You may be wondering, Where did "Think Creatively" come from? You may not be. Either way, I'm stepping out to share the answer.
For as long as I can remember, I've been a dreamer, but not always for the right reasons. In college, I wanted to start a school for students with special needs. If I examine where my heart was though, it was more about the praise that I would receive, rather than the cause itself. I wanted to find my identity in doing something great, in being "known." As much as I hate to admit it, helping people was secondary. Since then, I've grown a lot in my understanding of self worth. I know to no longer put my worth in what I do or accomplish. Rather, I must be secure in who God has made me to be. I may have moments where I forget, but that is where I try to land my mind when I lay my head down to sleep.
I graduated from my Master's program in Spring 2018 with the degree I needed to become a Speech-Language Pathologist/ Speech Therapist. (Major brownie points if you've heard of that profession!) , a new dream began. During grad school, I worked with some clients who had experienced a traumatic brain injury. Often times their injury would leave them with a diagnosis of Aphasia, where essentially the language area of your brain is damaged but the other areas remain relatively intact. A lot of the clients I saw had difficulty carrying conversations, and they benefited from slow, simple sentences. Speech was no longer as fluid, so during therapy we would try to work on more scripted language as that was easier for them.
As I worked more with this population, I would see that my clients were easily discouraged and I learned that the particular population of persons with traumatic brain injuries are more prone to isolation and depression. I mean, I can only imagine...the difficulty, the frustration, the pain that someone experiences when they are no longer able to communicate as they once did. It seemed that those emotions were further exacerbated when the person was unemployed. It's hard to blame employers because we live in a society that elevates customer service like no other, and it's not easy to provide customer service when you have difficulty with speech. This made my heart heavy. I saw a need to provide job opportunities for persons with disabilities.
My dream to open a cafe to employ persons who have experienced traumatic brain injuries and simultaneously be used as a functional platform for speech therapy was born. I saw a need, and I also saw that I had been blessed to earn the degree required to help meet that need. What do you do when you see a need and the resources to meet that need? You go out and try your hardest to make it happen and then it happens! ... I wish it was that easy.
Usually you start by sharing your dream with other people, or maybe you start with a raging internal battle of whether or not you should share. Once you get to the point of sharing, you bring other people into the picture, other opinions.
This is the tipping point. This where one decides whether to keep dreaming or...to stop.
Words are powerful, they can give life or bring death. They can lift us up, they can tear us to pieces. I experienced words in all these ways. The notable thing is this, it was the negative words that stuck the most, that stung the most. I could have 5 people tell me to follow my dream, but it only takes 1 person, who means something to you, to saying "I don't think you should try" to stifle the dream.
I say stifle, because there was something different about my dream to open a cafe. It wasn't a dream so easily crushed. I was convicted that it wasn't about making money, or it being easy. It was about the need, and feeling called to meet that need even if it meant it was more difficult, even if it meant taking risks.
It was the process though, of sharing, of opening my dream up to opinions, that gave me passion to cultivate a culture where we are encouraged to "think creatively." In small or big, known or unknown ways, I want to tell people to keep dreaming. Keep dreaming because that's how the world becomes a better place.
Disclaimer: It seems to me that when people hear "dream," they think unplanned, impractical, foolish, and pie in the sky ideas. When I talk about dreaming, I am talking about ambition, having a goal, and allowing that goal to inspire you to take practical and responsible actions towards that dream.