How to Create Content With Intention & Make Money From Your Personal Brand w/ Shahd Batal

 


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Want to start building your brand online but you are struggling to create content that feels authentic to yourself? Fighting to balance self-care & content creation? Do you wonder how you can make money from your personal brand?
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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Transcript:

Sina Port:

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.

Sina Port:

Thank you so much for coming on Shahd I got a name right “Shahd”

Shahd Batal:

Yeah!

Sina Port:

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

Shahd Batal:

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

Sina Port:

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 Batal:

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 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 kind of coming into myself that like a lot of stuff I you know 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.

I think if anything I was more vocal back then before I then I am now because you know unfortunately there are so many other factors there is someone that always has something to say you know you do always kind of want to be politically correct so there are barriers that unfortunately you know privacy reasons there’s just so many reasons that you know 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 like I said I didn’t tell anybody but people started finding me and they came up to me like 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.

So I was like okay 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 was like “hey Baba I make videos on the internet” and he was like what I’m like “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 like kind of baby feed them so that I have.

Because you know having their support is so important to me and so many times I get questions from girls being like oh I want to do this my family doesn’t support it and I’m like honestly like have the last resort and not have your family on your side you know so 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 was like okay now I have a little bit more confidence kept making the videos I think at this point I had like 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 you know I in my family it was like you know 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 like a few months before I had like 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 you know and and anyone could attest to he you know learning it on your own it has so much more meaning to it so it was just a place.

I remember like I would be like okay I’m going to like 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 just like man this is annoying it wasn’t like I should just wear a scarf and so I didn’t really think about the social media aspect like I didn’t think about actually I did but I was like if it doesn’t work it doesn’t it’s like this isn’t my full-time job this isn’t I mean it is but I was like if this isn’t the path for me if people stop following me cuz I get it if you follow someone for natural hair and they stop posting natural hair videos there’s so much other content you can watch you know I don’t take that personally but again I didn’t really 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 you know 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 elections it’s so embarrassing I really want to take it down but for the culture I can’t take it down because that was a real that was where I was in life at the time.

You know there were just so many stories about girls you know 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 you know that that would encourage these girls and everything I do from the jump is for like these younger girls is 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.

You know 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 like okay I’ve got my face to work with now so I got more into makeup and it was God I really really loved it at the time I was very glam like 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 you know so what happened next I would still talk a little bit here and there and things were rough for like a couple of months you know it didn’t I was like okay like 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 I think one day like one video did well and it was kind of this influx of new people and what it felt like was the old people leaving like 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 Muslim.

It’s different when you’re visibly Muslim so it felt 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 like picked up and I was still doing what I was doing I think at the time I had like 3000-4000 thousand subscribers you know 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 basically I was going through a lot and I sent my parents down and I was like I want to pursue this if 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 parents 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.

Because I called my parents I remember being like hey Baba I got an apartment and it didn’t it was a little rough at first but I knew my parents like our relationship is 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 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 parents 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 shoe since it at a time and they were laughing at me her sister is like yeah we are after the women our family great 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 you know 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 are able to take care of everything on that side on the logistic side so I’m able to just focus on creative.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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 per cent 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 till 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 favour 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.

And I’ve like 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 and I a good most like I like there’s so many it the calibre just changes and so that’s not something that ever goes away 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.

Sina Port:

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 like 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?

Shahd Batal:

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 like my entire journey or in the future.

It’s like 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 it was like I was trying I was like 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 like 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 like 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 like what does modest fashion what does modesty look like Jimmy you know when I first started wearing it.

I was like oh my gosh 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 it’s like 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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

That is a loaded question going back to buy yourself flowers that I 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 like 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.

Sina Port:

So what do you write about?

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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?

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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?

Shahd Batal:

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-

Sina Port:

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?

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal

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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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 and like 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 create 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.

Shahd Batal:

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 because 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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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?

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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.

Sina Port:

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.

Shahd Batal:

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.

Shahd Batal:

Thank you again for having me and hopefully, we’ll be in chat soon and hopefully, you’ll be in LA soon.

Sina Port:

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!

Shahd Batal hijabi influencer Sudanese American with adidas shirt on Muslim woman podcast
Shahd Batal, Sudanese-American content creator who turned her personal brand into a full-time job. She created a strong modest personal brand by blogging about beauty, modest fashion, lifestyle and self-care. She talks with Sina Port about creating content with intention and making money with your personal brand.

GOAL-SETTING: How to set Meaningful Goals With Purpose – Muslim Women in Business

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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

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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
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Transcript:

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!
To set new goals with real meaning and purpose, Sina Port shares with you the easy and overwhelm-free way to set new goals. As Muslim women in business, you have to understand how to set goals that truly support the purpose of our beings.

GOAL-SETTING: 6 Ways to Stay on Track With Your Goals – Muslim Women in Business

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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.

  1. 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.

  2.  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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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 documenting the 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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

 

STOP, don’t leave, here’s my question for you:
What are the goals you are setting for yourself?
Prefer WATCHING the podcast?
Muslim business woman talking about goalsetting
To make sure you stay on track with your goals, Sina has gathered six easy quick ways for goal-setting. As Muslim women in business, you have to understand how to set visions and actually stay on track with them

The Black Muslim Experience of Building a Brand With Purpose w/ Boshia Raejean, Young Black Muslimah

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You think you are passionate about too many topics and you can’t fit them all into a single brand? Do you want to create change through your business and brand? 
If you want to know how to build a brand with purpose, discover and use your full womanhood and own your experiences (and struggles!) to create change, you should listen to this podcast!
Boshia, the founder of Young Black Muslimah podcast, is a NY-based an artist and philanthropist. 

She took the time to speak with us about

  • 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!

 

Boshia Raejean, artist, founder and podcaster of the Young Black Muslimah podcast talks with Sina Port about how to build a brand with purpose. She speaks about her unique experience as a Black Muslim woman,  diversity, Afrofuturism and how womanhood helps her navigate her brands. As a Muslim singer and artist, she hopes to create awareness of Islam through Black art, music and community.

