feel like you’ve gone too far down it to not be able to look back or to be able to backtrack and fix something.
Do you think there is a point where you can’t go back or is it always just checking in and not overthinking it because I think a lot of times we overthink okay what is my mission statement and what is my vision for the brand and like you said where do I need to be in five years and where do I want this to be growing in. How do I monetize it and I want to get to that in a bit but do you think that there is a specific moment where you need to reflect on the intention behind your brand or can you do it at any stage of the process you’re in right now.
I think you can do at any stage I don’t think it’s ever too late to reevaluate or it’s ever too late to rebrand we have so many great examples of that already but I think when it comes to I mean in what regards do you mean are you talking about if someone specifically on social media or someone who is on in the industry.
So let’s say practical example I have a sister who wants to get into she’s studied law and a lot of people know about being a law student. And she wants to change a lot of social issues with the law but then she’s also interested in creating a modest fashion site and she’s interested in creating a healthy and nutritional coffee shop.
Like so many different things like where do you see her understanding of more okay, I want to give back from what I really enjoy doing – oh this is the industry where I’m at right now and I can’t deviate or I can’t like change my ways because people will think I’m shaky or whatever.
So I think I’m asking from a personal branding perspective because when you’re looking at branding yes these things seems very separate but if you look at a person is not only one facet like she is not only you know I like makeup or I like fashion or I am talking about self-care you are a lot of different things and many more that we don’t see as viewers honest in a social media space like you are so many different facets do you believe that a personal brand can and if you how can a personal brand reflect really all the parts of what you want to achieve and all the parts that you want to intentionally change or grow or develop yourself into.
Mm-hmm, I think we’re almost in 2020 and people will people follow who they love people sticker I’m sorry I don’t know if you guys in here there’s a construction happening people stick around for what they love. And they tune in to authenticity right so if you are authentic people will people buy things from people that they like right.
I think a good example of what you were saying your sister reminds me of my friend Amal who was on YouTube now but she went to law school she loves social justice she has the most beautiful mind ever martial law but she loves content creating and she worked at BuzzFeed.
She’s creating her own YouTube channel and she’s finding a way to incorporate it all together because I think the way we have to look at the industry is there’s a problem and there’s a gap how can I fill that gap right.
And then and it could be with all these different interests that you have whether it’s law and fashion or you love a straw I don’t hate that stuff um any anything random I think that it’s 20/20 and I think the only way it’s better to be good at multiple things to be like okay at multiple things than to have one focus and I think it’s a lot more lucrative as well and obviously a lot more fulfilling because you’re able to tap into all the different parts of yourself
I think you really put it well in saying like people okay we don’t follow things or movements or projects we follow people and their personalities and their character and what they authenticly want to share. And whether that is ten different things that you’ve never thought this person has in them or it’s just two or three different things we follow them because they are authentically themselves.
Yeah and that’s the way that things are moving now I guess I can only speak to what I know and that’s my industry is. When you follow someone on social media you don’t think okay well I’m only gonna follow them for a short amount of time and then I’m gonna unfollow them, right?
You usually when you hit that follow button you want to be following someone forever and you can’t expect that person to be the exact same person all the time. You’re watching them grow and you know through little bits of themselves that they share you get like these little like a little bit of information here and there random things about this person you’re starting to form.
I guess not a relationship because the Internet is not a relationship with someone but you’re starting to form relate-ability to this person and so when you watch when they are I guess for me I was if I’m doing fashion for a moment and then I switched to beauty for a moment. And then I switched and I go back to wellness then I go back to the beauty it’s you’re following someone because usually, you see something of yours in them.
Or you’re seeing something aspirational in them or something about them that you love that you can relate to and whenever you are I guess whenever you are thinking about where you are if you want to rebrand it’s always it should always be one.
If there’s a problem there’s something that I can fix here and you should never go into it thinking no one can relate because there’s always someone who can see something and what you do in themselves all right.
So there are people that I follow on YouTube that have nothing to do with me like we are completely opposite people who just talk about things that have nothing to do with me a complete opposite of me.
But I there’s something about their character and that’s how it should be people that you know follow me or if I’m walking and white woman with blonde hair and blue eyes is like I like your content I’m just like “Wait why it’s like how do you relate to me but that’s always so never I don’t think anyone should ever go into it thinking what are people gonna think who’s because you will find your people. And you will find your niche and there’s always a gap that needs to be filled and you’re really not doing much by trying to do what the other people are doing.
Yeah is doing so one big thing that I want to talk about is you really monetize your personal brand and what you’ve been doing which is also playing into your self-confidence. Because I believe coming from our community we don’t necessarily see other people making a lot of money with things that… first of all, we don’t see a lot of people in the public space making a lot of money that looked like us. And then also we see social media and it just looks I’m just gonna be honest just looks like this messy place and you’re just thinking okay everyone is talking about you can build a personal brand if you’re a beautiful woman and you’re into fitness just show your body you’re gonna make a lot of money with the brands that are going to sponsor you.
But I am just seeing a lot of self-confidence and like believe and like just professionalism and how you grew a personal brand to be really monetized and becoming financially independent with the content you create so can you walk us through the steps of becoming financially independent with your personal brand?
Absolutely I value I don’t care about money as much as I probably should but I value financial freedom a lot because it’s something that I guess within our communities I think that there I’ve seen so often you know a lot of you know parents like our parents unhappy not saying this in my situation but like parents are unhappy but you know the mom is is not financially independent to leave and you just watch this sister this cycle over and over again.
So I’ve seen what it’s done in communities and I’m like I just need financial freedom for it for us and a lot of people are shy they don’t talk about these things because I think they think it’s like a competitive thing. But it’s BS, so the way I make money through social media I don’t think you should ever have one outlet of like you know one outlet one stream of income so there is.
One aspect which is Adsense which are the ads that play on Google and you can choose how many ads you want to put on a video and there are this is now has become a much smaller part of my income. And then there is sponsored content which is the basis of it and when it comes to sponsored content you can’t just wake up one day and be like I want to work with NARS cosmetics okay like you…
I don’t take meetings all day for anything I don’t go to events for anything I don’t travel for anything and I know it looks so perfect and people don’t see the other side of it because it’s supposed to look easy it’s supposed to look effortless I don’t have stress social media I would oh my god my day was just so busy was this brand and this happened and this happened.
No, it’s supposed to look easy no one sees the back end of it but it’s actively putting in the work I think a lot of people think that I’ve grown a following and people are going to approach me regardless because there are people with 50,000 followers that doing such good work and have such amazing deals. And there are people with a million followers that are not doing it and I think part of it is also if you want to work with brands your content has to be brand-friendly so you can’t be like volt you can’t have like just inappropriate content you can’t be and if you want to be like how do I freeze it if you want to be very vocal about you know very political thing whatever it is your content has to be brand-friendly at the end of the day.
And so if you’re there if you feel like you have curated content that is great you can take that to a brand and on nowadays it’s like you can send a brand @dm. It’s really not that unprofessional you can the goal is to move it to an email but you can shoot a DM to someone and be like “I love your brand here’s here all the times that I have mentioned your brand and I would love to find a way that we oh I would love to find a way to collaborate”.
And bring the pitch to them. People want to work with you if you make it easier to work with them. Right, you can’t be like hey I want to work with you and then put it all in them they’re gonna be like take it out of here I’m busy.
But if you give them the whole pitch it’s a lot easier for them to work with you want to work with you also constantly keeping with these brands you want to be top of mind right.
