What do you do for Full-time work?
Associate director for multicultural education at Quinnipiac University. So I work with our cultural student organizations, our mentoring program, and also help to coordinate and facilitate Equity and Inclusion training for faculty, staff and students.
What is your passion project and how long has it been in existence?
Yeah. So let's see in about, I would say, in 2013, when I moved to Connecticut from Massachusetts, I started making skincare products as a hobby. It was a transitional period in my life, so I was looking for something to just keep me occupied after I went home. And eventually, it turned into something that my friends and family were really excited about. And they were the ones who encouraged me to sell it. So it took me it took me some time to sort of move forward with it as a business. But in 2016, I decided to take that leap. And I would start vending at local shows and events that were related to skincare. So the name of the business is Pascal's body care. And we offer organic and high quality products, with centering wellness and self care, with an emphasis on focusing on black women. And when I started the the hobby, I didn't really have an overarching purpose. But as I moved forward, and being a social justice educator, I knew that there were some pretty alarming disparities within the space of wellness, specifically skincare, as it pertained to black women. So I sort of wanted to create something that disrupted that and provided something that was affordable and high quality.
Yeah. So there was a lot of ebbs and flows in my journey. And part of the origin was me not being an entrepreneur, like I know that entrepreneurship was never something I envisioned myself doing. So when I started, I found that I had to work backwards. So maybe even a year into the business figuring out like, Okay, I need a business plan, you know, and, you know, I need to incorporate this business and owe taxes and all of these things that I wasn't paying attention to, because I was very much so still approaching it as a hobby. But that that has long since changed.
Is there a point where you hesitated to start it? What got you over that hump?
I think that's a great question. So I did hesitate for a number of reasons to start it. I wasn't sure if I would have the time, you know, I work in higher education. And my job is never just nine to five, it's nine to five plus evenings and weekends. Of course, this was pre COVID. So I wasn't sure if I would have the time, if I even really wanted to. And I think the larger piece that I was not being honest about myself at the time with is that I didn't really know or trust that people would receive it, or receive me Well, for me to put myself out there. So imposter syndrome is something that I definitely struggled with. It's something that I even struggle with now. And over the last few months, I've been just sort of sitting intentionally with the ways in which that shows up for me in the entrepreneurship space and how I you know, how that sort of stopped me from moving forward with certain, you know, ideas, new products, and even from the way that I'm market has been really tamed. Because of you know, how I've been struggling with imposter syndrome?
Yeah, I'm really leaning on my community to help, you know, check me because, you know, the the sneaky thing about imposter syndrome is that it doesn't just go away, you know, if you get to a certain status or age or what have you. So I've really had to lean on my community, the people that are really close to me, to sort of help me navigate that. Therapy also helps because imposter syndrome, it doesn't, you know, hasn't just shown up in, in my entrepreneurship journey, but in other areas of my life. So it's been really helpful to peel back the layers and to sort of confront it head on. So that's something that's been really helpful and building an internal mechanism where I can realize you know, what's happening here what, you know, what's stopping me from moving forward, Is it fear and does that fear you know, supersede the love that I have? For what I do, and it doesn't, so that's been something that's been really helpful to work through. I've also been reading daring greatly by Bernie Brown. And in it she talks about the power of vulnerability and wholehearted living. So those are things that I'm trying to incorporate into my practice as I try to lead a more courageous life. We love briny. Yes, absolutely
One of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to starting passion projects is finding time in their already busy lives to do it. How did you find or make time for your project?
So I launched it at a time where, you know, professionally, I had a lot of flexibility to be able to, to do that. And I also wasn't apparent at the time. And I think that if I had started this, this project, this business, you know, when I was a parent, when I became a parent, it might have looked a lot different. So I started again, really moving forward with it as a business in 2016, I found out I was pregnant march of 2017, and took a year off from the business. So I put everything on hold, just to be with my body and be with motherhood. And a year later, I jumped back in and through joining and program for early stage entrepreneurs in New Haven called collab. And that was really a transformative experience. So I think through that experience, it helped me realize that I want to make time for it. So I needed to figure out you know, how to be creative with my time. And what I learned is that, you know, I there wasn't one schedule that was gonna work for me at the time I had an infant and trying to do all of these things. And I was in a transitional period in my relationship, and I'm no longer in a relationship. So you know, co parenting and entrepreneurship and, and being a mompreneur looks different. And it always looks different, you know, sometimes month to month from week to week. But I think what's helpful is, you know, for planning and realizing that it doesn't always have to look the same, you know, every week, but if I'm making time for it, maybe after my daughter's asleep, or on the weekend, where I don't have her that I can make time for it. One of the things that I'll also mention too, is you know, with the chaos of the pandemic, you know, and as much trauma and chaos as it's been, it's also provided me with some of that time back because not being in the office, the way that I was before. COVID has shifted things for me significantly. One of the things I actually didn't mention is that I'm also a doula. So I'm still seeing clients on well, virtual clients. So you know, it's been really interesting navigating, okay, I have three clients, and I'm doing the skincare and I have my work and I'm a mother through, you know, with all of this. But these are things that I'm extremely passionate about. And I'm also mindful of my own care. So I try to be mindful of not over overextending myself and it's been working out pretty well.