How to Build a Professional Online Presence – Muslim Women in Business

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
  • Halal networking
  • 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:

  1. 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!

  2.  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!

  3. 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?
Prefer WATCHING the podcast?

Modest Networking – How to network effectively as a Muslim woman

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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.

Nope.

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.

If you show genuine interest in people, they will show genuine interest in you.

Compliment

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?

You’re dealing with humans. We, humans, love our egos. So get people to talk about themselves. You’ll win.

Compliments.

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.

People like people who are positive, who smile.

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.

Personal details

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.

Timing.

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.

No WhatsApp

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.

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Be honest

A last rule I’d like you to engage with, is your level of honesty.

Compromises

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.

Knowledge

Another guideline I’d  like 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

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  • Be honest

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

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How to overcome your limiting beliefs

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Thinking you aren’t worth the opportunities you are offered? Feeling you’re self-sabotaging yourself? That the things you’d think you wanted are actually not really important anymore because someone said it doesn’t matter and it’s actually bad to want it. You have a passion and imagination for a long time, but people tell you it’s impossible? You’re feeling super close to a breakthrough but suddenly you just stop and give up on your plans?

This episode will make you understand the limiting beliefs you have about topics like money, success, relationships or fame and how you can overcome them.  So take a journal and make some notes.

Because today is not the day you let your limiting beliefs win over your life.!

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 overcome your limiting beliefs

Today I want to start with WHY. Why are we speaking about this?

Because we all can remember the last time we spoke with someone about why we cannot do something, why its tough to achieve this thing, what is holding us back from reaching that thing.

We know. We know we are sabotaging ourselves.

Our generation is a generation of resistance, of people who are aware of what forces are facing them and what barriers are keeping them from their equal opportunities.

We know, the world is not fair. But is that really relevant?

Or do these things just feed into our already existing limiting beliefs we inherited from our families, communities, the media, random people we met in our studies or work?

Don’t believe people.

We will repeat this like a mantra.

Don’t
Don’t

Believe
Believe

People
People

and the last person you should believe is your own limiting beliefs.

Yourself that has been brainwashed into thinking that “fame is bad” (because those who had it misused it), that “money is only producing problems” (because your family never had much), that “politics is bad” (because those in power oppressed), that your “faith is flawed” (because people in your faith community sinned publicly), that “marriage is a burden” (because you’ve seen the women in your family suffer from abuse), that “men are trash” (because Twitter tells you so).

Don’t believe your present status

The Prophet (SAW) never believed those who said he was delusionary, he never believed those who attacked him mentally or physically, he never believed even his family when they didn’t believe he would make it. And what resources did he have? He created a global movement out of ZERO resources but the biggest power you could ever imagine – what Allah has written for him.

If he’d think about what he had right now, he’d never have made it. Someone who couldn’t read nor write worked for a woman, no financial backing. And you think you can’t achieve it because they say you’re wearing the wrong clothes for this industry? Because you don’t have a Silicon Valley investment? Because you didn’t graduate? Because your skin colour has the wrong shade? Because it never works, I tried to be healthy but not even my parents achieved it. Because that’s just not realistic?

Listen, up

Self-pity has never lead anyone to success. Get over your weakness and amplify your strengths, your privilege.

Redefine

Redefine your beliefs. Redefine the things you have beliefs about. What does money mean to you? What does fame mean to you? What does knowledge mean to you? Success? Impact? Leadership? And what do these words mean to you? Be very clear to get your own definition of what they mean. And then write down why you will achieve it, and why not.

You don’t need to understand HOW, not yet.

Just WHY.

Is it because you do it out of the right intentions? Because it will lead you to your ultimate goal or purpose? Is it because you are able to support those you love in the process of attaining it? Is it because you will feel better, present yourself better and inspire others through your self-representation with it?

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Who do you have on your side and who’s on the opposition?

Who’s your opposition?

Does the media tell you-you can’t? Does your family tell you, your friends, your co-workers or boss? Random people, who have failed and now feel entitled to prove you the impossibility of it?

Who’s with you?

Is Allah with you?

Now weight the scale and notice what is stronger.

Yup you got it. Allah never talked about you can’t have anything. Yes but only in Akhera…. Really?

Didn’t Salomon have everything in Dunya as well? Didn’t he ask to be the richest on earth? It’s not wrong to be asking for success, for fame, for money. But understand why and how it will serve your purpose.

And don’t get me wrong, believing is not enough.

Redefine your beliefs about terms that society has falsely defined for you. Success does not have a one-size-fits-all definition!

You have to DO

You must DO something, you must engage in the activity of Change.

Change yourself. Change your behaviours. Your habits. Change.

To change your beliefs, change your behaviours and habits.

How?

Here we go practical. Get your notebook (physical or digital) and write down what we’re going to solve here:

  1. Write down your beliefs
  2. Write down the reality (what have people achieved already, past or present, abroad or local, Muslim or Non-Muslim)

= write down what you need to change to bridge the gap

Is it to get another Job, charge for your next event or increase your hourly rate to get comfortable with handling more money? Is it taking the step to use your own voice to represent your brand by public speaking, social media or other to get used to the feeling of fame and being known for your work? What is it you can do RIGHT NOW to shatter your own limiting beliefs.

Because the only person who can do that is you.

The only person who can demystify your limiting beliefs is yourself.

Musa has prayed to open his chest and give him confidence, Allah says to Mohammed (SAW) in the Quran he has already opened your heart and with every hardship come two eases.

Surah Ash-Sharh

أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ
Did We not expand for you, [O Muhammad], your breast?

وَوَضَعْنَا عَنْكَ وِزْرَكَ
And We removed from you your burden

الَّذِي أَنْقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ
Which had weighed upon your back

وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ
And raised high for you your repute.

فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.

إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.

فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانْصَبْ
So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship].

