Reading Time: 10 -12 minutes.
Grab a snack and prepare to be inspired.
I – Interviewer (me), J – Joel
I: I recently met Joel at a Rotaract social where I had fun beating him at dominos, but something about him peaked my interest. Thanks to social media I figured out what it was; turns out Mr. Manning also loves inspiring others. It clicked right away that he should be my next feature, because you rarely find young men who do what he does. He’s not only a host in the entertainment industry, but also serves as a speaker, empowering others and being a voice in his community. As not to give too much away let’s get into the discussion….
J: To be honest I always find this to be an interesting question, I guess in a nutshell I would say I am your every day lad that enjoys joking around, sports, listening to music (especially soca) and living my life to the fullest. My government records allow me to know that I am 25 years old although in my mind I have not aged a day past 21, born November 8th 1992, in beautiful Barbados, can’t really remember the time though I kind of forgot that but the full name that I was blessed with was Joel Michael Patrick Manning.
In terms of my educational background, at the secondary school level I attended Queen’s College and from there went to the University of the West Indies Cave hill campus some times felt more like Slave hill, but went to university and received my BSc in Management with a concentration in Human Resources. From there I guess I simply wished to torture myself a bit more as I am now in the process of wrapping up my MSc in Financial Management.
Funny enough though these really aren’t anywhere close to where I see myself in life as I have a passion for talking and the media. By profession I currently work full-time as the Marketing and Public Relations manager at Construction Caribbean and then semi-full-time (if that is even a thing) but yea semi-full time as a motivational speaker and host which is ideally the career path that I would love to pursue full time.
I: When did you know this was your passion, and how?
J: *hmmmm* speaking is something that naturally came to me, literally almost from birth. I recall coming through school and every single term from primary school through to secondary school my report card always had in red writing “Joel is too talkative” or “Joel distracts others with his talking” So I would say from an early age I always had an interest in pursuing a career where I could talk because if I couldn’t then I was guaranteed to be fired. As it pertains specifically to my passion for motivational speaking however that came much later in life after I learned quite a few lessons. I would say possibly 2 years ago at the age of 23 was when I began to develop a passion for inspiring persons. I recall starting a morning series on my snapchat “Morning’s with Manning” and although it started as a light joke to me in a way, people would message me to tell me how much they liked what I was doing and that it was motivating them. That went on for some time and eventually graduated into me taking it more seriously and putting a lot more thought in to what I said and considering how it would impact people. I then took it even further in 2017 where I came to the understanding that my life’s mission or the concept of why I exist; is to inspire people to be better versions of themselves. For me my life has now become a story in which several people unlock their potential and pursue greatness above all else.
I: What are three of your biggest achievements to date?
J: Three of my biggest achievements to date would be:
- Producing and Hosting the online series Cross Talk in 2016
Cross Talk was birthed out of a need for me to get content which put me out there as a brand and as a host. I had reached a bit of a standstill in my career of sorts whereby I wasn’t getting much, if any hosting or speaking work at all and it was quite an annoying time where you have that passion and desire to conquer the world as a speaker but cannot even get any kind of speaking work in your home country. From there I decided to brainstorm and out of that came the concept for Cross Talk which is an online show dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals to air their views on trending topics and provides a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their business. Season one was truly a learning experience for me and kind of set the base for what I have been able to achieve to date and since then I have been able to produce a second season with plans of a third season coming this year.
- Featured Speaker at Queen’s College Graduation 2017
Over the 7 years that I attended Queen’s College, it proved to be a second home for me. Like I literally have so much love for that place as a school and all of the memories it provided me even though I wasn’t necessarily the A student, I was more of the class clown and get put to stand outside type of student. Never the less though I built several relationships both with students and faculty members and then to be considered to come back and impart words of wisdom on the graduating class for that year it was truly a heart warming moment for me and one that I will also treasure as my first major speaking engagement.
- Working with the Ministry of Education on an inspire program earlier this year (2018)
Inspiring young men is at the core of what I do because for me I see several female speakers and numerous groups for young females to seek encouragement and inspiration from but there are very few which cater specifically to young men. Collaborating with the Ministry of Education gave me the opportunity to do this whereby I had 4 sessions with young men from different secondary schools who were seen as delinquents and young men who teachers truly had very little to no faith in. The chance to sit and hear their stories and seek to shape their outlook on life in a positive way can probably be seen as the most rewarding experience for me.
