Natasha Ickes-Saman Born and raised in Oakland, CA Natasha learned the importance of resilience at a young age. As a teen, she struggled with homelessness, addiction, and a suicide attempt. By her early 20’s she was determined to turn her life around. With faith, hard work, and a radical shift in mindset she created the life of her dreams.
She opened Shear Passion Hair Salon at 25 years old, which is still successfully running today. She continued to conquer life, one fun challenge at a time while helping other women do the same. Natasha is a bestselling author, Certified Coach, NLP Practitioner, and founder of the Unstoppable Woman Inc.
Whether providing free haircuts in homeless shelters or creating amazing results through her coaching- Natasha’s mission is to have a positive impact on everyone she encounters. As a coach Natasha empowers her clients with the passion, purpose, and power necessary to be unstoppable.
As a speaker, she brings passion, energy, and a clear message to the stage. As an individual she loves doing Tarot readings, is a Reiki practitioner, and in love with self-growth.
This led to her making the cover of Grind Success Magazine, being featured in MunaLuchi, the Los Angeles Tribune, New York Chronicle, Fox40, Boston Herald, and more; as well as receiving a Certificate of Congressional Recognition. She believes above all else, everyone deserves to live a life they are wildly obsessed with.
Tell us your name and a little about yourself?
My name is Natasha Ickes-Saman. I am a wife, mother, and business owner. My husband and I have been together for 8 years, we have 3 beautiful children and we love to travel the world as a family. Exploring new places and cultures is one of our favorite parts of life. I am also an author and business owner.
I’ve owned a hair salon for close to a decade. One of the best parts about it is regularly participating in charity events, providing free haircuts to homeless men, women, and children. As an empowerment mentor, I help women discover their passion, live their purpose, and stand in their power- while giving them the tools to be unstoppable in the process.
Please tell us about your wonderful book “Overcoming: A Journey From Pain to Peace, Purpose, and Power”
It is a memoir about the challenges I have overcome and the lessons I learned. I share the good and the bad. I am authentic and honest. I struggled with addiction, homelessness, and a suicide attempt which left me hospitalized.
I came through these experiences stronger, wiser, and with a radically different approach to life. I developed tools that allowed me to create the life of my dreams. I wanted to share my struggles and wins, in the hopes that my story touches someone.
Why do you write? Do you have a theme, message, or goal for your books?
Books saved my life. They shaped me, taught me, and gave me purpose. I can still recall the books that got me through rough times. I want to be able to do the same for others. I write to touch the lives of others through my story. My theme is one of faith, perseverance, and a positive mindset.
It is about the ability to transcend your circumstances, to turn your challenge s into opportunities, and to create the life of your dreams. It is a down-to-earth, step-by-step guide to achieving your goals, no ma”er where you are currently. By living my passion and purpose, I urge others to do the same.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing my whole life. I first attempted to write a book around the age of 10. I only got to about 2 chapters but it has been a lifelong journey for me. I have always had a love of books and still have most of my books since childhood.
The power of the written word has always intrigued me, I have been consistently transformed by the books I have read and it is an honor to publish my own words.
What is the most difficult part of the writing process in general?
The most difficult part of writing is the vulnerability of putting your heart and soul into something and then putting it out in the world to be judged. In turn that becomes the most rewarding part. When people connect you it is in the deepest most authentic way. They are connecting with your heart and soul. Now the most tedious part is editing.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It took me a li”le less than 3 months to write it. I toyed with the idea on and off for years. sometimes I would even write a chapter here and there. But when I finally decided to get it done I got myself on a schedule.
I wrote early in the mornings when my family was still asleep and late into the evenings as well. On my off days, I could spend hours writing. I was determined to get it done and put it out there.
What has been the greatest joy in your writing career?
The pride I had in accomplishing a lifelong goal. Originally it was something I did for myself and my children. I wanted to leave a written legacy, I wanted my children to understand the deepest parts of me.
But I was amazed at how well it was received. Every single person who reached out, le] a review, and expressed a connection to my story- gave me a joy and profound sense of purpose.
