Disclaimer: This episode was a lot of fun! So be prepared to laugh inshallah!
Ikhlas Saleem is a writer, storyteller and digital media strategist, with a passion for religion, culture and education. She’s the creator of the Identity Politics Podcast.
In this episode, Ikhlas discussed with us how you can make it as a female founder starting to grow an online presence. As the founder of one of my favourite podcasts, she also shares her top tips to get into podcasting, find a co-host & build a team.
As both media marketers, founders &wives, we also talk about how to balance marriage and ambitions, and how to upgrade your productivity!
Make sure to listen till the end to find out the Top skills and attitudes to make it in digital media and reach your communities!
What are your
1. Personal ambitions for this New Year?
2. Fears, plans & visions?
Leave it down in the comments, and share your diversity with us!
Minutes of the Podcast:
Woman in Media
7:30 Building confidence & dealing with self-doubt 14:30 Quality or quantity? 16:00 Building a brand 20:00 When you don’t agree with what you said a few years ago Book recommendation – Malcolm X
Female founders / Starting a podcast 32:30 Productivity habits 39:00 How to create relevant content for your audience 44:00 Tips to start a podcast 47:00 How to choose your topics
Marriage vs ambition
54:00 How to balance being a wive and work 55:30 About responsibilities
Top skills and attitudes
01:01:01To make it in media and reach your communities
Be willing to learn, especially in digital. @i_saleem #WomeninTech #success #ShareDiversity
“Am I made for this?” Have you ever thought about starting a business but you didn’t really know whether you are ‘made to’ succeed in being a Business Woman? Great leaders, mentors and CEOs are all very good at having a certain intuition which talent to invest in. Somehow they know who’s going to be successful.
There’s just this “something” about them. In today’s Shared Diversity episode I’m sharing the Top 5 signs of successful businesswomen.
Leave your comment below:
1) Which signs have you seen on yourself? 2) Which signs do you still need to develop?
Successful businesswomen have an obsession to succeed. There are no doubts, and if they come up, they will be silenced forcefully! There are no excuses for you that you will not make it. Instead, you find all the reasons why you WILL SUCCEED.
2. Sign: You are a learning machine
Instead of thinking you “know it all”, you always find reasons to dig deeper, to learn a new skill, to gather more experts and mentors around you. A successful Muslim woman knows the first word that came down to us is ( اقرأ – Iqra ) = “read”. So you read and gain knowledge every way you choose to go.
3. Sign: You have extreme ownership
You have to read this book if you want to become a leader and therefore successful as a businesswoman. The link to the book: https://amzn.to/2VIDqhr
This book provides fundamental leadership lessons such as
Control your own Ego
Admit and own mistakes and develop a plan to overcome them, and blame no one else.
There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.
Build trust with your members.
As Leader, you must explain not just what to do, but WHY.
Find out If You don’t know.
Simplify the plan.
Lead down AND up the chain of command.
4. Sign: Doer till the end
You don’t only plan but you DO. You execute your plans. And you execute them until they are finished. If you develop this strength, you can be sure to be successful in everything you set yourself up to achieve.
5. Sign: You hate to lose
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. Inshallah, if you’re interested in more videos about how to set yourself up for success in business, how to focus & achieve more of what REALLY MATTERS, …
Have you struggled to really work on the project you love the most? To feel super productive in accomplishing the next level of your side-hustle that you aim to turn into your main hustle?
This episode will make you understand how to find time while working full-time, having a family and a job to work and advance in your passion project.
This is not a generic productivity episode, but something that will transform the way you look at every single day.
Leave your comment:
1) What are your limiting beliefs? 2) How can you bridge the gap between those false believes and reality to overcome them right now?
How to find time for your passion project
Do you have a passion that you’re working on while rushing your day job? No time for your side hustle? You’d like to turn that into a real thing? But time is limited, you come home tired and can barely think straight but you really wanna make it happen?
