Creative Leaders Spark Change Around The World

Creative Leaders spark change around the world.

In my last blog I introduced the concept of the creative edge. It is the way you live your life. It is the way you parent, solve problems, and make a difference in the world. It is being resilient, inventive and original. It is supporting your unique visions and going to the creative edge. The  qualities of a  creative leader are:  Courageous, Resourceful, Enthusiastic, Authentic, Tenacious, Inspired, Vibrant, Empowered.

Meet Jonny Imerman

 

  imerman

Jonny Imerman was a typical college graduate, working in real estate during the day and attending classes at night for his MBA. Jonny played basketball, worked out at the gym and hung out with friends. Then at 26 his life changed.

 Jonny was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After doctors surgically removed one of his testicles, he underwent five months of chemotherapy and was declared clear. But almost a year later, four tumors popped up again near his spine which required another surgery, an 11-inch incision and three months of recovery.

Jonny has been cancer-free since 2003. He left the business world behind and began Imerman Angels a not-for-profit organization that connects a person fighting with cancer with someone who has survived and beaten the same type of cancer. The mission is to provide a big brother or sister to help inspire, provide tips and knowledge. They have created a global healing community of over 4000 survivors and 1500 caregivers . The service is available to anyone touched by any type of cancer living in 60 countries around the world for free.

Rae: What inspired you to create Imerman Angels?

Jonny: “I had made a vow to myself during the time that I was battling cancer. I had looked at others in the oncology clinic and realized that I was different. Each day, my mom was there.She was there every step of the way.  My room was filled with family and friends. As I walked down the hall with my chemotherapy IV-pole on the way to the bathroom, I saw other people fighting cancer alone. They were lying in bed, motionless, watching television or staring in space.  I knew this was not right. It really upset me. So I started chatting with other cancer patients.I’ d say hi my name is Jonny. We could talk about our emotions, our experiences, things our family couldn’t get like sucking on lemonheads to get the metallic taste out of our mouth.

“I wondered: “What if every cancer fighter could talk to a cancer survivor who was uniquely familiar with their experience; who not only had beaten the same type and stage of cancer, but who also was the same age and gender as the fighter?” The cancer survivor would be an angel- walking, living proof that the fighter could win, too. What an amazing connection. “

“Let’s say a 19 year old girl at University of Richmond get’s sick, she is alone and afraid. She can go on facebook and talk to an angel  to find out know what is going to happen to her,” how sick will I get, will I be able to have kids?   Also cancer caregivers, family members and friends also benefit from one-on-one connections with other caregivers and survivors.

 Rae: How would you define courage?

 Jonny:  Courage, when you reach a certain point where you absolutely have no fear of failure.You don’t listen to other people saying others have had that idea. Ultimately courage is listening to your own voice and believing that you can do it.

Rae:     What are the qualities of a great leader?catalyst of change

Johnny:   I think a great leader, number one is focused on a mission. A great leader believes in the service for the product that they’re delivering.  They believe in their soul, every part of their body, everything about them screams that they get it. They’re so fired up to build it and that’s what creates a movement. They have unwavering passion.

Rae: What is your definition of success?

 Jonny:” For me it’s really simply we’re changing lives, we’re improving lives in cancer, we’re making a difference.  I think the most successful people in the world are the people in social enterprise that are building a for-profit company that has a social component that makes the world a better place or nonprofits that simply make the world a better place. 

Rae: What continues to drive you?

Jonny: I love people. Everyone’s got a story. Everyone has been through challenges. I always say that if you talk to somebody for five minutes there’s always something that you don’t know that they do. You can learn from their experiences.

Rae:  What would you say to somebody who said they don’t know how make a difference but would like to?

 Johnny:    I think what you need to do is to dig deep and you think about what your family  has been touched by. It could be diabetes or cancer. Get in touch with one of the groups  that serve people in those arenas and start volunteering.  Be part of the solution.


If you want to be part of the solution visit www.ImermanAngels.org for information on how to support or join the network of cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.

