Don’t be scared to ask for help; build a support system. You need people who genuinely want to help, motivate and be there for you during the hard times with no judgement or personal incentive. I was lucky enough to have my brother, grandfather and uncle from early on to remind me to never give up and to be a shoulder to cry on when I needed it.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Komal Tahir.
Komal’s story is one of perseverance and rebirth. Taking a dream and drive, she traveled alone to Miami to build a lucrative business that helps her beautiful clients blossom through a natural process. After 12 years of studies, accreditations and practice, she has mastered the art of non-invasive Plasma Fibroblast technology.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
It’s a pleasure to be here!
I’m Komal Tahir, a first-generation New York native. As a child of immigrants, I inherited a lot of culture. Unfortunately, I also inherited an abundance of body hair. It was something that left me feeling self-conscious and unsociable, combined with relentless school bullying. I spent a long time looking for solutions to my dilemma and after exploring many options, I finally settled on laser hair removal; it was the answer to all my woes. Or so I thought. During my normal routine session an untrained doctor, burned 50% of my body, including parts of my face.
Ironically, this incident pushed me further towards the beauty industry. After my experience, I began studying to become a licensed esthetician, with the intention of giving my clients a professional and nurturing experience far from the botched one I had. This led to 12 years of working with medical spas, furthering my studies of beauty innovations and techniques, and forming solid relationships with my amazing clients. As a woman of color, the beauty industry is notoriously short sighted when it comes to people of darker skin tones. My own personal negative experiences inspired me to provide all people with the best experience possible, regardless of their skin tone.
Like many others, the pandemic changed the course of my life. The uncertainty inspired me to dive fully into my beauty dreams. In a time when many businesses were closing, and against the advice of many close to me, I left everything I knew in New York and opened my business, Philosophy of Beauty Universal, in Miami.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I’ve had the honor of meeting so many amazing clients in my 12 years of practice. But meeting Maya, early in my career, really cemented how I want to approach my care. She walked into my office in full niqab, an Islamic garment that covers her face and body. Noticeably anxious, she confided to me that this was her 10th consultation and she was losing faith in getting the help she sought out. She wasn’t comfortable sharing her body with strangers and her previous technicians weren’t understanding of her need for a welcoming environment. Meeting her allowed me to confirm what I already walked into the industry believing: beauty starts from within. My clients are entrusting me with their bodies, time, vulnerabilities and so much more. My job starts by assuring them, that they’re in capable and caring hands. Creating an environment where anyone and everyone feels welcome is where beauty starts.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
One of the most significant perks Philosophy of Beauty Universal offers, is that all the procedures offered in my business are non-invasive. We live in a world where surgery is one of the first solutions to any problem, even if they are minor. Concerned with eyelid dropping? Blepharoplasty. Loose tummy skin after having a baby? Abdominoplasty. Sagging breasts? Breast augmentation. These are all examples of invasive surgical procedures that require doctor’s offices, a variety of anesthetics, real downtime, and risk of serious complications.
My company has alternative, noninvasive solutions to all these concerns. Having been in the beauty industry as a licensed esthetician for over 12 years, it has fallen to me to determine corrective measures for when these surgical procedures go wrong. I have been in direct contact with countless emotional patients in the last decade, who came out of the surgeries feeling butchered. This inspired me to find another solution to help achieve the goals that clients are looking for.
Not only do I reside in Miami, I offer mobile services as far as New York. I find this flexibility to be a huge benefit to my clients especially during these uncertain times.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My brother, Shamas, is someone I consider a father figure. Throughout my life he’s been my emotional support, and my appreciation for him cannot be overstated. While heavily doubting the trajectory of my life when the pandemic started, he held me up. Twelve years in and I almost gave up my career in the beauty industry in favor for one in computer science. When I began to doubt myself, my brother stepped in. His advice was simple but impactful, “Komal, give it one more year, you owe it to yourself.” He believed I had a gift that I had to use. Through his eyes I was unstoppable; unstoppable enough to achieve everything I wanted to with this business. That was the day I realized that the dream I had put on the backburner needed to be my top priority.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is adapting to adversity, no matter what.
Resilient people don’t give in. They may falter, but they still get back up. They continue to push and strive for whatever their goals may be. Resiliency goes hand in hand with adaptation. One way of achieving one’s goals may have failed, but adaptation allows for new avenues of reaching those dreams. Ultimately, you need to have determination and patience to see your goals through.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
You don’t have to be courageous to be resilient because you can be scared and still persevere. One markable difference is that resilience is when you need the mental ability to recover from a circumstance or misfortune, while courage is not being afraid of taking action to overcome it.