So you’re looking to find time for your passion project in all the mess of responsibilities and duties, schedules and errands, a family that wants you to do things, and so on. Well, I have news for you.
You don’t find the time, You MAKE time.
Concentrating your focus on finding the time, will make you aware of all the things you have to do, errands and responsibilities. All the roles that you’re already playing throughout the day as a daughter, friend, employee, mother, wife or else.
Concentrating your focus on making time, however, will make you aware of the breaks you have, the time you have for yourself only, these quality hours that you’re failing to use because you are – scrolling through social media, watching tv, sleeping, commuting etc.
Find the hidden time slots
You can make time by finding the hidden time slots throughout your day.
The hours in the morning you lay sleeping cause you watched Netflix last night, or the bed-scrolling through Twitter sessions before you get out of bed, or the time you spent listening to music or watching people while commuting.
Lesson number one: Don’t use your phone for at least an hour after you get up (in general no internet)
There are so many benefits to waking up early. My favourite is: nobody annoys you. Nobody is up that early as you are, so you can be sure that no one wants anything from you, expect any physical or mental action from you. Nobody is there to disturb you. That’s real quality time. Yes, they might get up for fair too but how many really stay up and try to make you do things? Barely anyone. Because we all want peace in the morning.
What is great in the morning is, that your brain is fresh. Yes, you might look like mash potatoes when you get up but believe me, your thoughts are alert because no noise or conversation have polluted it.
You come with fresh ideas you have fresh visions and your energy is at its peak.
That’s why the no internet rule at least one hour after you get up because you don’t want to consume anyone’s business before you haven’t figured out your own!
You showing discipline in the morning and staying up despite the world still sleeping, that is going to boost your performance the entire day.
It will protect you from procrastinating because you already had that success feeling in the morning for fighting your desire to stay comfortably in your pillows and getting up to achieve things!
Now you might say there is really no way I can sleep less, I’m already exhausted enough!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m the last person to ever tell you to compromise on sleep. But what are you doing in the evenings that prevents you from getting up early?
Take an example of the Sunnah, we pray Isha we sleep and we get up and stay up for Fajr. That’s pretty straightforward and I tell you it works! You can get up to 9-10 hours sleep if you want!
But even if you don’t go all out in that, be aware of how much sleep you need (average 7 or 8 hours) and then calculate Fajr – (7 or 8) hours = what time do I need to sleep, then sleep!
Extra tip for those who say they can’t sleep that early: Stop using your phone at least an hour before you want to sleep. That screen light is not helping you to relax, what helps, however, is a warm tea, a book, playing the Quran or writing. These things relax your body and prepare you to sleep.
Use wasted time
What’s wasted time? No, I don’t mean you working on your passion project while you’re doing your day job.
That time when you
commute to work
when you have a lunch break
when you run errands and
all this other stuff that you usually use to check social media, listen to music or just get annoyed by people around you.
Use this time to visualise or consume relevant content.
When you commute, make sure you have your audiobooks ready that advance your knowledge on the subjects or you at least write down some ideas on your phone of “What’s the next steps I need to take to grow this project?” “Wow, do I schedule the next event?” “Who can I collaborate with on this project?” “What are my goals for the coming week?”.
When you have lunch, listen to that important podcast on that matter, brainstorm on the next campaign, text people that you wrote down are relevant for your project.
When you come home and clean, make dinner, run errands etc., make sure you visualise that thing you want to have and how you can attain it, catch up on more podcasts or audiobooks that help you to get more insights into the matter.
There is wasted time during your day that you can use to your advantage. #success #ShareDiversity
وَالْعَصْ By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ Verily Man is in loss,
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ
Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.
The Creator of all worlds tells us that time is a great measure of one`s success or failure.
Work, don’t just visualise
There are multiple ways to work on your passion projects. It’s not only watching the “competition” and feeling discouraged by how far they already came and then procrastinating on your thoughts about how you’re failing to accomplish your goals.
