Before I get stuck into this post, I just wanted to thank @theycallmedan for extending this initiative because I had every intention of jumping on board originally, but sadly I missed the first boat… so was thrilled to see the extension. There are so MANY ways in which Steem has impacted my life – knowledge, friendships, lifestyle, personal growth, experience and so much more! It would have been a true pity to miss the opportunity to share this with all of you and to those beyond the blockchain so that they can see why they should be here instead of there. For those of you that have not jumped onto this initiative yet… you can find details HERE
DISCOVERING STEEM & IT’S PEOPLE
I have three older brothers, all of which are into crypto – but none so much as my eldest brother in London who was the one who introduced all of us as a family to blockchain technology. Sadly he ended up in ICU over this last festive season with code blue bacterial meningitis and spent the good part of a month in an induced coma. His case was so severe and unique that they are actually going to do a white paper on it… (and it is only thanks to Steem that I even know what a white paper is lol) He has thankfully made a good recovery and after a month in hospital – is now back at home and “spamming” all of us with crypto links to read and watch. It is amazing how you suddenly appreciate little things like that a whole lot more after an incident like the above.
Why am I mentioning this? Because it was one of his random link drops to me back at the beginning of 2017 that directed me to the Steemit platform. ”Jaynie – I think this platform would be perfect for your blog content! It seems to have a really active community and from what I can tell you get rewarded in crypto for your posts and engagement depending on how much people like it. Your content is really good and I am sure you would do well!” Well, I did not take heed of that little link drop, nor his personal encouragement straight away… in fact it was approx. six months later in June 2017 that I decided to take a “peek”… and I can honestly say that I have never looked back!
At the time I was running my design and print business full time, so I began by blogging when I had a gap at the office or during the evenings. I very quickly discovered just how different this new (to me) platform was and how much I had to learn about its operations. Much like most newcomers I was completely and utterly overwhelmed by it all – but that did not deter me from moving forwards. In fact, by comparison to most other social media platforms the one thing that smacked me in the face from the get go was just how well connected and HELPFUL people were!
If you have spent any relative time on other social media platforms you will quickly discover that your lack of knowledge or experience in ANY arena is far more likely to get you belittled, ridiculed or have some random meme made about you than to actually have a whole lot of people guiding and assisting you… and that in itself set Steem apart right from the start. Approaching my three year mark as a member of this platform, I stand by that sentiment now more than ever before! There is not another online community ANYWHERE that compares to this one right here!
Speaking of helpful people – I found very soon after I started sharing my content on the Steem network that I was getting far more engaging interaction on my posts than I had EVER had in all the years that I had been writing and blogging. It was a wonderfully refreshing change and it motivated me to write more! I started to connect and build friendships with people from all over the world who genuinely enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) my content. Much like my design work - blogging was and still is a passion of mine and something that I had long since wanted to get involved in more seriously - Steem was unquestionably the catalyst for that change and it transformed my life forever because it inspired and moved me to take what was probably the biggest leap of faith I ever have.
When I look back at it all, from the start of the journey to now – it evokes so much emotion within me and as I sit here now writing this, I am filled with gratitude for being afforded a “forced” opportunity to get out of a career that was literally killing me from the inside out to spending my days doing something that makes me truly happy and positively impacts the lives of so many others around me. Yes, it comes with it’s own set of challenges – as everything in life does… but irrespective, I would not change it for the world!
MY STEEM JOURNEY & ITS IMPACT ON MY LIFE
January 2018 marked the beginning of my journey as a full time blogger and Steem member as well as the end of my journey in the RAT RACE! It was the start of a lifestyle that I will forever cherish. Suddenly I was able to dedicate my hours to something that I have been passionate about for a very long time! From the time I started blogging I had the intention of trying to help others through the sharing of my own life experiences and challenges but I was terribly weary of “opening up” completely to the so often cruel internet world, so on my personal domain and other platforms I stuck mostly to blogging about food and lifestyle.
I eventually decided to test the deep waters of my mind and heart on Steem and I was more than pleasantly surprised. People were honest, not only with me – but with themselves. My content resonated with them and more and more I had people sharing their own similar personal experiences with me – this eventually became a process of “rotating motivation” for both me as the writer and for those reading and engaging with my posts. As time went on, my “fear” of public scrutiny completely disappeared and I shared facets of my life candidly and openly. Steem literally catapulted a personal healing process as well as my growth as a writer. I am by no means any kind of expert in this field but I know how far I have come and Steem helped me to cultivate that confidence.
I have since tried to do the same on my own personal domain as well as other platforms but you know what… it simply lacked depth of ANY kind and trying to get any sort of constructive engagement or feedback was like trying to juice water out of a rock. I persisted with all of them for years now but late last year I made the decision to stop bothering. The only place that makes me feel at home as a blogger is the Steem network – so I cancelled my personal domain, stopped publishing to other sites and put my focus solely here. I have NO regrets about that decision – not one!
Passion has been the one thing that has fuelled me my entire life – again and again I have tread water for lengths of time that as I look back, seem impossible to have maintained - but passion is an incredible thing really… especially if you truly delve into the energetics of it – but even having said that – passion too can dwindle when not nourished. Shifting my focus completely toward the Steem blockchain and abandoning the avenues that left me feeling depleted has allowed me to channel that passion much more constructively and this has done wonders for my personal growth and confidence as an individual as well as a blogger. Had I not discovered Steem, I would never have found the courage to throw caution to the wind and I would still be stuck in an online space that left me feeling like I had no voice of value.
