Welcome to the Journey of a Muslim Entrepreneur

I’m super excited as today is the official re-birth of my blog.

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Re-positioning my blog to share my entrepreneurial journey, commitment to living life on my own terms and inspiring other people of color to build wealth & do the same.

My intention is to inspire millions of  people to color to go back to their roots: wealth, nobility, honour and spirituality and empowering people of color to serve and contribute at the highest level.  To have the boldness and courage to STEP UP and let go of the past stories of poverty, destruction and lack of process and create massive success with their health, income and relationships.

It’s a vehicle that will allow me to share my passion in entrepreneurship and economically empowering people of color to become realize unlimited possibilities of the human spirit and how we can collectively transform our lives and nations. It will help me grow and share with others all of my successes, achievements, magic moments, and most importantly help others on their journey towards mastery their own journeys.

Over the next few weeks and months, my goal is to turn this blog into something epic-  a masterpiece

I will be writing and openly sharing what I’m learning and doing in each area of my life.

It will be broken down several sub-categories, which I’ll be covering:

  Emotional
  Physical (Health & Fitness)
  Relationships
  Friends & Family
  Financial
  Career/Business
  Time/Productivity
  Spiritual

These are all areas that I’m passionate about and want to achieve balance in. There are also areas of which marginalized and under-resourced communities need to better look at if we are to change the health of our entire communities.

This is one women’s journey towards being the best entrepreneur  and person I can be and transforming the lives around me, and here’s an open invitation for whomever wants to come along for the ride.

 

 

 

How to Beat Procrastination Forever

There are tons of content out there discussing the science of productivity and how to stop procrastinating. I’m going to just give you a shorter version; one that I learned from experience.

Here is the secret: Do the hardest thing first.

If you find yourself not doing what you are suppose to be doing, write down what is THE most important task you need to be doing.

I don’t have to tell you.

You already know deep down what it is.

When you wake up in the morning, don’t check your email. Don’t go on Facebook. Don’t do anything meaningless.

Identify the #1 thing you need to do.

Then, attack it with absolute viciousness and do NOT take your eyes off the task until it’s done.

It’s going to be hard.

But doing important things is hard. Really hard.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Forget about motivational videos. Forget about downloading the latest app that blocks sites for you. Forget about it all.

What is THE most important thing you should be doing right now that you know needs to be done?

Do that!

Then all the motivation, momentum and progression you need will happen. Guaranteed.

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Follow me on Twitter @HodanIbrahim

Blogging Makeover!

We are in the last quarter of 2014 and thinking back to the last 1.5 years of my entrepreneurial journey, it’s been such an incredible journey. The lows(and there were loooows) to the highs.  I’m supremely thankful for everything – good, bad and the ugly. Throughout my journey to acutalizing my goals and becoming who I want to be, my life has started to take this structure that has enabled me to do better work, faster and reach more people.

For 18 years of your life, you’re life is structured and you have people shaping everything about your life down to your own thinking. But when you are out in the real world, you have to create and structure your own life – even more so as an entrepreneur! They require you to make some big, BIG changes on how you operated as an individual – emotionally, spiritually, financially, personally and professoinally. It takes an incredible amount of discipline as well.

One of those big changes will be this blog!

I’ll be doing a MASSIVE revamp and want to be much MUCH more open about my journey as an entrepreneur. There are hardly any entrepreneurs of color being super open and transarent about their entrepreneurial journeys, struggles, obstaclse, and even their successes!

Here are some of the things you should expect to read more about:

  • What I am reading
  • Where I am traveling
  • What I am working on
  • Important Ideas I want to share
  • Business struggles and tips
  • In-depth details on different aspects of running a company
  • Events I go to and lessons I learn

I want to invite you into my world in hopes to inspire you, help you on your path and I’m super excited! Creating some positive change in our world is difficult, so why not band together? Let’s work together to get each other to where we need to be.

Stay tuned!

Sending you love,
H

The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with Difficult Immigrant Parents: How to End Conflict with Difficult Immigrant Parents Forever

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“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Hello my loves,

Special gift to all my subscribers. I’m currently offering a pre-order special for my latest ebook: “The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with Difficult Immigrant Parents: How to End Conflict with Difficult Immigrant Parents Forever.  Advice, Insights and Practical Solutions  to Dealing with Overbearing Parents and Cultural Pressures in Immigrant Communities.”

