Nadeen Alaouie: #roadtorevolution
THIS WEEK'S TRAILBLAZER IS GIRL BOSS AND CREATOR OF WEMPOWERMI, NADEEN ALAOUIE
READ ON TO LEARN ABOUT
NADEEN'S PERSONAL JOURNEY:
1. WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY, AND WHEN DID YOU DECIDE ON YOUR DESTINATION?
When I was in high school, I spiraled into a severe identity crisis and consistently sought others' acceptance and validation for a chance of worthiness. At the time, I couldn't grasp the intersectionality of who I was as a teenage girl, a woman, a Muslim, an Arab, a Dearborner, an East-Sider, an American, a child of divorced parents, the "perfect" child in the family, and so many other identities I carried. Towards the end of high school, I ended up getting caught up in the mess of a real "reputation-killer" because I put someone else's poerception of me ahead of my own. This put me in a pretty deep emotional hole, until i had a bittersweet moment when I decided enough was enough and that it was my time to put my own self ahead of anybody else's version of me.
I needed to focus my energy on really figuring out who I was because graduation was coming soon, and the last thing I wanted was to be hung up on any high school drama as I entered my first year of college. I began to challenge my beliefs about myself in ways that the average teenager doesn't do and it was absolutely revolutionary. The process allowed me to redefine how a young, misguided girl like myself could set herself up for a future the average teen could only wish to have: a future of having a peace of mind knowing you've lived your life for nobody but yourself. And though I never really knew where I was headed after high school, I figured if I just followed my heart and the signs from God, I could continue to prioritize myself in the decisions I made, eventually ending up exactly where I needed to be.
By revolutionizing the way I thought about my own development and success, I was guided to find a balance between selfishness and selflessness. This allowed me to prioritize myself while still showing up for the social & societal issues I cared about in my community and around the world. I ended up going to school for social work and have extended my journey by offering my skills, knowledge, love, expertise, and care to help others discover who they are in this present moment and why & how they are valuable to our world today. The way life has taken me, I've dedicated the last four years to supporting young people, primarily in Detroit, in redefining their own beliefs about their self-worth and ability to create impact in their lives and their communities. I'm ready for this next big wave, where I hope to focus my efforts in revolutionizing the way young girls and women define who and what they can be in today's world. be sure to follow @wempower to stay tuned for the greatness to come.
2. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME HIGHLIGHTS ON YOUR #ROADTOREVOLUTION?
- Needing validation from nothing other than my heart, my mind, my soul, and God
- The rights to gloat about doing something with my life that wasn't medical school, law school or pharmacy school, all paths others wanted me to take
- Solidified a pretty rockstar group of queens in my life!
- Graduating with my Master's in Social Work from The University of Michigan, a top program in the country (high school Nadeen would have never thought she was worthy of such an accolade)
- Nailing a nonprofit job after grad school that didn't pay me less than the massive balance of my student loans: a serious goal that people thought I was crazy for believing in
- Setting high standards for my relationships and marrying the perfect man for me
- Launching WEmpower, a women's empowerment business that promotes personal development within a community of other bright and powerful women
- Adopting a well-balanced life of dreaming and achieving anything I want
- Meeting hundreds of young people who have validated me as a teacher and reaffirmed my role as a life-long student
3. WHAT ROADBLOCKS HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED, AND WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THEM?
With clear priorities to continue on my journey of personal growth and contribute to my greater purpose, I found that, at times, I was losing sight of the present. I'd be so caught up with what needed to get done that i would forget that part of the process was enjoying the present moment. During my college years, I often felt alone in a crowded room and I really struggled to connect with people on an authentic level; I felt like I just didn't have the time to. I missed out on some really awesome friendships, mentorships, and support networks by not being present.
I knew my old ways were not how I wanted to enter actual adulthood (you know, meaning after college), and so I had to intentionally create a mindset shift around what it meant to connect with others. I now continuously challenge myself to start conversations with others, reach out to people I want to connect with, and share my voice as often as possible to create the opportunity for people to connect with me as well.
4. WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU RECOMMEND TO THE REST OF THE #ROADTO_ COMMUNITY AS THEY TRAVERSE THEIR OWN PATHS?
I'd be a phony if I told you I'm well-connected to a community of physical resources that can move you into your own personal light; that has never been the approach I've taken for personal growth. I'm much more of an experiential learner and seek real-life situations that will challenge me in more ways than one. I'd really challenge you all to identify what areas of yourself scare you the most and face them head on. I have learned to just always dive head first into a pool of sharks because luckily, every time I have only found really nice, non-human eating sharks that support my vulnerability to grow (go with the metaphor, people!). Put yourself out there, you'd be surprised how willing people are to support you.
I know my answer to this question isn't super credible or really even respected in the professional world and I recognize this gap in my toolbox. So, I've set myself a 2018 goal to read two books a month (this is huge for someone like me who spends her spare time watching videos on the weird side of YouTube). Since it's only the beginning of January, I'm only a quarter of the way through my first book: "You are a Badass" by Jen Sincero and have "Grace not Perfection" by Emily Ley waiting for me! So far, Sincero's book is enlightening, but I'm hoping for more tangible take aways that I don't already know.
If you have any self-help theory books, or just some really enlightening literature that you think would change my life, connect with me on social media and let me know!