So I just came back from New York you know so it’s important for me to be like who do I know that’s in New York let me grab a coffee with them even for 15 minutes. It’s important to make sure that you’re top of mine and also maintaining those relationships so on the brand side that’s the way to go about it okay so now you’ve got a deal you got your first deal it’s great. They’re gonna want to lowball you a lot of these bigger companies want to lowball you especially women that look like me I think women like who look like me are always asking me about deals.
And it’s really disheartening how much brands want to pay are willing to pay because if we’re being fully honest like some of these girls come like have they have the content it’s very curated they’re doing great things.
But they’re making a quarter of this woman this white woman with blonde hair blue eyes they’re getting paid brands have money I’ve seen it and it’s about I guess not being like this is how much they want to pay me it’s about saying “Hey these are my rates if you want to negotiate that”.
You can negotiate that and for me, it does like my rate will vary it’ll vary depending on do I really really love this brand do I wish I could use real examples. But there are brands that I really really loved they’re my wish list and so I would do that for a little bit less if I love the brand and it’s important for me to build the relationship with them because you always want to be thinking long-term right I think there’s a lot of people that are in the moment and you’d never want to have a bad relationship with the brand. Because you never know what’s gonna happen in the future right so it’s about maintaining relationships maintaining anything with longevity. So it’s okay so now we have negotiated something sometimes a little hires and tends a little lower if it’s more content you can you know you can give them deals but it’s also about you have to you can’t just throw out a number this is my rage without being able to back it right-
So that’s what I wanted to ask: so now so how do you create your own rates like how do you really price yourself and come to that is there like a formula or like an estimate?
Yeah so I mean it varies a lot. It varies on what is if we’re talking about Instagram specifically. What is your engagement rate? How long have you been doing it do you do other things? Do you you know what is attached to your brand do you speak a lot or are you solely on Instagram? Are you on YouTube what else do you do? What are your other accomplishments and I’ve seen something floating around social media about like you know if you are a makeup artist or a professional hair my hair art whatever professional? Any aspect and someone books you for 30 minutes right if you’re a technician and anything someone needs you for 30 minutes someone needs you to do a job you’re not that person not paying you for those 30 minutes right they’re paying you for all the work you’ve done that has gone into you being able to do that job in 30 minutes right the education labour the time the effort that you’ve put in that’s how they decide their rates right.
So when a lawyer asked you asks you for five million dollars for an hour it’s because that lawyer went to law school you know so it’s kind of the same with social media and I think a lot of people ignore that and they just think about followers know there’s a lot that goes into it what is the quality of your content.
And when it comes to the contracts okay what does the brand want from you I think you have to be really clear about it you have to be clear about what is the exclusivity how long do you get to use my content are you going to push this content what does this mean where is this going to be and brands just.
So easily just slip things and that can go over anyone’s had you know and that’s why I’m so grateful that I have a team that’s able to that knows this way better than I do that can handle that but not everybody has that so it’s important to it’s just so important to stick up tell if as corny as that sounds um having don’t – I mean first ask what their budget is.
But then say okay well good to hear this is my rate can we meet if you want to meet them if not keep it pushing and I think I’ve learned with a lot of these larger brands if you turn something down usually they come back and that’s kind of usually they come back and they’re like alright.
Because they have the money I’m sorry if you are an asset a water company if you are an L’Oreal company you have the budget.
Yeah you know but especially people of colour women of colour they’re always yeah we always put into like oh we just at least I have the feeling oh also in speaking.
So if you’re a speaker any kind of service that you provide there’s always this oh we need someone that looks like you that kind of gets the message like you that kind of like represents that kind of community for our brand or for our campaign or for whatever event.
And this is how much we pay you which is probably half of what they give other speakers yeah with the same expertise just don’t look like you and they are not a minority in that sector so we are just being you know to be happy that you’re being invited into the space but I think okay I think I heard who said that. Nafisa said that from Amalia she said something if you think your rate is a certain number double it and add something and then give it to the company because yep too much of like too often you’re just being invited for such a low number just to get someone who looks like you into that space yeah they think you’re not going to negotiate.
Yeah. And a lot of times people don’t they’re like oh this is what the brand is willing to pay me I still remember being so young and innocent and going into my first ad my management before this I remember going into the office so nervous and they’re like so how much do you charge people and I literally were in awe of how little I was charging because I had no idea and once I signed I was making probably five times more than five times what I was making.
Before and it was mind-blowing to me how much money is in this industry and how much people are willing to pay but going back to what you’re saying about not knowing. That’s why it’s so important for me to have four people four women in the community who look like us to form these relationships because if a brand comes to me and they’re like hey we want you to do this campaign and they don’t want to pay me and it kind of feels like oh you know we can get any we’ll get a different one I’m like okay go ask my friend who’s probably who’s going to charge you.
As much as I’m going to charge you and so we brands don’t get away with it anymore and I’m lucky to have you know friends in the industry I’m lucky to have like I show with me who I should have ruined it probably know it wasn’t incredible she’s like my mom, she’s the responsible one who you know we kind of grew together and we were able to kind of figure things out together and that’s been so incredible to me because we never looked at each other like competition right we were both doing the exact same thing but we never looked at it like that it was like oh my gosh I’m so happy that we are able to do this and it’s all come full circle of you know what we were doing before to both of us are now in LA pursuing our dreams.
You know and that’s because we had that sisterhood from the jump and you know it’s great but I think not sharing had we not shared rates had we not you know shared issues with certain brands or you know there are brands that I don’t talk about because they are like that there are brands that don’t care and you know the harsh truth there’s a lot of these brands don’t care about diversity inclusivity they just are doing it for their own political gain they don’t care and that’s hot of really harsh reality and I think for us I guess for me living in America like for example it’s like everything like you have to pick your battles right.
And then and especially the layer of being a black Muslim woman t’s so easy to be the difficult black role. And I’m just myself a very passive person I know this about myself so it’s it is really easy to just be a pushover and initially, it’s hard because how do you tell someone that’s trying to make a living off of it to know you need to assert yourself don’t work with brands that are doing. It’s like that’s not really like people want to work and it I can’t always speak on everything but it’s about picking your battles about you know this is what I value these are the brands that I would love to work with like I said earlier I would do last I would do more I would you know to find a way to make that work.
Yeah I think it’s so important because we make money as such a taboo topic we think oh it’s so and polite to ask how much someone is earning how much you’re pressing yourself how much your salary is it’s in your career as a lawyer or in the financial industry the same as when you’re building a personal brand creating content you just have to have that conversation.
Because if not you probably are earning way less than you could because someone is going to have insight into that area that you don’t so a fine sisterhood in your career so important just to have that conversation have that bond and just share with each other kind of the tips and how you overcame that issue.
Because the other person probably had the same so I want to ask you okay one of the last questions creating content okay you’re creating so much content mashallah now obviously the state of your brand and how you built your team is now very different than how when you start it so how was the process like of creating content back when you started.
And maybe seeing like little views or like low engagement how did you deal with that and then also you know how did you deal with like kind of the ugly beginnings of like really having to do every single step of the content creation process and figuring out your way on your own how is the content creation back then and how did you deal with the process and what can you give other people on the way that are starting and are at that moment right now to help them ease the process for them.
Yeah for sure I kind of want to go back to the what I was saying earlier for a second because I think it’s really important to acknowledge the lack the gap in education about business in you know a lot of these white communities versus my community.
And that’s another reason why it’s so important they don’t necessarily need that sisterhood I mean they whatever they do but they have all this background and how to move how to navigate how to deal with money that a lot of people in my community don’t have.
