This weeks snapshot on resilience is Danielle "Miss Journey" Fontus, founder and publisher of Her Journey magazine. Danielle holds a BA in Psychology and Creative Writing from Emory University. I recently interviewed Danielle and here's what she had to say:
Tell me about the one experience that has shown you how resilient you really are. During my senior year at Emory, I lost my grandmother to leukemia in the first semester and lost my grandfather and had my apartment broken into in the same week of the second semester. That year was my hardest academic year as I took on extra credits to ensure that I completed both majors’ requirements, and the emotional stress of those events made my final year a very trying season of my life. What amazes me even now is that I mustered up the determination to endure and thrive in those final two semesters. Graduating on May 15, 2007 was my biggest and hardest earned victory.
What are you discovering about yourself right now? I’m in the awkward transition period into womanhood and independence. Dedicating a lot of time to reflection has allowed me to dissect earlier experiences and identify their impact on my present state. I’ve found some areas for improvement, which I am working to adjust for the future.
I’ve also discovered my own strength. Reflecting on times like the one I shared earlier, I can now see a strength that I did not necessarily notice while in the situation.
What is your life's passion? To share the gift of happiness. I am so grateful that my life has been filled with so many moments of happiness and I want to share it. Everybody deserves to get a regular dose of that in their life. I specifically feel called to work most closely with women and children.
What inspired you to pursue this passion? My story started like that of so many others who grew up in a single-parent home, but standing victorious I would like to share that victory with others in similar situations. Watching how my mother made a diligent effort to defy the odds, I’ve seen that living in a single-parent home does not have to be a disadvantage. So many people’s stories start that way but how the story unfolds is what's more important. As corny as it sounds, I want to help people write their own happy endings.
How do you use this passion to make an impact in the world? I've volunteered and worked with children in various settings for the past 10 years. I know that my success is largely due to the support of my family, friends, church family and school community, and I want to offer that same support to those who may not have it anywhere else.
How do you see your work healing, inspiring and motivating others? The mission of Her Journey is to share the wonders of the world while also equipping our readers with the resources necessary for their individual journey to success. I want to motivate others to not only travel but to open themselves up to endless possibilities. I also hope that my life can serve as an example that will inspire someone else to pursue their dreams.
Was there anything that caused you to stop or never start pursuing your passion in the past? No. Sometimes fear presents speed bumps in my progress, but I’m more afraid of not pursuing my passion. It has never been an option to not find and fulfill my purpose.
How do you stay motivated? My faith is my driving force. Scriptures like “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and “[God] is able to do exceeding abundant above all that we ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20) are very real to me. That is an exciting and overwhelming feeling that fuels the fire of my passion. I also thrive off other examples of successful people. I saturate my mind with their stories and their words of wisdom to create my own success story.
What have been your greatest challenges in pursuing your passion? Balancing the reality of financially maintaining everyday life with the sacrifice of pursuing my passion has been very challenging.
What's your vision for the future? I envision the days when Her Journey hosts conferences, girlfriend getaways and college tours. In my personal life, I look forward to jumping into new adventures.
Thanks for sharing your inspiring story Danielle! Check out her magazine at www.herjourneymag.com
What words of wisdom can you offer to other women who want to pursue their passion? It will certainly be challenging but the feeling of satisfaction is more than worth it.