وَإِلَى رَبِّكَ فَارْغَبْ
And to your Lord direct [your] longing.

We will talk about this so many times, believe me. Because this Surah is about self-believe and confidence in yourself.

It’s amazing how Musa and Mohammed (SAW) both are asking for confidence and self-assurance, and we really think we can work without it?

Obviously, we will need a reminder of the support we receive from Allah, to continuously become better in our beliefs and the actions we take on the basis of that.

And now, I would love to hear from you:

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?

Leave it down in the comments, and, share your diversity with us.

Rate the Podcast on iTunes.

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More Episodes

Create vs Consume – How to get rid of insecurities and establish a legacy

Create vs Consume

How to get rid of insecurities and establish a legacy

 

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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.

Why?

Creation acts as a psychological reward.
Create before you consume. Creation acts as a psychological reward.
When you have a moment of success before you start consuming other peoples successes, you feel less intimidated and self-conscious and you can consume with a strong confident mind, less likely to be demotivated.

Motivation early in the morning will give you energy for the rest of your day and enable you to create better results in anything you do.

Plus, you can even apply things you will consume later to what you have just created, which gives you real inspiration to become better.

ANOTHER MAJOR POINT:
Consumption means not only mere consumption, make sure you redefine what you consume!

We all know, there are things (especially in media) that is beneficial and some things which are .. mhh how to say this diplomatically…unnecessary.

But how can we classify these things with the least emotion possible?

Well, we can easily say one thing:

If we can attain or upgrade existing knowledge, then that is beneficial consumption. Anything else isn´t.

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 () 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.

And then, aim to

 

Before you leave…

Download your personal Create vs Consume PDF here!

****

And now, I would love to hear from you:

1. What should you consume as a knowledge that would inspire more than discourage you?

2.    What could you create more that will make you feel more accomplished and push you to achieve legacy?

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How to tell your own story – with Amina, founder of MuslimCreatvs

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Speaking your truth and telling your story as a Muslim in the media is not dependent on “breaking stereotypes”. Amina shares the secrets to her work as a storyteller, setting up your own brand (MuslimCreatvs) and what it means to speak up for yourself.

She also shares with us insights into motivation, authenticity and honesty as a content creator and standing up by standing out in your career.

Tweetables

  1. Motivation is a scam. @ayymina_ #success #podcast #motivation #ShareDiversity
  2. For me motivation doesn't start until you have actually done something @ayymina_ #success #motivation #ShareDiversity
  3. Document your process. So you can physically see the progress @ayymina_ #progress #storyteller #success #ShareDiversity
  4. If you want to start, understand what kind of story you are telling and what are your putting out to the world. @ayymina_ #success #ShareDiversity

Comment below!

 

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Power of Voice as a Muslim Women in Mainstream Media, Focus and overcoming judgement with Idil Osman

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We are talking about the power of voice as a Muslim woman in mainstream media, focusing our priorities and overcoming judgement (especially self-judgement) with journalist, author, lecturer, expert in diaspora media and TV host Dr Idil Osman.

Besides sharing her career principles and journey into media, Idil speaks about her definition of hijab and how we can create platforms to amplify each other’s voices.

Tweetables

  1. Career: Find something 1.You're passionate about. 2. That allows you to contribute to society 3.That allows you to have an ongoing opportunity for employment. @idil_osman #success #ShareDiversity
  2. It's about focusing on this ONE thing. In my case that's Allah, that's who I want to please. You focus on your priorities, everything else will fall into place. @idil_osman #focus #success #ShareDiversity
  3. One of the good things about Islam is that, because you're constantly focused on the blessings that Elahi has given you, you're in that space of wanting to give back. @idil_osman #gratitude #ShareDiversity
  4. Faith - It provides me the #hijab I need in order to navigate through life. Not just the physical hijab but the hijab of people taking advantage of me, being harmful towards me. @idil_osman #ShareDiversity
  5. Holding on to Allah I´m synonymously protected from the harmful effects that society can bring sometimes. @idil_osman #ShareDiversity
  6. By having an outward-looking approach to people means I attract those kinds of people ... because you take an active stance of being a good human being, to begin with. @idil_osman #ShareDiversity
  7. If you are grounded, if you are anchored in terms of who you are, where you come from and where you're headed, you're really not limited by any location. @idil_osman #impact #ShareDiversity
  8. Everyone has a voice. What happens is that people get silenced. Keep pushing for spaces to be opened up so that a variety of voices can come through. @idil_osman #WomenInMedia #WomeninTech #ShareDiversity
  9. Sheytan will try and create arrogance out of everything. Make you look like you're superior because of your race, gender or skin colour. @idil_osman #racism #ShareDiversity
  10. We need to have a daily discussion and conscious application that we are #Muslim first. The experience that connects us is that loving brotherhood and #sisterhood. @idil_osman #racism #ShareDiversity

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Feminism – Equality, womanhood and why I am not a feminist

Feminism

Equality, womanhood and why I am not a feminist

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Let´s talk about a widely hated and over-socially-constructed topic:

Feminism.

Equality of men and women. Is that what it stands for? Well, if that is what it stands for, I am out. Women don’t have the same circumstances than men do. I am out because that would mean that we want to be equal to men. I am out because you say women don’t have the same circumstances than men do, so they need to be uplifted to get to the level men are. That implies that:

Men are superior.

Feminism implies the superiority of men, and the want of women to be set equal to them. Wanting to be equal means they are better. Get it now? I don’t wanna be equal to men.

The Muslim Woman

I am a woman and I am proud of being a woman and having the circumstances of my hormones, my ability to think complex, my strong feelings and the fluctuations of them, being able to make life, and the ability to persuade my partner to do anything I want just by being the most feminine version of myself, being able to work and earn money for my self only, not needing to hustle to make my family eat, not needing to provide financially but being able to contribute emotionally, care-ingly and socially, the ability to hide myself from outside views to guard my value.

