Creative Re-Invention: When A Voice Says Go

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I always love and am attracted to people who have been in one particular career for a long time, maybe half their adult lives, and then they just change. One day, they wake up, and say “I’m not happy” and they move on. Next thing you know, they’ve founded a cookie crisp empire, or are testing guava plants all over the world for the perfect hormonal juice. They have a work-life balance they have always wanted, and are seeing life through a new lens. They courageously move into another career area that inspires them and thrive in that second career more than they even did in the first. I would catch interviews on podcasts of these resilient people, and be riveted. I would hang on every word they said hoping in some way, their mindset would rub off on me and I would wake up in the morning and say “Ahhh, heck with the movie business… what’s next?”

But that was not the case.

The movie business had such a hold on me on so many psychological levels of my identity. I was trapped in the ego that had convinced me the only way I could express myself was as a screenwriter. I had seen success in a competitive field and was told, “I had achieved what many people hadn’t…  appreciate the path I was on.”  I had put in so much time, blood, sweat and tears, I stayed in film for almost a decade longer than necessary.  I was unhappy. I mean I was really unhappy. I desperately felt like I didn’t have the key of knowledge on how to transition out of telling stories one way into new ways of telling stories. In fact, I bottomed out so bad, I wouldn’t even consider myself at one point a writer.

I lost all respect for writing and storytelling. My creativity dried completely up.

I knew my ego needed a shot, or should I say a cattle prod to the soul. And divorced for the second time as a single parent of two small children, it wasn’t the ideal time for upheaval. But I had reached a point of desperation.  Life was too short. I had more to do on this earth with my voice and my talents. I needed to take action.

I needed a job at Trader Joes.

Probably not the plot twist you were expecting.

Yup. At 44 years old, I ran both my kids to their different schools, clocked in at 9 and for eight hours a day handled vegetables, worked the cash register and packed the meat locker. What I started to notice was customers and employees alike sought me out to tell me their stories as I stocked the cereal aisle, and mopped the bathroom. I was having conversations with people I would never have normally met. A man covered in tattoos that served eight years in jail. A young rap musician who lost his baby at eight weeks old.  A salsa-dancing manager who didn’t know how to navigate a break-up. They wanted to talk to me, and they wanted to know my deal. Why was I there? How did I take risks?

Moms would find me, wanting divorces but scared of independence, asking me how was I making these changes?  Would I listen to what they had going on with their lives?  And what did I think about their story?  I knew something was happening… and when I left the job I had a renewed confidence of focusing people’s visions and the essence of the stories they wanted to tell.

I became a book and story coach.

As soon as I made a commitment to this new way of telling stories, I started to meet brilliant entrepreneurial women who needed help writing their books. To fully put their voice on paper.  I joined hands with them on their journey.

It had nothing to do with meditating more or becoming an overachiever. It had to do with trusting in re-invention as a creative person. I see now and believe the true essence of our path guides us to where we need to be. Where our gifts will best serve us and others. Where we will be ultimately happy. We have to be happy, right? Say you are an actress, but it’s not happening for you right now. Open yourself to another journey and in it you may find the key to a deeper authenticity in your performances; one that finally lands you that dream role.

It’s not about the dream of all we think we can have.

That’s nothing.

It’s the dream of all we think we can be.

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If you have the desire to write a book authentically in your own voice, please reach out to me for a complimentary Story to Success™ Strategy Session. It’s not a hustle or a sell. Just two women talking about how we can change your business. www.astoryinside.com

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Kim O'Hara

About Kim O'Hara

Prior to launching her business A Story Inside as a book and story coach, Kim spent her adult life as a producer and screenwriter of independent film, developing countless projects from script to screen. On the never-ending quest to know more about writers and writing, she has taken short fiction, satire and screenwriting classes at UCLA, Stanford Writers’ Lab and San Jose State. To hone her skills in comedy and collaboration, she survived an Improv Intensive at IO West. She was also the Editor of a prominent food journal, charged with the task of making subjects like antibiotics in meat a riveting read. She is passionate about intuitively and mindfully connecting women entrepreneurs to their hidden greatness and help them achieve their unrealized dream to write a book. Her children are the root of her existence, her true teachers.