We do great things in the world. There may be a lot of breakdowns and breakthroughs, but everyone is so much more capable of happiness, contentment, joy, and service when we’re doing and connected to our passions. Looking back at her life, entrepreneur, singer, and host of the Wait for the Dawn podcast Sachiko Tiana feels like it’s all a dream. The music and the things that she’s most passionate about have kept her going through all of the chaos of physical abuse, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and layers and layers of those stuff growing up. Her hope of the dream of music was her lifeline. Sachiko says she is grateful for the stories she gets to tell and the people she get to connect to through her life and through her music. Sachiko proves to us that there is no struggle that cannot be overcome by finding your passion and trusting your gut feeling. She also explains the 4% rule to help you achieve your goals and dreams.
We have Sachiko Tiana. Sachiko has an incredibly inspiring life story that started out with very humble beginnings. It truly is amazing how beautiful she has made her life and she is helping others do the same. Sachiko is an entrepreneur, singer, and is also host of the Wait for the Dawn podcast, available on iTunes and other podcast playing platforms. Sachiko proves to us that there is no struggle that cannot be overcome by finding your passion and trusting your gut feeling. She also explains the 4% rule to help you achieve your goals and dreams. Welcome, Sachiko Tiana.
Listen To The Episode Here:
Wait For The Dawn with Sachiko Tiana
We have a very special guest on the show, Sachiko Tiana. Sachiko, where are you from originally?
I was born in San Francisco, but I lived in Queens, New York. Now, I live in Southern California.
How did you like living on the East Coast compared to the West Coast?
In my heart I’m an East Coaster because I’ve been in Southern California for 27 years, but anytime I get to go back East, I love it.
Sachiko, you grew up in San Francisco originally like your early days?
When I was two, we moved to Orange County, which is where my brother is born.
What were those beginning years like for you?
Not that I remember those two years specifically, but I was born in San Francisco. Both my parents weren’t married. Unfortunately, they had gotten into drugs and a crazy lifestyle, which is why we moved around so much. We moved to Orange County and my brother was born, I was about two and a half. We moved to Queens, New York and my little sister was born in Queens. We bounced around a bit and when I was seven my mom passed away. My little sister was only eighteen months old.
What do you remember from that young age about your mom and everything?
I have a couple fun memories. My mom was obsessed with Dirty Dancing and Patrick Swayze. I just remember growing up loving Dirty Dancing and having a good time. I also remember her downward spiral. One of the most vivid memories of my mom, is being in the bathroom with her. I don’t know what we were talking about, but all of a sudden, she looked in the mirror, and looked at me. She was like, “Look at you, you’re so pretty,” and then smashed my face into the mirror. Thankfully I wasn’t hurt, she didn’t do it very hard. My dad walked in, threw me out of the bathroom, and she was taken away in an ambulance that night. She was in the hospital for a little bit. I don’t even know that I fully understand this. I remember her coming home and just lying on the couch, walking past her and stopping to see that she was breathing and then when I saw that she was breathing, then I would keep walking. She was like that for a really long time. Just like slowly losing life.
What was her drug of choice mostly?
For both of them, my understanding is it was crack, cocaine. I remember seeing my dad with his crack pipe. Queens at that time, it was common. I know there was probably other stuff that I’m not even aware of. Her death, part of the problem though is that somehow in using drugs and connecting to different people, both of my parents had contracted HIV. My mom got tuberculosis and passed away when I was seven. The three of us were left with my dad who was a drug addict and now a single parent of three.
What was life like after your mom passed away?
The main thing I remember are being terrified of him. He was not a stable dude. It was always walking around on eggshells. I remember, his love of music. We had a reel-to-reel recording systems set up in the garage. He introduced me to my love of Sade and Michael Jackson. He used to make me write a poem every day. I’ve a lot of great memories of my dad.