Let´s be very pragmatic about what women gain in Islam. Imagine, my ability to have my own enterprise (family) with my home-grown workers (kids) and my investor (husband) building my own company culture (household values) and train talent to take over the enterprise (kids grow up and take responsibility for the family) to sit back and enjoy the beauty of my business (retiring, reading books, looking at birds, traveling the world, cuddling my grand-children). And yes, If I want to have a side-hustle/passion project (job), that provides me with income. I don’t need to share this with anyone if I don’t want to, and on top of that, I´m asking the investor (husband) to get a manager for the enterprise (nanny/cleaner/cook etc.) while I am busy with my side-hustle/ passion-project.

That is what I gain from Islam. Not feminism.

Disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong, this is the most ideal version of it. I am privileged if I could do that. But if I live in a poverty environment, I will want to contribute with my hustle to my family and let my husband not have the pressure of such circumstances. And also, in any way, these things are your rights in Islam. Whether you want to take them or not, is your (you as a family unit) choice. Say your husband wants to stay home and home-school the kids while you go out work? That’s your personal choice and totally right. But at least you know the rights that are given to you, can be implemented whenever you want.

Let me now outline feminism for ya´ll(and please read the disclaimer to save your hate comments).

What feminism gives you:

Option 1: Calling you “traditional” (being a devoted wife) and “backwards” (housework and raising children) or even barbaric (homeschooling) while telling you, you are giving no value (money) to the country because you are not “economically contributing” (hustling for minimum wage) and you are not progressing (doing the same as a man).

Option 2: Complementing you on your value (money) because your are “economically contributing” (working nine to five hustles) while degrading your value (paying you less), calling you a workaholic and claiming your kids are suffering the modern ambitions (because you have a nanny to watch out for your kids) while telling you that you degrade your husband’s masculinity (if you earn more).

So basically, they want you to be like a man and still be a woman. Applied feminist politics expects women to be everything at the same time. We get equality*, but no justice.

*also: we get equality by forced regulations, which are in itself discriminating against who? Men. Compromising one for the other, that’s applied feminism. 

I don’t believe in equality

The base for feminism is, that men and women are socially, economically and politically equal. So no, I am not a feminist. Because I don’t believe in the economic and social equality for women. I believe in the justice for women and men in society. I believe in just contribution of economic, social and familial responsibility. The laws and rules are the same in terms of spiritual matters. 

  اِنَّ الۡمُسۡلِمِيۡنَ وَالۡمُسۡلِمٰتِ وَالۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ وَالۡمُؤۡمِنٰتِ وَالۡقٰنِتِيۡنَ وَالۡقٰنِتٰتِ وَالصّٰدِقِيۡنَ وَالصّٰدِقٰتِ وَالصّٰبِرِيۡنَ وَالصّٰبِرٰتِ وَالۡخٰشِعِيۡنَ وَالۡخٰشِعٰتِ وَالۡمُتَصَدِّقِيۡنَ وَ الۡمُتَصَدِّقٰتِ وَالصَّآئِمِيۡنَ وَالصّٰٓـئِمٰتِ وَالۡحٰفِظِيۡنَ فُرُوۡجَهُمۡ وَالۡحٰـفِظٰتِ وَالذّٰكِرِيۡنَ اللّٰهَكَثِيۡرًا وَّ الذّٰكِرٰتِ ۙ اَعَدَّ اللّٰهُ لَهُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَةً وَّاَجۡرًا عَظِيۡمًا

Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. [Al-Ahzab 33:35]

So yes, I believe in the equal value of men and women in front of Alllah and yes, as the prophet (PBUH) implemented it, I do believe in the equivalent right on education.

I endorse fair opportunities, but I don’t think we can claim equality if we are the diverse humans we are, with the diverse abilities, strengths and weaknesses, interests, psyches, physics as we have.

... And the diverse responsibilities that we have. Imagine you have a company, and every single employee of yours has the same tasks to manage, the same things to do and has the exact same contribution in everything to the team. Would you grow? Obviously not. Because where is the team here? It´s just a group of sameness, a repetition of one and the same talent. For the business women in here, check out why a relationship functions as a business. For now:

Not an upgrade

I am a woman and I do not endorse feminism. I believe in justice in the responsibilities and opportunities of men and women. We are not the same, so I am not trying to be equal to men. Because I know as a woman, I can do more and I can do better than men in many areas, and I think a man (be it my father, my brother or my son) can do more and better in many other areas. I am not interested to compete in these areas for equality to them. That would be a downgrading for me, not an upgrade.

     اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَاۡمُرُ بِالۡعَدۡلِ وَالۡاِحۡسَانِ وَاِيۡتَآىـئِ ذِى الۡقُرۡبٰى وَيَنۡهٰى عَنِ الۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَالۡمُنۡكَرِ وَالۡبَغۡىِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَذَكَّرُوۡنَ

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. [An-Nahl 16:90]

As long as I understand my value as a woman, I don´t need feminist narratives to make me ´regain´ my power. I have power in me enough to prove my voice matters, my actions matter, my being matters.

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

And please don't forget to rate, like & share the Podcast on iTunes.

Q: What are your thoughts on feminist narratives? Would you consider yourself a feminist, do you fight for gender equality? Why or why not?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

Women´s rights sold as an ideology. One of the most marketed social constructs. Gender equality in Islam is based on deeper values. We must first embody these values to truly reclaim our rights.

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Relationship Mindset – Gender Equality in Islam?

Relationship Mindset

Gender Equality in Islam?

 

Rate the Podcast on iTunes.

“Husband and wife are equal.” “Equality for unity.” “Why shouldn´t a woman be able to do the same as a man?” “A healthy relationship works on the ground of equal rights” …

The theory sounds well, practice.. naaaatsomuch.

Let´s talk about how relationships work and let´s be pragmatic about it.
It´s teamwork. And how does teamwork work? Well, …
Like a business.

For those with some prior business knowledge, and those without. Check the abbreviations** and turn your volume up to listen.

