Asha Adnan is a kitchen scientist, arts & crafts extraordinaire and an aspiring gardener. A former preschool teacher, Asha used her talent and experience to launch Asha & Co., a platform where she conducts soul sessions with other like-minded individuals. With each culinary, artistic, and other creativity-infused soul session, Asha is on a quest to inspire and encourage growth, not just within herself but to whomever crosses her path. We had a little chat with this sweet, K-pop-loving Zahara Warrior on her dreams, passions and life!
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m actually quite an introvert and prefer being in my own space! I am someone who truly values silence. I think silence allows us space to create ourselves, to be in touch with our needs and to realize our intentions and purpose in our everyday life. In other words, I am definitely not the person to ask to go to a big fancy party.
What quote do you live by?
I keep a few in my pocket but if I had to choose one, it would be “Choose growth.” When we make the choice to choose growth and seek progress over perfection in all areas of life, life instantly becomes less complicated and more enjoyable.
What inspired you to start your own company?
Asha & Co. was a vision I had back in late 2014. It was a concept based on the idea of growth and embracing progress over perfection. I’ve always had an idea of gathering people in a positive environment and doing purposeful activities together.
Using my experience as a preschool teacher, I decided to create sessions and opportunities for adults to rediscover themselves and learn new skills. I think our school and work culture, together with society’s expectations of us, have somehow made us lose touch with our inner creativity and curiosity to learn. Unlike children, adults are also more resistant to change and we sometimes shortchange our true abilities by choosing the easiest and fastest way to complete tasks and challenges. In the end, we become tired and uninspired adults and its effects slowly trickle down to the next generation. I wanted that to change.
Asha & Co. was created to be a place to embrace growth and appreciate progress over perfection. I know many brave adults, including myself, who want to go out and do everything they’ve ever dreamed of, but sometimes all we need is a gentle push and a healthy support system. I want to let them know that they’re not alone. The journey has been such a meaningful experience thus far. While I encourage other people to choose growth and not be too focused on perfection, I see myself growing and learning from other people as well. It is truly a rewarding experience.
What’s your favourite soul session thus far?
Every session I host is beautiful in its own way and leaves great memories. I wanted my sessions to be relatable and applicable to our daily lives. I also wanted people to walk out of my sessions feeling more confident and positive about themselves.
It is in the littlest of moments like the smile of confidence when someone who had always been terrified of cooking admires the dishes he/she has cooked, when a participant that I’ve just met opens up and shares with me special moments or struggles they are facing or when someone tells me that they feel relaxed and rejuvenated after our sessions. Some of my past participants have even become my friends now! We keep in touch regularly and they sometimes keep me updated on their personal journeys of growth! All these are my favourite moments that I hold on to dearly and is my driving force to keep doing what I do.
“I want to let them know that they’re not alone.”
Where do you see Asha & Co. in 10 years’ time?
Insha Allah, I’d love to have a cosy and homely atelier for both my soul cooking and soul art sessions. In ten years’ time, I envision Asha & Co. to be the best place for people to get out of their comfort zones and learn something new about themselves.
I want Asha & Co. to be a hub of ideas, positivity, inspiration and creation. I also hope to break traditional barriers such as age, income, education, gender, race and religion and create opportunities and access for people to learn and share the things they are passionate about with the world. I have so many plans but Allah is the best of all planners and I put my trust in Him that He knows what is best for me! Please make du’a for me okay?
As a Zahara Warrior, what advice would you give someone hoping to start her own company one day?
To just be brave enough to take the first step. Research is crucial and failure and setbacks are inevitable. If we’re not failing at some point or another, it simply means we’re still in our comfort zones and we’re not evolving; and that is such a great regret to live with.
Embrace failures and setbacks as partial victories and training ground to create and be better. Learn to listen to every criticism and observe how people react to your products and services even if you think that what you are offering is special and unique. Although it’s almost impossible to please every single one of your customers or your team, it certainly helps grow you into a better leader and communicator of your brand. I personally have had sessions which I thought would be successful but didn’t and these experiences have helped me identify how I can improve.
Also, be very sure of your intentions when you are setting out to do something. Never allow anything that does not align to your beliefs and values to easily sway you and compromise your goals, no matter how tempting it is.
Lastly, make it part of your routine to learn something new every day whether it’s to improve yourself or your business. Read, watch videos, meet new people and ask questions. Create the desire to learn, you’ll be surprised at how much you will grow as a person.
What should every woman try at least once in her life?
To slow down! Haha! And not to think too much about everything. To practice taking deep breaths and to remind ourselves that our best is enough. Women of our time are, no doubt, amazing and we’re constantly growing, contributing and getting better each day; all while juggling the many roles and responsibilities life have given us. I hope every woman will learn to not feel guilty of taking pauses, to allow time and space each day for you to just close your eyes, listen to the sound of your breathing and give yourself a big hug for being so brave every single day. You just need to try it once, I promise it’s addictive!
What is on your bucket list?
Hmm…I think I have quite a substantial list that keeps growing! There’s just so many things that I want to learn and discover and I’m not even sure if a hundred years would be enough. One of the many things that I hope to experience would be learning the fine culinary art of Japanese and French cuisine and to work as an apprentice for a passionate Michelin star chef. I would also love to experience life as a farmer and grow my own produce and milk my own cows!
“When we make the choice to choose progress over perfection, life becomes less complicated and more enjoyable.”
I’d rather ………………… than ………………………
I’d rather fail than not try at all!
Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party and why?
I love breaking barriers and I think food is a great way to break the ice and encourage people to bond despite differences. Inviting groups of opposite genders, straight or gay, religions, beliefs and cultures to sit at the same dinner table to enjoy food and be engaged in meaningful conversation would be very interesting experience!
To find out more about Asha, don’t forget to follow her on Instagram! If you’re interested to find out more about Asha & Co.’s should sessions and would like to sign up for them with your besties, check it out here!
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