Then he was physically abusive and incapable of taking care of three kids. My job became doing the chores at home and helping my siblings get ready. I’m the oldest, I became the pseudo mom of the family. When I was eleven, my dad’s disease got the best of him and he passed away. That whole process was really chaotic and something that I can speak about without attachment, without emotional distress because I do look at all of that stuff as a blessing in a way. Maybe that sounds crazy, but I feel like I had to go through these things in order to be able to give everything I have to give to people that I’m obsessive about.
I remember my dad, he used to do crazy stuff, try and send me to go get him drugs and alcohol, to buy cigarettes from the store, which they would never sell these cigarettes. I remember he would take us sometimes with him when we knew he was buying drugs, but we didn’t go inside. There was this one time we were in the car and it was my two siblings and I. Instinctively, I don’t think I knew this consciously, but I would always sing when we were in the car to distract my siblings from what was going on and internally, to feel better. I would sing at the top of my lungs, ten, eleven years old. I remember this one time, whoever my dad was meeting with, popped his head into the van after they had met and said, “Is that your daughter singing in there?” My dad said, “Yeah, she’s always singing.” He looked at me and pointed, he said, “You’re something special,” and walked away. Validation from a drug dealer is not that special.
When I look back, I feel it’s my dream, the music, and the things that I’m the most passionate about that have kept me sane all this time going through all of this chaos. The physical abuse, drug abuse, sexual abuse, there are lots of layers of this stuff. Having gone through that, being able to hold on tight to my hope of this dream of music, which looked very different than it did when I was ten, but it was my lifeline. I’m so grateful for the stories I get to tell and the people I get to connect to through my life and through my music.
You’re eleven years old at this point. You don’t have any parents. Where do you go from there?
We moved in with my aunt who’s a single mom of one and she eventually legally adopted all three of us. After my mom passed away, we actually moved back out here to southern California. A lot of that craziness was happening out here in Fullerton, which is where I mostly grew up. When I say mom now I’m talking about my aunt, they always get confused. She was able to legally adopt us at thirteen. Having gone through all that stuff, we had a lot of things to work through, things working through, things we might forever have to work through.
She’s the most amazing, gracious, kind, good-hearted person in the world, but not really equipped to deal with the emotions. It was like I can take care of the physical needs and that’s her max capacity because she just lost her brother and she went through stuff, too. I was a total daddy’s girl through and through. Regardless of the fact that I was terrified of him, I always wanted to be around him. My now mom and my grandma had to set a lot of boundaries with him being a drug addict and being not concerned with other people much. He was always taking advantage, stealing, and doing all those crazy stuff. They eventually hit their understandable threshold and asked him to leave. For a long time, I had to work through my anger with them for asking him to leave because I didn’t get it at the time. That was my dad.
I developed an eating disorder at fifteen, which is an issue of control, which makes sense. It wasn’t until I went up and down in my own journey of adulthood for many years. I did a lot of stupid stuff in my early twenties which many people do. I stopped at 24 and realized the life that I want, the life that I feel like I was purposed for, and the things I have to offer required me to grow through this stuff. Deal with these things, do the hard work, have the hard conversations with myself and other people, and fight for sanity. I’m almost 33 and for the past years it’s been this slow evolution and development of healthy thinking patterns and life skills.
Was there anything that happened at 24 where you were, I really got to face this or was there a moment that made you start to evaluate the past and just force you to grow and to deprogram everything?
I graduated high school at seventeen. I moved out like two weeks later, I moved into my own place and my aunt mom had taught us how to do our laundry. I had opened a bank account when I was fifteen and got my first job at fifteen, I was very independent. I just peace out, got my own job, started going to school. I did really well in high school, but school is just not my jam. I’m a total entrepreneur through and through. Not that you can’t go to school as an entrepreneur, but I wanted to do stuff so I was in and out of school. In and out of different relationships and bounced around. To this day, I’ve probably moved somewhere in the neighborhood of 34, 35 times total. I needed newness and freshness, I would move and do new things instead of dealing internally, open new credit cards and made a lot of stupid financial decisions. At 24, I landed back at my aunt mom’s house.