One of my last blog posts explore the topic of: “6 Best Tips on Living and Dealing with Stressful Immigrant Parents” and know you get it in an e-book with much more details.

If you are that fish judged by your ability to climb a tree, it’s a good thing you are reading this.

If you are a first generation immigrant or from an ethnic background and have been overwhelmed dealing with overbearing parents, community and cultural pressures and been thinking that no body understands you, it’s even better that you got this book.

This is a story about you growing up and taking control over your life

It’s about  you don’t want your path mapped out by someone else, especially when it’s a path you don’t want.

This is the story the transformation of becoming your truest self.

It’s the story of having everyone deny you being you, to carry out the your life calling, the same calling that nags at you anytime you decide to do something against the depth of who you are. It’s that calling that separates everyone and ultimateley makes some people shine.

I always wondered why no one ever wanted me to be myself.

Why didn’t anyone want me to shine?

Why doesn’t anyone just listen to my ideas and want me to be successful with them.

The immediate responses it: it wont work, but society’s indoctrining systems are completely ok. It’s okay to go to school and focus your life on getting a job in a system that was made to make you a slave. It was okay to work hours to make someone else’s dream happen but when you decide to make your dream happen and work for yourself, it’s a cardinal sin and people NEED to tell you that you are wrong and that you will fail.

The most difficult thing is to adopt a mindset different from those around you and being able to keep that mindset while they mock you, be sarcastic and make you feel inferior because you hold ideas they believe can not happen.

Here’s What We Will Explore Together

Why are your parents obsessed with you taking a certain path in life? What can we learn about how our immigrant backgrounds affect how our parents choose to parent us? You wonder, sometimes that people could support you for being you, for bringing your unqieuness to the world, but why don’t they?

I’ve separate the book into 3 chapters that takes an in-depth, deep look into how you can understand and overcome conflict with your difficult immigrant parents forever.

Chapters 1: When No One Understands about you
  • Finding out who you are
  • Being who you are in a world that’s trying to change you
  • What no one understands about you
  • Practical ways you can truly live in your own truth
  • How I stopped caring what people thought
  • Navigating Listening To Yourself or Your Parents
  • Persistence Is The Only Key to Prevailing.
Chapter 2: Psychology of Immigrant Parents and Why They think
  • You Parents Psyschology: Understanding Immigrant Parents and Non-Traditional Culture
  • One Key that Will Solve All Your Problem
  • How to Effectively Communicate with Your Parents 101
  • Roots of Conflicts Between Generations
  • Understanding Culture Pressures and Where They Come From
Chapter 3: Choose Yourself
  • How to Choose Yourself
  • 10 Ways To Choose Yourself Everything
  • Step by Step on Dealing with Your Parents and Having a Better Relationship
  • Step by Step on Dealing with Community Issues and Pressures To Be Someone Else
Live according to my own expectations. Never let others tell you what is not possible for you.

Pre-Order here

Thoughts on Storytelling for Somalia Retreat and Adventures in Wales and London

This week was a game changer for me.

It has felt like 1 years worth of growing has been done in just one week.

I was selected to be a part of a groundbreaking project run by the  United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and UK-based partner Radical Middle Way with The Institute of Narrative Growth  called “Storytelling for Somalia”, A retreat for journalists, change makers and creatives from the Somali diaspora on September 15th-19th.

Photo Credit: Mohamed Yusuf

Photo Credit: Mohamed Yusuf

It was a co-lab on journalism and story with 30 creative change makers from across the Somali diaspora ranging from writers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, creatives, journalists and it was designed to facilitate collaborations and conversations amongst its members.There were trainings on investigative journalism, story as a global health strategy, evening fire side chats with the great Dr. Fuad Nahdi, field trips to visit key communities and community figures and learn about the history of the Somali diaspora within Cardiff, Wales and United Kingdom in general.

It was held at the historical Buckland Hall, a beautifully isolated mansion tucked away in the gorgeous hills in Wales in Brecons Beacons Park.