And that’s why it’s been important to me back to content creation yes it’s much much different now when I first started making videos it like I said it was on my webcam of my laptop and I think now obviously it’s very different quality matters a lot more now than it did before but there’s no camera lens that’s gonna give you good content if you don’t make good content already and it’s about making content that people relate to that people enjoy.
Because it’s entertainment at the end of the day I before I didn’t have the money to get all this amazing equipment so I still remember buying my first camera and I still remember like yeah I knew that people were making had more than me but I was working with what I had and that’s what’s so that’s like a huge part of how like where I am.
It’s like I was I’ve always just been working with what I have and the resources that have so I was making videos I had a lot more energy back in the day like I don’t know what happened like I’m not taking my iron anymore I was able to I remember before I told my parents that I had a YouTube channel they would go to work and I’d be so excited for them to go to work.
Because that means I could go upstairs and film and I’d film like three videos in a day and I netted a and I liked till this day I’m I’m learning that now what has worked for me may not work anymore right like I always added in my videos by myself but I’m not the best editor I didn’t care I was still making it I knew I could be doing better.
Now that I I do have the means that come to die I can hire someone to do that right so that’s kind of what I’m in the process of like I can hire someone to do this better than I can because you know the same way I hired someone should do my contracts in a way that in a much better way that I could you know so now I’m there but it because I have the means doubt when I didn’t it’s like you do what you have to do.
And I loved the content that I was creating and I didn’t think about the other side I’d never thought about how my content would be received because the second you do that you’re not authentic content and you and and and like I said now I do have to think about it a little bit more I do have to make sure I’m not saying the wrong thing but I didn’t like care before and that’s the content like I missed that that’s the content I love to watch so yeah I’m not worrying about the other side and creating content that you yourself want to see is the most important thing I think.
Because there will always be people who want to watch it and what I tell people now it’s like yes yeah the algorithm yes you want views but that should not be at the number one thing I think it’s always about don’t think about that create the content you love and keep creating it because this stuff takes time and it’s not over saturated the industry is forever changing I think my field.
Specifically, like influencer marketing isn’t going away and it’s an industry that adapts constantly to what’s happening so right now with likes going away people are like well what does that mean it’s like I don’t know but there’s always the back end like that space always adapts you know and if anything I think it’s kind of good that they’re getting rid of it because I think people are going to start making more authentic content people are going to start posting more.
I think it’s not going to be as performative I think a lot of people are really upset about it and I get it because it’s it does hurt smaller creators it does hurt smaller businesses because if I see you know this sweatshirt that is amazing and it has so many likes and everyone loves it I might buy it versus if I can’t see the likes and I’m just like what is the small business with a sweatshirt.
So I get it it’s it’s definitely a hit at them but I think if you let everything discourage you I guess I guess you should think about it in a sense of how would like would you still be doing it if you could if there was no possibility of making money and when I first started doing what I was doing I wasn’t making money I wasn’t thinking about making money I was just doing it because I enjoyed it and that’s always what it goes back to and now I’m rambling.
No, I think that is very important because you lose that sight when you understand okay I want to build a personal brand that really helps me to build my career you too often think about the other side and how it comes along.
How other people perceive you which is I think a human thing like if you network with someone when you get to know someone you want to present yourself in the best light and also in the social media space but really having that understanding that and I think one of the biggest things that you said is creating content that you would want to watch.
If you feel like you feel shy watching yourself or you like looking at yourself and you wouldn’t show it your mother because she would say that’s not you or your sister and she would say you’re kind of different in this video then you should be going deeper into your personality and understand you know what is really the authentic content that you can create for yourself.
yes and another thing I noticed is don’t sit on your content like.
While you have momentum do it right so they’re there so often people like I want to start a YouTube channel and I’m like start tomorrow post the video tomorrow ecause once you lose the momentum it’s gone and it’s really really difficult to get it back and you know even for me if I have a video.
And I sit on it for a long time and I watch it again I’m like oh my gosh I hate this I can’t post this we’re so critical on ourselves and you never do it and there have been so many videos that just never saw the light of day because I just sat on it so I think posting things in real-time is important as well.
Okay so I think the last question is when you start it and you start – in 2016 and you started any other parents basement what would you have liked to know back then that would have made your journey easier what would I have liked to know.
I would have liked to know that I won I guess in terms of money I would have liked to know now that I and asked for my rate I can I’m allowed to I have agency over basically everything in my career right.
So when I’m working with people they need me more than I need them and I wish I knew that back then a lot of these friends they need you you’re they have a problem and you are the solution and I wish I looked at things like that before I think before.
Because I was so young I was just like so grateful for all these opportunities which were great opportunities but like I’m in the space for a reason I wish I would have honestly as as as much as I do will always vote for being authentic and sharing through stories not just sharing you know that your success is sharing the difficult moments.
I think now it’s almost uncomfortable how much access people certain people have because of you know how vocal I’ve been in the past so I wish I always thought about you know this could come back to you or you know people are always gonna remember I think.
I know I guess I didn’t realize that people were actually paying attention I didn’t realize I wish I knew that I didn’t have to I guess I just didn’t have to be so hard on myself like I didn’t have to you know beat myself up when things didn’t perform when I when you know.
I wish I knew that the videos that you get so excited about and you think you predict or gonna work out great is gonna be like the best videos might not perform and I wish I knew that it wasn’t up to me and it’s like I wish I need to like expect the unexpected and to not predict and to not have expectations on content.
And to create content for myself and then because the internet chooses what’s going to perform it’s not going to perform like there have been so many times where you’re like oh this photo is gonna do so well or this video is gonna do so well and it doesn’t or the most random videos of mine have taken off. And I’m like why did you guys watch this you know but I wish I had a better son of balance and the sense of like yes you need to know what what’s trending what people care about but staying authentic to yourself.
I think had I known the balance that I had now maybe I would have been in a different place but yeah you can’t don’t go into it with expectations I guess yeah you just see what she loves yeah that’s beautiful that was a horrible answer.
I would just like to know how would the Shahd from like three years ago think about the person that is sitting here right now?
She would be spinning I had no idea where I would be alright now like this didn’t even seem alhamdulillah this didn’t seem attainable.
It didn’t seem like it was for me like I always knew like people like this doesn’t work out for people like me like it’s for other people right and so I guess you don’t realize the grand scheme of things because you’re so caught up in day today.
But like when I look back to three years ago it feels like a century ago because so much has happened so much work has gone in and I guess going back to what you would what advice I would give to a younger me or someone just starting is.
You can’t predict what’s gonna happen and you need to focus on day to day you can’t go into it being like this is where you won’t like this is where you’re gonna be of course envision it has a vision board like want that for yourself manifest that. And like manifesting goes hand in hand with them because it’s like Allah is what you think of him and and and if that’s if you think that that’s attainable for you then it can be you know so I think she would be she would be shocked but not because of anything external I think.
Mainly because of a guy alhamdulillah like I am proud of where I am I’m proud of the way I deal with things. I’m proud of the work that I put into myself the time that I was spent with myself and that’s able to make me function better to make better content.
I think she was really the younger me was you know had no cop like I was sad all the time but I had that little bit of Hope like I know it was honestly like it’s I was just a teenager you know I was really really lost but I there was always something in me that kept me going. Because I knew there was better like I knew that wasn’t it and even now when I go through issues or I’m having like it going through something incredibly difficult I know that I can’t just like stay there like I know that if I stay there that’s the worst place like I have to keep treading and I have to tread lightly yeah I think more so than anything just I’d be proud of the strength that I have that I didn’t think I had so yeah and hopefully you know like now I’ll look back in five years and be like wow it’s grown so much from when I was 23.
