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Category Archive for 'Pursuing Your Dream'

How many times have we driven past that airport tower?

How many times have you helped lug my suitcases?

And how many times have you stood by those glass doors,

Waving good bye, wishing me well?

The first time, you held back tears as you squeezed my hands in yours.

Good bye for now, you said, go out there and make us proud.

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In 2005, Alicia Parlette, a copy editor who had just started her career at the San Francisco Chronicle, was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable cancer at age 23. Some people might have chosen to deal with a cancer diagnosis and treatment privately, but from those early days of testing and diagnosis, Alicia had an opportunity to write about her experiences. She embraced that opportunity fully, and as a result, touched thousands upon thousands of lives.

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This is a guest post by Jarie Bolander, Author of Frustration Free Technical Management.

Innovation and creativity are wrought with setbacks, stumbles and failure. All creative endeavors have that one point where all you want to do is stop. Stop working. Stop thinking. Stop worrying about the project. This place comes by many names – the wall, the edge or the brink….

Teetering on the Edge

The brink is that defining moment where all hope is lost. Whatever you are working on is just not converging. It’s the point of exhaustion where going on seems impossible. This spot is the single most frustrating point in your life where you question everything. It’s a nasty cocktail of melancholy mixed with terror that feels like your whole world is collapsing in on itself. At this point, where all hope, dreams, desires and ego are on the brink of collapse, will be your most creative moment if you let it…

Embracing the Brink

Creative people need to embrace the brink and the defining moments it creates. The clarity that brink moments can bring is truly astonishing. The brink is the culmination of your creative process. It’s that last little push to finish your blog post, the marathon session to release your software or the one defining experiment that proves your invention. When you feel yourself teetering on the brink, wanting to give up, try these techniques to push past it:

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I haven’t stop thinking about 94-year-old Carmen Herrera ever since I read about her in The New York Times. Her story is such a shot of inspiration that I just have to write about it here.

The story goes that Carmen has a deep love for painting. It was a compulsion, something she simply couldn’t stop doing. She started painting back in the 1930s, when she was in her ’20s. Her paintings focused mostly on geometrical shapes and lines, forms and colors, and were considered “ahead of her time.”

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Have you ever had moments in your life when someone or something kindles a spark of gratitude within you and changes your perspective on life ever so subtly, or not so subtly?

I remember one instance, back when I was barely out of my teens, while attending college as a bright-eyed freshman. It was the first day of a “Psychology 101” class. Everyone in class looked around my age, except a 60-plus-years-old African American woman. I will never forget what she said as we went around a seated circle introducing ourselves.

After working hard all my life, and seeing my five children grow up, go to school and graduate from college, it is finally my turn.”

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