My Journey With No Mentor


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Growing up to an engineer dad and an artistic mother, arts was allowed in my family just as a hobby. My mother who is a singer, writer and a director took up gigs for fun. She is also very stylish and crafty, who during summer vacations would dress me up and take photos of me posing like a model and would give me her fashion magazines to cut out my favorite outfits and stick them in a plain book. When I expressed my interest in pursuing a career in fashion as a young child, my parents did not understand it. They were not sure how to lend their help in guidance as they knew nothing about the industry. They also were not sure how I would succeed and thought that the world of entertainment was for the rich with connections. 

Since my childhood, I knew what I wanted, and I followed it. I did it all by myself and through my mistakes and failures, I learned a lot along the way. Long story short, I have had a successful international career in the fashion industry working with magazines like Vogue and Grazia and walking over 600 runways in Asia, Middle East, and North America.

During my time off as a model, I used to volunteer with Make A Wish Foundation in Southwestern Ontario as a wish companion and when I went to Mumbai, I joined their chapter as a celebrity wish granter. During my visit to the hospital, I saw a huge disparity between both the chapters in Canada and in India. In Canada, the dreams of a terminally ill child were to meet John Cena or to go to Disney World but in India, the dreams were to get crayons, bicycles, small toys, etc. I also noticed that there were children waiting on the side of the hospital on the floor for 8 days straight to be treated for their life-threatening illnesses. This was happening because there was no space in the hospital. Their parents would come up to me and ask me for help, and I felt helpless. 

During that time, I had an awakening of a sort and a newfound drive to tell stories of the people who needed empowerment for their voice. I realized that the society around me was too busy caring about celebrity gossip and what is in style instead of looking at the harsh truths of the society we live in.

I came back home to Canada and went back to school for documentary and film and made my first documentary all by myself (shot, edited and produced) called Girl Up. It took two years to screen it because I had no guidance or support on how to distribute or release it. I could not wait any longer so I self released it in a small theatre. Since that time it has been showcased at the 18th Annual South Asian Film Festival and was partnered with Toronto International Film Festival to showcase it at the Civic Action Summit where hundreds of civic leaders come together to combat issues and come up with solutions for a change. The documentary was used to start a conversation on how to combat human trafficking which was followed by a panel discussion with civic leaders which including national security, elected officials, senior business executives, and community advocates. Girl Up has since been showcased at many community screenings and conferences. It had a special mention in the Forbes Article called “Cracking The $150 Billion Business Of Human Trafficking”.

I recently registered my business called Window Dreams Productions, which specializes in producing impact-driven content which includes documentaries, music videos, short films, and spoken word pieces. It has also concertized and delivered corporate videos. 

During this pandemic, my team and I remotely gathered 66 countries on 6 different continents and made a documentary called Unity showcasing the plight of the human spirit. It also explores the disparity that exists between industrialized and developing nations.

I am also currently directing a music video remotely with Bollywood personalities like Jim Sarbh and Bani J and actors/influencers from UK, USA, Canada, India and South Africa while also writing a TV series about domestic human trafficking in hopes to educate and reach a larger audience worldwide.

While going back to school for documentary and film, I also got involved in acting and graduated from the prestigious Second City Conservatory. Since then, I have written sketches and performed improv comedy around Toronto in theatres like Bad Dog, Social Capital, and Comedy Bar. My first film role in “Vivid” helped garner the film multiple horror award nominations and have given me the opportunity to book more lead roles in numerous short films. My most recent work can be seen in Robert Misovic’s The Intersection, Netflix’s Grand Army and FX’s Mrs. America.

This has been my journey with no mentor. Over time I have had great support from family and friends but no guidance. 

Below are a few guidance tips on how to make it without a mentor and things I learned on my own journey:

  1. Live for the passion, not money – do not run behind money, it is not fulfilling. You do not want to look back at life when you are 80 and think that you missed out on living your true desires. A life lead with passion will always create abundance and in return, the money will follow.
  2. It is okay to go University/College later – you do not have to have your life figured out by 18. You can explore, travel, find your purpose, and go to school later in life for the thing you truly want to study. Not only will you be more passionate and successful, but your 8am classes will be a joy to go to.
  3. Private victories – these are victories that no one sees but you. For example: Reading a book that teaches you more about the thing you want to learn about or staying up late to write your desires and plan your next day while your friends are out partying.
  4. Get up and do it – There is no “right time” to follow your dream. Trust me when I say this, you will never be ready if you keep waiting. Only you can make it happen, so take that first step…today!
  5. Put in the work – Sometimes it is hard to “get up and do it,” we have responsibilities that prevent us from following our true passion. Sometimes we need to pick up that 9 to 5 job that we despise but do not make excuses or blame others for this! Put in the work after your day job. One step towards your dreams everyday and watch your part time passion become your full-time paycheck. 
  6. You are the five people you hang out with – Choose your circle wisely. If you hang out with people you desire to be like or have similar goals, you will always feel inspired. If you do not have a circle like that, make a habit to read or go on YouTube to watch videos of people that influence you. It is a game changer. 
  7. Owning mental health – Following your dreams can sometimes be lonely and most people around you will make you feel not understood. That is okay, it is your dream, not theirs! Taking care of mental health is crucial. Everyone has different ways of self caring. For me, it is walking in nature everyday, doing hypnotic affirmations, and meditating.  
  8. Plan your day/week/month in advance – Have a planner that helps you plan your life in detail. I tend to use a High-Performance Planner and I make sure that every night I look over how my day is going to be like the next day. I even plan my outfit the night before. 
  9. Eliminate decision making for full focus – Make a list of top 3 things you want to accomplish or is a priority every morning. The rest is distracting you! Eliminate making decisions on what to wear, what to eat, where to go for dinner etc., so your brain can fully focus on your top 3.
  10. Started your own company – Being my own boss has been empowering. It was scary at first but the best decisions I have made. If you do not want to start a business, learn to invest in stocks. I am still new to the world of stock market but one day I hope to understand it better to create passive income for myself.
  11. Have a Goddess Mentality – There will be a time when you have no idea if your dreams will ever come true and you will feel like giving up. When that happens, ask yourself this, “What would a Goddess do?” and do that. A Goddess is a strong, resilient warrior and a compassionate human being towards others and herself. A woman with that kind of character would never give up. It is all about growth mindset. Believe it is possible and it is!

You got this!

Shreya Patel

Shreya Patel

https://www.instagram.com/imshreyapatel/ https://twitter.com/imshreyapatel https://twitter.com/imshreyapatel https://www.instagram.com/windowdreamsproductions/

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