Tanjina Ashraf Khan Mou is Chairperson & CEO Of the Mentcouch International Psychology Centre, an International Sdn Bhd is a young psychology centre in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Her aim is to provide a modern, warm, and friendly environment for clients, equipped with experts that are high on empathy and always ready to lend an ear.
She aspires to make the therapy journey as comforting as possible for a client by finding the therapist that best fits your needs. Research has shown that the fit between client and therapist is more important to the success of therapy than any other element. Today we got a chance to interview her, Let’s know more about her & her journey:-
We hope this can inspire you to become a successful person too! It is worth listening to a successful entrepreneur or to people who share their success stories? We can significantly learn many things from the experiences of them, by listening to their story.
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with her:
Q1) Tell us a little bit about your start-up.
Hi, I am Tanjina Ashraf Khan Mou. I am the Founder & CEO of MentCouch International Sdn Bhd, a psychology & wellbeing center based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. MentCouch, having launched earlier this year, is still in its infancy but within just a period of 9 months, it has become one of the most popular psychology centers of the capital.
We have clients from all over the world and the numbers are growing substantially every single day. The rapid growth of the company is large because of the quality of services we provide, the affordability, the commitment of a well-qualified and determined team, and most importantly, at MentCouch, there is something for everyone. At Mentcouch Psychology Centre, we believe mental health services are not only meant for people with problems, it is for everyone! I was unable to find a Centre that was fluid to cater to everyone’s unique needs, SO I HAD TO CREATE IT!
Q2) What services do you offer at MentCouch?
We have a variety of psychology and wellbeing services, from therapeutic yoga to psychological consultations, counseling services, mental health assessments, children’s’ developmental/play therapy, and many more. For a full list of services and details, please feel free to take a look at our website: mentcouch.com. Our services are offered online as well, for global clients.
Q3) Who is Tanjina Ashraf Khan Mou?
I have always had trouble answering this question. Careerwise, I am an entrepreneur, a mental health professional, and a writer. To my parents, I am a little kid who might just never grow up.
To strangers on the streets, I am shy, aloof and someone who seems to be very well off and affluent. Unless they start talking to me and go, “You are very down to earth”
To my relatives, I am scholarly, established, the most friendly and well-behaved girl who has her life fully sorted out.
To my friends, I am someone who they can count on, I’m humorous, kind, intelligent and very crazy!
To myself, I am an old soul who is obsessed with science and poetry. I love reading and writing about atoms, evolution, energies, and the deeper meanings of everything. I am also very old-fashioned and often find it difficult to fit in. I am sensitive and I get attached to people and places very easily. As a person, I am not sure if I have achieved something in life or not! But one thing that I surely know about myself is – I am definitely much better now, compared to what I was yesterday. I am kind of getting better, day by day! So, Mou is someone who gets a little better each day or at least tries to, Mou is someone who gets a bit more resilient each day.
Thats my life, and thats me!
Q4) What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
My parents. My entrepreneurial spirit originated from my dad’s entrepreneurial spirit and my mother has always taught me that women have excellent leadership capabilities. Also, while working for a company after completing my studies, I figured that I was terrible at taking orders and always had a passion for “creating”.
Q5) How did you come up with the name for your business/startup?
The name was inspired by Sigmund Freud’s famous psychoanalytic couch. It is the prime symbol of psychoanalysis, and I was lucky enough to see it in person last year, in his final home situated in Hampstead, London (now the Freud Museum).
Q6) What risks are you facing as a female entrepreneur?
There are four lessons I learned as female entrepreneur:
First up, it’s surprisingly lonely, being surrounded by people who tell you that what you’re trying to achieve isn’t possible. Also, in our Asian society, a lot of people from the opposite gender will look down upon you and not take you seriously. My personal relationships were affected where most men (and some women) were not happy to see a girl soar in success in such a short span of time.
- JUGGLING: Trying to navigate the maze of your personal, social, professional lives and family responsibilities is not easy. And it’s especially tough for a businesswoman who has to deal with the expectation that she needs to have it all, all the time, or else she has nothing. Women need to maintain all of these, be available 24/7 and there is honestly no room for error.
