A sure way to find success is to follow your passions.
Shaista Kaba Fatehali is doing just that! She has worked the last 14 years as a teacher and loved every moment of it. While giving everything she had to the incredible children and families in her classrooms she wished there was more time to focus on things other than academics. She saw a need to help children with self esteem, confidence, standing up to peer pressure and more. Shaista created Thrive Kids and started helping children with the life skills they will need as they grow.

Today Shaista has taken the time to share her story and the things she has learned while building a successful business. You can find out more about Thrive Kids on their website, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Tell us about yourself.

I am first and foremost a mother to a beautiful little girl. She is my light, my love, my heart and I love her more than anything! I am also a wife, sister, daughter, auntie, and a loyal friend to others. I have 2 bachelor degrees in psychology and education as well as a Masters in Education. I’m also in my third year pursuing a PhD in Early Childhood Education.

Currently, I teach kindergarten and have been teaching for the past 14 years. I LOVE my job! The love from the kids and the connections I make with the families I work with, fills my heart with so much joy and warmth. I also have a book coming out soon based on Muslim Values and Humanity. It will be coming out in the next couple of months!

Over the last year, I founded my company Thrive Kids where I teach children and families skills that we don’t really get to teach at school. These skills help children feel a sense of self worth, manage anxiety and find a sense of calm within their busy lives.

How did you get into your business?

As a teacher, I love connecting with families and working with children. However, being in the public system, there are specific guidelines we are expected to follow. There is nothing wrong with this; it just is the way it is. With teaching literacy, numeracy, etc., there is not much time left in the day to have our kids practice skills that help them feel a sense of accomplishment with who they are.

Many times, children feel as though they are not up to the standard society puts on them. This then contributes to the ever-increasing rise in mental health for even the youngest of our kids. This is the reason I created Thrive Kids! It is a place where kids and families come to connect, feel a sense of self worth and thrive!

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge has been sharing my vision with others. We (as a society) are quite comfortable getting our kids proficient with academic goals such as reading and writing, but many are not yet seeing the benefit of equipping our kids with skills such as mindfulness, being in control of their own mind, body positivity, empowerment and confidence. It has been a struggle sharing the work that I do and how it actually benefits our kids and thereby, our future.

What do you wish you’d known when you started?

The power of networking. I am generally not the kind of person who shares personal information. Many would probably call me introverted. However, I now know that in order for people to believe in your product or service, they need to believe in you. So don’t be afraid to network and socialize- just remembers to be you!

If you could narrow your success down to one thing, what would it be?

I LOVE this question! I can easily narrow my success down to one thing- in fact to one word- PURPOSE. With all the services I provide, the products I create, I ensure that there is a genuine purpose for it. I can clearly articulate this purpose and that what drives me.

Where do you see yourself in a year?

In a year, I hope to see Thrive Kids grow in terms of capacity with workshops, 1:1 clients and school groups. I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to speak! This is something that I have struggled with in the past but I know I am really good at it and enjoy it. I have spoken at some conferences and workshops this year and hope to be called to do much more.

What are your top three tips for women starting a business?

• Listen to what others have to say. This includes family, friends, and even yourself. Collective responses from peers can help you determine how customers or clients will react.
• Be a SOLUTION. Too often, when we want to start an idea, we think about what to sell. Instead, think about what it will solve. Your startup should fill a hole in a certain market or niche. For example, we see a lot of work around getting kids to become better readers, get higher grades in math etc., However, there are not many people (at least where I live) where we have people focused on having our children gain skills that will help them become more confident in this ever growing world.
• Keep earning while building your brand. You might feel like you want to quit your day job and focus only on your start-up. If you plan to do this, be sure you have enough stable income coming your way. Transition is a process and you will eventually make your way from employee to entrepreneur.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I normally wake up around 4:30 to practice meditation and then rest for a bit before I lace up for my run. I run International Marathons and World Majors. With my busy schedule, the only time I have to train is in the mornings. After training, I get ready for work and head off to teach my little angels. I make sure to set my intention for the day as I feel like this sets me up for success and purpose.

After work, I either do my 1:1 session or run workshops. When I get home, I do all the mommy stuff like reading to my little girl, giving her a bath, schoolwork, feeding her dinner, making her lunch and putting her to bed. I have an awesome husband who helps with all this too! I then work on my PhD work and plan my next sessions for Thrive Kids or Thrive Girls and usually get to bed around 11:00.

What is your business motto or quote you live by?

My motto is actually a quote by Fred Rogers. I just ADORE him! He says, “Life is for service.” I use this quote to guide my decisions I make in my business.

If you were starting your business over again, what would you do differently?

If I was starting my business again, I would definitely make sure that I used my voice to articulate what I am worth. It is difficult to ignore the naysayers and focus on your true purpose and meaning. It is even more difficult to stand up to these naysayers and SPEAK your true purpose. If I could go back, I would tell myself to believe, seek strength from those that support you and to focus your energy on the positive!

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