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Try re-inventing yourself in a new town, in a new state and in a not well understood field all at the same time!  Add to that no household income since both my spouse and I moved to Bloomington, IN without jobs but with lots of hopes and dreams for the future. Our slate was clean and we were sure we could build a new life here. I hardly stopped to mourn my job loss but immediately jumped into building tomorrow’s future. Here is how I made my way to that newer version of me using creative thinking skills.

Since 1988 when I happened upon the International Center for Studies in Creativity and started my Master’s program, I increasingly longed for more opportunities to use my newly acquired skills in training groups and individuals in the creative thinking and problem solving process. In 1995 I found the job of my dreams directing a career services department and after eight years had achieved everything I had hoped to accomplish. But I still yearned for more time to offer training to others in the creative process that had worked so well for me. But I learned very abruptly that sometimes you get what you wish for when my position was eliminated.

My years of building my own creativity muscle are the only thing that pushed me forward and kept me going. For 15 years, I had been flexing and stretching and pushing up my own leadership abilities to see situations as they truly were, analyze the causes, visualize the possibilities, brainstorm ways to achieve my goals, set myself up for success and then make it happen.  Success after success followed me in every attempt at building great teams and office dynamics, programming for students, job fairs and employer recruitment advancements.  My team and I made our office run leaner and excel in every way that individuals can stretch to the limits of their capacity.  I was living and using the very process I taught others, including my staff, to use.

While I had spent most of my career helping others to get where they wanted to go now I was going to see just how good I was at practicing what I preached. I must confess that I had many surprises along the way.  To lose your job is one thing but to realize happiness could not be found unless I had my own business as an innovation consultant, well that was a huge risk and the most difficult challenge I have ever faced.  Failure was simply not in my vocabulary but after 10 years of effort, I know that word like the back of my hand.  Now with eyes wide open I subscribe heartily to the concept that you cannot truly be successful unless you have tasted some big disappointments in your outcomes and questioned your own worth and abilities at times. I most certainly have done my share, especially when in 2011 I was forced to take a health hiatus right after I had just completed my first book.  That stole a full year of momentum and progress in my work away from me.

What it gave me in return was a new perspective on success …that it truly is the journey along the way, how you handle disappointments, how you get back up on your horse, how you prevail to get through each day, sometimes even each hour or minute without giving up.  There were plenty of moments, to be sure, when I asked myself why I wanted to put myself out there again for yet another disappointment but now I realize that life is like a treasure hunt.  It is filled with possibility and our only job is to find that possibility where ever it is to be found and treasure it.  That is true success…never giving up the hunt.

As an avid vintage clothing buyer/seller, I love the hunt the best….finding that prized dress or hat I can cherish.  I guess it is just in my Creativity DNA because if I hadn’t built that creativity muscle through curiosity, comfort with the unknown, persistence, playfulness and flexibility I am not sure I would ever have ended up in Bloomington,IN.  It took a layoff and a search for possibility to find this treasure and it took a surgery to convince me I’m no failure.  And I still marvel that here I am living in a community like Bloomington that is exactly the type of community my husband and I had always dreamed of living in but did not know how to get ourselves there until possibility opened the door for us.

I can’t wait to find the possibility in tomorrow!

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