Posts tagged with ““The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People””

Are You Following Your Passion?

Monday, 21 June, 2010

I was invited to talk at the BCIT Tech Writing Alumni lunch and workshop on Saturday about using social media as a self marketing tool, as well as taking the online conversation offline. One of the other speakers, Kemp Edmonds, talked about he got into the world of social media and education, and one of the things he mentioned as his career starting point was passion.

To me, this is such a key element to success, in whatever your field of interest. You have to identify your passion, and you have to have the guts, and perhaps a bit of selfishness (in the best sense of the word) to follow that passion. It’s what motivated me to leave full time teaching and begin the adventure of Meerkat Communications.

When I was heading home after the lunch, I thought about how much I love speaking, and sharing information and knowledge with others. It was great to talk to a room full of fellow writers and also to reflect on my own journey. It also reminded me of how good it feels when you are doing what you are truly passionate about. It is energizing and also reassuring; reminding you that you are on the right path.

It got me thinking, too, about the three words I chose a long time ago to sum up what it is I do, and that are the pillars of what Meerkat Communications does as a business.


There is something about words. About how they can roll off your tongue, how they can inspire or hurt, compliment or destroy, humour or surprise. I have always loved words, and have to confess that I even love swear words. There are also certain words that I just hate. They just hurt the ears and seem wrong. I love how certain words just suit their meaning, and how others seem to say the opposite of their meanings. I love word play and jokes, poetry and prose. I really will read anything, from trashy holiday novels to serious academic journals.

I love being able to use words to create and illustrate ideas. I love helping clients express what it is that they do, and promote their company or ideas through their websites and marketing materials. It’s all about finding the right words..

I love being able to also use words to share my own information and ideas, whether it be through articles, blog posts, emails, and yes, even real letters! I am lucky enough to have some correspondents and we actually write real letters. It is such a great surprise to find a real, hand-written letter in amongst the bills and it makes such a difference from the brevity and speed of emails.


I love that I get to pursue both my passions: writing and teaching. I love been able to help my students and give them “real world” skills, and show them how using proper business writing skills can help them reach their goals. I also love helping them learn to feel more comfortable presenting in front of others. I also use my love of teaching to help people advance their skills, in the workshop context. It’s great to see people’s faces when they “get it”. It’s incredibly rewarding and I love being able to pass on ideas, tips, resources, and anything else I can think of to help other people find and promote their passion.


Through speaking engagements, workshops, teaching, my volunteer work for Wired Woman, and also through writing, I love being able to help people make connections – whether with other people, or connections in terms of ideas.  If it helps or inspires them to find their passion, or take even one step towards reaching that passion, then I feel like I have really made a difference, and helped motivate someone.

It is so easy to let the humdrum of daily life trick us into thinking that we have to do something. It is very easy to follow the security (I mean, who doesn’t want to live free of the stress of uncertainty?), but if you deny rather than embrace your passions, the stress can actually be bigger and have more of an affect on your emotions and mental well being. It is important, too, to remember (as a wise person once told me) that just because you have an aptitude for something, doesn’t mean you have to do it. You may have many passions or abilities that you can pursue.

Personally, I have been really lucky to have had great support in terms of family and friends, and wonderful mentors too, who have never let me feel like I have made a mistake and who remind me that I am doing what I love and am good at. It does, however, also take a lot of self belief and a definite leap of faith to stay on the path of your passions. I have learned to trust my instincts, and also to let people know not only what it is that I do, but also what I need help with.

If you follow your passions, your rewards are that much sweeter, but don’t feel afraid to ask for help, seek a mentor, network and put yourself out there.

You will get there.


PS – If you are looking for inspiration, you can read my review of The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People by Carol Eikleberry. I highly recommend the book.

Finding the Recession’s Silver Lining

Thursday, 30 April, 2009

My path to starting Meerkat Communications began a while ago, with the realisation that I wasn’t happy in my position at the time as a Communication Instructor. I was hankering after my first love, writing, and felt that this wasn’t fair to my 2nd love, teaching. I mean I didn’t want to be a two-timer! I did a lot of thinking and did the decent thing – I let my 2nd love down gently and resigned (from my steady income and the good on paper job, you know, the one you can take home to your parents).

I did a lot of thinking, minor panicking,  and research, and then WHAM – The Recession hit. Circumstances meant I couldn’t find a job, which got me thinking. Why not create my own? And it seems I’m not the only one – recent stats say that jobs have increased in BC over the last few months because of a leap in the number of new companies formed (unfortunately I can’t find the article dealing with this). Somehow knowing that I am not alone makes me feel a lot better…

 In 2005, BC Government stats showed that 98% of businesses in the Province are small business, and these SBs account for over a quarter of the provincial GDP. So what could have been a total crisis actually lead to me figuring out the right path for me – something which would not have happened if I had got a job right after resigning. Strange how the universe works, isn’t it?

In the wake of the recession, many people are being forced to reassess their lives – unfortunately without the luxury of choosing to leave their jobs. There is, however, hope. Sometime these things can be a blessing in disguise because they force us to rethink the path we are on and force us to make a much needed change – for the better. Of course it is terrifying, unsettling, sometimes downright crap, but I firmly believe there is always a way to make things work. This can be a lonely path, but it is also infintely rewarding.

I want to share a valuable resource that I discovered on my journey.  The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People by Carol Eikleberry offers an insightful and practical approach to career changes. She has some fabulous quotes – so many favourites but here are two:

“Sensitivity to something combines the potential for a sublime experience with the agony of confrontation with the ordinary” (Eikleberry, p.32)

and a quote from Barbara Sher:

“Above all, don’t improve yourself. Improve the world, so that your characteristics stop being problems.”

I enjoyed the fact that this is a book that provides practical solutions and self-assessment tools, and presents creative fields as a viable option. She writes frankly and encouragingly, and it inspired me to write a book review for Suite101 – feel free to read my review and make comments – and ultimately to becoming my own boss. Obviously the book caters to a particular personality type, but many of her insights are broadly applicable. There are also plenty of other resources out there – websites, books, groups, and plenty of people who have been in the same position and can say, without having to lie to make you feel better – IT WILL ALL BE OKAY.