For #MentorMonday, we’re featuring Rachel Yasukochi (@rachelanne90) whose spark has her living life on the wild side! Rachel educates people about wildlife animals and works with those animals every day. Read her story below!
1. What would you define as your spark; that thing that makes you feel most alive, your passion, dream or purpose?
My spark is nurturing and caring for animals, and helping others to fall in love with those animals. I love to make sure that the animals in my care have not only a clean and safe home, but also have enriching lives, with puzzles and toys to keep their minds and body healthy. I also love to watch people’s faces light up when they realize something they thought was gross or scary, is actually really amazing.
2. How did you find your spark?
I was always drawn to animals. I was lucky to grow up with many pets, and to ride horses. It was a point of pride to make sure the animals in my life were always cared for, well groomed, and with clean spaces to live in. I used to dream about animals, and always wanted to be with them. I also am a natural born entertainer, and love to make people laugh. As I got close to graduating highschool, I knew I wanted to work with animals, maybe get people to learn a little, and not be stuck in a chair all day!
3. How do you nurture your spark?
It can be hard to work with animals. There is such a thing as “compassion fatigue,” where you care so much for those in your care, that your heart breaks. So it’s very important that I take time to nurture my spark, and reinspire my love. Sometimes that can be a walk in the outdoors, admiring the pure miracle that is nature, and sometimes it’s just taking a cute picture of an animal being silly.
4. What is one piece of advice you'd give to young girls and/or moms raising daughters?
To girls: One of my favorite quotes is from Annie Lebovitz, the famous photographer is, “Don’t be afraid to be obsessed.” Fall in love with ideas, with creations, with whatever you are interested in. If it is something you love, it will always benefit you, even if it takes ten years to resurface and prove itself useful. Each job and career I’ve ever had, has helped to hone my spark!
To moms: Take a deep breath. From the time I was 13 on, I was proposing careers for myself that made my mom go, “What?! Absolutely not!” Yet, my mom never actually stopped me, and instead helped me to make strong, logical choices about my next crazy adventure. It’ll be alright, and your daughter really is listening, even as she’s yelling that she’s not!
5. What friends in your life motivate you to pursue your spark and how do they support you in the process?
Friendship is the best part of life! Not only are friends fun, but they help you to grow as a person, and vice versa. My best friend Cory is also in the animal care field, as a veterinary technician, and we can commiserate together on how rewarding and difficult our line of work is. Cory is an inspiration in herself, and I am so grateful to know her. For every challenge that life throws her, she is able to laugh and find a solution. She is always encouraging, even when I think it’s impossible, while at the same time is great about reminding me to take care of myself. We always joke that she is my voice of reason! Her ability to find humor in all situations, funny or not, is important to keeping my spark alive, because at the end of a hard day, at least I know we’ll get some laughs out of it!
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