Hayat Hakim seems to have lived multiple lives in her short time on this earth. Today, she joins us on our first show to discuss her personal experience diversity and embracing change.
Hayat knows a few things about uncertainty and change.
Her dad passed away when Hayat was just 13 and her mother disappeared shortly after that. Although she had to make her own way at such a young age, Hayat wouldn’t trade her experience for the world because it’s formed who she is today.
Hayat is the founder of Hayat Yoga Shayla — a holistic yogic wellness center in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She is also the creator of Yoga Revolution teaching and training as well as the director of Holistic Experience at an amazing company called Trusum Visions.
From Hayat’s point of view, diversity is extremely important in all spectrums of business and personal growth. Today, Hayat explains how she leaned into uncertainty to feed her hunger for knowledge and life.
Hayat experienced a wide range of cultural diversity from a very young age. She was born to a Syrian father and an Austrian mother who met in Berlin Germany. Hayat’s father was raised under strict Islamic beliefs while her mother was a German Christian.
Hayat spent the first six years of her life in Syria. She learned about religious tradition, language, and culture from her dad, before moving to Berlin for education through the European school system. Such a move was her mother’s decision.
Hayat has memories from childhood of going to the mosque on Friday nights and celebrating Muslim holidays like the holy month of Ramadan and Eid as well as Christian traditions such as Easter and Christmas.
But Hayat doesn’t look back at all of these cross-cultural memories through rose-tinted glasses.
She also remembers many arranged marriages involving her cousins. In Middle Eastern culture, women grow up to become strong bases for the household to function. Once you step out the door, however, the man becomes head of the household and the key decision maker.
Hayat admits this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But like any lifestyle, it comes with its own limitations. For Hayat, this lifestyle lacked the freedom for her to choose her own direction.
At age 13, everything changed because that’s when Hayat’s father passed away.
Before he passed, all of Hayat’s choices were laid out for her. Now, she had to figure out which path to take for herself.
She decided to live her life to the fullest. And she didn’t really have a choice because her mom disappeared after her dad passed away. Looking back, she sees this as a blessing because she evolved from this difficult experience and learned much more than she realized at the time.
At the tender age of 13, Hayat started her first job cleaning bathrooms. At 18, she started working for the German airline, Lufthansa, where she had the ability to travel. That’s when she fell in love with the U.S. and decided to stay: all alone.
Hayat says the concept of uncertainty was something she centered her beliefs around at this point in her life — which she had no problem with.
She never knew what would happen on a day-to-day basis but this didn’t bother her much because she knew in her heart that she could and would make anything possible. It helped that she was young and didn’t see the natural limitations society has set up for people. That’s why she believed anything was possible.
She thought all the limitations had disappeared when her father passed. Hayat had something that many people never experience in their lives: she had the courage and thought she could do anything.
As a courageous teenager on her own, Hayat felt curious — she wanted to learn about everything possible.
She remembers having a grandmother who became a mother at 13 and had a child each year until she turned 19. Hayat knew there had to be something different than that lifestyle and she was on a quest to find out.
This curiosity fueled her drive to get out there and experience different ways to support herself while growing.
Hayat remembers her young self as shy and always hanging in the background. After her father passed, Hayat was just kind of thrown out into the world to stand up for herself.
She remembers this is when her heart opened up: she could physically feel the tension leaving her shoulders and her body. Although she didn’t know anything about yoga at the time, she says this absence of tension sounds like the beginning of a yoga class with her shoulders rolling back and her chin held high.
Now, Hayat walks tall and has a powerful, graceful, and dignified presence.
Hayat says that she’s always had a drive within her and never stopped for any hurdles.
If she hit a wall, she would just turn around and take another direction somewhere new. Leaning into uncertainty like this wasn’t always smooth for Hayat (in fact, it was a little reckless sometimes) but she would face the aftermath later.
The uncertainty and change became a constant driving force in her life. That was her motivation.
At one point, she remembers hitting a plateau where she realized that she didn’t and wouldn’t ever know everything. Hayat started to gain more humility and become more mature — she even started asking for help.
But this change allowed her to narrow her focus a bit by looking for knowledge in more strategic places and looking for help from other supportive people along the way.
Hayat says she’s still thirsty to evolve and grow but she doesn’t expect that to ever change.
What’s most important to her now is surrounding herself with people that are evolving at the same frequency — if not higher — than her own.
That’s what led her into the family she’s found now with Growth U.