Through this blog series, I am working towards shedding some light on people who are trying to make a difference. Whether it be on the web or in their local community, by whatever means of action, and no matter what the initiative is, these individuals striving to make whatever change are not on all occasions acknowledged their goodwill and encouragement towards others. As it has always been an interest of mine — anyone can inspire their peers in the greatest way — through these portraits, I intend to illustrate that whomever that is aspiring to make a difference, no matter how tiny, has the power to do so. These portraits will answer several questions, from the person’s own childhood dreams to the launch and the subsequent success of her project.
DANI DiPIRRO – AUTHOR OF ‘POSITIVELY PRESENT’
DANI DiPIRRO, author, blogger and designer, is the founder of Positively Present, a website aiming at empowering people by conveying uplifting and daily inspirational articles. She is the author of several self-improvement books and e-books, and her work has been mentioned by numerous media, among which Forbes and The Huffington Post websites. Interested in the questions of happiness and self-improvement, Dani ultimately decided to focus on maintaining an optimistic perspective through all circumstances in life.
Dani kindly accepted to answer my questions regarding the theme of this series.
♢ In your early life, did you have any role models?
Early in life, my role models were my parents. They taught me about kindness, love, respect, creativity, and self-love. They also started their own business when I was quite young, which has always been an inspiration to me.
♢ What were you biggest dreams and goals?
When I was a child, my biggest dream was to become a writer. I fell in love with words at a young age and knew that I wanted to find some way to write books and create experiences for others like the ones I had when I was burying my nose in a book.
♢ Does the career you actually pursued is related to these dreams and objectives?
Initially I pursued a career in Marketing, but writing always had my heart. While at work, I would spend time writing on my blog, Positively Present. As the blog’s following grew and I became more thrilled with the work, I decided to leave my full-time job and pursue writing full-time. When I was a child, I thought I would end up writing novels or working as a journalist (Vogue editor was my dream job). Though I ended up writing in a completely different way, I still ended up with a career related to my childhood dreams.
♢ Was there any issue that particularly mattered to you? Have you eventually decided to shed some light on them?
As a child, the issue of happiness was very important to me. I found myself to be naturally pessimistic and spent a great deal of time writing in journals, reading books, and watching how others’ lived their lives in an attempt to understand how I might become happier. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that there’s a difference between happiness (which is a fleeting emotion) and positivity (a state of mind you can have at any time) and I began to focus my attention on living a positive, present life.
♢ How did you chose to pursue this ambition?
The way I chose to pursue my goals was by writing about my personal experiences with two things I struggled to do but knew I needed to work on: staying positive and staying present.
♢ A rising idea
‘After reading lots of blogs and books about happiness and self-improvement, I had the idea to start my own site, focused not on happiness, but on staying positive and staying present. The idea behind it was to show others how I was dealing with various situations in my life and striving to see them through an optimistic, mindful perspective.
Positively Present was started in 2009 as a personal blog and it has since grown a great deal. The website is still the foundation, but the brand now also includes books, e-books, and workbooks as well.’
♢ Some special people
‘The ability to grow Positively Present has been the result of the help of many people ⎯ my engaged and supportive readers, my encouraging and loving parents, and the various people I work with to publish my books. I’ve been inspired over and over again by my readers, and my parents have had a wonderfully positive impact on not only the way I live my life, but also how I run my business.’
♢ Making it happen
‘There wasn’t a specific “a-ha!” moment when I realized I needed to leave my full-time job and pursue Positively Present full time. It was more of a gradual realization that I wasn’t happy in my current career, working on the blog made me feel very fulfilled and engaged in my work, and helping others live more positive, present lives was really wonderful.’
AN ACCOMPLISHED PROJECT
‘Positively Present first came to life in the form of PositivelyPresent.com, but since then it has expanded to include books, e-books, and workbooks as well.’
♢ Difficulties in the way
‘One of the greatest difficulties I’ve encountered while working on Positively Present is dealing with the day-to-day aspects of running a business (taxes, healthcare, etc.). When you’re working at a regular job, so many things are already taken care of for you and you don’t even have to think about them, but when you’re working for yourself, everything is your responsibility.’
‘The most wonderful (and unexpected!) thing that happened was the day I was emailed about writing a book. I had self-published a book and was currently working on a second title when a publisher contacted me. I was thrilled to be writing a traditional book and the backing of a publishing house inspired me to write more (and work harder!) than I had in the past.’
♢ A valuable impact
‘What I’m most proud of today is the knowledge that what I write (whether online or in books) has the potential to help someone else live a more positive life. As someone who tends to default to negative thinking, I know how challenging it can be to stay positive and present, and the proudest moments of my life are when I receive an email from a reader telling me how something I’ve written has positively impacted him or her.’
♦︎ WHAT WOULD YOU TELL A YOUNG PERSON ASPIRING TO MAKE A CHANGE?
Change is a balance of planning and winging it. You have to have an idea of where you want to go (and passion that will keep you motivated when times are tough), but you must also be open to the idea of things shifting and not always going according to plan. If you feel strongly about something and you’re passionate about what you do, keep at it. Don’t give up, even when it’s hard, because doing something you enjoy is so worth any hardship that might come your way.
– Dani’s links
Again, many thanks to Dani for participating to this blog series! Don’t forget to check her links and keep being inspired by people!
Missed one post of the Making A Difference — Portrait series? Check it out now:
- Part 2: Chelsie Prince, founder of Proud and Pretty In Pink
- Part 3: Russell Lehmann, public speaker and autism advocate
- Part 4: Naomi Lea, mental health campaigner & volunteer
- Part 5: Carla, founder of Run The World Association