Q: What was one of your biggest obstacles faced by pursuing your passion? How did you overcome it?
J: I would say my biggest obstacle was possibly not being taken seriously as someone who wanted to pursue speaking as a career. For the most part people consider speaking as a hobby or just something that you might be good at but take very little consideration for the fact that I view it as a job and a service that I provide. Don’t get me wrong given the love I hold for it I have no issues speaking and hosting for free but essentially this is all I can see myself doing and from that standpoint I have to factor in reality and the reality is money is needed to live and as such there needs to be a point where compensation for the time and effort that I put in to ensure that people get something out of what I do is given.
How have I overcome it? I can’t say I have fully overcome it to be quite honest but I have taken strides in the right direction. The biggest thing for me is to remind myself that it is a process. I am someone who likes to run hard one time, I shoot for the top, I want to make things happen in the moment and there are those times when I have to reel myself in when I fall short and remind myself to learn from the journey and that as long as I consistently stick to it then the rewards that I seek will also come. A quote that I wrote some time back which serves as a mantra for my life:
“The mind is only a barrier between success and the ability to achieve” – Joel Manning
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from, and what motivates you to keep going?
J: For the most part I get a lot of my inspiration from within because I simply do not believe that I was born to be average and it’s something that I believe for everyone in this world. Outside of myself Kevin Hart is some one that inspires me. Having followed his journey, where it all began for him and the heights that he has reached and even though reaching those heights he is still pushing for more, it is that constant reminder to me that there are no limits other than the ones we place on ourselves. More recently I have also begun to follow Simon Sinek who is one of the simplest yet most impactful speakers I have ever come across and it is because of him that I truly honed in on the concept of Why I exist. In one of his talks he noted many people know What they want to be in life, many people know How to achieve it but very few people know Why they do what they do and that is what separates those who are good from those who are Great because that Why is your passion, its your purpose and vision and without it it’s quite easy for one to become lost.
What motivates me to keep going is that I want so much more for myself. As much as I have achieved to date I don’t really count it as much because it really is nowhere close to where I see myself in the end. Like there are those days where I might do something “big” at the time and it causes me to relax a little in terms of maybe I’m getting somewhere but then soon after that the reality hits me again and I brainstorm to see how next I can go even further because for me the world is the my playground and I intend to have fun all over it.
Q: If you had to give a 30 second speech to the world, what would you say?
J: “Yoooooo I’ve got 30 seconds so let’s go – You can spend all of your life complaining and feeling like a victim or you can spend your life making the best of whatever comes your way and charting a path towards being the bloody awesome human being that you are destined to be. Either way we are all going to die.”
Q: What’s next for Joel Manning? Where do you see yourself in five years?
J: 5 years is a long time lol, In 5 years I see myself travelling the world and speaking full-time, having featured as a host on a network television show or even my own show which expands on the concept of cross talk. Stages where I can’t even see everyone in the audience but I know that my voice is impacting their lives.
Pulling it back to present day though in terms of what’s next for me, I really have no idea. There are so many things that I want to do and accomplish and just get out there and build. Possibly the development of a motivational speaking tour that looks at building a personal brand amongst other ideas. I believe that as it pertains to what’s next for me I shall let life decide that one, whatever opportunity presents itself then that’s what I shall dive head first into and take it stride by stride from there.
Q: What’s one funny thing most people don’t know about you?
J: I would have to say when I was about 7 years old and I was on vacation with my mom in New York. On the day in question I went to the mall with her and my aunt and somehow I ended up losing them which was definitely a frightening experience because here I am in this massive place and no means of finding my mom. That however wasn’t the end, I also had to use the bathroom which of course I couldn’t find so I ended up standing in the middle of the mall and just peed myself * sigh* and would you believe about a minute later my mother and aunt appear!!!
I also have my own whatsapp chat with myself but I don’t think that counts as funny just as strange and weird. I even voice note myself on occasion lol.
Q: Any words of advice you’d like to share with other young adults who are unsure of their purpose?
J: Never ever let a single thing stop you!!! The most important thing to know though is WHY. Why are you doing what you are doing and Why do you want to do whatever it is that you want to do. Solve that mystery and things will fall into place from there because without your why you’ll have no passion and that passion is what is going to keep you going when times get tough. Oh and all great inventions were first dumb ideas!
Thank you so much for sharing your story, looking forward to more of your social media posts and getting to know you better. Continue doing what you love and know that you’re inspiring so many people.
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