Buckland Hall

Waking up every morning to grab some tea(no it was actually copious amounts of hot chocolate) to take a walk on the beautiful landscape of lush greenery, and gaze at the mountains and small homes covered in a haze of clouds before sessions was something I will never forget. It was a quiet that forced you to reckon with your own soul. It brought about an introspection that either made you reaffirm your path in life or completely reconsider everything.

Photo Credit: Mohamud Yussuf

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Photo Credit Hassan Ghedi Santur

The first thing we did was sit in a circle, as an entire group, and introduce ourselves by way of our ancestry. It was a lovely break from the common question: “What do you do?” Behind that question is the assumption of the importance of economics, status and social positioning. Asking us where we came from poses another assumption: you are here because of where your ancestors were decades ago. Let’s explore that.

We had 8-9 hour day sessions – very content-focused. I wanted to highlight three different sessions that provide a bird-eye view on what we explored.

Healing as a global health strategy. Mark Gonzales led us through many introspective discussions on the psychology of healing and the anatomy of storytelling and nation. He described nations as a collection of narratives and took us through a series of activities that allowed us to explore the positive and negative effects of how stories are able to both heal and harm a nation.

Be Another Lab was a collective between Daanish Masooud, Christian Cherene and Arthur Pointreau, to create a machine that allows others to virtually interact with themselves. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to try it out because there was always a huge line to try it. Click on the link to learn more.

Fireside Chats – These were the last sessions of our day and a chance to regroup and debrief on what happened during the day and sit with our elders, share stories and ask questions. The great Dr. Fuad Nahdi lead these sessions through insightful and hilarious stories on life and his remarkable life experiences. These sessions were a way for us to bond. I wish they happened every night of my life – it was beautiful. These fireside chats planted the seed that allowed me to open up to this group.

WalesFiresidechats

What made this retreat ground-breaking was the initial assumption of creating a space to bring members of the Somali diaspora together to exchange ideas and experiences. It was a daring project to bring together Somalis of the diaspora worldwide to meet and collaborate together for 1 week – which, to my knowledge, has never been done. I spent most of my life living in a multicultural community, with very little emphasis on my cultural identity.

As a young women of the diaspora, I have never had the space, as many other retreat members will confidently say, to sit in a room full of my people and people my age. I never had the chance to work with them, collaborate ideas, speak my language and feel a communal connection that was ripped from us due to colonialism. These are the people, had I been in my homeland, the same people I would have grown up with, lived with and worked with.

But life had other plans.

What does it mean to be an urban Muslim entrepreneur and artist from Canada?

For the first time, I was forced to answer that question.

25 + years ago, Somalia was ripped apart by civil war and spread its citizens across the world and this created probably the most fragmented nation on earth. The consequences of this were bound to create chaos – and it did.

By the third day, pent up feelings started to emerge during one morning session. People had mentioned everything from suspicions, to concerns and frustrations. Was the United Nations doing this to collect data on Somalis? How come Somalis weren’t part of the design of the retreat? Were we being used as experiment?

Whether any of these concerns where valid or not is beside the point. The point is that the reactions were symptoms of a legitimately larger issue – lack of trust. A lack of trust that can only come from a community suffering from traumas – both personal and collective – that had not been addressed for 25 + years.

As Muslims, we’ve been put under the radar and are constantly under suspicion from people around us. As colored people, we don’t benefit from social privileges that bring the social and financial capital with it. And as Somalis, many of us have faced socio-economic pressures that have caused many of our parents to walk out on us, our families being ripped apart, and many of us never having truly connected with our country of origin, perpetually living in a nomadic state – not belonging anywhere but where we are at the moment. All these of these tensions have then built up for decades. Therefore reactions weren’t so much of a surprise but predictable.

Many complaints were made about Somalis being involved in the creation of this retreat and with all due respect, the Somali community has very little capacity to pull off a retreat like this– we don’t have the social and/or financial capital to put together what the UN, Mark, Daanish and Abdurahman had done. The organization, the accountability, the vision and the execution of the retreat was incredible, to say the least.

They, quite simply, made history.

I’m not trying to knock on my Somalis but let’s be real. It’s not that Somalis can’t, but we won’t. There are too many internal politics, ego, and lack of organization for the Somali community to have pulled this retreat off. Sorry. Not Sorry.

