Who are you and what do you do? Tell me about how you ended up there.
After three years of searching and working endlessly to answer this question for myself, I finally have found who I am and what I do. I'm a person that has always believed that happiness comes first. I'm a dreamer and goal setter with a determination to merge who I am and what I do. My name is Estefania Mones. I am a Fine Arts Painter and a Social Media and Marketing Manager.
Often we can only understand in retrospect how the dots in our path connected. Looking backward, can you talk about a time you failed or you were struggling? What did you think it meant at the time and what do you think it means now? Was there a silver lining, or did it influence your path forward unexpectedly?
I attended Flagler College and earned my Bachelor's of the Arts in Business Administration. During my time there, I fell in love with Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship through a student organization that I was involve in called Enactus. Enactus focuses on helping people in need through social, economical and environmental projects. During my time there, I was so happy using my business skills to help others in need. Before I graduated, I had numerous job offers from Enactus partner companies and I chose to pursue my career in sales. My company moved me out to San Francisco and I believed in my heart that all I ever wanted to do is be "successful." I thought working for a huge corporate company and making tons of money would make me happy. One month into my job, I realized that I was miserable.
I was a part of an extremely prestigious leadership program but I have never felt so unsuccessful. I was in a new state where the only person I knew was my roommate and I was in a job where I was struggling. I quickly fell into a depressive state, crying numerous times every single day. One day I got home from a 12-hour work day and I walked into my bedroom and cried myself to sleep. It wasn't until my parents came to visit me for New Years that I realized how much I had lost myself. Even though the three people I love the most were standing right in front of me, I didn't feel happiness. I didn't feel love, I didn't feel anything. It was at that moment that I decided to leave my job and to get back on the search for myself and my happiness. Once I left my job, I was accepted to study art in Florence, Italy and my life now is nothing but happiness.
When are you happiest? If happiness is something that can be practiced in our lives, what are the ways in which you create happiness in your life?
I have two important things in my life that make me the happiest and those are family and painting. Family is a no brainer, but it took me a while to realize that making painting an integral part of my life would bring me so much happiness. When I left to study in Florence, our program provided us with a studio to work. I dove in head first and worked on my painting whenever I could. I learned to stretch canvases and mix colors. My mentors were some of the top artists in the area. I learned to draw and to create things I believed in. Even though I was in Florence and many people around me were traveling and exploring, I was exactly where I wanted to be: in my tiny studio doing what I loved the most. In that moment I realized that I have to pursue my art because it is what makes me happiest.
Have you taken any inspiration for happiness or resiliency from another person’s story or other cultures?
There are a few people in my life who have constantly inspired me to be happy: my parents, boyfriend, my college mentors and my sister. But my dad's story continues to inspire me every day. My dad became a corporate pilot in Caracas, Venezuela in his 20's. He started working for his boss and traveled almost three weeks out of the month, every month for 23 years. He never once asked for a vacation. My dad is the hardest working person I know. The most important part of his story is that, even though he had his ups and his downs, he loved being a pilot. He loves traveling and he loves flying planes. When my dad's boss passed away in 2012, my dad gathered all of his knowledge and contacts from his 23 years in the field and opened his own company called American Charter Services.
Today, my dad has 13 employees, manages numerous planes and is happy to go to work every single day and be his own boss.
Now that's inspiring.
What are your hopes for the future?
My hopes are to continue on the path I am on. I get to live in beautiful California, work from home and create art every single day. I am living in euphoria.