Relationships are like businesses

In a business, there is a CEO (the Entrepreneur)**and an MD (Managing Director)**.

Both of them work on the business (from the outside) but both have very different viewpoints on the growth of the company.

The CEO

looks in the future and decides
– where the business should go strategically,
– what the long-term goals are and what strategic and
– what creative ways they should go to achieve the shared vision.

makes sure that
– there is always investment flowing into the business, so the MD can upgrade the tool efficiency and work effectiveness.

The Manager

looks from the future to the present and plans
– how the business should work (what the employees should do),
– to achieve the goals in the present and short-term goals.

makes sure that
– the business itself provides flourishing returns on such investment by upgrading the employees’ performance.

Imagine now husband and wife

Husband = CEO
Wife = Manager

Read the disclaimer before you shout “Whyyyy always the man…!”

The husband goes out and sees where the family wants to be in terms of wealth (whatever this means to you individually), in terms of achievements (spiritually and charitably, academically and professionally, personally and internationally) and in terms of property (wealth and investment). While the husband goes out and brings in the investment (income) to the family (company), the wife makes sure that the family affairs (business) work efficiently and effectively and that all members of the family (employees) provide their best performance to bring the right returns (in terms of intellectual property, social achievements, etc.).

These returns can be whatever you define and value as wealth or power.

  • Whether this would be the status of an academically educated child, which the mother (Manager) home-schooled or tutored to excellence (invested the income in high education).
  • Or whether this would be a highly artistic child, which the mother supported in their projects and searched for the best art class and accompanied to galleries and poetry events and went with them to national art competitions outside of school to support the spark of interest.
  • Or whether that mother has invested the income to provide the best health, nutrition and physical fitness education to her children so they can perform at their best in any phase of their lives. While the father makes sure there is enough bonus to surprise her and the kids for a nice vacation to a new country so the whole family can benefit from cultural richness and diverse education to their ongoing inspiration and motivation to keep the quality of the business performance on the highest level throughout the year.

Equality vs. Teamwork

Now think, if this would be possible if husband and wife would be equal (feminism) and do the same exact things and have the same exact responsibilities.

And by the way, read the disclaimer.

Because it really does not matter whether you would like to (personally) flip around this script. Let the mother be the CEO and the father the MD. Or whether you would like to swap every 5 years. But chose your roles. Because that’s how a team works…

Choosing your roles is essential because no one can scale up their performance if they are unsure what responsibilities they have. Greatness comes with focus and persistence.

 

Disclaimer: Every couple can, of course, choose for themselves. Wanna be a CEO and invest, get money in and inspire future strategies for 5years and then swap to dedicate and manage the business internally? Go for it. Whatever fits you (as a team).

 

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: How would you apply this to your life and relationship? What value can you get out of this family-business construct?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

And please don’t forget to rate, like & share the Podcast on iTunes.

 

Family, Relationship and love in Islam are all about balancing roles and responsibilities. I see relationships as a business. Family business. Gender Equality in Islam is a myth just as it is in any other sector of our human existence. The relationship mindset means teamwork.

 

** Business Abbreviations
CEO
(=Chief Executive Officer) makes the tough decisions based on the company’s needs, values and goals, sets up a strategy for the company future and increases flows of investments into the company
MD (=Managing Director) the most important working director, in charge of the way the company is managed, supervising employees performance and outcomes

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-forization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Opportunity – Create Your Own Success

Opportunity

Create Your Own Success 

 
The other day, I was ranting about how we don´t have as many opportunities when I was reminded of something: representation doesn´t help us. It´s about creating your own opportunities. Building our own table.
Here the backstory...
I remember talking to a friend that day when she mentioned something like:

Compare Kanye West and Rihanna

Okay, okay, bear with me for a bit...
Taking Kanye, he always sought out acceptance, fighting for his voice to be heard, to be known in the fashion industry.
He rants and screams and propagates about the whiteness, racism and ignorance of the fashion industry and that he will be the biggest on the table soon, they just open their eyes and see what he´d be doing.
Well... nobody really cared except his fans what he was whining about, nobody at least from the industry itself.

Now let´s look at Rihanna. She did her thing, singing and touring, being different, odd, rebellious. Yes, just like Kanye in some sense. But what did she do?
She is begged by all the fashion designers to design a new line for them and take her image and swag to support their brands under her supervision and authority. She just dropped her MakeUp line like it´s just a "side-passion" she runs to fill her free time.

She didn´t scream about there not being enough chances for brown women designing high-luxury fashion wear, she didn´t cry because there was
1) no makeup variance for non-white people and
2) not enough acceptance for unexperienced brown rebel women to do their own line of makeup besides all these established white makeup moguls.

No, she just did.

Like she´s making a sandwich and offers you a bite. There you go, I found my own solutions, take a bite!
While Kanye was still like "Can I have a bite? Can I have a bite? Why are you not sharing? You see me starving, recognize and feed me".
We can´t cry and expect others to accept us in their space.
We have to create our own space (our own table) and invite those in that have the same ambitions, values and visions as us.
That is why it is so crucial for me to understand as well, how we can rebuild our communities to actually find solutions ourselves for problems that we face and do not wait for others to get up with a solution and then whining that we are not invited to sit at their table.

 Okay, to be fair, she didn´t give that example. She took the one of wanting a seat on the table (Kanye) vs building your own table (Rihanna). To be honest, that makes somehow more sense as we can see here that Rihanna is actually building her own industry. She was one of the first influencers in that sense for luxury brands to target young urban brown women with enough money or the willingness to gain it to buy her shoes (Louboutin I think), she was one of the major influencers for sports brands to go maaaajor urban and get into the street style women´s wear hardcore (Puma) and build a ground for (brown) female athletes and artists around the world to be ambassadors themselves (which is now a whole influencer network) and she is one of the women now using other influencers to promote her own brand massively with Fenty Beauty etc. and actually (and that´s another topic) leveraging massively on diversity and marginalized communities (like Muslim women). Whatever you might think of our example, this is what life is about for us strangers..