I remember laying on my bed in my bedroom that I shared with my sister and being like, “I’m 24 years old, what am I doing with my life?” I’ve had so many conversations with different people about dreams, the depth I have in the things I know I have to give. I wasn’t putting any energy there because I didn’t believe that I was worthy of them. I got reconnected with different friends, reconnected with an old church, reconnected with my faith, and started this deep personal development journey. It’s not been up, up, and away. There’s been a lot of breakdowns and breakthroughs. I now know with all my heart and soul that everyone is so much more capable of happiness, contentment, joy, service when we’re doing and connected to our passions.
More plugged in at least a little bit to what we’re most passionate about. I believe that at ten years old while my dad was buying drugs, that connection to my passion is what kept me on this trajectory despite crazy decisions and chaos. I believe that’s what got me here. There’s a period of time in adulthood where I didn’t believe that those things were possible, besides abandoning my little girl dream of singing. In the last couple of years now that I’ve reconnected to that dream, I feel almost obsessive, neurotic. I’m like a crazy person about everyone having that feeling. That’s the message in everything I do, in my podcast, my music, and my business is, to spread that message of how powerful that is.
What are some of the things you had to do to get out of that place, start your own business, and pursue the singing? Did you have to start from the ground up?
I didn’t have a degree. I didn’t have traditional family, resources, or support. I graduated high school with a 4.2 GPA. I’m a bright kid, I’m very capable but just didn’t know how to channel it the right way. I moved a lot and worked from job to job. In 2013, I worked my way up at a company and then long story short, got laid off. I started working for another company in 2014 and then subsequently got laid off again. Something in me clicked, I’m trying to do this beaten path route. I’m trying to do the school, then the corporate, and be regular.
I realized I could figure out how to get laid off all by myself. In 2014, after working in corporate events, training, and working with independent contractors, all these different things that I had done, all these skills led me to feel really confident in starting my own event venture. In July of 2014, Nuila Events was born. We have so much fun, we work with different event types, but all revenue generating events. We specialize and love to help our clients add an event component to help grow their business. We do events in Florida, in Nashville, in Louisville, and here in Southern California and we are working on growing that. It’s my zone of excellence, I’m good at it, I love it. I think we do great things in the world. All of that whole process of working in corporate America and then starting my event company, all of that was born out of the belief that my little dream of music just wasn’t really possible for me, just a little girl wishing. In early 2016, about two years into my event company, I sat down with the coach, he uses a lot of hypnosis, but conversational hypnosis.
I’ve heard famous successful people for really helping them out and get focused.
I believe that before I met with him. A couple of years before I met with him, I had gotten certified in hypnosis, but I never used it. I have this healthy appreciation for it. The way he does it, is so cool because it’s all conversational. He uses language and however he does it it.
It’s just flowing and you don’t realize you’re being hypnotized or under hypnosis or whatever.
It’s not the closing the eyes and the counting backward, it’s just a conversation. Through his process, helped me reconnect with that first love and that passion. That was early 2016, at that time I started recording, I started writing, I started connecting with my producer and dabbling. It was a fun hobby at that time. Later that year, I went to an event and the very first day of the event, a guy at one of the networking tables asked, the age-old question, if you had a billion dollars, what would you wake up into every day. I came to that event to represent my event company, network, and grow that business. When he asked me that question, I started freaking out because immediately I thought, music.
My whole soul exploded. That week, for the next couple of days, I was like, “I got to quit. I got to stop. I don’t know what I’m doing.” I was at a meal table a couple of days later with another guy and explained to him my freak out. He said, “I will forever be grateful. You don’t have to do everything all at once. It’s just 4% every day and you’ll get there.” I loved that. In the entrepreneur world and in the hustle community, there’s room for that. What that help does to you is,it doesn’t have to be this terrifying thing. It’s just a little bit everyday and no one can look at 4% and be overwhelmed. It feels doable.
