The following is a guest blog written by Jessie Blog. She is the 2nd to be featured as a Wonder Woman on this site. If you are interested in being featured, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll fill you in on the details.
They say you can easily identify some one’s passions within minutes of meeting them for the very first time. We have a tendency to talk about our biggest interests, what we deeply love, what we are truly passionate about. It is captivating to listen to someone who is genuinely passionate about something, even when the subject is more or less captivating. True rock lovers will talk to you about rocks as if they were precious diamonds and, although you don’t give a hoot about rocks, the next time you see one sitting lonely on the side of the road you will start sympathizing with it. Or worst tell your friends random facts about them. My questions to you are : what are you passionate about and can you make a living out of it or turn it into a lifestyle?
My story is very much incomplete.
Back in 2010 I was working for a an important international software company as an executive assistant/receptionist. I spent the better part of my day doing absolutely nothing. And when I say nothing I mean nada, waiting-for-the- phone-to-ring,-arranging-and-re-arranging-my-desk-competing-against-myself-in-ferocious-games-of-thumb-war-and-tic-tac-toe. To some the idea of getting paid for doing nothing sounds like a dream, but in all honesty it was not. It was unstimulating and very much unfulfilling. The day after the horrible earthquake that hit Haiti I went back to work feeling completely useless. Here I was siting behind a desk all day getting paid a good salary to do nothing, while my people were dying. In a desperate need to make a difference, I decided to collect donations for the Red Cross at my job. My coworkers were great sports and donated a lot more than I expected. But I knew deep down that I needed to do more. The earthquake was a true turning point in my life. We all know the cliché saying ”live every day as if it was your last”, but when was the last time we actually put it into action. To be able to make a difference, to do something that matters, to do something that I was going to be truly passionate about became my goal, my new life objective. It was finally time do make a list of everything that I was passionate about and do them everyday, if not everyday every week or every month!
I always knew I wanted to start a blog. I wanted to write, share my ideas and thoughts with the world. I’m passionate about Haiti, about music, art and culture, about relationships and taboos, I wanted to start a blog that reflected all of those things I love and more. I wanted my blog to be a place where I could share anecdotes and personal experiences but also a place where people could come to learn about the Haitian culture and all the great events that are going on in the community. I wanted them to be able to discover the new emerging artists, learn more about Haitian writers, painters influential people and so much more. (Side note: The Haitian community is one of the largest ethnic groups in Canada and 90% of Haitians in Canada live in Quebec.) Weeks later my blog La petite Haïti dans Montréal (Little Haiti in Montreal) was born. To occupy my time and my mind I started to research and write. Haiti is often misrepresented in the media. Never in the news do they talk about its great history and its rich culture and I was determined to change that with my blog and with my words. My background in PR helped me built a great network and connect with amazing people. Thanks to the help of an important and internationally known Haitian journalist who mentioned my blog to his followers, La petite Haïti got more attention than I could never imagine. From being blogged about by amazing bloggers to being asked for an interview by a British Colombia journalist about my intake on the growing street gang phenomena, to being approached by online magazine about becoming a regular writer, to attending events and meeting fantastic people to lending two opportunities of a life time, my blog completely changed my life.
My studies in PR taught me the importance of networking, the power of social media and the necessity of having a mentor. Networking will not only get you places but will also get you to meet people that could literally change your life. Last year, our home computer was in a desperate need of some serious repair work. One of my sisters called a good friend of hers to help us fix It. Together they installed a program that enabled him to fix our computer from his home computer. Late for work my sister handed me the phone and asked me to help her friend while he was fixing the computer. Where am I going with this? Wait for it! I had never talked to him or even met him, but while we were on the phone waiting for the computer to reboot this, to update that and to reload this, we started talking about things we were both passionate about. He told me about his love for films, graphic design and things like that and I told him about my blog, Haiti and my dreams to work for a radio or television station one day. We chatted and connected like this for hours and strangely enough I felt like we had known each other for the longest time. What I did not know is while I was chatting away about my blog, my hopes and dreams he was carefully listening, taking notes and planning something. A few hours after we hung up the phone he called me back offering me an wonderful opportunity that I could not refuse. A good friend of his and journalist for a major television station in my province was starting a radio show and needed a researcher and eventually someone who could do some segments. Within a few months I went from sending a few research topics to having my own segments called Jessie’s taboos. I am so incredibly grateful for my crappy computer, for my sister’s friend who I am glad to call my friend now and for the journalist who without any reservations took a chance on me although I had absolutely no experience. She became a role model, a mentor and a true inspiration for me.
I often say don’t complain about something you are not willing to change. You hate your job, your weight, your life, why complain if you are not doing anything about it? I say this because I like to think of myself as a reformed extreme-complainer. Always complaining about everything is often completely useless and a waste of time especially if you are not doing anything to change the situation.There is nothing like going after what you want! I was following a well-known and respected publicist on Twitter because I was so inspired by her. She had work for a major Broadcasting network as a researcher for one of the very best and extremely respected radio host for a few years before starting her own Communications company. Along with being a publicist, she was on the radio, she was the editor in chef of a new up and coming magazine and an event planner. I wanted to pick her brain and ask her for advice about the career that I so desperately wanted. I sent her an email, but the timing was bad, I learned that she was out of the country and I knew that the chances that she would get back to me were going to be very slim. I was right! Weeks later I hadn’t heard from her. Not sure exactly what to do, I had decided to put it on hold for a while. One day after finishing a blog entry about slavery and posting it on Twitter without my knowledge one of my followers and friend of hers (one of the best event planners in Montreal) had sent her the link of my blog telling her that she needed to read it. Shortly after that she contacted me via Twitter, we set up a meeting in a small restaurant. Minutes before our meeting I was a nervous wreck. This woman was such an inspiration and I couldn’t believe my luck, I was actually going to meet her. The meeting went fantastically. In the weeks that followed, I volunteered at two events that she was in charge of, the opening of a film festival and a movie premier. Shortly after that she offered me a position in her company. I was the new community manager. I was in charge of some of her clients’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. I was running left and right covering events, press conferences, launches and premiers and I was loving every minutes of it. She too took a chance on me although I had no experience and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I now call her my mentor because I was able to learn so much from her, from a personal and professional level.
I still have a long way to go, I haven’t accomplish half of what I want to accomplish, but I have a vision and it might take me a while to get there, but I will. You have a dream, why not go after it?
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic it takes sweat determination and hard work. –Colin Powell