Zohra Sarwari is a wife, a mother, a business woman, a motivational speaker and the author of 7 books including the forthcoming, How to Raise A Successful Kidpreneuer…whew! Besides all of these accomplishments Zohra is also a Muslim woman living in America changing your ideas about life and Islam one idea at a time.
FG: How did you get your start?
Zohra:I decided to have career changes November 2006. I had done much counseling and loved helping people, so I thought coaching would be great for me, and I wanted to write books. After we moved to Indiana from California, I also decided that I wanted to home school my 3 kids, write, coach and speak. It was a career that I wanted to fit in my life around my family, not the other way around.
FG: What was your biggest challenge in starting your own business?
Zohra: The biggest challenge was having enough funding for when I started. We all know it takes money to make money. So I would save every penny that I could and invest it in my business. The next challenge was to find the right team, and All Praise is to God for helping me with that as well.
FG: How do you balance being a wife, mother and business woman?
Zohra: Time Management would be my answer to that. Once we have developed a system to manage our time, instead of our time managing us, then we can be so much more productive. This is truly how I balance it all. Of course my days are not perfect, but I get a lot more done having managed my time.
FG: What is a spiritual mantra or philosophy that you live by?
Zohra:I live by the Muslim faith which always tells us to say “InshAllaah”. If something is meant to be it will happen only by the will of God, and if something doesn’t happen it is also by the will of God. So never take heed in the outcome. Do your best, and let the Creator take care of the rest. The 2nd philosophy that I live by is that we are taught that no matter what happens, good things, or bad, always say “Alhamdullilah”, which means all praise is to God. If a good thing happens to us it is by the will of God, and we should be thankful, and if a test is given to us, a calamity befalls on us, it is also by the will of God, and we need to be patient for that is a test from the Creator. So in either situation we say, “All Praise is to God”.
FG: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Zohra: “That successful people do what unsuccessful people will not do.” That to have success we must sacrifice for it, work hard, and enrich lives.
FG: What would you tell your younger-self if you knew then what you know now?
Zohra: I would tell my younger self, that I should look for great mentors, and not be afraid of the unknown, or to change for the better.
FG: What are some common misconceptions people have about Muslim women in business?
Zohra: Some misconceptions that I face is that as a Muslim Woman is that I am not allowed to work, or that I am oppressed, because I choose to dress as a Muslim Woman, which is not true at all. I have to always clarify that what they see on TV is not the correct image of Islam, unfortunately the media looks for the worst side of a community, and then picks that up and prints it, and discusses it. The world watching is thinking that this is a good source of information and believes what they see and hear. My comeback response to the misconceptions is that every group has been in the media at one time of their lives, and they had to fight for justice and equality. The Native Indians went through it, The Black Americans have gone through it, Women have gone through this, The Japanese went through this after Pearl Harbor, and now it is the Muslims turn…Unless we change from being ignorant, we will continue on this pattern of ignorance, and the only ones we hurt are truly ourselves.
FG: How have other Muslim women and your family reacted to your career choice?
Zohra: They respect it. They wish they too could work from home. They look up to me to help them and surcharge them to achieve their destiny. My family is very supportive and also respects my decision.
Finish this sentence….
Women should stop complaining about______ and start doing _____________
Zohra: Women should stop complaining about their past and start doing something to achieve their future.