Another big challenge faced is fatigue. You work 9-to-5, it takes up 95% of your energy. And we are not even talking about family and their needs yet. What can you share with the listeners about getting energy after all the demands of life?
boundaries, I think boundaries have been really helpful, because in that, you know, it's impacted the way that I show up in my nine to five, right. So before when I was, you know, volunteering to do things that I wasn't actually asked to do. I don't actually do that anymore. And there are other folks that can that can do the work. So figuring out what my priorities are, you know, in the workspace at hand, and balancing all of these things. So boundaries have been really helpful. And not just boundaries with others boundaries with myself. Excuse me. And I think that I practice boundaries with myself by not not getting into the practice or interrupting like negative self talk, shaming that I might do, like, Oh, Sade had this time, you could have done this, you should have done this. But I know that that's not coming from a productive space. So I've really let go of the guilt of also doing nothing. And in the nothingness, I recharge. So it's nice to have moments, you know, where I choose not to do anything and let that be okay. And when I'm, you know, ready and energized, then I can really, you know, approach the work, because that's where I do my best work. That's where I'm the most creative, the most inspired, is when I'm focused, and when I'm taking care of myself. And it's also not a moment, it's, it's in the daily practice. So making sure that I'm making my smoothies or making sure that I'm eating well. And these are things that need constant checking in so that I don't get to a point where I feel like I'm crashing.
So I have a follow up question is for a friend of mine, it's not for me. It's not as for friends, not for me. So I've got a friend, right? Who has trouble with doing nothing? Feels like nothing, man. There's something else that should be done. How do you talk to me about that? Let's dive in a little bit more about about, about how you how you either a got to this point, with this place? And I'm sure it's it's a fluid practice. But talk to me more about that. And what's the nitty gritty of being okay with nothing? And I actually I put nothing in air quotes, right? Because it's, it's, it's providing something like that?
*Absolutely. I think that there are, there's a lot to unpack with doing nothing, especially when we're talking about folks of color, specifically black folks. And I think that for a lot of people, their worthiness is tied into what they produce, right. So if they're not producing anything, if they're not doing anything, then I think that folks are forced to grapple with Well, I'm not doing anything worthwhile, and it doesn't really focus on self and the nature of capitalism doesn't allow people to focus on self, because we need to keep doing keep doing and I think that's part of sort of like the problematic and really toxic pieces of grind culture, you know, just grind to new can't anymore, you know, work yourself into the ground. And for me, my ancestors in that, you know, spite and struggle to get here for me to work myself into the ground, it was not only for me to survive, but to thrive. And in order to thrive, I need to invest in myself. So, part of that is coming up against, okay, what does capitalism require of me? And how do I combat that in my individual practice? How do I show up in my truth in my individual practice? So I'm constantly creating space for myself, and then also peeling back the layers around why, you know, I may have viewed my worthiness connected to what I produce, you know, what are some of the things that I've been conditioned to believe about myself and my worthiness? What are some things that I need to unlearn and relearn? So it's, it's, I think, a long commitment. It's a commitment that someone has to make to themselves. And it's also a commitment to understanding systems and how systems are not necessarily for people, as they as they're structured right now. So I think that there's a lot of unpacking to do and a lot of things that are connected to it that you may not realize in the moment, but it is always connected to a larger picture. And we can either perpetuate these systems or disrupt them.
I have heard about passion projects providing renewed confidence and new skills when it comes to people’s day jobs. How has your passion project impacted the way you show up at your day job?
It's made me more creative at work, and more willing to put ideas on the table. And not to say that I didn't have the flexibility at work to do that, because that's always really been there. And I don't think that's the case for many people. So what I would say about my nine to five is that there's not a whole lot of red tape. So if I put something on the table, you know, I have the flexibility to be able to run with it. So with that, it's allowed me to explore different areas of my role, which has been exciting, because I've been in, you know, working at Quinnipiac for seven going on eight years. And this last year, I've been more intentional. And you know, the folks that I work with, my supervisors have been really supportive, and allowing me to, you really integrate the wellness aspect of what I do outside of my nine to five into my nine to five, because it absolutely is relevant, especially when we're talking about changing and development and having conversations around health disparities. So that's something that I've been able to do, which has been really exciting for me.
There is someone out there listening to this recording who has something they are passionate about but they are on-the-fence when it comes to starting. What bit of guidance would you provide to them?
I think that the first thing that came to mind, when you ask that question is, you know, sitting in finding time to figure out their why I think that in sitting with the why of, well, why are you hesitating, but moreso the why of the passion project. Because, for me, I feel like when I sit with my why it gives me space to realize that my why my purpose is more important than my fear. And it's not to say that moving forward with a passion project is about the absence of fear, but it's about willing to let fear accompany you. And even you know, with the discomfort or, you know, the anxiety around starting something new deciding and being intentional about moving forward. So, yeah, figure out that why isn't it important enough for you to move forward with that? If so, what's the work that you have to do internally to be able to show up authentically?
Lastly, are there any particular books that you have found helpful along the passion project journey? Please share 1 to 3 of them if any come to mind.
Yeah, so I would definitely say, you know, I know I mentioned this book, you know, earlier, daring greatly by Bernie Brown, has been so impactful. And so really life changing, because it's really, you know, allowed me to sit with some things that I didn't know I needed to sit with. And it was such a timely read, because it's applicable. You know, as I'm reading it, it's I can apply it to all areas of my life. So I will definitely say, daring greatly by Bernie Brown. Also, still, like an artist is a book that I've enjoyed a friend recommended it to me, and it's a short, quick read by Austin kleon. I hope I'm pronouncing their names properly. Yes. But those are two books that i would i would highly recommend.
Where can the people learn more about your passion project and the dope work you are putting out into the world.
Links to items and people mentioned in this episode