How My First Mentor Took Me From A Dreamer To A Doer

One challenge changed my life

When I was finishing school, I had big dreams of becoming a video producer. Up until that point, I’d been a big dreamer and doer. I’d even literally won the Walt Disney Dreamer & Doer award in 1999, but now that I was getting close to launching my career and leaving grad school (when it really mattered), I came face to face with my huge self-doubt.

I was an intern and work-study student for Joani, the executive producer at the local PBS affiliate, shooting, editing and contributing to content the station was producing and airing.

With graduation a semester and a half away, Joani asked me what I was planning to do for my thesis. She challenged me NOT to write a paper (which I knew I could knock out of the park, by myself, and stay safe), but instead, if I really desired to be a film producer, to produce a project of my own. She gave me a $1,000 budget, access to the station’s equipment, and a promise that if it was good enough, she would air it.

It was too good to turn down, and even though I was scared, I took her up on it. Seven months later, my 30-minute documentary, Life With Passion, premiered, and within a year, it had aired across the country on PBS and had racked up national and international awards including a NETA Best Biography Documentary and a Telly.

The subjects of the documentary, a horse farm, made my lifelong dreams come true and gifted me a horse, my very first. When I launched my online marketing business within a couple of years, the farm was one of my first clients, working with me for over a decade.

After a decade of starting and running 3 successful businesses, I founded a 4th, Life With Passion, naming it for Joani and the documentary that started it all.

Too long has self-doubt kept us stuck. Too long have we played it safe because that’s what we were trained to do. I know the power of mentorship from a woman a few steps ahead of me, I take a stand for its transformational power.

Now, I help women through a process of challenging them to take tangible steps toward their dream businesses and encouraging them through their self-doubt, seeing and holding the vision of what’s possible for them on the other side of it, just as Joani did for me.

Every day, I get to have these conversations with my clients and inspire, motivate and hold them accountable to following through on creating businesses full of passion.

Here’s to Joani and to the countless other amazing women like her. I’m honored to follow in your footsteps.

Christine McAlister helps high-achieving, motivated women rediscover their unique gifts and create freedom-based businesses through her company, Life With Passion.

Ready for more paying clients? Grab Christine’s free workbook, Top 5 Things To Do To Get Your First Or Next Client, and connect with her in her private Facebook community, Life With Passion Society.