How many times in your career have you experienced rejection?
How did they shape you? In life I have experienced it several times, I learned that the hard times shape you. Your character is built in the trials, you are shaped in the storm. Who are you when things get tough? It says a lot about a person. Years of depression I learned to truly love myself and to know who I am.
So when I am rejected of course there is a string, but I have faith that the right path and doors will open for me. rejection is nothing more than redirection in disguise. I choose to learn from the rejection and be be”er going forward. Success is guaranteed to the person who refuses to give up.
What advice can you give aspiring writers that you wished you had go”en, or that you wished you would have heeded?
The best advice I can give an author is to just do it. Don’t be afraid of how it will be perceived or what people will think. If you are authentically you, if you speak your truth, your story will touch others.
What is the greatest part about being a successful, bestselling author? What is the worst part?
The best part is when people tell me they have decided to write a book a]er seeing me publish mine. To know that my decision made an impact on someone’s life means the world to me. The other part that I absolutely love when is someone shares that my story touches them, gives them hope and motivates them in any way.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer?
The habit that contributed to me being a bestselling author is my impeccable work ethic. I am simply determined not to give up. If I make a commitment to do something, I will see it through. Another equally important thing is my authenticity.
I am not ashamed of my past. I am proud of all I have overcome and so grateful to God for his grace, guidance, and blessings. I know that I survived for a reason, I turned my life around for a purpose, and I am still here to share my story with others.
I know what it is like to be addicted, suicidal, and homeless. If I can give anyone else hope then all I went through is worth it.
Which writer or leader has had the biggest impact on you as a writer?
I don’t think I can just name one. One of the most profound books I read was the autobiography of Assata Shakur. Her courage, intellect, and sheer will to survive changed my life forever. Another book was Life Rules by Yehuda Berg.
I read that at 17 and it changed the way I looked at myself and the world. It taught me accountability, power and purpose. Those are just 2 of many. I read about 2 autobiographies a month. I am always inspired by the stories of others.
What are the 5 things a writer needs to know if he/she wants to become a bestselling author?
- Be authentic, speak your truth and boldly share whatever story is within you.
- Be prepared to work hard, You are going to pour your blood, sweat, and tears into your book.
- You must be consistent, That means writing when you don’t feel like it and being determined to see the project through to the end.
- You have to market your book, You don’t want to write a great book that no one reads.
- Editing is key, I did 7 rounds of editing for my book.
Can you share a little about your recent book?
It chronicles my story from a depressed, suicidal, and homeless teen to a wife, mom, and business owner. It is not a sad story. It is one of empowerment, joy, sorrow, growth, challenges, and perseverance.
I mix seriousness with humor and laughter with pain. Throughout the book, the theme is that you can overcome anything you are facing.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
I work hard but I play hard too. I don’t drink or smoke but I love to travel. My children have tons of stamps on their passports. We have gone to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Spain, Paris, London, and most of the United States. We love adventure. I also have learned to work less over the years.
I used to be a workaholic. Working 6 days a week, sometimes 15 hours a day. My children were raised in my hair salon. But eventually, I made the decision to slow down. My family deserves to have me outside of work. Now we enjoy game nights, hikes together, and long talks. We make the moments count.
What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
My own mindset was by far the hardest thing I had to overcome. As a teenager, I was stuck in a victim mentality and it got me nowhere. I spiraled out of control because I put my destiny into the hands of others.
When I was hurt I would react, I only showed up when I felt like it and I did not take responsibility for my circumstances. My external only changed when I transformed the internal. I learned that I alone have control over my life. It was scary but empowering. From that realization, everything shifted.
What does success look like for you?
Living a life of passion, purpose, and peace. It means living a life of love and actively giving back to the community. Success only counts when you are sharing it with others.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
Your character is who you are when no one is looking. Something my grandma taught me as a child that I never forgot. It is not advice, more of a fact. I truly believe that if I do my best at all times to be honest, trustworthy, and loving – then life will be a bit kinder and easier.
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