Let me give you a snapshot of what brought me here, and why I’m so jazzed about supporting your goal of making it BIG as the CEO of your own business.
My name is Aliya, pronounced uh-lee-uh, like the late R&B 90’s singer-turned-actress (rest her soul). And to be real, I NEVER thought of myself as entrepreneurial. At age 4 when my mom told me that the sky’s the limit for what I wanted to do with my life, I responded I wanted to be a “telephone operator named Polly!” when I grow up.
Welp...not exactly a “reach for the stars,” ambition.* But as I entered my 20’s, I didn’t seem to outgrow the idea of being some version of “Polly:” taking on positions that had me playing a smaller game than I knew I was capable of.
From trying my hand in the real estate field, to hostessing at various restaurants, I decidedly accepted career opportunities I was nowhere near passionate about. I’d figured; since these opportunities somehow crossed my path, why not try em out? So what that I liked creative writing and helping people. Open houses! Serving margaritas! That had to be my focus because it was way more important to have a job than have the right job. Right?
Turned out to be far from right in my book. And it took a huge slap of reality for me to realize it.
In 2007 my younger and only sister passed away, suddenly. No warning, no time to process. Her name was Elana. She was good at playing drums, and she loved being around kids. She was 18. She was my best friend.
My sister’s death changed me from the inside out and rocked the foundation of everything I thought I understood about world. Unfathomable doesn’t cover it.
Not to get all melodrama up in here, but what I learned and what propelled me so quickly from childhood into adulthood was grasping one fact: life isn’t infinite, and time isn’t forever. More often than not, I think you only begin to understand this at age 55/60. But I had this fact now. I got it. I felt it.
Elana’s life was cut way too short, and nothing could change that. Life is precious. And time is now.
So what was I going to do with my new understanding of the true meaning of that phrase?
For starters I took a long hard look in my full-length and slapped myself across the face. Ok, not physically. But mentally…and with vigor. Why was I stagnant? Why was I choosing jobs I was far less than passionate about? Why was I letting things happen instead of making them happen? Why was my dreaming/doing equation out of wack? Why?
Alright, I didn’t fly off the handle. But I did reevaluate a few things.
I recognized that I’d been settling. I had traded in my talents to play a smaller game in jobs I was completely disconnected from and dispassionate about because I felt it was the “safe” choice. I became accustomed to accepting jobs I disliked. I became comfortable telling myself that I’d do something great later. When I realized I’d been selling myself short, I knew I had to quit cold turkey.
I reacquainted myself with that strong part of me that I had quieted: forced to stop reaching higher because I was fearful I’d fall on my face. I stopped playing whatever hand I was dealt, and start dealing my own hand instead. Like a gosh darn Poker dealer. Tolerable jobs? Good-enough relationships? I was done with all that. Not to get all Carrie Bradshaw, but I wasn’t about to settle for anything less than butterflies.
My first action step toward embracing my higher wisdom, you ask? Well, I took a long hard look in my bathroom mirror and repeated three words to myself: I’m. F***ing. Awesome.
PS: Yes, I actually did that, and I suggest you do too, and with conviction please.
PPS: It’s not arrogant if you’re being told to do so by an outside party =)
Because the truth is…you are. But how often to you say it to your own face, hear it, and truly believe it?
I once heard a podcast that said each person is given gifts and talents that are unique; and it’s actually not up to you to choose not to employ them. In other words, you were given these exceptional abilities because you’re meant to do something with them. Something great. Denying they exist simply isn’t your choice.
That thought rang true for me when it came to finally having the courage say no to jobs that didn’t tickle me pink. I stood up for the talents I knew I possessed, and decidedly pursued the things that made me happy.
That's when things started to click into place...
I went to graduate school and got my MA in Writing from DePaul University. I interviewed restaurant, museum and jewelry storeowners, actors, musicians, and DJ’s and wrote articles profiling them for a Chicago-based lifestyle and leisure magazine. I moved to New York, took improv classes and dance classes and performed for live audiences. I enrolled in graduate social work school at NYU and am now a Licensed Master of Social Work. I worked in a food pantry where I helped with women who struggled with low-income, then worked in a hospital with people who’d suffered traumatic brain injuries. I helped them and they helped me. And this path of following what I desired eventually led me to my greatest love of all: coaching.
MY entire world changed when I put my true self out there and said yes to the thing I love.
That’s why I’m obsessed with helping women like you say bon voyage to fear, sayonara to excuses, and (insert select goodbye in a foreign language here) to ALL that has been telling you you can’t handle it, you’re not good enough, or that that sort of happiness is meant for other people. I truly live for helping you find and attain all that you’re passionate about, because you deserve to be living loudly, boldly, and with excitement!
That’s what it’s all about. So if you want to put your right hand in, your left hand in, and dog gone it your whole damn bod in, I’d love you to shake it all about and on over to our tribe of determined and talented female entrepreneurs! Cause we fricking ROCK!!!!
*If you are a telephone operator named Polly, I’m sure you’re a very special person with a lot to give