Since then I’ve been able to perform at the House of Blues and co-write with award winning songwriters. Build out this independent music business that doesn’t have to look like I thought it would when I was seven, which is a record label, tour, and fame. I’m not opposed to that, but I want to have full reign over how it goes. I believe that through independent music I don’t have to prescribe to anything. I get to be me and find my little audience whether that’s 100 people or a 100,000, we’ve yet to see. I’m still on the journey but I’m doing it a little bit at a time. I’m still running my company and still to this day have that internal battle of, “Is it time yet to step away? Should I keep going?” The truth is when you know, then you make that jump.
The good thing about what you do too, is it’s not like your company is something that you do to make money, you love doing that as well. That’s a beautiful thing. Everything that you’re doing in your life, you do love. That’s why it’s hard for you to ask should I step away or not. You’re enjoying it and a lot of people say focus on one thing and you have to reach the masses with so many people. You’re doing everything at your own pace and that’s a beautiful thing. You get to watch everything grow at your pace and that’s a beautiful thing.
I feel that. if I was doing something that really drained my energy, it would be really hard to have the vision to continue doing what I’m doing. I have a vision that people who grew up like me, who didn’t believe that their dreams are possible will send an email saying, “Sachiko, thanks for putting your stuff out there because now I’m doing this thing that I never believed I could do.” That is the ultimate dream for me, that’s the love of my life.
How do you balance everything with your company, with the music? How does that work? Are there days where, even you are doing everything that you love and even that, you do still need a drive that is way bigger than yourself to pull you out of bed some days. What would that be for you?
I don’t know that I have figured out balance yet. I’m learning how to flow with it all, delegate, and get as much help as possible with the things that I’m not great at. I don’t do any of the planning in my event company anymore because those are the parts I don’t love, and they take me way out of energetic flow I needed to keep doing what I’m doing. On the days where I’m disciplined, it’s getting up, it’s spending time. I love reading my Bible, I love reading inspirational books, I love meditation, visualization, and journaling. Those practices fuel me. Practicing when I’m onstage, telling my story, and seeing an audience full of people, that is a big thing that fuels me. I have a team and different people that rely on me to be productive and so I’m grateful for that accountability. One of my opportunities for growth is structure and discipline. I am a creative, I am an entrepreneur, and I’m curious by nature and it’s really easy for me to get really excited about what I’m working on and not be very structured. That balance is something I’m working with a couple of different coaches on. The secret is enlisting help with the things that I’m not great at. One of the things I talk about on my podcast.
What is the name of your podcast?
Wait for the Dawn, which is all about hopes, dreams, and getting through challenges in order to see the light at the end of the tunnel. One of the things I talk about and the angle I take is, it’s easy to put on the expert badge and go, “I know everything there is to know about these specific things.” While I think I have expertise in several areas, the most relatable is when people share the behind the scenes, the hardships, the struggle, the days where you don’t always know. One of the big conversations I’ve had lately is taking a lot of attention away from my event company, which has been my bread and butter. Focused in on my music and podcasts, which aren’t comparable in any way, shape, or form in terms of revenue. It’s been a test of faith and a process for me to work through the fears and the lack mentality, all the other things that come up. I know I’m doing what I’m purpose to do and I know ultimately that it will all work out, but it’s a scary process to continue to take those steps.
The message is that even though it’s not clear and secure, I am more fulfilled than I would ever be working for someone else, making great money doing something I didn’t absolutely love and feel fulfilled by. I have this joke, I have a friend of mine and he was like, “I don’t think dreams are that important. I think you can work your job, just be a good person.” This guy works a fulltime job and then has another side job in retail. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but truthfully, he’s never really touched or pursued his dream. I always say that it’s like trying to have a debate over whether or not bacon is delicious, but he’s never had it and I eat it every day.
It’s not that his opinion isn’t valid, it’s just we’re not having the same conversation until he’s tasted the bacon, we can’t. I think my goal is to get everyone to taste their bacon a little bit. After that conversation he did tell me that he felt so inspired. He was like, “I literally been sitting here for an hour after our conversation trying to figure out ways I can be more courageous and take more leaps of faith toward my dream because of your fire and how excited you are. I feel like I need it.” That felt like a huge win for me.