I’m grateful that someone thought of us – not in the common narrative of the white saviour thrusting himself upon the black man – but that someone cared. Because very few people care for Somalia.

Even Somalis at times, I’m afraid.

The truth is, we are afraid of ourselves. We are afraid of our light, our own success, our own ability to move forward in unity as a nation capable of accomplishing great things. Fear of success manifested itself so many times during this retreat – through chaos, through argument, through discontent and through tears.

One person said during a session that very few of us had been in a room with so many talented people of our nation and are actually reacting to the immense power that was in that room- albeit negatively- but nonetheless, it drew attention to the strong elements that were at large. It was absolutely incredible how accomplished and successful people were but there were few mentions of personal successes. I’m not sure if it’s because we have been so used to silencing our talents as a result of years of conditioning or it’s was simply because we didn’t feel comfortable using that space to do so.

While there may have been moments where we all collectively did share in happiness, by far the most intense is when we all sat and shared in our pain through a session lead by Mark Gonzales. He asked us to bring photos of our families and write a letter to them. Overwhelmingly, everyone wrote a letter to their mother, everyone spoke of their mother and there were enough tears to fill the Gulf of Aden 10 times.

Our mother have been and always will be the bedrock of our communities. So much pain they have suffered through yet they are the pillars – standing tall and gloriously – regardless of what elements they have faced.

I also did write to my mother but had to stop writing it. It was too painful. That session made me leave the room twice. I could only imagine what my parents had to go through to give me a chance at life. They were their own people, with their own dreams and aspirations until life derailed them and sent them on another path.

It also made me realize that my suffering wasn’t unique – it was all too common.

Everyone in that room had a story as painful as mine.

For a long time, we’ve never had a chance to just say: “I’m hurt.”

Or to say this is who I am and it’s okay. Regardless of the baggage. This is what I went through, and it’s okay. Regardless of what I feel. This is what happened to my family and I can work through it. This is what the older generations did, but I am willing to forgive, let go and start anew. That I don’t need to carry the burden of Somalia on me. I can let go of this invisible responsibility to save a country whose problems started long before I was born.

And truly, this is what the retreat was all about: forgiveness. As much as many people came in with expectations to change a lot, forgiveness is by far the best thing to start with and the most impact thing that will bring Somalis together. The willingness to forgive ourselves – an entire generation- of our grievances, allow ourselves to move and say that it will be okay.

And beautifully, this is how the retreat ended. We were asked to give two words: one to our past and one to our future, with, as Mark said, the acknowledgement that we are the pivot point between the two. Mine was to offer forgiveness to my ancestors and to offer limitlessness to my future.

What was made painfully aware to me is that Somalia is still a country a long way from resolving our collective trauma. I walked out of a session and ended up breaking down thinking: Will we ever get it together? Were we doomed to a downward spiral of decline? Maybe these were the reasons I’ve failed to engage with the Somali community – the process of healing was the first battle we had to face before any political, social or economic changes could be implemented.

A long road to real freedom, indeed.

But was it useful to even ask such questions? Did it matter? Should I go back to being the nomad I’ve always been- wandering without a thought and reverting to the only philosophy that has given me solace over the grievances I witness around me: be the best you can be,and walk your own path.

I’ve chosen to walk my own path for so long, but now my path was colliding with so many other paths and forcing me to reckon with them and face what a Somali elder once told me:

“If you want to go fast, go by yourself. If you want to go far, go with the people.”

Overall, the number one thing I learned about myself was that I’ve been playing small with myself, not dreaming big enough and not allowing myself to embrace the endless opportunities and wonders the world can bring to you. I come from a small town, whose only real significance is that it was were I was born but the journey towards understanding myself and expanding my own doesn’t need to end in one place. As Mark says, I will apologize to my ancestors and apologize to myself for thinking that playing small was ever an acceptable thing.

And as uncomfortable as it is, Somalis with their diverse needes and directions, will need to attempt to walk with one another.

There is no use fighting a million battles if it’s not to win the war.

To my fellow readers and Somalis, don’t limit yourself- the endless possibilities are always around you, opportunities are always there.There are so many tiers of reality that we can penetrate – high consciousness, higher levels of energy- pursue them with rigour.