The beautiful thing that I see and hear when you say that it’s not there is something external but it’s something that you’ve grown internally and with yourself with.
And you’ve become more strong and confident with who you really are which is something that we always think is just like a light a soft factor it’s like not really important we don’t envision ourselves to be mentally or spiritually strong in five years we envision ourselves five hundred thousand or two million richer yeah or in-house or married.
So what I hear from you is really these beautiful intrinsic internal personal factors that you worked on yourself and not on something that is a tool or something that is a state of or environment.
Yeah and we’re going on to 2020 and obviously people are gonna write their goals for the new year for the new decade which is crazy to me and we always it’s always interesting to me. Whenever I’m looking like productivity journals or planners how like work goals are always like a priority and then it’s like oh but these are my personal goals like your personal goals are always on the backburner yes when that should be your priority.
Because work maybe you can ask other people but I do love my job but I think that that job isn’t gonna like hug me and like bring me full satisfaction and like I said you you can’t do that work unless you’re working on yourself first and you can’t do that to the best of your ability.
Unless you’re working on yourself person you can’t be a good friend to other people unless you’re good to yourself like I’ve been such a hypocrite like we all can give really great advice to our friends.
But then we can never take it you know I can’t like and and and that is focusing on part of your self-care is trying to be a good daughter good friend and making sure you’re having meaningful conversations and interactions because you can grow from those you grow from having those conversations with your parents with your friends with all of these things.
But you process them alone and you need to figure out the way that you process them and for me, it’s writing and for other people, it’s whatever it is yeah but that self-awareness is most important so I think everyone’s goal for 2020 should be self-awareness.
Last but not least so how we end this podcast is you can ask a question to the audience that they can then answer in the comments below anything that we talked about or anything that you would like to know from them yeah just shoot what’s your question for them.
Oh gosh I guess I’m there I was asking myself it’s like corny but like what am I doing right now that I’m gonna be proud of later you know and if I’m really not doing anything it’s just a moment to reevaluate so what are you doing right now that you’re gonna be proud of later. And then that I again it doesn’t have to be work I shouldn’t be work I can’t be work actually a matter-of-fact answer cannot be work.
So what I’m what are you doing right now you’re gonna be proud of later inshallah.
Wow, beautiful thank you so much for coming on this podcast.
Thank you for having me it’s been lovely I know what we scrambled forever to get this done Subhan Allah you shared so many also practical tips on money.
I love that you were open and like ready to so talk about that because I know it’s a typical for a lot of people and I just don’t think that it has to be so mashallah we’ve covered so much.
Thank you again for having me and hopefully, we’ll be in chat soon and hopefully, you’ll be in LA soon.
I hope you loved it and got as much value out of this conversation as I did so insha’Allah don’t forget to answer her question in the comments below and share your diversity with us!
When you’re looking at creating meaningful change in your life, understand that you have to start by looking at your purpose first. In this episode, you will learn how to define your purpose, how to set meaningful goals, and why you need strategies and habits to make them happen.
In this podcast you will learn:
The difference between purpose and goals
How to find out what type of personality you are more of (goal-setter or purpose-driven person?)
To focus better and set less (!) goals
The 5 areas you should set goals in
How to set both personal & professional goals
Building your personal brand
Make sure you understand the difference between purpose or visions and goals!
Are you a rather purpose-driven person or a goal setter? Before you set your new goals, you should understand what kind of personality you hold. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but you should find a good balance for yourself!
New goals mean you want to grow. Self-awareness is the first step in self-growth.
5 STEPS TO SETTING MEANINGFUL GOALS WITH PURPOSE
DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE
Understand that there is a difference between a purpose and a goal! Purpose-driven people:when they get stuck they can remember the bigger picture, focus on whats the next step and what has to be done to move ahead. Goal-setters:they are driven by logic and find the direction they have to go to fulfil their purpose. They are result-oriented.A hint: did you find yourself being desperate or freaking out a little when you didn’t achieve a goal the way or in the time you wanted? (You’re more of a goal-setter).Or were you able to remember your purpose, the dream, your bigger picture when time got tough? (Then you’re likely an advanced purpose-driven visionary!)Goal-setters when they get stuck often misses the bigger picture. Purpose-driven people can remember their dream and move on from failure. The other way around purpose-driven people needs to get goal-setters around them to get direction and strategy to move onto the next level. What % are you more of?Remember: this is not black or white it’s a spectrum we all move on!One of my goals this year is putting out more content and that means I have to live with the lack of perfection (which doesn’t exist anyways) and just give you the good stuff however it comes.
CHOOSE THE AREAS TO SET GOALS IN
Figure out in which areas you want to set goals in.My recommendation:1. Health: What can you do to improve your (mental & physical) health? What goal do you have for your health, do you want to learn a new type of sport & compete in it? Do you want to gain or lose X amount? Want to meditate? Do you want to become vegan? Want to do get into advanced yoga poses? 2. Mind: Anything that has to do with developing your personality. Do you want to learn a new skill, language, read more etc. 3. Spirit: What can you do to develop spiritually? Is it praying on time? What do you want to learn about the deen, what kind of conventions do you want to be part of, what Surahs do you want to memorise? 4. Relationships: To whom and how do you want to improve your relationships? Who do you cut off and who do you want to invest more time & attention in? 5. Personal Brand: How are you going to use your skills, strengths & passions to build your brand this year? How are you going to start taking the uniqueness that Allah has given you to build something bigger? A legacy that fulfils your purpose?
Want to start a YouTube channel? Create a profitable business? Launch your podcast? Write a book? Host events? Collaborate more & cross-brand? Start your career in this field? Create a product? Define which areas are most important to you.
SET YOUR GOALS
Now set 1 (max. 2) goals per area. Make sure they are specific and are result-oriented. They should inform your purpose in some way and play into the future version of yourself you’re aiming to be!
FIGURE OUT YOUR STRATEGIES
Usually, we set ourselves too many goals. Now instead of that, pick only strategies that support your goals. E.g. you want to become advanced in yoga poses – a strategy is to hit the gym for weight training. That in itself is not a goal, but one strategy to achieve your goal. And guess what, if this one strategy doesn’t work for you, get rid of it and try another one! Make sure to regularly evaluate which strategies work for you and which don’t!
COMMIT TO HABITS
Your habits are the things that will lead you to actually ACT upon your goals. They are the activities that go directly in your calendar (literally, put them into your Google Calendar!). They could be weekly, monthly, quarterly. Whatever you choose to set for yourself.
STOP, don’t leave, here’s my question for you:
What are the goals you are setting and how do they support your purpose
If you’re trying to set meaningful goals that will actually help you to become a better version of yourself then this is the right episode for you.
Assalamu alaikum and welcome to another episode of Shared Diversity.
If you are new Salaam thank you so much for tuning in and if you have been here before thank you so much for coming back.
Today we talked about goal setting and how to set new goals in the right way.
The first thing I want you to understand is there is a difference between having a purpose and having a goal.
A purpose is a long-term vision it is something that when you want to achieve in your life a standard of yourself that you see in the future. It is a vision for how you want to impact the world positively.
Now a goal is more short-term. It has a deadline it has an end to it and has a result.
A purpose usually has no expiry and its mission and vision-driven; it is something that is a dream. And purpose-driven people cannot stop to sell the dream.