What are certain steps do you think some people need to make that jump, to follow their dreams, and accomplish what they want?
There are two schools of people. There are the people that are crystal clear, “I know what my dream is. I can’t wait, I’m excited, but I don’t exactly see how I’ll get there.” There’s the, “I don’t really know what my dream is, I’m just kind of doing this for now and I don’t really love it, but I’ll figure it out later.” Truthfully, the people in Camp A, the message for them is that 4% every day. It’s sitting down and deciding, instead of putting it off or waiting until the circumstances are perfect, it’s making a decision to do 4% today. That could be for an artist, that could be sketching an outline, that could be making a phone call, that could be doing some research about a concept. Doing a little bit of every day.
If you’re in Camp B, which I find a lot of people are in, for them, a lot of times it’s working through. I do this dream goals process where instead of smart goals talks about attainable and realistic. I hate smart goals and I talk more about, what is your wildest dream? What is the thing that if you had a billion dollars, you’d wake up and do every day? Allowing themselves to have that conversation because the system teaches us to bury those as juvenile, like pipe dreams, and just do the normal path and be responsible. I think allowing themselves to ask that question and journal, have a conversation with a coach, or someone who can help them unlock that and figure it out because it’s in there. The beautiful thing is it’s written in sand, it’s not set in stone. My dream now may change in a week or two. My purpose will always be the same. It takes on different shapes and colors. Just allowing ourselves to have that imagination and once it’s there, it’s the same. That 4% of your day is huge.
Definitely pay attention to the signs. In your story, you got laid off of one job, went to another one, laid off another job, things were clearly not working out in that area of your life. You made the bold decision to analyze that and say, “You know what, I’m going to take that and I’m going to do my own thing.” I feel that happens to people every single day. You can keep going down that road block path or you can turn it around and analyze your life saying, “This isn’t working. Let’s go the completely other direction and see what happens.”
A lot of times it’s not working because it’s not what we love. God, the universe source, however people view it, responds to our faith. When we’re looking at something and we don’t love it and we’re dreading it, it makes sense that it’s not going to work out the way it’s supposed to. If we could tap into those passions and those journeys, then doors really do start to open up and things start to flow. There’s a piece inside of the unknown, the question mark land that doesn’t even make sense. I’m in that phase right now where I have done a bad job of maintaining my event company while I’ve been doing all this other stuff. I’m willing to be honest about that. Even though there’s all this crazy circumstance stuff going on, being locked into my passions has created a piece in knowing, regardless of what happens, I know I’m in my purpose and I know it’ll all workout.
We don’t have to have it all figured out because I don’t know if we ever will.
We have pl who just have all the answers. I have a well-known author as a client, which I’m not going to put him on blast. I’m so grateful for this situation because we’re a little over two years post event, still haven’t finished paying his invoice. It taught me that I don’t need to have everything, nobody does. If I feel like I don’t have it together, I’m in good company, that’s not an excuse to not do something because no one knows what they’re doing.
Nobody does. Every time, I feel like I have it all figured out. Life smacks me very hard in the face or reminds me that I do not.
My friend Luke talks about getting hit by a ton of bricks. Sometimes you get smacked in the face and woken up and remember that there’s much to be grateful for, much to learn. I don’t need to make it seem like I’ve got it all figured out or prove anything. I’m going to put one foot in front of the other.
What would be your advice to kids or young adults that are going through the same thing as you were, their home situation, it wasn’t good, they can’t figure it out. Having parents that are addicted to something, it’s almost out of your control because you want to help them so much, no one ever got sober by somebody telling them to do that. It’s really got to be a very personal decision, come from them. I feel that a lot of kids can’t carry that weigh with them, almost blame themselves, or blaming themselves for not working out. What would be your message to them and how to get their life back on track?