I often contemplated my own journey here on Steem and whilst I know everybody’s path is unique… I figured that there must be others out there who have had a similar experience or shared similar sentiment and because there were so many people who lent me a helping hand when I started out… I decided that I wanted to do something similar here too… I wanted to create a space for the people here that love what they do and are passionate about this network. That was one of the reasons why I decided to create the Power House Creatives Discord Community in October 2017.
The creation of our now well established and constantly flourishing community was probably the one thing that has had the largest impact on me here, because whilst we “gather” on discord… we are all total Steem enthusiasts and having that complete sense of community has seen us all through some rather trying times here on the blockchain. When the bear market hit and many people waved their white flags – we joined hands and have stuck it out with enthusiasm and dedication in tact. It is amazing how much power and impact there is when you are surrounded by people who lift you up and collectively motivate one another – especially when you need it most, be it online or offline related.
The people of Steem have taught me that online connections and friendships do not need to be flippant, shallow and meaningless – in fact I have now learnt that they can be the complete opposite. We have laughed together, cried together, pushed each other across thresholds we thought impossible and most of all we have helped one another along our Steem journey and our personal life journeys. Whenever you need something… there is this band of people ready to help and they do it with the greatest of love in their hearts. These people have become like my family and reflecting back, there were many moments in my physical life that I would not have managed to get through without them, never mind the fact that my “every day” would be so hollow without them! I have never experienced anything like this anywhere else online and the value of that will always be pivotal to me! However, having said that – I will add, that this sort of selfless dedication to one another is woven deeply into the Steem network as a whole – not just within our community… but it does have its benefits to be that much “closer” to one another.
Having this level of consistent support and encouragement is what has enabled me and so many others to persevere and it is one of the reasons why I was able to have faith enough in my ability to take on the challenge of managing an additional project which whilst still in infancy at the moment… won’t be for much longer and that is DEFINITELY going to impact my life… that being the launch of @steemsouthafrica! I am VERY excited to start actively and physically promoting this amazing network to the beautifully colourful people of my country South Africa now that the ground work has been done! 2020 is going to be GRAND for #steemsa! – and I have Steem and its people to thank for that new found confidence.
In reality, Steem did not “impact” my life – it completely TRANSFORMED it and ALL for the better!
My “hobby” turned into a daily passion and has remained so ever since! From the time I wake up in the morning, to the time I go to bed at night – whether I am operating from my desk or on my mobile whilst out and about, I NEVER stop working for this space and the people within it… constantly thinking about how I can better support those within our community as well as on Steem as a whole and it is SO wonderful to actually grow wings on your passion instead of having them clipped by the stress and monotony of being stuck on a hamster wheel.
I have met hundreds of amazing people over the last two years and have formed many great friendships through those meetings. Some of those friendships have remained strong and others have turned into “life lessons”. I have, over time – discovered my voice within the Steem network and have acknowledged and accepted the fact that I have earned the right to have one. I have locked horns with some and simply walked away from others. Some people love me, others loathe me, several have just used me for as long as it was convenient and beneficial and plenty have tried to kick me down along the way, but Steem has taught me to keep my resilience alive!
The Steem network has done so much for me as an individual. It has reminded me to stand up for myself, believe in myself and my capabilities - It has shown me that I can overcome my fears and it has taught me to exercise attributes of my personality that probably needed a little dusting off! My life is filled with beautiful people, I spend my days doing things I love for people I adore and who appreciate and respect me in return. I wake up in the morning looking FORWARD to the pending agenda and when I go to bed at night, I am excited to contemplate the next day. I went from a constant state of anxiety and stress, having frequent panic attacks and sleepless nights to the complete opposite... a life I only dreamed of just over two years ago is now my everyday reality! There is no amount of words that could possibly express my eternal gratitude for this space and the people within it.
Ok, so I have waffled on and on about the people of Steem and how amazing they are… big deal! - Well, actually yes it REALLY is a BIG deal because let’s face it - aside from the technology of it all, what would set it apart from any other blockchain if there were no people?! No matter which way you swing or slice it – everything that is special about Steem starts with the PEOPLE! Yes, there are plenty other ways in which Steem has impacted my life, but they all pale by comparison…
Being a creative by nature I still find facets of blockchain technology a little overwhelming and many still talk way over my head - but had it not been for the “social nature” of Steem – I would probably NEVER have touched the crypto world AT ALL. This is such a critical slice of the Steem pie! Having that social gateway into the world of crypto and access to genuine and honest people who were willing to share their knowledge with me is the only reason I was trusting and confident enough to explore additional blockchain technology further, and I am ever grateful for that.
Having been in the field of graphic design for close to 20 years, I would consider myself an advanced computer user, but daaamn did Steem push those boundaries hahahaha!!! With having to learn markdown to make anything at all look even remotely aesthetically pleasing… which as you have no doubt gathered by now is of paramount importance to me was so tedious in the beginning… but now it is old hat! - An additional skill that I would never have learnt had I not arrived here.
See – as wonderful as those things are, they don’t even come close to the magnificence of the community we have here and nothing you say will convince me otherwise haha!
Watch out world... the STEEM WAVE is growing and there is absolutely NOTHING in this world that can compete with a blockchain driven by a community fueled by passion!
Until next time...
Much Love from Cape Town, South Africa xxx
FOUNDER OF THE POWERHOUSE CREATIVES & STEEM SOUTH AFRICA
A community of individuals who are dedicated to producing quality content
which adds value to the Steem network and beyond.
ALL IMAGES ARE MY PROPERTY UNLESS OTHERWISE CREDITED