Here is how it goes:

⦁ You need a mentor but no one in the industry is actually understanding of your values and wants? Then find someone within the community, embrace their advice and guidance and seek to refer them to your peers, building a network of mentors within the community. Don´t I hear everywhere that "We lack leaders?", yeah well. That´s one solution - DONE- NEXT
⦁ You think the schools here have a system which is discriminating against Muslims, brown people etc. and on top who´s politics and teachings go against your values?
Homeschool your kids or find a teacher, create your own school system according to your own values and then offer it to other mothers. Either teach them to homeschool their kids or find someone, or do it for a living. Give them material that helps them to school their kids, build small learning circles for group work and engagement in presentation and the area of supervision and leadership. If you gathered a couple of women who are willing to grow and evolve in homeschooling, you can build a network of teachers and maybe rent some rooms. Then build it out and eventually build your own school and school system for the children according to your values.
⦁ You think there are no job opportunities for Muslim women in media? Build your own media agency.
⦁ You think there is no company that fits your values? Build your own company. The result is: make your own sandwich (others will want to have a bite, because what is better a huge white sandwich of cheese and lettuce where everyone already bit from or the cultural diversity gourmet edition with the brown grain crusty bread on which you get roasted vegetables, spices and pickles and salmon and rucola and goats cheese on top) and
If you cannot join others, because you are excluded - Build your own table, others will want to join you.
Don´t forget to go and keep going, always thrive to change something out of your own strength, don´t wait for outside help
 وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
And those who strive for Us, We will surely, guide them (to) Our ways. And indeed, Allah surely (is) with the good-doers.[Surah 29:69].
But at the same time, make sure to create your own allies, your community, your team, your family. Sisterhood means always uniting in professional debates,
وَالَّذينَ استَجابوا لِرَبِّهِم وَأَقامُوا الصَّلاةَ وَأَمرُهُم شورىٰ بَينَهُم وَمِمّا رَزَقناهُم يُنفِقونَ
And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and
whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend. [Surah 42:38] 
In all our fight for recognition and success, we must understand that we can only ask the One for guidance, work hard and have the right intentions. For those however who work, be sure to bare in mind with all positivity, optimism and vision: 
1. Rule: Do. Don´t expect relief from anyone. Do it yourself.
2. Rule: Mobilize your tribe. Together we are stronger.
Break out of the minority mindset into the abundance mentality. 

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: What are the things you feel excluded from and how do you think you could eventually find your own solutions to build your own table?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

And please don't forget to rate, like & share the Podcast on iTunes.

 

Create success by creating your own opportunities. As minorities, we often seek to be seen and heard and we fight for our rights. We have to, however, understand that we are in the position to change our situation ourselves. We are responsible for our own success, nobody will give it to us freely.

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Wellness – Islamic Well-being

Wellness

Why I Fail 

 
I see women in my surrounding often fall short in prioritizing things like wellness, self-care and well-being. Because when we are stressed over money, how to finance our studies and deadlines from work, wellness is out of the window. What we don't realize, if we take care of our wellness, we might not drown in stress. 

You can't climb a mountain from the top, you have to start at the bottom. 

Wellness is at the bottom. If you can master the foundation, the climb won´t be as hard in the end. Becoming your own doctor (food is medicine).

First steps to take: take responsibility and stop blaming everything else. I need to put things aside and re-prioritize MY life. Love, family, togetherness and gratitude. If I have these realities circling in my consciousness, I can control my stress. Alhamdulillah


Wake up in the morning and ask yourself:

What is good?

Me, myself and I

What is good for me? What suits me? And what do I need to prioritize to make my first steps up the mountain?
For example: "I am going to take responsibility for my health and start controlling my destiny."

You are always at fault and you can always do better.

Islam teaches us to be proactive and the society we live in programs us to be reactive. It teaches us a way of life. If we would be proactive people, we could have saved ourselves from so many illnesses. Islam is a long-term solution for many issues and the society is so short-lived. Slow down and analyze your situation, focus on the long-term commitment and then your short-term things will become better. Fight your impatience. Although re-active mentality is in my blood but that is not an excuse. Replace the bad with better. 


Go back to the Sunnah (gratitude, smiling, fasting, eating clean, exercising,...)

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: What is the one thing you can do right now to increase your wellness and self-care? Would it be hitting the gym, reading a book or simply making an honest dua?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

 

Disclaimer: This is more a reminder to myself. Feel free to apply such philosophy to your personal circumstances, challenges and future goals.


And please don't forget to rate, like & share the Podcast on iTunes.

Watch and comment on Youtube

 

 

How to practice self-care as a Muslim woman? We always underestimate the meaning of well-being in Islam. To come back to our inner self means coming back to our tradition and listening to the intuition given from Allah.

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Wealth – How to Get Rich

Wealth

How to Get Rich

 

You know these times when you watch Motivational Videos on Youtube? Yeah, I found some new ones. And they taught me the following:

Where your focus goes your energy flows.

I have to envision every day what I want in my life, to be able to achieve it. Clear goal setting.
Obviously what I did was, I took the video creator´s example of goal setting. Which was all material -either in property, money or status. And I went with it. Wrote down a property, status and things that I want to create but deep down, that wasn´t enough for me. So I added here and there how I want to live and what I want to master in.

Just some excerpts here: 
- A house on the water 
- 2 houses for my parents in a warm country
- Be a respected author
- Make 50 Million before 30
...

But to be honest, I am not satisfied. This does not sound like me completely. Yes, I would love to own a house by the water with a vintage writing machine and simply write stories and poems looking out my window wall to the moving water, clouds and birds, watching the flowers bloom in the garden and tomatoes light up the small vegetable farm while hearing my kids voices sing in the backgrounds. 