The first thing is I would say to them, your feelings are valid and your experience is real. A lotof times when we go through hard things and when we feel different from normal people who have parents and secure safe world, I think it can feel like we’re the weirdoes. There are all these things that I’m feeling but I don’t even acknowledge or validate them. A lot of times we’re supposed to learn how to validate ourselves from our parents. When you don’t have that, you just don’t know how to validate yourself. You have a lot of these kids who become bad kids because they’re seeking validation in all these different places. I would encourage them to just know that their experience is valid. I also feel like the same message for them is to wait for the dawn, but to think about their dreams, think about what it is that they feel like is their greatest gift.
What it is that they want to give to people and just start tapping into that, visualizing that, and using that if they’re in the midst of all that. Using that as an outlet because in taking that 4% every day, it will create what they’re trying to create for them. I also think mentorship and school has a great place for that kind of thing. Just spending time with mentors and people who get it, who understand the process and then leaning toward that positivity versus going deep into that validation world that doesn’t really serve us. I don’t claim to be an expert. These are the things that I did that helped me a lot.
You don’t have to seek professional mentorship. I see so many things that are like, “Pay for this program, I’ll be your mentor.” How many people, if they called you up, you would give them this information, this advice for free because it strikes a hard court. I feel like there’s so many people out there that if you ask and it’s someone that you look up to, they will give you most of the information you need from their heart. You don’t have to go spending money for it. You got to find the right people.
I have a blast coaching people, helping, encouraging, motivating, and inspiring. I know there are manypeople out there that would gladly give all the information, encouragement, and everything that I’d be willing to give. People sometimes are afraid to ask or don’t think they deserve it or don’t really know where to start.It’s being willing to take that courageous step and actively looking for it. When we see it, simply asking. The worst that can happen is they say no. Most peopleare willing to help, especially a kid who’s trying to get out of the situation they’re in.
Where you started and where you are at now is just so incredibly inspiring. It’s truly amazing. If you could give one piece of advice to the readers that you’ve taken with you over the years that’s really helped you out and carried you on, what would it be?
The first one is to figure out how to love yourself. Love, validate and connect with yourself because all of the answers are inside most of the time. Regardless of what we’ve been through, we have the ability to figure anything out and do anything we put our minds to, but it starts with knowing that first. I spoke to a group of young entrepreneurs, at risk would be homeless high schools. This organization stand up for kids is doing amazing work. I got to speak to a chapter that was finishing an entrepreneur program. I stood on stage and I told them be grateful for your story. That would be a annoying message if my story was that I grew up in white collar America.
I’ve been through a lot of cast, I’m able to look back on it and feel really grateful for that because it has given me the ability to do, give, and have the character that many people aren’t able to. You can’t implant character, you have to go through stuff to develop. They got to experience it young, which I believe makes them even more capable for greatness later. I don’t like the story. I don’t like the narrative of the privileged and disadvantaged. I get it, and again there’s the validity to it, but at the end of the day, my “underprivilegedness” serves me more than having all of the resources would have.
At the end of the day, you got to be able to stand on your own two feet and this world, and if it happens at a young age. Retrospectively, it’s a huge advantage. I believe in the massive chaos, you could definitely find your purpose.
Sit on that, feel those feelings, and give yourself the love required to take the next step, then you’ll keep getting toward that.
Where can people listen to your podcast? Where can people find you online?
I’m excited about my podcast, WaitForTheDawn.com.It’s on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. What I love about that format is that we are taking an everyday approach to this conversation about dreams. Instead of talking to the multimillion dollar athlete, actress, and the charting musician, we’re talking to everyday people who are doing that 4%. What’s great is that there’s an opportunity for anyone to potentially be featured if they have a great story to tell and conversation about dreams that will resonate. They can go to our website and apply to be featured and they can also submit music. My favorite is our Shout Outs, Kudos, and Encouragement where we’re shouting out other people that are doing great things or other people who have taken those leaps of faith. My podcast is my life. My music is connected and my event stuff.
Thank you so much for coming on. You have an incredible story. It was a pleasure sitting here and listening to you. I loved it.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate and I love what you’re doing. The synergy between our worlds is awesome. I’d love to connect, maybe you can come and hang out in my podcast
I would love that. Talk to you soon.
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