They always want to push others to the understanding that there is a deeper reason why they exist and it’s true! You should have a purpose in your life and understanding what is the bigger dream that you want to move into. Do you want to build a fashion production that sets the tone for the world sustainable energy? Do you want to reimagine the education system? Or do you want to empower kids to understand that real skill and strength in life?
That is a bigger purpose.
Now goals are continuous steps towards that purpose.
Goals are more deadline-driven they are logical.
So a purpose is a dream, the goal is the logic.
Goals are the steps you take towards achieving your purpose so that’s the first thing you need to understand. Understand if you are a more Purpose-Driven person or a goal setter.
Goal setters usually are very organized, planned. They know exactly strategically what the next step is. Purpose-driven people are more dreamy they are visionaries. They cannot stop to sell the dream to others. They will always keep talking about it and they have a bigger picture of the situation.
So a lot of times when goal-setters set themselves goals and they might get hurdle on the way or they have not achieved that specific goa, they get frustrated and they lose the bigger picture. Purpose-driven people when they get stuck they see the bigger picture and they stay calm.
Now let’s get into what you really achieve and how are you gonna plan it out. You have been aware of purpose and goal you need to set a purpose for yourself as I said. A purpose is a bigger dream or vision that you want to achieve.
So for us at Shared Diversity and for me myself my purpose is “to give women the knowledge and skills they need to empower themselves”. So I don’t believe that I can empower anyone I don’t believe that anyone can empower me, I only believe that you can empower yourself I can empower myself. And we need to understand and get access to the tools that we need to empower ourselves. So this purpose that I’m after is really to give women like you the knowledge and the skills they need to empower themselves now that’s the purpose. Now, what is my goal? My goal with Shared Diversity is “to build a platform that gives you tools and tells you stories that enable you to empower yourself” So the purpose is to give you knowledge and skills. And the platform is the goal. So the platform gives you really the tools and shares the diverse stories with you that will help you to acquire the skills and the knowledge to empower yourself.
We have four steps:
1) We have the bigger purpose that’s the vision and the dream you have
2) Then you have your goals, your goals are the things that inform your purpose in some way and you can have goals in different areas
3) Now what we need more is strategies to achieve that goal and
4) Habits are the ones that are going directly in your calendar and you’re gonna have daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly results that are standing there waiting for you to be done. They are activities to make you really act upon what you want.
So we have the purpose, the goal, the strategies, and the habits.
Building a business, meditating and getting fit these goals are not the same size or the same importance. So you need to understand how to structure your goals right.
Now what we’ve created is a structure that you can use and the areas you choose to set goals for yourself.
I want you to look at four to five areas of your life and I want you to set one maximum two goals per area.
Now let’s look at the areas in your life that you can set goals in.
We have health, we have mind, we have spirit, we have relationships and we have your personal brand (that’s my favourite: personal branding!).
But let’s start with health
1) Number one is HEALTH.
So let’s look at the area of health and let’s look at what you really want to achieve and the area of health. For example, you could want to gain weight, lose weight if you want to compete in a sport, you want to learn a different sport, you want to get to the next level of a different sport, you want to eat more regularly, eat more at home, you want to cook better or for example, you want to become vegan.
Now, these are all goals, for example, competing in a new sport or learning a new sport. Let’s say you want to learn horseback riding. What are the strategies that you need to take to learn horseback riding? This could be applying for school, going running regularly and building that muscle and the gym that you need to really do horseback riding. And all these things could be playing into your goal. But those are not goals themselves. The goal is to learn horseback riding. The other things that you need to do are strategies. Strategies strategies strategies. These are to eat healthy to go to the gym to get that weight training to run for your stamina to be able to achieve that goal. Now if you see along the way that these strategies don’t work to support your goal you can throw them out and get new strategies in.
But never forget your goal. We said purpose goals strategies and habits what are habits. Habits are the things that go directly in your calendar. Meaning if you’re for example say you need to run as a strategy to achieve your goal you need to put that in that calendar how regularly are you gonna run? Are you gonna run daily weekly monthly? Let’s say you’re gonna run twice a week put that in your calendar that’s your habit. Because those habits those consistent actions are gonna get you to that goal.
1) Let’s look at the second area which is MIND.
That has everything to do with self-development personally understanding what kind of skills do you want to learn. Do you want to learn a new skill? Do you want to consume more or better knowledge? Do you want to work on a part of you that has to be developed? For example, you’re having problems with your selfishness or ego do you need to work on that? Do you need to work on your patience? So these are all things that you can develop on in your mind.
That could be for example you want to learn a language, or you want to read more. Now the strategies are the things that are gonna get you to read. So for example for me if I want to read more my strategy is to subscribe to audible because I don’t have time only to read books hard copies. But I want to listen to them as well so I subscribe to audible. I subscribe to Amazon Prime so I can get my books cheaper and like to get them shipped over. Or I’m joining a book club so I always have this accountability partner that pushes me to read more regularly that’s a strategy and then I have habits. Habits are so I want to read more what does that mean? That means I want to read three books a month and two or one of the books actually has to be a hardcopy book so that means I put in my calendar this week is to read this book this week: I’m going to listen to this book this day of the month is my book club so I have habits in my calendar
3) The third area is your SPIRIT.
So spirit means everything that has to do with your spiritual development and growth. That could be understanding your Deen better that could be praying regularly that could be listening or learning the Quran, reading Quran learning it by heart. That could be learning about the life of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam. So you could set a goal of saying learn more about the life of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam and you could put strategies and place to do that meaning you read three books next year about the life. And your habits are going directly in your calendar meaning this day of the month I am listening to this lecture of the Sheikha this day of the week I’m gonna read the book these days of the week I’m going to have my Quran class so really have a habit in your calendar. You directly have your activities no way around and after a while, after the first or second quarter you can evaluate do these strategies work do these habits actually work for me. Don’t get too emotionally attached to your strategies or your goals so you can easily switch them off if they’re not working.
4) The fourth area is RELATIONSHIPS.
A big part of relationships are obviously family friends but also co-workers any kind of collaborations you want to do your kids your spouse whatever it might be.
So a big part in relationships and my point if you understand that your strategy is attitude. Attitude is a big strategy that you can use to better your relationships. That doesn’t mean only I have a positive or have a negative attitude. It has to do with: how are you solving problems? How are you really accepting changes? How are you communicating with someone when there’s a struggle? How are you communicating with your friends also if there’s success? Are you envious I understand the attitude that you bring into the game? So if you want to better the relationships with your friends or with your mentors you need to understand how can I strategically influence my attitude to become better. And what are the habits that I have to set place? And then the last part is
5) Your PERSONAL BRAND.
Your personal brand is the most important part that I feel for you next year. Your personal brand is the skills the strengths and the passions and how you use them to build something for you that will influence your purpose, so you have a bigger purpose.
Now, what are you gonna do with the uniqueness that God has given you to fulfil that purpose?
You have to look into your skills, into your strengths and into your passions and how you can combine them to build something that could be your legacy.
Personal branding means you are having a legacy on the earth you are having a reputation on to people that don’t even know you yet.
Your personal brand is how are people speaking about you behind your back. What kind of reputation do you have in the world? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? And it’s also the values that you reflect so your personal brand is both your life and your career.
You need to understand that you will never need to beg for a job or for investors money or for collaborations if you build a strong personal brand! Because building a strong personal brand is how you catch butterflies. How do you catch butterflies? You don’t. YOU BUILD A GARDEN. You let them come to you. You attract what you reflect.
The values and the standards and the goals and the kind of people that you want to have in your life that’s what you reflect.
If you reflect that you have a high standard and moral and you are modest you will attract the people that are fitting that standard. And the other way around, too.
For your personal brand understand what your goals for next year? Do you want to start a podcast? I know many of you want to start a podcast that’s a goal for your personal brand. It could also be launching events and creating a profitable business. It could be starting a successful career path in the area that you really really like. It could be writing a book and launching a course.
***And I need to tell you what we are doing for next year it’s a big announcement and I’m so happy to say that in 2020 we are launching the first book of Shared Diversity by *moi* Sina so insha’Allah stay tuned I will share with you the process of how it is for me to write a book. Until now it’s the most personal and hardest thing I’ve ever done but it’s so rewarding and beautiful for me as well because I know that in this book I’m going to answer a lot of your questions around building your dream career in life so insha’Allah stay tuned for more of that***
So when you create the goals for your personal brand next year understand what you want to do it. Could be your goal is to launch podcast now the strategies that you need towards that goal to reach that goal is for example: finding a topic, finding an audience, finding maybe a co-host, understanding the format that you need for the podcast – do you want a one-on-one do you want a conversation? Do you want remote podcast with people do you want a personal podcast with only your voice on it? Now understand your equipment what kind of equipment do you need? And the strategy also is about production and post-production and promotion so the strategies that you need to set in place could be all going into creating the goal.
Don’t set too many goals don’t launch a course to create an event and launch a podcast in the same year. if you have never done any of these in the first place! Start with one and really tell your strategies towards achieving that goal if you want to start a podcast using the habits that you set to really put:
“In the first week you’re going to do the research the second you’re going to reach out to people that already have podcasts the third you’re going to decide on a format the fourth and so on”
You’re looking at what kind of habits do I need to really launch the podcast and then when you’re on limits of creating a podcast how regularly are you going to do with a podcast are you going to record every week and post every week or every month every two weeks? Set the goal of the podcast, look at the strategies that you need to set it up and to really go through with it and then establish habits that go directly in a calendar to actively and consistently work on your goal!
So insha’Allah I hope really this helped you to really get an understanding of how to set goals what is the structure behind goal-setting what kind of areas you want to choose.
You don’t have to choose all five areas you can choose three or four areas or only to really look at focusing down and narrowing down your goals what’s really important insha’Allah I would love to hear from you what are the goals that you’re setting in these four or five areas?
Do you have any more questions about how to set goals? Leave everything down in the comments inshallah and share your diversity with us!
And if you think someone needs to hear this message Share it with her subscribe to our Youtube subscribe to our Podcast to stay educated on the go and I’ll see you next time Insha’allah assalamu alaikum!
Goals. Those happily annoying what-ifs flying over us ambitious people.
Whether you’re setting new goals right now, or are still working on achieving past goals, you know this: it’s tough to set and stay on track with them! When you set goals, you’re likely applying the techniques you should: make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely). But apart from that, goal-setting us about much more than simply defining what you want to achieve.
You need to create the right environment to stay on track with your goals! That’s why in this episode you’ll learn 6 Ways How to Keep Your Goals in Sight!
In this podcast you will learn:
How to set big and small goals
Practical routines to achieve your daily goals
Design inspiration on creating visions
With whom to connect closely to make your goals a reality
Hacks to look at your goals at least 52 times a day!
Inshallah, here are my
6 WAYS to stay on track with your goals.
MORNING AFFIRMATIONS 0:32
You are 30% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. So do that! Write your goals down and visualise how you are going to feel before, during and after you’ve achieved them. This way you are making your goals already a reality on paper and your mind, which makes you more confident to make them happen in reality.
ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER 4:15
Share your goals with someone you KNOW is going to hold you accountable. She should regularly ask you for progress, so you keep on track with what you want and are not making internal excuses why you haven’t achieved them yet (no time, money, …). Best-case scenario:choose someone who knows your area of work and understands what level of commitment it requires to make your goals happen.
VISION BOARD 5:58
Having your goals visually in front of you when you work, wake up or stroll through your office space is the best way to inspire action. You have troubles to get up early and work on your goals? Hang your vision board opposite your bed! You get distracted and regularly think “Why am I even do this?” – hand it in front of your office. It’s the most fun way of keeping your goals in sight! Who doesn’t love a nice afternoon of doodling?
DOCUMENT YOUR JOURNEY ONLINE 7:40
You’re probably thinking: I haven’t achieved anything yet, so why should I even talk about it? Well, the reality is often we are more accountable to the outside world than to ourselves. So sharing your journey with others will help you stay accountable to what you promise to achieve. It’s not about creating content on things you’re not an expert in, but rather about documentingthe work you are doing to gain that expertise.
Bonus: you might be able to connect to likeminded people, mentors and peers who can help you get to the next step!
SHARE YOUR DUA LIST WITH SOMEONE 9:18
You are already praying for yourself? Amazing. But know this: praying for others can be even more powerful! When you let them know what you want and ask them to pray sincerely for you, they’ll be happy to be part of your journey.
MAKE THEM YOUR PHONE BACKGROUND 10:36
Studies show, you look at our phones average 52 times a day and what we look at subconsciously affects us! So instead of looking at your phone and seeing only your screen, try this: change your phone background (wallpaper especially!) so the 3 hours & 15 minutes you spend on your phone every day — you look at least one second of those 52 times at your goals!
Pro tip: use canva to create a nice background
Fast hack: go on your Instagram story, type in your goals and download it
The importance of intention and purpose in business
How to fit all your passions into your brand
The unique experience of a Black Muslim woman
Afrofuturism and owning your experience to create change
Keeping your modesty in the creative industry
5 Steps to creating a brand with a purpose
Skills & mindsets you need to succeed in branding
How to keep creating content consistently
The true role of the woman in Islam
How to own & empower your womanhood in business
Comment below! Boshia’s question for you:
What do you want to see happen within our Muslim communities when it comes to diversity?
Leave it down in the comments, and share your diversity with us!
PREFER TO WATCH?
Then Subscribe to our YouTube Channel!
Don’t forget to subscribe to your Muslim Businesswoman Podcast & leave us a review on ApplePodcast – it truly (truly!) helps to bring more sisters to this channel & inshallah to benefit from the content!
Are you thinking of how to build your professional online presence? As a Muslim woman, there are a lot of things that we think are holding us back from creating a strong profile for ourselves on social media. But listen, sis, there are so many ways!
Understand that when you want to build a strong career and professional life, you have to at least know your options online. Building a professional online presence is not only possible but it’s going to boost your self-confidence, your network and your net worth. Because reputation is the new currency!
In this podcast you will learn:
How to create a strong online presence and cut through the social media junk
That modesty online IS POSSIBLE
Content forms you can choose if you don’t want to show your face online
Building your personal brand
Stress-free connection building in your industry
Connecting with like-minded professionals
The one thing that is more powerful than Sales
Inshallah, here are my 3 TIPS to create a professional online presence:
BUILD A PERSONAL BRAND 0:15Understand that modest personal branding exists and that you simply have to find your ideal content form. Podcasting and writing are two of my favourite forms of modest content creation and they are perfect to build a professional online presence!
ANSWER PEOPLES QUESTIONS 2:30
Be of service, help others, bring them value! If you can help answer peoples questions through your expertise, they are much more likely to follow and connect with you. BEING of service is much more powerful than SELLING your service!