Resilience comes from within; from all the past lessons you have learned and can’t be taught. Courage can come in the midst of a difficult moment, whereas resilience comes from how you continue to handle a difficult situation.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
My grandfather is synonymous with resilience to me. From his humble journey to America with only $500 to his name, he thrived as a businessman for over 50 years. He succeeded in getting two masters degrees, and opened several lucrative businesses from hotels to limo companies. His latest venture being a senior daycare center that caters to elderly vegetarian clientele; a facility for aging Indian-Americans, an often-forgotten demographic of retirees. He found that most of his friends and the older generation he came into contact with, were sad, alone and often bored at home. So, he came out of retirement himself and created an environment for them to live comfortably.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
Absolutely and unfortunately, that was me; I am my worst enemy.
Days before making the move from New York to Miami, I almost talked myself out of it. I hadn’t established a base there and I was afraid to start from scratch. My personal funds were running low because of the pandemic. I started thinking that I would be homeless, alone and a failure and I let my thoughts take me to a very negative place. I was about to resign my lease and stay in New York. My loved ones in New York were ecstatic at the prospects of me staying close
to home. They had no ill intentions; they were just in the habit of being protective. But I pushed through with my dreams and bet on myself in the end and moved to Miami.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
I was involved in an accident that left me with skull and nerve damage. After a scare like that, it made me want to be selfish. I wanted to quit working and use my personal savings to travel the world. In the days following the incident, suffering from head trauma, I found myself spiraling down into a depression. For some reason I was afraid to do anything. So instead of wanting to travel like I originally wanted to do, I wanted to hide from the world.
I thought isolation is what I needed, but the world had other plans for me and it started with the numerous heartfelt messages I received from my loving clients. My clients began to show concern and sent me gifts to show how much they respected and cherished the friendships we had built. I then realized that I had truly impacted their lives and I couldn’t be afraid any longer; I had to find a way to reemerge and to reinvent myself.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Throughout my life, I’ve experienced many setbacks that contributed to my resilience. From a rough upbringing that left me feeling secluded, to a career that wasn’t always forgiving; I pushed through and found the brighter side of the journey that ended up getting me to where I needed to be.
There is one story that illustrates this point clear as day.
On my very first day of esthetics school, I was lucky enough to be seated next to one of most ruthless humans I have ever been in contact with in my life. This student laughed in my face and stated with confidence that I would go nowhere in this industry because of how I looked. She said the beauty industry was filled with gorgeous people of a certain complexion and I wouldn’t succeed because I had acne, scars, and had dark skin.
If that wasn’t enough, she had the audacity to say that nobody would feel comfortable with being near me, let alone touching them. This student was unaware of all the countless setbacks I have had to deal with all my life and that these statements were not going to deter me from securing my career in the beauty industry.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
Some steps that others can follow for encouragement are:
1. Don’t be scared to ask for help; build a support system. You need people who genuinely want to help, motivate and be there for you during the hard times with no judgement or personal incentive. I was lucky enough to have my brother, grandfather and uncle from early on to remind me to never give up and to be a shoulder to cry on when I needed it.
2. Don’t give up especially when things aren’t going right. When you believe “Things can’t get any worse” they can, but at that point, there’s nowhere but up. When business stunted during the pandemic, there was nothing left to do but generate the business myself!
3. Be humble and say Thank You. Being grateful continues to foster humility, an important trait for resilience. Being grateful for the people and things I have in life has allowed me to feel confident on where I am in life.
4. Embrace challenge. When things get challenging, do not always take it negatively. Because when you overcome the challenge, you will have succeeded at something and learned from the process.
5. Master your mind. We can be our own worst enemies. Exercise control over your own thoughts because negative thoughts impact your real life.
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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I wish I could start a movement where it should be mandatory to learn to love yourself. Why aren’t we always kind to ourselves? Why do we complain or try to compete with someone else? Competing with others can only lead to doubt and hatred. The internet is a gift and a curse. When used the right way, we can be inspired to help one another and ourselves and when used the wrong way, we are left with never being happy or content with our lives. I would love to start a movement where we are taught to love ourselves first and foremost. A movement that teaches kids from an early age that there is no need to virtually compete with others, but to love ourselves and others, and to focus on creating instead. Being a beauty professional, I feel a personal responsibility to set an example regardless of the obstacles I’ve been through.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
I would love to have a private meeting with Grace Killelea. Her book, The Confidence Effect, was the first book I picked up when the pandemic hit. Like so many others, I felt lost. I had resilience most of my life, but I still go through a lot of moments where I lack confidence and this book changed my life. She teaches four R’s to be successful and one of them just happens to be Resilience. It taught me how to be resilient, confident, humble, and also how to showcase my talents without being cocky. This book made me appreciate and value myself.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Readers can follow my work on my website www.philosophyofbeauty.biz or my Instagram page @pob.universal.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!