Yes, I would love this. But all this doesn´t depend on the house or on the decoration, on the wealth we possess. I would be peaceful just to be able to write freely on my own pace and conditions while hearing my kids play in the background. With my stopwatch nearby to see when I have to take the banana bread out of the oven. Wealth per se doesn’t make me happy, but the freedom, peace and health that I feel in this moment.

** 

All the wealth that you have been given, that you think can bring you closer to us, that is only true for those who for the one who believes in Allah and focuses on doing good and righteous deeds.

This brings me to why. Why am I writing? What does this imaginary lady create in her living space to contribute to humanity? In which way am I praising and worshipping Allah with my writing? Or the other things I do. Right now even the thought of having a ladies book club and Quran conversations makes my heart peacefully jump. But then what is my special place in this space? How can I add value to the (imaginary) ladies on my kitchen table?

Allah has divided up amongst you, your character, the good qualities that you possess.

So it is true, we are all here to contribute to each other with the special qualities that we individually possess thanks to Allah. The character that makes us unique, that contributes to others wellbeing. The niche market our personality can take in other people's lives. 

Just as he has divided up amongst you, the material things that you enjoy.

You see something? All these social media channels are there to compare our lives to others. Compare our likes to others. Our following, our status, our wealth. But Allah has divided these things deliberately.
Am I being challenged to be poor? Am I being challenged on being rich? Am I simply thinking what a blessing I am receiving, never much-respecting others battles? Or do I contribute with my privilege to other people´s lives?

Allah gives material things to those who he loves and those he does not love

Who of those am I? 

But he does not give the deen except to those, who he loves.

I am definitely one of those, Alhamdulillah.

So if you have the awareness and understanding of your religion, know that Allah loves you. 

May I never forget, how to value this love, how to bring it to others and how to enable my surrounding to gain access to their unique opportunity for such love. If god is willing, Inshallah 

A person does not submit to Allah until his heart and his tongue submits to what Allah has commanded and ordered him to 

What I may never forget is, that all I “possess” is never mine, it is that of my creator. Allah has created the things that I claim to own. So my ownership is not real. I´m just an agent that Allah has assigned to see how I use and spend the wealth he has entrusted me with. 
May I never forget that my benefit is in the Akhira. The Dunya is only a test. A test for me to show if I can take care of all the responsibilities that have been given to me. 


So my “life goals” must be changed. Changed into less claim for “ownership” but more responsibility to do good with my entrusted wealth. So I can invest that wealth into other creations of Allah to support them in their own test with the aim to reach Jannah.


**Basis of this reflection: The tafseer of Surah Muminoon 

Until next time,

السلام عليكم

 

Luxury goals are not about how much we have but what we make out of the things we have. Wealth is in the beauty of gratitude.

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Time – Setting Priorities

Time Management

How to plan your day

وَٱلْعَصْرِ
إِنَّ ٱلْإِنسَٰنَ لَفِى خُسْرٍ
إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ

By time, Indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience. [Surah Al-Asr]

When I talked to the girls, I was literally so surprised. We all had different approaches to handling time and our schedule. Not only different but completely opposite to each other. But, you would never know, judging from the output.

We all get things done and we all achieve success- our own version of success. Now we all might seem similar from our sex, age, clothing (from a non-Muslim perspective), but in our versions of career, success planning, our diversity is undeniable. Law, education, sales and media, no planning, planning by writing entire research papers on the bus to work, planning in the head, in a notebook tick-off, (...) up to meticulously planning every single minute of the day (me).
We all have our own version of time planning.

But what we all do share, is the understanding that (in self-development terms):

Time is precious.

More importantly, time is the most valuable thing we have in our life because we lose it every moment and we have no chance ever to gain it back.

Now again,#YOLO might not apply to us, but still. We are here in Dunya only once and we are only given one chance to prove that we are worth entering Akhira.

The moment we chose to do A and not B means:
A is more important and urgent than B
, because

We are actually at loss everytime we choose one option.

We need to understand the value that we are leaving behind not choosing the other option!

Opportunity cost

Opportunity cost (not on our own value but on our lifetime´s value) works like this:

You ask yourself
"Is the value of A exceeding the cost of not doing B?"
Because if B is so valuable, and we are paying (with the most precious currency*), then we need to know if it is worth to lose the value of B for the sake of pursuing A.
Now getting out of the abstract.

Let´s take an easy example:
It´s 4.30pm, you need to hand in a report at 8 pm.
You are behind and are stressing out on finishing the last 5 pages. You are already sitting on your laptop for 3 hours.
You told yourself you want to be healthy, fit and successful at work.
You have a time-frame of 30min.
What do you do?

Option A:  you write another page for your report
Option B:  you work out

Now both options sound reasonably important.
The report will probably determine how far you get with your goal of being "successful" at work and you are behind in your work.
Now the work itself sounds more urgent, as it has a fixed deadline.

At the same time, you want to stick to your health and fitness goals because they are important to you, but it is something you set for yourself and it has not a contract-related deadline on it.

With usual important/urgent planning tools, you would categorize

Option A: important & urgent and
Option B: important & not urgent.

But if you consider your opportunity cost, your calculation will probably look like this:

If I don´t do Option A: I have to speed up my writing process and get half a page more done within each half an hour. I will need to be 100% focused on finishing this for the rest of the time.

If I don´t do Option B: I will have less energy in my body and my back will hurt, sitting on the laptop already for 3hours and probably having to sit there the next 3.5hours more. I will get tired, my legs will feel heavy and my mind will probably get tired from staring into the screen for such a long time.

Why so?
Well, here´s a  side-note:
Exercising fuels your energy makes you more focused and boosts your creativity.

Working out activates your muscles, relaxes your body in positions which require stagnancy (sitting on a laptop) and it prevents you from becoming sleepy or stressed out. Workout releases stress, gives you focus and improves your productivity. (read up more here)

So yes, I'll go for Option B, because I know the opportunity cost of it if I decide not to.

