How Maria Jose Spoke at The General Assembly of The United Nations
Marie Jose is a Mental Performance Consultant, and PhD Candidate. One day a friend of hers told her about an essay...
Marie Jose is a Mental Performance Consultant, and PhD Candidate. One day a friend of hers told her about an essay contest to speak at the General Assembly of the United Nations. Maria didn’t believe she could win or even know what she could write about, but the dream of winning an all-paid trip to New York, and to be able to speak at the UN pushed her forward. Here’s how she made her dream come true.
What was your big dream, and what inspired you to go after it?
One day a friend told me about this essay contest “Many Languages One World” to speak at the general assembly of the United Nations. This was a very cool contest since if you were selected, you would win an all-expenses paid trip to New York for a week. It did not matter where you were in the world they would fly you out to New York, and by the end of the week you would speak at the UN.
When he told me about that contest, I said, “great, you love the UN and you have a lot to say. I won’t apply because I’m not the kind of person who likes to write, I never wrote an essay in Spanish, and I’m certainly not going to write one in English”. I didn’t believe I had the skills to win, and I’m not the type of person who wins that kind of stuff anyway.
The topic of the essay was: “What does it means to be a citizen of the world?”. This only made things more difficult for me, as I did not feel like one, so I had no idea what to write.
However, days passed and the topic was on my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the reasons why I didn’t feel like a citizen of the world, and why I wasn’t qualified to write that essay. Suddenly it hit me… I could write about why I DIDN’T feel like a citizen of the world.
For a month I wrote notes on my phone whenever an idea would come up. Two weeks before the deadline, I was clear on what I wanted to write, so I put all my notes together and wrote my essay. I sent it to an advisor who gave me feedback, and suggestions on where to go deeper or explain some ideas more.
The night before the essay was due I edited it one last time. It was a Saturday night, and I was sleeping on an air mattress at a friends’ house. I remember thinking, “what is the point of writing this, I could be partying with my friends, I’m not even going to win”. But there was also another voice inside of me saying “you’ll have to swallow your words soon when you win. You’ll see! And it will be proof that you and anything can achieve whatever they set their mind to“.
The thing is, the friend who motivated me to participate – and who has a UN screensaver on his computer! – never turned in or even finished his own essay.
Did you always had this dream?
No. I didn’t think it was possible to speak at the UN unless you were President Obama or someone very important like him.
What was one of the first things you did to get you started?
I started writing some ideas on my phone, and thinking about the all the reasons why I was not a citizen of the world. I believe that it’s easier to start a difficult task if you have something done already. So, I knew that if I had enough ideas written on my phone, when I sat down to actually write that essay, it would not be as daunting.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in working toward achieving your dream?
My own self doubt, saying I was not the kind of person that could win a contest like this, let alone speak in front of the United Nations.
What do you wish you would have done differently? What would you warn others about?
Believing more in myself, having more imagination about the things that I could accomplish, and at the end recognizing that I actually wanted to win, instead of listening to the voice of doubt in my head saying I didn’t care when I actually did.
So I’d say my advice is trust that you want something, that it is a valuable goal, and believe that it’s worth spending your energy, and time on to achieve it.
Would you say you’ve achieved your big dream yet?
I certainly achieved this one! But I have many other dreams that I am working on!
One of them is to build my own consulting company, and to have an online practice about mental performance. I am working on an online course for people who want to perform at their best under pressure like athletes, and musicians do.
What do you think helped you achieve it?
Believing that it was worth the effort. Focusing on the process, more than the result. Taking it as a game, having fun, and teasing my own ideas. And writing from an intimate and authentic place, not trying to show or achieve anything, but connecting with my emotions and figuring out what was important to me.
What’s the best advice you have for others who want to follow their big dreams?
Trust that they are valuable dreams, and even if you don’t think you can achieve them, just because you have the dream makes it possible. People who achieved big things are just like you and me, but they trusted their dream, and went for it!
More about Maria Jose – www.mariajoseramirez.cl
Maria José Ramirez C. is a 34 year old mental performance consultant. With her work, she supports people perform at their peak potential by providing the tools they need to overcome their mental barriers and excel in their chosen field.
After 10 years of working with athletes, musicians and business leaders from around the world, and 15 years of study around the world (Chile, Canada, UK and The United States) she developed a program specifically designed to enable people to perform at their best under pressure, while living more authentically. Maria Jose currently lives in Pennsylvania, where she’s pursuing a PhD at Penn State University.
You can view Maria Jose’s UN speech online here: https://youtu.be/N-esrD9sIjo
You can read Maria Jose’s UN essay online here: https://acei-global.blog/2016/08/12/i-am-not-a-citizen-of-the-world/
Maria Jose’s favorite quote is:
Heed these words, You who wish to probe the depths of nature: If you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither will you find it outside. In you is hidden the treasure of treasures. Know Thyself and you will know the Universe and the Gods.
– Delphi Oracle
Her Big Dream for the world is:
That we can all live a more sustainable life. We need to realize how fortunate we are. We live in paradise but it is our insecurities, our lack of connection with ourselves ,and with what is truly important that makes us live superficial lives that are detrimental to us and the environment. When we live authentic lives we are aware of what is important to us, we have a why bigger than ourselves, and it becomes easier to choose to use our skills to serve ourselves, others, and the Planet better.
If you want more inspiring stories of Big Dreamers, I’ve got great news for you! This story is part of an interview series, you can find all entries here.