“Don’t be afraid — It will be all so worth it” — Fear can paralyze the strongest of human beings. Don’t let that be you! I used to be hesitant before starting on this new path and for so long I have not realized that it was before I was afraid. Afraid to take the first step, a big leap of faith. Afraid of getting it wrong and fail. What we don’t understand is that life can come with failure and wrong steps. And that’s OK! Fear is part of the game and we need to come to the conclusion that we can be afraid but then we need to push no matter what. We need to accept being scared and still pursuing what we wish to do.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Muna Mohamed Yusuf.
Muna Mohamed Yusuf is a Mindset and Intuition Travel Coach and founder of “World Bound Travels™, a community for women travelers on a budget who wish to incorporate travels into their life to reach deep and meaningful transformations, despite personal or financial situations.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born and raised in Italy, after my parents moved there rom Somalia and I am the youngest of three daughters.
We are a close family and me and my sisters grew up together, despite having few years of difference. The relationship I have with my siblings is really a testimony to my mother and father, who managed to teach us early on the value of family.
My childhood pretty much resembles the one every kid of my generation had: a nice home, school, friends and afternoons spent rolling around, on the grass. A bit of a tomboy!
Active and strongheaded as I was, I equally passed my time reading.
I clearly remember going up to my mum one day and demanded that she would accompany me to the local library: I decided it was time for me to get the library card, so I could rent all the books I wanted.
Poor my mother! She was, and still, is a saint.
In light of what has happened this year, with the movement “Black Lives Matter”, I must say I had a rather peaceful upbringing. I did not experience the type of abuse and bulling other black kids in white communities have to at time endure and I am so grateful I had the chance to grow up in a safe environment.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Without a shadow of a doubt, “No Regrets”. I am not even sure that it could be considered a “Life Lesson Quote” but it is certainly how I live my life.
If there is one thing that I am scared of is having regrets, whether it is a missed opportunity or stopping myself from doing something I wanted to do.
I don’t want to feel guilty or to start blaming others for situation I am responsible of, so early on I made a promise that I would not act that way. I would never feel regretful for things I could have a say in, handle or manage.
From that moment onward, I tried my best to live by that simple promise, which turned out to be the best principle I could ever implement in my life: it allowed me to stay true to what I stood for, it helped me understanding how important it is to act and it pushed me out there, when I wanted to hide away the most.
It shaped my personality and it taught to embrace all that comes my way. I would be a very different person today and I would probably have not been able to pivot my life the way I did this year.
Starting something from stretch is scary and daunting and that little reminder of not having regrets was what I need for to go all in!
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I remember grabbing almost by chance from the local library’s shelves a simplified version of “Dubliners” by James Joyce when I was around 10 years and how I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after finishing reading it. At 10, I could not understand much of the characters stories but what got my attention is that every character, at some point, has an epiphany.
It is in fact the meaning of the word “epiphany” that resonated so much with me. The mere fact that suddenly something unexpected can happen and can change the way we see, experience and live things and we can come to the realization that can change our lives is what, to this day, makes me in a way optimistic. Problems can be overcome and resolution will happen. It change how I saw the world!
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
I probably have one of the most eclectic career background a person can have! When I moved to London from Italy, I threw myself in the job market. I first found a job in the hospitality industry and from being a team member, I was able to work my way up. Changing from a cafeteria, to a pub and in the end a store, I gained an extensive variety of skills that allowed me to manage teams, the running of a business and looking after front and back of house operations and paperwork.
In late 2019, I got my first 9–5 job as Sales Coordinator for an event company, when the pandemic happened. I coordinated all sales administration and I worked closely with the Finance and Operations teams. With the Event industry being one of the first sectors to go completely dark, I was made redundant and that’s when my journey as Travel Coach began!
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
My mindset! And as a result of that, I gained so much clarity and direction.
For years, I struggled with the desire of creating something of my own and but I could not see where I was going. I didn’t want to create and commit to a project that was not reflective of my true passion because I knew that if I did, it would have been difficult for me to succeed. I knew I wanted to do something I could put my heart, soul, sweat and tears in it and feel a joy in doing it but again, no idea what this “something” was.
Now looking back at this past year, and specifically to four months ago, I knew why I was in that position: I didn’t have the time to sit down for few moments and just think. I realized that I wasn’t fully in control of my life. All I did was catching up with life: commuting to and from work, working all day, meeting up with friends, the occasional brunch. The lifestyle I kept up wouldn’t allow me to focus, to reflect and to give myself time to figure things out.
So, when COVID-19 happened and the world stopped, I took advantage of an unexpected calmness to finally sit and have a chat with myself. Lockdown gave an opportunity to allow myself to slow down. It was okay to take a break! And so, I did. I grabbed a board, I made a list (which, let me tell, it was not an easy task) and after weeks I had a draft of a job description: the one of a Coach. Precisely, an online Coach. Once I had that, the rest came pretty quick. I knew I could only dedicate myself to a topic, my passion for Travel.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
The “Aha moment” arrived when I stumbled upon an Instagram profile of a Travel Coach, who is now my coach. Her name is Sahara Rose De Vore and she is the founder of the Travel Coach Network, a network for all wanderers and home of the first ICF Certification for future Travel Coaches. I don’t even remember how I ended up on her profile but I thank my lucky star everyday that I did! I had no idea nor knowledge of such profession or what it means being a travel coach. I just didn’t know it existed! In two days, I followed her social media profile, consumed all content available and I joined the Facebook group. I was mesmerized and truly baffled by the fact that people were actually having a career that aligned so much with something that they loved.
