We had the good fortune of connecting with Casilya Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Casilya, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Defining what success looks like for me has been very important. It’s easy to equate success with money or how big of a following that you have, but for me success is all about impact and legacy. When I think about my journey and my brand, I always consider how I want to be remembered and the work that I need to do in order to leave my gifts here even when I’m long gone. Defining success allowed me to let go of unhealthy comparisons and feeling like I was behind in life. Another habit that has been very helpful for me is creating weekly/monthly office hours for my life. I am a mother, author, publisher, educator, photographer, friend, etc. In order to not get burned out and overwhelmed, I typically preview my schedule and projects before a new month begins. Based on all the tasks that I need to complete, I designate certain days and times to specific projects, spending quality time with my son, catching up on emails, fitness, and building my presence on social media. I faithfully use the calendar and reminder apps on my iPhone to help me stay on track and I set automatic Do Not Disturb hours to take time to destress, meditate, rest, and pray without interruptions or distractions.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a woman of many wonders! I think that’s a great problem to have, but balance is everything and I am navigating through that daily! My name is Casilya Smith, yet I am artistically known as SIL. I am a blossoming author of “TPTDE: The Little Pink Book” (2017), “Dear King” (2019), and “From The Concrete: A Reflection + Planning Journal” (2020). My love for writing and artistic expression has been a big part of the success that I’ve seen as a middle school English and Reading Intervention teacher, and even now with the new company that I co-founded with La’Shana Brown, S2S Press, which has allowed us to extend our expertise to aiding others throughout the writing and publishing process. I consider myself to be a natural creative when it comes to both words and visuals. All of my social media content, quotes, photography, and videography are done by me which has been helpful in the sense that I don’t have to spend a ton of money on branding and content creation. In high school and college, I was really into dance choreography and I have now since created a DanceFIT class here in Houston that is growing and thriving. I guess you can say that all of my gifts are coming full circle. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, the road to where I am has not been easy. I had to do a lot of inner work, soul searching, healing, confidence-building, and reprogramming of my mind and my time. Every day I have to make a conscious choice to constantly be ready to learn, grow and reevaluate each of my current brands so that I am staying true to my goal of inspiring and empowering others in the most genuine and transparent ways. What I would want you to know about my brand and story is that I continue to endure and overcome. I’ve seen so much trauma and disappointment in life, BUT I have realized that strength and faith come with the rain and experience and peace comes with the sunshine. Keep pushing and keep evolving on your own journey! There is light at the end of these tunnels.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Believe it or not, my social circle is big but my social life is minimal! When I get out on the town though, I have to eat well and find some scenery and peace. If you are visiting Houston, hit up the Breakfast Klub and Turkey Leg Hut! I have actually fallen in love with the Turkey Leg Hut food truck which is equally good and the line/wait isn’t terrible. If you like nature, we have so many trails and parks to walk or cycle on. Discovery Green is a very beautiful and popular place to relax or partake in free events! If you are looking for a great burn and workout, of course hit me up on Instagram for DanceFit details! We try to burn at least 800+ calories each session!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have so many people that have inspired my growth in so many ways. I will narrow it down to 3: Teri J. Watson is my spirit animal and one of my dearest friends! She is a junior architect in Miami, FL, and creator of YEN Studio (https://www.yenstudio.us) and she created the graphics and initial idea behind my first book “TPTDE: The Little Pink Book”. I was content keeping my writing talent to myself, but she pushed me towards my first published book. Secondly, the amazing Robert Nathan Harper II (@robertharper2) is a thriving motivational speaker and author of “Talk To Yourself”! If you have not ordered that book on Amazon, you have missed out on a life-changing mindset shift. I’ve known him since high school, but he has easily become the most amazing person I will probably connect with during this lifetime. Lastly, my partner in S2S Press, La’Shana Brown (@shana_speaks)! God literally planted her in my life and our visions for helping the youth, blossoming writers, and living a purposeful life have been so aligned. We continue to grow individually in our businesses and together as partners.