Trust the wild side

Entrepreneur Kaya Singer counsels business people on how to face fears


Kaya Singer, 71-year-old author of “Wiser and Wilder: A Soulful Path for Visionary Women Entrepreneurs,” led a workshop on May 20 that incorporated themes of her book, and life, into effective business-management strategies. Her book uses personal anecdotes, feminist wisdom and ingenuity to guide readers through unconventional methods of owning and managing businesses.

Aside from being an author, Singer is the owner of Awakening Business, an enterprise centered around mentoring female entrepreneurs.

The workshop, hosted by Tsunami Books, broke the evolution of Singer’s entrepreneurship down into educational tools for local business owners. The hour-long event exposed the series of challenges commonly faced during the launching and managing of a business, subsequently offering ways through and around such hurdles.

One hurdle discussed was the “shadow,” which Singer used as a metaphor for the self-doubt by which business owners are frequently held back.

“Sometimes your shadow can be running the show, and you don’t realize it,” Singer said. “It will hijack whatever you’re trying to do.”

Singer disclosed to the audience an early hiccup in her entrepreneurship, in which she became close to quitting due to self-doubt.

Awakening Business was set into motion in 1977. At a point during the beginning stages of its development, Singer was hesitant to invest money in furthering her business, unsure that it would pay off. Self-doubt prevented her from attempting to move forward, and the business hit a standstill.

In response to Awakening Business’ struggle, the author’s husband recommended that she work to invest confidence in herself and her goal. Singer agreed.

“He’s a gift,” Singer said of her husband.

Singer eventually “faced her shadow,” detached from self-doubt and invested herself completely in her venture. Twenty-one years later, the business remains successful.

The author concluded her narrative by asking the members of her workshop to “face their shadow,” just as she had done. The dozen men and women in the audience then took a moment to discuss the self-doubt that was taking a toll on their businesses.

“You just have to be okay with it not being perfect,” Singer said. “You’ll move past that part that’s difficult.”

Singer then spoke of living in New Zealand and falling in love with her “inner wild-woman.”

The author moved back to the United States in 2005, after the death of her son’s father, and felt a severe disconnect with her wild-self.

“I was scared,” she said. “I had to adapt from ‘nature girl’ to business women.”

The dramatic shift in lifestyle prompted Singer to write about entrepreneurship in a way that utilized both her wildness and her business-related wisdom: “Wiser and Wilder: A Soulful Path for Visionary Women Entrepreneurs.”

“I was putting out the book that I wish I could have read,” Singer said.

According to Singer, inner creativity is one of the foundational aspects of any business. Without one’s inner wild-woman, they will “stay stuck.”

“She’s always getting you to break out and try something different,” Singer said. “She needs to be your partner in your business.”

The event ended with each participant explaining what aspect of the workshop they found most significant. Some mentioned the importance of breaking down doubt while others talked of the necessity of embracing change in any business.

“Follow your wild-women,” the author said in conclusion, and the men and women cheered.

“Wiser and Wilder: A Soulful Path for Visionary Women Entrepreneurs” can be purchased at Tsunami bookstore and online.