This article was originally published on productivemuslim.com
[Muslimah Entrepreneurship Series] Pillar 1 – The Ultimate Guide to a Productive Mindset
Are you a Muslimah with big dreams?
The Mothers of the Believers were strong women, who achieved perfect iman and utilized their skills to the best of their abilities. Contrary to the common misconception, women can make successful businesswomen, while maintaining their other roles as a wife, mother and sister in the community. Khadija bint Khuwaylid was such a woman – a wealthy and successful merchant who traded goods across Arabia, becoming the most loyal support system to the Prophet Muhammad . What was her secret? Well the secret lies in pursuing your passion while finding a perfect balance in your business and personal life.
In this series, I will discuss three “pillars” that I believe are essential for a Muslimah to become a productive entrepreneur in the 21st century. Each month, I will focus on a new “pillar” to ensure success for your business and ongoing personal development.
For women who are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur or are already running a business or project, this will serve as a timely reminder to help you achieve prosperity in your affairs, In sha Allah.
Pillar 1 – A Productive Mindset
This month, we will begin with “a productive mindset”. The first pillar to becoming a productive Muslimah entrepreneur is to have a positive mindset. After studying many successful leaders in the world, I have found one thing in common with them all – a positive, spiritual and productive mindset. It all begins in the mind!
A mindset refers to our predominant state of mind day to day. As women, we are naturally emotional beings and it is quite normal to become dominated by things happening around us. But if we make a conscious choice to let go of external distractions, we can stop them from misleading us from our true purpose, and guarantee our success.
As a Muslimah entrepreneur myself, I believe it is my mindset that has played a key role in all of the tough decisions I have made in my life. It has helped me repel negativity, improve my belief system and has motivated me when I felt lazy. Without having this initial mindset, your endeavour won’t be enjoyable and could lead to stress and disappointment.
Here are 8 strategies to ensure you have a mindset tailored for success!
Mindset Strategy #1: Have a vision
As a Muslimah first, our entrepreneurial visions should be aligned with seeking pleasure of Allah as an ultimate goal. Some examples of may be to start a social enterprise linked with a non-profit initiative in the name of Allah or on behalf of a loved one; to earn more money and be a supporting hand for the family; or to seek knowledge and help other sisters seek knowledge.
Mindset Strategy #2: Align your driving force in the right direction
Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we all have some kind of driving force in our lives – the energy that drives our intentions and actions. Knowing our driving force and aligning it with our life goals can lead us towards fulfilling and meaningful success.
Being the eldest of 5 sisters, I was ambitious since childhood. I had the burning desire to become a proud daughter of my parents and achieve excellence in academics and in my career. Serving my parents in the best means, to gain Allah’s pleasure, has always been a driving force in my life. To me, being the source of bliss to my parents is something that ignites me to strive for more in life.
Alhamdulilah, I fulfilled many of my parents dreams but there are still some ambitions I have not achieved yet. Now this has become my driving force in my life. Whenever I feel lazy or de-motivated, I remind myself of what drives me and this has pushed me to achieve my long-term visions.
Mindset Strategy #3: Be mindful of your intentions
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab , who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah , say:
“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended” [Bukhari and Muslim].
Since our actions are the product of our intentions, we consistently try and purify our intentions, as this determines whether our actions will be rewarded or not. Our actions will be blessed if our intentions are solely for the purpose of pleasing Allah . In all of the examples above, the visions are centered around pleasing Allah . No endeavour should be for any other purpose.
Mindset Strategy #4: Aim high but don’t let the dunya become your goal
Aiming high is essential for success, although we need to balance this with being grounded and not letting material things become our goal. Additionally, aiming high can lead to stress and disappointment when things do not happen as we expect. We need to couple aiming high with putting our complete trust in Allah and accepting that He is the Best of Planners. We must do everything we can, then leave the rest to Him.
So keep the dunya in your hand, don’t let it rule over you as Allah says in Qur’an:
“Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion” [Qur'an: Chapter 57: Verse 20].
Mindset Strategy #5: Value growth more than money
Measuring ones success in terms of the amount of money per month or year is usually what we use to measure success. However, if you are making good sum of money it does not necessarily mean that your business is growing. A stagnant business feeling may cause procrastination and demotivation.
To make sure you are continually doing something to make your business move forward, set some growth goals for what you see your vision to have become in 3, 5 and even 10 years. Long term goals will ensure that you never settle with where your business is, and will consistently try to develop it, one small step at a time. As sisters, we may become sidetracked with the other roles in our lives, but having these long term goals will give you the motivation you need to push yourself, even if your business grows slowly. Slowly but surely!
Mindset Strategy #6: Increase positivity and block sources of negativity
Women are more emotional and is very easy to fall into circumstances where we allow negative emotions to prevail in our lives. Blocking negativity is the key to secure your precious time and emotional well-being.
Here are ways to continuously invite positivity in your business and all aspects of your life:
1) Practice dhikr and meditation
Making conscious remembrance of Allah and performing meditation can help you be more content and peaceful. It is not about just offering prayers but really connecting wholeheartedly with Allah throughout the whole the day, and even during menial tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
Allah mentions of His servants in Qur’an as “Those who remember their Lord standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides” [Qur'an: Chapter 3: Verse 191].
Photo by Allan Ajifo: flickr[dot]com/photos/125992663@N02/