At the end of the retreat, I spent a few days in London hanging out with someone of the most beautiful people I’ve met so far in my life – talented, creative and smart people with a collective hope to change the world for the better.

And for the first time in my life, I feel there is hope for us.

*Note: Thanks to Hassan Ghedi Santur and Mohamud Yussuf for these beautiful photos.

Where am I?

For all my beautiful readers, you’re probably wondering: where is she? I don’t showcase my life on Instagram or Facebook but would rather write, as people years ago would have written about their lives and reminisce with deep thought about their experiences through introspection that can only come with the slow pace writing and thinking out your thoughts. A week ago you could have caught me in East Harlem or in a beautiful Italian pizzeria in Soho in New York. No matter where my travels take me, they always leave me recharged and help me re-organize my priorities in life. For 2014, I’ve made a commitment to pursuit of a life as a nomadic, independent entrepreneurship – to essentially work and live from anywhere. Anyone who knows Somalis(and me) know that I am as nomadic as they come. I have an insatiable urge for seeing new things, meeting new people and creating things. One part of my trip that stood out to me was Times Square. Walking down Times Square was walking through the heart of capitalism and, in the most odd way possible, brought about some philosophical and existential questions about life.

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Times Square

A few things first:

There are no places to sit in Times Square. You are forced to consume until you quite literally feel like falling on the floor. It’s been so masterfully engineered to keep you moving, consuming, dazed by the distractions all around you. It’s capitalism in a nutshell and not a place I could ever go back to.

To use to the washroom, you need to buy something.  There are special codes at the bottom of receipts that you punch into washroom doors.

I think to myself: Is capital what runs our lives? Is there ever an end to consumption? Do you consume until one day, you consume yourself? Until there is nothing left by a hollowness inside of you.

The truth is, most of our lives have been wrapped around the idea of capital. The  idea of no longer living your life in pursue of money and the acquisition of it can scare any human living in our modern world.

What do you do after that?

But I didn’t go to ruminate over the socio-political aspects of our society. I did it to recharge, which is so important to entrepreneurs. All top performers(and those aspiring to do so) understand that taking breaks is a crucial part of productivity.

But back to travel, Amy from WhereverWriter said something about travel that puts into complete perspective why I love it so much and why it’s such an integral part of my life:

“Travel that puts you in uncomfortable places, makes you cross paths with incredible people, forces you to see the world through new eyes. I want to get out of my comfort zone; I want to learn from people around the world; I want to know their struggles, their joys, their worries, their hopes.”

It forces you to take a birdeye view of your life and ask yourself if you are doing things out of habit or if you are truly pushing yourself to the highest level.

In a nutshell, NEW YORK IS LIVE! I look forward to connecting with more entrepreneurs from that place.  

What am I working on

I started my online marketing business, FWD MVMNT, about 3 months ago and I am blessed to say that it has been successful Alhamdulilah and I am working with some incredible people/organizations.

One of those organizations is run by a friend/mentor of mine and his team, called UmmahHub. What went from a sales pitch on a project spunned off into a startup of it’s own and I am so grateful and proud to be working with Oak Computing and UmmahHub on this.

In a nutshell, UmmahHub is a community building platform for Muslim projects.

The Muslim Inc, is the #1 online community for Muslim entrepreneurs. The Muslim Inc is a  global online community dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship, innovation and business development for Muslims worldwide by providing the best of Islamic thinking combined with modern business practices. We provide relevant discussions and solutions to help emerging & established Muslim business leaders succeed while helping Muslim entrepreneurs and corporations understand how to better serve the largest growing consumer niche market- the $170 billion Muslim market.

We want to revive entrepreneurial culture and help strengthen Islamic economies worldwide.

What is so exciting about this start up is that it’s about focusing on economic and entrepreneurial development in the Muslim world, which is a dear topic to me.

Through out all my startups, the main theme is helping build proper infrastructure for social innovators and entrepreneurs. What I love is that I get to combine digital media, technology and solving social issues I am passionate about!

The Muslim world is essentially the newest, most lucrative frontier in marketing right now and is worth over a trillion dollars. At the Muslim Inc, we want to help others benefit and tap into that.

Talk soon!