JOIN LINKEDIN 3:55
If you want to avoid awkward networking moments, you GOT TO JOIN LinkedIn! It cuts out most of the junk that is flying around on social media today, and people are much less likely to judge you by looks or likes than by your expertise and level of knowledge in your field. Connect consciously with others and make it your favourite networking moment!
STOP, don’t leave, here’s my question for you:
What is the insight that you can give to be of service to others?
Do you wonder how you can make money from your art? Having a business mind doesn’t fit your creative brain? Or are you thinking of following monetising your passion but you have no idea how to set up a page or price yourself?
Then you should listen to this podcast!
Telisa, the founder of Roesseinart, is a Canada-based calligrapher who turned her art into a business.
She is also a mother and built a strong personal brand online without compromising her privacy or modesty.
The journey from a regular 9 to 5 to creating a business from your passion
Self-care vs business 8:00 min
How to get clients for your art business
Building a website, SEO and setting up a strong online presence 10:00 min
How to build and monetise your personal brand as a creative 23:00 min
How to create an online presence without showing your face 25:00 min
Why and how to initiate collaborations to fuel your brand 30:00 min
Pricing yourself and knowing your value 35:00 min
Creating a brand that is true to who you are and what you want
Products & service to sell as an artist 43:00 min
Comment below! Telisa’s question for you:
What is your goal this week?
Leave it down in the comments, and share your diversity with us!
PREFER TO WATCH?
Then Subscribe to our YouTube Channel!
Don’t forget to subscribe to your Muslim Businesswoman Podcast & leave us a review on ApplePodcast – it truly (truly!) helps to bring more sisters to this channel & inshallah to benefit from the content!
As a Muslim woman in business, we are constantly battling to grow our career while staying true to our values. But how can we truly live our full selves in a work environment that is not created to accommodate our Islamic values or traditions?
And what does it really take to grow a career in tech? Arfah Farooq, Co-founder of Muslamic Makers speaks with us about
How to build a career in tech
What really is representation in the media?
Navigating an Islamic identity in a corporate environment
Simple hacks to stop compromising your values and have difficult conversations
Building a personal brand as a woman of colour
Being a proud Muslim in the workplace
How to build a community based on trust and service
Making intention-based decisions in your career
Comment below! Arfah’s question for you:
Why do you do what you do?
Leave it down in the comments, and share your diversity with us!
Don’t forget to subscribe to your Muslim Businesswoman Podcast & leave us a review on ApplePodcast – it truly (truly!) helps to bring more sisters to this channel & inshallah to benefit from the content!
Holla if you’ve heard this before: “Find out your weaknesses and make them your strengths. You need to balance your skills so, in the end, you are good in everything.” Well, I believe this is NOT the way you should live your life. Especially when you think about the time you have in a day.
I’ve been struggling a lot to understand how I should prioritize my day to get the most out of it. Especially when I was doing things that didn’t come naturally to me, I often felt exhausted and defeated.
Focusing on your weaknesses kills your energy!
In our new episode, I’ll give you the 5min fix on how to my should actually spend your day.
Leave your comment below: What is YOUR strength that you should spend all day developing?
Way too often we forget that we have power. Not through money, status or other physical things. But through our voice.
Is it modest to speak up? To raise my voice? To be truthful and go against what society expects me to believe? To talk about taboos? To share my journey through the lows just as through the highs? How can I gain momentum without compromising my values? Do I want people to know that it’s ME behind this brand?
All this and more went through my head when I started to build a personal brand while trying to navigate my female Muslim identity in business.
What I’ve learned: Use your voice. SPEAK UP. Share your diversity.
There are so many different ways to create content which don’t include your presenting your beauty (as society experts) revealing your name or even showing your face!
However you might define the term “modest”, we have all at some point negotiated whether we should show ourselves on camera or on photos.
In this video, I show you the most effective content forms to create a brand without being on camera. Let me know in the comments whether you would like more videos on “Modest Branding”, inshallah.
Share your diversity with us, comment: What is the content form you want to create with?
You want to find a fitting mentor, get in touch with the best collaborators or be confident to connect on networking events:
I’ve put together a quick guide for you to keep your values and convince people of your talents. This is made for you especially sister! The episode will make you understand how to network effectively while keeping your modesty, communicating confidently and leaving a positive impression on anyone you meet.
Leave your comment: 1. Which rule can you most identify with and why? 2. What are the top 3 skills you think one should have when practising modest networking?
How to practice modest networking
A lot of times I’ve been asked how I behave in situations where I want to establish business relationships, connect to other creators to collaborate, or gain contact to business leaders.
You will hear me saying this at the beginning of this episode – you need to grab one book that will change the way you interact with people. This book has the most horrible title in the world, while it is one of the most sold books in the world. The first time I got aware of it, was in 7th grade when I saw my brother reading it and you bet me I mocked him (must have been the worst little sister you can imagine). Now, I review it yearly to remind myself how to build long-lasting relationships of any kind.
The book is (and I still have the scrappy old version from 7th grade) “How to win friends and influence people”. It’s been a book that surprised me in every single way, one because it has stories from multiple historic people in it – from Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Dickens to Steve Wonder and many more – the book’s from 1937 but was updated regularly.
It shows you very diverse business situations, in which great leaders connected to people. And here are some of the techniques you can apply to your life (mixed with some personal accounts of my female Muslim 21st-century experience):
Be genuinely interested
What does this mean “genuinely”? Well, I can tell you what it doesn’t mean: it doesn’t mean acting fake and asking a question only to be able to answer it yourself. Like, what business are you in? Because you know I’m running this company that is doing blablabla. Or asking, so how was your last job? Because mine was horrendous, can’t believe I took so long to decide to leave blablabla.
It’s about asking people questions that they wouldn’t expect from you. Questions that are purely about them. But that is still relevant to professional interaction.
Why did you navigate into this job?
What was your experience in this field until now?
Are you struggling with this issue that is recently relevant in your industry?
Where would you like to transition into and why?
I can see you are very passionate about XY, what do you think drew you to do this particular project?
what inspired you to create this business?
Ask questions, that they usually don’t expect people to ask, and be curious about what viewpoints they have on things. It really doesn’t matter if it really is your goal to speak about this particular topic, but trust me.
Being human, we have several blessing and several imperfections we face in our daily lives. One of them is our ego. We loooove to expand our egos, especially towards others we meet the first time.
Being human, we must learn how to take advantage of our knowledge, one being that we are all most interested in talking about ourselves. So how can we invert this knowledge for the purpose of networking? We think about how we can make others talk about themselves, how can we make them expand their s, and not even let them do it, but encourage it?
And not the cheap ones like, Aw I love your shoes (although that still works among us women) but try to dig deeper:
Talk about the strengths of the person you meet, admire their attitudes like confidence, positive energy. Ask them about what they love and what they’ve accomplished, their business (that you’ve obviously researched on), their sports (you noticed they just completed a charity marathon), a particularly interesting interview of them in a newspaper (don’t only know the prestigious name of the publisher but know what they talked about and mention it) or anything of that sort or after a talk for example, point out how they made you think more critically, or ask them about something they said in detail so they can elaborate on what they know.
Let them showcase their own accomplishments, strengths, expand their egos. Give exclusive attention to the person you are speaking with!
Have a positive attitude
We all know, we are struggling (especially in the West) in a lot of ways of establishing our full selves into work. The business field is not built to support our identities as Muslims and further as women, or people of colour. I get it, we have a lot to fight against as we go an pursue a career.