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: How do you plan your days, do you have notebooks, journals,
you´re a mind-planner or you use some fancy planning tools?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

Time is money. But more importantly, time is the currency we will never get back until we leave this life inshallah. We all have the same amount of this currency, so it depends only on us what we do with it. Time is a gift from god we need to keep safe by using it wisely.

Until next time,

السلام عليكم

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Value – What is Self-Worth

Value

Means self-worth

value
/ˈvaljuː/
noun
1. the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. "your support is of great value"
2. principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life. "they internalize their parents' rules and values" 
Source: google dictionary

I´ve been wanting to define "value" for myself for a long time.

Even just comparing two major yoga channels I watch which are built upon personal brands, I can see how individuals follow individuals and how characters seek characters which are familiar to them.

Understanding, that I am not made to serve everybody.

But that I was chosen to bring value to a specific type of people, which could truly, sincerely and fully benefit from what I can provide.

It's sad to say, but our energies are limited. And others attention spans as well. So I don´t try to fit everyone's mould. If you understand where I come from, you can relate and we share the same values and objectives, let's go with it and for it. But I don´t aim to be your perfect spokesperson.

What is in my authority is simply the drive to understand my value and to value my value. To reach the full capacity of my value and most importantly- speak for myself only.
I can´t say that someone else's experience is the same as mine, however, I can always personally relate to other´s experiences and learn my own lessons for my own life providing my own input.

For years (and somehow still ongoing) I didn´t know my value.

I didn´t know how big it was.

And to be very frank here, I´m not trying to elevate my self up to a level for personal display. But I see many girls that I teach do the same to them as I did. Not analysing what you can offer and what your deepest self is worth, with all knowledge, skills, experiences, attitudes, mindsets and yes also future possibilities. I strongly encourage us to understand that even the not-yet-achievements are our assets. And "opportunity cost" is an actual thing.

If you ain´t got me, you ain't got opportunity A-Z.

Simply speaking, we should treat ourselves (NEVER as a commodity) but as a jewellery. I remember Yasmin Mogahed telling to see yourself as a diamond. Would anyone offer a diamond to someone who says "I REALLY like this one, but maaan I only have one dollar, pound, Euro whatever"? Would you be like "Yeah, no worries you can bring it after some month if you see an opportunity to get in more money"?
NOPE. Thanks.

Don´t offer yourself under value

And yes, I am referring to all the sectors in our lives.
Be it personal relationships and someone refusing to bring in the amount of respect, support, communication, patience and gut it takes to get you ...
Or when I refer to simple job interviews and someone tryna sell you into a "growth opportunity" with half-of-the-price your qualifications are worth entry salary...
Or whether I talk about a friend who only calls you when she wants something but who is like, Can I call you back another time? Hm sorry its really busy right now..? Maybe we can meet the other week? WE  should definitely see each other again? But never gets back to check on you, when YOU have a problem!

All these scenarios, baby if you´d known your worth, you´d be so far by now. But no worries, we´ll catch up,

You see my bouncing off that wall of ignorance for my value.

 

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: In what situation did you think "This is not what I deserve. I deserve more!", and what did you do to claim it? / How would you like to deal with it in the future?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

Know your value. Believe in your worth. Define your self-value. Your character determines your self-worth. Believe in the worth you can bring to this earth. God has written it for you a long time ago. Claim it.

 

Until next time,

السلام عليكم

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Inspiration – The myth of creativity

Inspiration

The process of creation, the myth of  creativity

There is a misconception of the word “inspiration”.

We are always told that great people, thriving entrepreneurs and succeeding individuals are always motivated and inspired by anything and everything around them.

Simply put, that´s a big lie.

You can´t say all great achievers are on their top game 24/7. If you believe that, and you apply it to yourself, you lose. Let's take the example of a writer:

If you only write in the feeling of inspiration, you will not create much value in anything. You cannot wait for this feeling. Not doing anything is not inspiring, so how can you expect your non-doing to inspire you?

Writing even if “I don’t feel like it” makes me create much more value than me confidently sitting on my desk with excitement to be inspired and inspiring. My deepest thoughts, when I feel like I have nothing, is often everything I wanted (without knowing that I wanted it).

Being lost can be productive. BUT only if I create. When I feel lost and I write (even about being lost). This might be my vulnerability, the closeness to my inner thoughts and feelings, the fears I tap into to neutralize, the secrets to uncover, the unexpected value that crystallizes. Whatever it may be, it can only come to light and down on my paper (or screen for that matter), if I write in a time “I don’t feel like it”.

Writer Dani Shapiro:

The productive despair, describing the feeling of a deep sea diver when she almost hits the bottom of the ocean floor, that’s when she hits that place and is able to push herself up again from there.

The pan-ultimate place. Feeling the inner-sensor of resistance, that is the place that can bring me up again.

That feeling in that place, where you feel the opposite of comfortable, that is when you can get up again.

Make the time sacred

Be routine-based, ritual-based!

When you are in that place of "I don´t feel like it", it doesn´t matter. Your body already told your mind: We are set up for this, We will do this, And we will do this right. Because everything is “set up” for you as if you would like to achieve something.

How does this being "set up"  look like?

It can look so so different for every single person here. Maybe you like to be in a nice coffee shop? You want to be in a clean room, light some candles maybe? Wear a nice dress and put on some jewellery, some fancy shoes even? Want some tea and fresh fruits on the side?

Just a quick reminder:

Your feelings don´t matter

(at least in the moment they don´t feel like it).

You are either here to see other people succeed, consume, sit down watch what other people do, or

You do it yourself.

Don´t be a consumer, be a creator. 

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: What do you like to do to feel set up to create? What do you do to prepare yourself for success? How does the setting look like? What makes you feel most creative to create?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

The myth of creativity affects everyone who wants to achieve greatness. Here is why you need to get rid of it: inspiration is not your hero. You are your only way to success. DO, CREATE, even if you don´t feel like it!

 

Until next time,

السلام عليكم

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance.