If you ask me to name 1 influencer who’s had a tremendous impact on me, my answer would be Bernadette Jiwa. Bernadette ranks really high in the people I admire. I could honestly say that if it wasn’t for her, Michee and I would not be doing what we’re doing now.
I can’t remember exactly how I found out about her. But one day, there she was on my computer screen talking about The Secret to Spreading Ideas.
I normally have a very short attention span when it comes to listening and watching people talk but there I was hanging on to every word she said.
She gave me the pep talk I needed. It was kind of serendipitous really how I stumbled upon Bernadette Jiwa. You see at that time, Michee and I were thinking of launching our very first business, Love is Love.
As any newbie of the wonderful world of business and entrepreneurship, we were going back and forth asking ourselves “are we ready for this?”, “should we launch now?”, “can we do this?”.
Our fears kept pushing us back, delaying just for one more day until the days piled up. It was these words from Bernadette Jiwa that made Michee and I make the jump and just launch:
“You can’t change the world with your idea in isolation. You need to bring people with you. So go out there, don’t just change what people think. Change what people feel and change what they do.”
And so launch we did. It’s funny how after taking that leap of faith - things weren’t that scary anymore.That fear of not knowing if things are going to go your way or not -I can honestly say is very hyped up and your brain is just exaggerating.
A few months after launching our website and Facebook page for Love is Love, Michee and I were debating what product we should first put out. I thought of asking for Bernadette Jiwa’s advice, so I sent her an email.
She could have chosen to just ignore the email I sent. But she chose to be generous with her time and her knowledge and sent me a response.
A few months after, I tweeted to Michee that I wanted Bernadette Jiwa’s books for Christmas.
Bernadette Jiwa saw my tweet and gave me an early Christmas gift. She sent me one of her books for free. She could have just ignored my tweet that but instead she sent me her book for free.
Almost a couple of years after we started Love is Love, we launched our second business I Need a Michee. I sent Bernadette Jiwa an email to thank her for her work and just to give her an update on how things are going with me. She did not have to answer me again when I sent her this thank you email but she did anyway.
From my correspondences with Bernadette, I’ve learned that we can choose to be generous with our time and with our knowledge. And we can choose to treat people with kindness. Not just our friends, loved ones, or people we like. But even strangers. So whenever I’m feeling stingy about my time and knowledge, I look back at her generosity and kindness.
Bernadette Jiwa is a rare gem - genuine with her intentions. Ever ready to lend an ear and give a helping hand. And if I can make even a fraction of the impact she’s made, - that's something I am striving for.