- THE RELATIONSHIP STRUGGLE: Some Alpha males see successful women as a threat jeopardizing their masculinity, bringing out insecurities. And a beta male will tell you that you prioritize work over relationships. At the end of the day, I’m only human and humans need warmth. Maintaining a relationship or even finding a partner does become a struggle for a strong, capable woman.
- LIMITATIONS: My family, especially my father has been a tremendous support system, without whom nothing would have been possible. But, it is safe to say that there have always been a lot of limitations placed on me because I’m a girl. Coming from an Asian household, I grew up in an overly protective environment. Not much has changed even now. This has led to many missed business and networking opportunities but as mentioned, the goal is to become successful despite strict barriers. It is an undeniable fact that life as an entrepreneur would have been much easier if I was a man. Nevertheless, I am immensely grateful.
Q7) How many hours a day do you work on average?
If you own it you live it. My business requires a 7-day response 24 hours per day. I personally put in about 75 – 85 hours per week if not more. It is not for everyone, but to see your business grow from an infant to a viable and recognized organization is very satisfying. However, there are personal sacrifices and pitfalls. CEOs are always on, and there is always more to be done. To cut it short, a CEO’s job is relentless.
Q8) What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear ?
I wouldn’t call it fear but there are two things that I constantly battle against and I make sure that I overcome them every single day.
Doubting myself! If you compare yourself to others too often, to their successes and especially to the high-light reels that they share on social media then self-doubt can quickly build up. A better way to go about things is to compare yourself to yourself. To see how far you have come. What you have accomplished and how you have grown as a human being. That is what I do. Also, I practice a lot of “acceptance” on a daily basis.
Secondly, I consider the single most powerful way of motivation to overcome any fear is self-motivation, the conviction that I am not going to give up. It does not mean that I never give up, it simply means that even when I feel like giving up, I know I have the ability to bounce back.
Q9) What comes first for you money or love?
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic human needs are physiological needs, that is, the needs for food, shelter, clean water, and clothing. People need to earn money to function and to provide food, shelter, and clothing for themselves and their families. Money is a way to meet basic needs.
Love on the other hand, of course, is the most valuable thing in the world. In all its forms. Love is important for emotional and personal development. Love of oneself, love of your family, the love of your spouse, being in love makes you feel complete. It is an amazing feeling to get another confirmation of our own value in the eyes of another person. Nobody in the world should be deprived of this feeling.
This world has taught me that both Money and Love both have their own importance in ones’ life. What money can do, love might never be able to do the same and what love can, money might not be able to. Both are equally necessary for survival and I have learned to balance my priorities accordingly.
Q10) How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Becoming an entrepreneur can be emotionally draining and time-consuming. There is less time to interact and bond with family members, friends, and loved ones.
Q11) What pieces of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs?
- You are as good as your team. The most important thing is to gather people in your initial team who would work diligently as their own passion without expecting huge returns. You need a team that joins you for the sole purpose of building something.
- A lot of bad and ugly stuff will happen – improper hires, salaries, motivation issues, bills, employees, funding crisis, and more such stuff – Learn to persevere and maintain your focus.
- Surround yourself with people who are successful. There is a reason why people follow this rule.
Q12) What according to you are the characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur?
- Self-Motivation. One of the most important traits of entrepreneurs is self-motivation.
- Fully Understand What You Offer.
- Be Heardheaded and Take Risks.
- Willingness to Listen.
- Resilient. Be okay with the fact that it is a very lonely journey and failures are inevitable.
- If you’re a female entrepreneur there will be many “add-ons” to the struggle, no matter what life throws at you, every morning you need to wipe your tears, put your lipstick on and WORK! There is no other way.
Q13) One suggestion you would like to give to Entrepreneurs/CEOs for taking care of their mental health.
Celebrate! Often there is a tendency to focus on the long list of things to do. This also means that you are constantly looking ahead or at the past records and not focussing on the present. It is crucial to celebrate achievements at the end of each week, or each month to give a renewed sense of purpose and energy. This can remind us why we started the business when things seem tough, and help with a general sense of well-being.
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