It’s about being honest to yourself and writing down the actions steps you need to take to advance in your field.
Maybe you need to learn a new skill? You need to read up on a matter more. Maybe you need to just jump in and create! You wanna create a safe space for women to come together and learn a certain skill? Plan the event, find a venue, publish it on Eventbrite, tell everyone about it, partner with people who have experience, and DO IT.
There are many ways to accomplish growth for your passion project, whether you are writing articles, work on your copywrite or marketing, you create art or you do poetry. Whatever it may be, it will only grow when you engage with the idea. You don’t have to know 100% of your plan yet, but you work on it step by step. And these steps can perfectly be made while your hustling on your day job/jobs, you’re studying or having any other kind of obligations.
Understand for yourself – perfection is a myth, what counts is progress.
Perfection is a myth, what counts is progress. #progress #ShareDiversity
That moment when I awkwardly refuse to handshake a man. It might seem weird to some people out there, but as a Muslim businesswoman, I have made many difficult decisions. Especially in the Western working environment, being visibly Muslim is already a challenge. Sticking out additionally by not compromising on physical contact with the opposite sex, that´s another level.
My question is, however, what is a cultural habit and what is a value?
Transparency means being truthful with everyone about the choices you make in your life.
Leave your comment: 1) What experiences have you had with “the Handshake” situation? 2) What other stories can you share where they wanted you to compromise to “fit in”, but your values tell you to “stand out”.
What the Halal UK Queen proves white people wrong
You know what is the number one factor why people get promoted? It´s how well they can blend into the team, the culture and the dominant mass.
Now, obviously, unless we are talking about making business with Islamic companies or a hijab producer, a visibly Muslim woman would not blend in easily on first sight into a team here in the west.
1. Question: why should we?
Why should I want to “blend in”?
I am not willing in any way to blend in into a mass of people.
Actually, my nightmares often roam around a situation in which people do not look at me weird, because that means I am like them, they cannot see or hear the difference in vision, values and beliefs I have. That means, man another nightmare in which I forgot to put on my hijab, or shook a guys hand.
Now, I know that´s not super usual in the West, that a Muslim woman does not shake hands with her boss, because to be frank, I did when I first started applying for jobs and the normal thing was for me to show respect to a person by shaking their hands. But out of my personal reasoning, and honestly gut feeling and instinct I don´t anymore. I don´t shake a male’s hand, I don´t get into anybody contact with a non-mahram.
I had sisters coming up to me asking me things like: “Why have you decided not to shake hands?”
“Is it because of your husband?”
“What is wrong about shaking hands?”
And I get it, we are here in the West, we are supposed to adapt to culture, behaviours and etiquette. And to a certain extent, I agree. The fact that I have decided not to, is because I am from this culture, and I know, most of the things we do on a daily basis are matters of habits.
It’s you being used to something.
Understand the difference between habit and value
It’s a cultural thing in parts of Latin America to greet others with a cheek kiss left and right.
It’s a cultural thing in some parts of China to put the hands together and bow a little.
It’s a cultural thing in some parts of Indonesia to great with a nose kiss and its a cultural thing in some parts of the West to shake hands.
Now am I gonna nose kiss, cheek kiss, bow or shake hands depending on the location or the background of a person?
I respect your traditions, but when Western businessmen are in Malaysia and greet a Muslim woman, they also notice that they cannot extend their hands to her and get a feel.
It’s not about where you are to adapt to the person, it’s about who you interact with to adapt to that person. And if there are certain cultural habits you have, you will probably adapt them to your surrounding, but if there are boundaries of values you have, there is no way the location or person in front of you will be able to adjust them towards them.
I am German, I am a businesswoman and I don´t shake hands with non-mahrams. Not, because I never learned how to show respect to people, but because I have values that I don´t compromise for anyone I meet.
Now lets come to the beautiful, beautiful Halal UK Queen. Here first of all the video that I a referring to.