But do you really think people enjoy hearing your struggles all day? Yes, they need to know what its like in your skin, we have to raise awareness for the backlash and challenges we face regularly for things to change. But not in networking. Not if you want to create a professional connection to someone that can eventually be a part of your journey OUT OF your struggle. That can eventually be part of your victory.
Be positive. Answer in terms of challenges you face only when someone SPECIFICALLY asks you for it. But keep it short and most importantly: change the topic not to what holds you back, but what can bring you further. Talk about what you’re aiming to achieve.
Smile, Be light and bright. Don’t you think other people have their own issues? They might have an annoying client, marriage problems or a sick mother. WE all have our battles to win. Do you think in this case, someone feels lighter and well about interacting with you if you remind him how bad you have it? NO
Even if you don’t feel like smiling. The person in front of you might go through a major crisis. They need you to smile. They need your positivity to not only feel connected to you but to always remember that you make them feel good. That you light up a stressful day or doubts, that you are the person they want to interact with to feel better and be visionary, inspired.
A smile can change so much. You know what I mean. Be honest. You know how powerful it is. Practice honest and authentic happiness. And if you feel insecure, sad or stressed before you even enter a meeting, give yourself a fake smile. It is scientifically proven that the act of smiling releases endorphins, which gives you a feeling of joy and tricks your brain to eventually make you smile naturally.
Try it in your next conversation! While the person in front of you is speaking about something that excites them, or they find interesting, start smiling and maybe nodding (A LITTLE bit) and see how the person transforms into a smiling bubble of joy because she feels you are genuinely interested in what she says.
Of course, now we need to talk about where not to apply these rules. Namely with men.
Networking with males
Sisters, I am not telling you to avoid men 100%, it’s almost impossible in our “modern times” and especially when networking in a Non-Muslim environment.
These are really my own rules, and I know that many women out there have different ones, but these are the least I would like to give you on your way to have a thought about what kind of standards you’d like to set in your life.
Don’t target them
But don’t mix with them. What I mean with mix is, don’t seek them out of the crowd, don’t approach them yourself, especially not when they are around your age. It is different for men who might be old, let’s say about 10 years older than your dad. Then, you can actually aim to create a genuine mentor-mentee relation to them. But still, be aware to NOT apply the rules of smiling and complimenting to them AT ALL. Yes you can genuinely have a positive fae, like you would have when you school youneighbour’srs daughter in algebra, but understand the way you smile to avoid any wrong signs.
Will come to this again in the next point but for now, the only personal detail that you might want to bring into a conversation is that you have a husband. Don’t push it into their face like, Yes so I have a husband and he is working in … NO. Let it flow in naturally like, currently I am exploring new roles in Dubai, as my husband and I will be relocating in January. Thats really the only thing to reveal, else – change the topic. No ones business what’s your personal status.
Your business is nobody’s business.
Keep it short and professional
If you talk to the male, keep it short. Don’t mumble on about personal experiences you had, don’t reveal too much of your personal situation, where you live or what you do on a daily basis. If you want to keep it professional, imagine everything to be a 100% professional. A rule of thumb: speak the way you wanted a female employee to speak to your husband. Short, straight-forward, no unnecessary storytelling and no loud laughter or excessive body expressions.
Keep your distance.
Literally, keep at least one meter between the male and you. You want to avoid (especially at events) that someone bumps into you and you get thrown at him (in a very dramatic way of saying it). You can bridge the physical distance by using your hands to talk, but don’t come physically too close to the man.
Don’t ever reply in the evening, unless it’s an urgent email. If its a text, wait until the next day. Reply in the mornings and consider time differences. You don’t want to be in their personal space / meaning communicate with them while they are at home but always within office hours.
Another rule if possible – Take their phone numbers if you can to talk on the phone, but don’t add them into your WhatsApp. Unless you have a pure work-phone Whatsapp, then add the “office hours” in your description of your profile, so they understand it functions like any other office device. You don’t want them to feel like you are their friend they can text whenever they want.
A last rule I’d like you to engage with, is your level of honesty.
We know as Muslim women in the workplace, there is always a certain type of having to defend yourself within relations to co-workers or in networking situations. We are discussing this point in our “How to find a mentor” episode, but for now circle this: Don’t you ever think of compromising high standards for anyone in business. What do I mean? Compromising on handshakes (episode), on clothing, on working within borderline-haram industries, on attending late-night meetings etc.
What always always works best is, if you clarify things from the beginning. An example: if you allow your daughter candy until she’s 10, you will find it very hard to ban sugar from your home and create a healthy food routine for her. But, if you raise her with the mindset of grabbing fruits, nuts or dates for sweets instead of candy from the beginning on, she will understand the standards you’ve set (at least for the home) and go along with your rules way easier, right?
Make things obvious from the beginning, don’t shake hands in the first meeting and then be surprised if it gets harder and harder to reject them afterwards. If you tell them in advance, they might even inform your future colleagues and you can all avoid an awkward situation. If you tell your consultants or recruiters you are not interested in promoting company projects with alcohol, underwear or violent videos games companies etc., they will look specifically for industries and companies that have high standards and you will automatically avoid a lot of negative acquaintances in your interview or career link-ups etc. If you present yourself like a person who has high standards and values, collaborators and brands will ask you to partner up because they are looking for your range of people and they will automatically pay and treat you according to how you present yourself to them.
Another guideline I’dlike to end up with, is your understanding of your own skills, knowledge and capabilities. We are not perfect. But when we want to leave a good impression, we always aim to at least appear to be.
Don’t try to act that you know it all. Prepare, YES! Gain some more knowledge before you go to an event, before you meet a potential mentor, before you go to a business meeting. But understand your boundaries of knowledge.
WE said it before, your Number ONE rule is to make the other person feel important, valued and respected. That includes that you let them know how much you can learn form them. Don’t act dumb no! But understand that one of the most powerful phrases you can say is : I don’t know.
Followed by But I would love to gain your expertise.Could you tell me more about this? or I don’t know enough about this matter, but I will dig deeper and come back to you on this one.
Will make the other person like an expert in this field. They will tell you what they know, so even when you go back and research yourself on this topic, you know what new things you can bring to the table.
Will make the other person see your level of dedication to learn. This is one of the most powerful skills you can have as a human and that everyone who is genuine and intelligent will value in you more than anything= Your thrive to be a learning machine.
To sum up:
Be genuinely interested : ask questions
Compliment : be a good listener
Have a positive attitude : smile
And now, I would love to hear from you:
Which rule can you most identify with and why?
What are the top 3 skills you think one should have when practicing modest networking?
Leave them down in the comments and share your diversity with us
“Sina, how do I set goals and achieve them? Especially for a yearly plan, how can I organise my ambitions?”
Setting goals? Wondering how to organise the new year?In today’s Shared Diversity episode I’m sharing a simple 3 step process that helps me set goals for the new year (or any new phase of your life!), plus a great tool that we use in our team to make sure that we meet our visions and keep creating!
Leave your comment below:
1) Which signs have you seen on yourself? 2) Which signs do you still need to develop?
How can you organise your goals effectively so you can avoid failing with your to-do lists and truly achieving success? Grab the guide on consuming vs creating. What content should you consume and how can you create more, continuously? Download the pdf here: https://sharediversity.com/create-vs-…
3. Step: Leadership
You have to lead yourself to success.. But more importantly, you have to lead others. Find out your strengths and capabilities by writing down what you are happy to do and what people praise you to do regularly. This way, you will gather the right people around you who will contribute to your growth.