It ignited a spark and I knew I could never go back!
How are things going with this new initiative?
It is going great! At the moment I finishing my certification and I’m close to my final assessment. But the beauty of the program is that it is designed for you to go on your own pace. People can have the time to process information as they please and to start creating their own coaching approach, which is something that I was able to do. For now, I am laying down the foundation, finding my brand and voice and I am curating my Instagram profile in a way that allows me to spread my message, a vital step that will allow me to engage with people and to learn more about them. I am planning to fully launch next year and I must say, I’m so looking forward!!
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Am I predictable if I say my parents? My mother and father are the embodiment of hard work. They built a life of us daughter in a foreign country, learnt a different language and taught us to be hard workers and go-getters. Nothing falls on none laps and they encouraged us to go after what we want because, as the common saying says, what goes around comes around. First, you need to go! They shaped how I think, feel and act. They gave me good values and they now give me endless support.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
More than a story, it is something that’s been happening to me since I started this path: meeting and talking to people that I would never otherwise cross paths with. I met the most interesting business owners and genuinely nice people and it has been eye opening in a lot of ways. Through our chats, I learned new things and I understood how to approach situations. I follow their endeavors and I know I can always contact them if I have a small doubt or I am seeking some guidance. It makes you feel less alone and it helps managing the feeling of overwhelm. Also, it’s so good for brainstorming and bouncing off ideas! You never know what you can come up with next.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
“Don’t be afraid — It will be all so worth it”
Fear can paralyze the strongest of human beings. Don’t let that be you! I used to be hesitant before starting on this new path and for so long I have not realized that it was before I was afraid. Afraid to take the first step, a big leap of faith. Afraid of getting it wrong and fail. What we don’t understand is that life can come with failure and wrong steps. And that’s OK! Fear is part of the game and we need to come to the conclusion that we can be afraid but then we need to push no matter what. We need to accept being scared and still pursuing what we wish to do. It’s a monumental mindset shift but one necessary if we want to stop living in a cocoon and be the leaders of our lives!
“You are capable”
People wait until becoming some sort of experts or gurus before start speaking their minds but it doesn’t have to be that way. When they do so, they hold off to unrealistic moments, where they will possess all the knowledge in the world. Unfortunately that is just not possible, not to say counterproductive! They are willing set themselves up for procrastination and a lifetime of unhappiness. Degree and knowledge are important but one can do so much more with knowledge that they have already.
For me, it meant starting speaking to my family about my idea of travel coaching and asking them how I should go about it and if I thought I had that it took. It was eye-opening! I started carving out my own path by doing one simple task. By researching, by understanding what drove me to this business. Believe in what you can bring to the table. So that when you do get the knowledge you think you should have, it will happen so much faster.
”It will happen, just keep going”
It’s in our nature: we want everything and we want it immediately.
But, results take time. We need to learn how to be patient and consistent and small victories will come your way. That is exactly what happened to me a while ago. I could not see myself moving forward, it felt like I was just doing and not achieving. But then, a call was booked, a compliment was given and I was suddenly appreciated. We have to have patience!
“One step as the time”:
Overwhelm is a state of mind when starting and consolidating your own business. It can put people off, especially if you are doing it on your own. We don’t have the money to outsource yet and we have an never ending to do list, which can also be not entirely representative of the full weight of running a business. I feel like a lawyer, an accountant, a VA, a graphic designer and a marketing expert if I look at my to do list. If we take one task at the time, the list will clear itself. Little by little, you will have your empire rising!
“Ask for help!”
At the beginning, being a business owner for most cases means being your boss and only employee, trying to it all. One of the best thing I learned is that I can ask for help and people will help. Few weeks ago, I attended a week masterclass, where I learned all things legal and what is required for me to legally understand as a coach. What I have now is a clear and actionable legal plan that I can implement when I’m ready to launch. Reach out to experts in a particular field, don’t be afraid of asking a hand in something you don’t know. Sign up for masterclasses, coaching sessions or a 1:1 with a mentor. There are so many people out there, willing to help!
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
Meditation and yoga have been life saviors! I had a clean and healthy lifestyle, accompanied by weight training, before the lock down and the adjustment had not been easy when the gyms closed down. When the quality of training decreased for obvious reason, I discovered the power of mindfulness and gratitude. It did wonders to my well being and this has actually inspired to start my coaching approach from improving our mindsets. Going outdoors and walking around during the summer time whilst observing to the goverments guidelines has helped me significantly, as much as finding a new meaning behind the simple things. Physical health and mental health are strictly connected, so I encourage everyone to find their own way to move their bodies, as welll as practise mindfulness and meditation!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would certainly find a way to inspire people to grab a backpack, get on a bus/car/any ride towards the next destination and enjoy their travel experience, any time they want, no regrets, no excuses. Wellness tourism is something very close to me and it is a specific way of traveling. When you travel with purpose and you have in mind your personal well being, physical and health, your travel experience acquires a different meaning and can help you improve the quality of your life, manage your stress levels and establish a balanced nutrition.
After lockdown, we will need travel experiences like these more than ever.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Oh, I would love to have lunch with Michelle Obama! She is an inspiration for black women of any age and what would I give to pick her brain and have an honest and truthful conversation. But what I mostly love about her is that no matters how tough situations can be, she knows how to laugh and have fun. Such a rare thing for the world of today!
How can our readers follow you online?
For now, you can follow me on instagram, @agalfromthemoon, where you can shoot me a direct message at any time! Alternately, emails are more than welcome at [email protected]
Hopefully, I will speak to you all soon!
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!