You can see a visibly Muslim woman greet Meghan Markle and her mother, in an event that is celebrating the efforts of women in the Al-Manaar Mosque Hubb Community to create together with Meghan Markle a cookbook featuring the foods they prepare for the community who was affected by the Grenfell fire 2017. Now, obviously, Miss Markle brought her husband, who happens to be Prince Harry.
Now, the woman hugs the misses, and when it comes to the Prince, who wants to hug her to refuses politely, in which response the Prince offers her air-kisses while Meghan Markle gently pulls him back as she sees the sisters situation (probably a bit) uncomfortable.
Now, please watch the video yourself, I´ve attached a link because you will need to make up your own mind inshallah.
Here some truths about what it’s like to be a Muslim woman in the West, refusing to shake the hand of a male:
The man usually reacts like this:
Unbelievable consistency to stll shake my hand despite my obvious refusal
Shocked face and maybe some red cheeks, with a stretched out hand still waiting to be healed from his shock
3. Stage: (now here it varies)
a) Angry face turning into a slight rose and back to a fake smile in miliseconds
b) Shy mini-laughter red ceeks and looking down the floor until getting up again with a fake smile
c) Mumbling like ´oh´, or ´ah´ as if he had strangly remembered that there are people with different manners in the world and.. a fake/real-shy smile
d) – In some rare cases– big eyes and a ´uh, I am so sorry´ and a shy but genuine smile following
4. stage: depending on stage 3
– Normal conversation after a few minutes or
– Weird energy for another 10min until he´s found his self-confidence again
Now, it´s somehow always interesting to watch this game playing in front of my eyes, and here is how I usually wing the situation.
Some tipps for sisters who don´t want to shake a non-mahrams hand (NO matter WHO and WHAT occasion):
Kindly put a genuine smile and put your right hand on your heart
Close your eyes or look down just for a second to give the person time to pull back his attempt to grab your hand
Tell him in a strong and friendly voice “Thanks, It´s my pleasure to meet you” (the `thank you´ makes them feel admired and they will probably forgive you the refusal)
Then go on to initiate the conversation by doing small talk or going straight into the topic (if its a meeting), talk about 1-2 sentences that require an answer from the person so he has another few seconds to win back his ego and find his professionalism again.
*** Extra tipp for wives:
If you have your husband by your side, just do the same, but instead of taking time simply place your hand on your heart and make a wide swing to your husband so the person in front of you can at least use the stretched-out arm to shake someboody´s hand.
Now, don´t get me wrong, I am not always successful in avoiding handshakes especially when I am in contact with elderly men, who are non-mahrams because frankly, here in Germany people see this as a lack of respect and its a sheer reflex of mine to show respect to elderly people.
BUT, that doesn´t mean I am never gonna be perfecting my non-handshake performance and I will definitely keep doing my best.
In the end, it really does not matter who is in front of you, royal or poor, boss or neighbour. It is about keeping your values and fighting for them with all the persistence and patience we have been given by Allah.
Especially in the West, we even see political debates on what it means to be (enter Nationality here) and why being Muslim means being the opposite of their “cultural values”. But it seems funny to me that we are talking about “values” here, where I get no answer back on what value system you are refering your values to. Because just as we need to be aware that Islam is not cultural, the same way we need to understand that cultural manners, habits and traditions are not vlaues.
Muslim women in the West
Can we be Western and Muslim? Who asks this question didn´t research on their history, economy or arts in their country.
We are part of the West, but we are our own unity within it.
The ummah concept is grounded on united visions, sisterhood and values.
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Islam initiated as something strange, and it would revert to its (old position) of being strange. so good tidings for the stranger. Sahih Muslim 145
Leave your comment: 1) What experiences have you had with “the Handshake” situation? 2) What other stories can you share where they wanted you to compromise to “fit in”, but your values tell you to “stand out”.
Eman Ismail is the founder of Inkhouse Writing, mother and a self-taught copywriter!
