When I was first asked to join leadership Marion County I was a little hesitant. I truly didn't believe I possessed the skill set to be a part of such an organization. Slowly, but surely I said yes. Was I nervous, of course! Did I second guess myself? More than the average individual. I was going into this establishment under my own business Creative Dye-Jess. It's a play on my own name and I love it, but would others take it seriously? Would I get laughed at? I had to push all of those thoughts to the back of my mind if I ever wanted to be taken seriously as a business owner. Once I became comfortable with the people in my class things became a bit easier for me. Am I still awkward? You better believe it. I have to accept that is just a part of my personality and I'm going to have to learn to live with it.

Fear is the number one reason why most people do not chase after their dreams. Fear will hold you back before anything else. For so long I have hidden behind my fear and I never showcased my true talent. As I am getting older a lot of things are coming into perspective. Life is beyond short. I can't let fear stop me from living my life. I never want to look back and wonder "what if." I have learned anything throughout this process is that fear is normal but it doesn't have to be stifling. When I started this journey with MCDP I wasn't in the best financial situation. One of my close friends told me that, "money comes and goes but you never know what opportunity is waiting for you. Sometimes you just have to say yes." Those words changed something in me that day. I said "yes" and those three little letters opened up a whole world of possibilities.

Being part of the 2023 leadership class skyrocketed my business. I was freelancing the entire time during the class, but after the graduation gala I received a marvelous opportunity. I cannot say what it is yes, but when everything is finalized I will update the blog as I always do. Life is crazy and I can't believe I am able to turn my passion into an income. However, sometimes it might not always be steady, but man is it fulfilling.

So, let me tell you a little about the event that I was able to take pictures of. The name of the event is called Puttin' on the Pink-Marion County. They are a 501c3 non profit operating in Columbia, MS. Their goal is to provide mammogram machines to women in the area; so they won't have to travel into a larger city to get access to healthcare. This is truly a wonderful cause and I am grateful I was able to be a part of it. I cannot wait to see how the project will impact the Columbia area.

So many wonderful opportunities have happened to me because I took a chance on me. So my advice to anyone reading would be. Say yes, take a chance on yourself and see what amazing opportunities are heading your way.