In this episode, Eman shares with us her top secrets for finding your brand voice and start crafting compelling copy.
She shares with us basics into writing copy and making the best out of tools like blogs, social media posts and more. With the focus on how to sell your products online, she makes it easy to understand what you need to know about copywriting and storytelling as a content creator or business owner. She also shares her very unique insights into being a mother and entrepreneur and how she prioritizes her ambitions.
There is a point in our lives in which we all feel more encouraged, weak, disheartened or tired. And you know that is often the point where you feel like you just want to ignore your phone, your laptop, the tv, anything that holds you in front of something to watch and passively take into your system.
It’s completely normal, you know that you can learn a lot through media, maybe you get inspired or you just want to keep up to date what’s going on in your community, or in the industry you´re interested in. But then, what happens is that inspiration very quickly can turn into discouragement, into feeling inferior, feeling that the people you are supposed to learn from would crash you quickly in their competition. We know that, and still, it´s hard for us to understand how we can deal with the pressure.
That is the moment when we often see ourselves consuming more than we create.
It’s interesting to understand this concept but first, let’s talk about
What we mean by consuming and creating.
– CONSUMING: this could be looking at other peoples media, photography, videos, listening to podcasts or audio media, checking out other peoples projects or website etc.
–CREATING: doing it yourself. For example photography, videography, writing (!), doing a podcast, or simply cooking, baking, going out in nature, drawing, sketching, making plans, decorating, making clothes, re-organizing your apartment, learning a new skill etc.
What you can put into the category of “creating” has almost no limits, and that’s the most beautiful thing about all of this. It has no limits! You have no limits!
That brings us to what you can do against feeling weak, tired, discouraged etc when you see other people things and you consume a lot more than you create. Shut things off and do! Find the balance in imbalance, create more than you consume.
What is most important about this is creating for yourself. Yes, that sounds so self-care-ish but it really is the most important.
Listen up fam:
don´t do for the sake of being better than others,
don´t do it for the praise or followers,
don’t do it for the feedback or recognition,
do it because you love doing it,
do it because you feel closer to your true self when you do it,
do it because it makes you happy.
+ Tip: do it first thing in the morning. Create before you consume.
We can listen to a lecture on productivity before checking out 10 YouTubers who talk about the same hacks and apps for 2 hours in different words and different animations, or we can check out books on fashion psychology before checking out 30 Instagram pages of bloggers and get lost in the hate comments.
There are literally beneficial things we can consume if we think with the mind of: What would we have done without social media?
Yeah, you either would have gone to the spaces which provide people of knowledge in your field or simply grab a book from the library.
And NO I am not suggesting to go to the library but take one advice and rather go to the book sources (maybe audiobooks on youtube or kindle, audible or any other book platform online) to engage with knowledge.
Always aim for the traditional or conservative sources too, they might have very different tools to do what you do, but you can learn so much from their philosophy.
You can understand their mindset and the way they predicted changes that are just happening, that understand mindsets of markets and that understand values.
Because that is the thing that media nowadays is lacking the most: VALUES!
Get the old sources and apply it to your current situation, you will learn from the really worth they left behind as their legacy.
Old sources are the key! Will always say one thing: we can remind ourselves of the hadith which tells us what we will leave behind when we leave this earthly being.
وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: “إذا مات الأنسان انقطع عمله إلا من ثلاث: صدقة جارية، أو علم ينتفع به، أو ولد صالح يدعو له” ((رواه مسلم)).
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end, except for three: A continuous charity, knowledge by which people derive benefit, pious son who prays for him.” [Muslim]. English Book reference: Book 7, Hadith 949
If you can create knowledge that will benefit the people you leave behind, that is amazing.
But even if now, you are simply able to consume the knowledge that people left behind, that is a start. Create for yourself, because it benefits your self-worth, your love for the game. GO out and attain knowledge, consume the best in your industry. Not just currently but THE BEST EVER.