Cancer used to be said in a whisper. Now we have football players marching down the field in pink. How did that happen? We have people sharing their story or their families challenges. We have  creative leaders like Jonny Imerman  who brought to light the problems young adults face with cancer and did something about it .

If you know a Creative Leader who I should feature…please write me.

 

 

What is the Creative Edge?

desert island

During one of my workshops I asked the participants to close their eyes and imagine they were suddenly stranded on a desert island. You have nothing with you. No family, friends, home, car, job or possessions. What would you have left?

They were stunned, they grumbled nothing. But I asked is that really true? One lady raised her hand and said. “I have lots of things. I have my health, memories, my intellect and my senses. With a new way of looking at the situation, one of the gentleman in the group said ” I have courage and faith.” One of the women wearing a t shirt that said inspired on it shared” I have talents and I have my creativity”.

We are so much more than we realize. We are not defined by our “things or toys” or our status at work or even our physical bodies. When we can see beyond our current thinking, when we can change our habitual patterns of behavior and thoughts, we can make our life and work a winning adventure.

 I think two celebrities did just that. Christopher Reeves, best known for being Superman, was paralyzed after a riding accident. Sitting in a wheel chair, head supported, aided with a ventilator he made movies, spoke about the need for spinal cord research. He was an inspiration for millions. Then you have Michael J. Fox with Parkinson’s disease …he didn’t silently disappear. He now uses his tremors as part of his humor and acting on his new television show.

Marcel Proust said “The real voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes.” That is the essence of being creative.

Being creative is a mindset and an attitude. It is a skill set that can be learned. It is a willingness to play, explore and experiment. You don’t need to be a genius like Albert Einstein or Leonardo da Vinci. It is not about being a great artist like Renoir or Frieda Kahlo. It is not about being a writer, photographer, musician, or dancer. It is the way you live your life. It is the way you parent, solve problems, and make a difference in the world. It is being resilient, inventive and original. It is supporting your unique visions and going to the creative edge.

When you reach your Creative Edge you will be more:

       Courageous

       Resourceful

       Empowered

        Authentic

       Tenacious

        Inspired

       Vibrant

       Enthusiastic

I would like to introduce you to one of the people I interviewed for The Winning Adventure who has gone to the Creative Edge.

Meet Sue Ellen Allen who found her passion and creative edge in prison.Sue ellen Allen

Sue Ellen Allen is a former University of Texas grad, former educator, former business owner, former community leader. Having spent 7 years as an inmate at Arizona State Prison she now serves as Executive Director for GINA’s Team, an organization that brings educational programs and speakers into prison to inspire and empower inmates to strive for a better future. She says that “watching her  cell mate Gina die from medical neglect was the” defining moment” of my life. It gave me a new passion and purpose.”

Sue Ellen walked into prison battling advanced breast cancer. She told me she knew she wanted to make a difference. “I asked the deputy warden if we could have our own cancer walk during National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Surprising everyone they said yes. So one sunny Saturday morning in October dressed in our bright orange uniforms we walked around our track. The first year we raised $10,000 for breast cancer from inmates who make about 25 cents an hour on average. There were so many women touched by breast cancer with family and friends they were excited to participate. I’m proud to say that walk is now held in every state prison facility in Arizona and has raised over $100,000 for the American Cancer Society. It’s a huge event inside.”

Her inspiring story, The Slumber Party from Hell shares her journey of prison and transformation. Her legacy continues in prison with Toast Masters and a 14 week life skill class she designed which is now taught by other inmates. She inspires others to triumph in the face of adversity, to go to the creative edge and be unstoppable. Get involved with Gina’s Team or to get in touch: http://sueellenallen.wordpress.com/.

 

Make your life and work a winning adventure. Go to  the Creative Edge at http://thewinningadventure.com/services.php.

Who do you know has gone to the creative edge?

 

 

 

What Is Your Winning Adventure?

ready for adventure

 

How Do You Define the Winning Adventure?

Life is an adventure and we get to choose what we make of it. We get to choose how we see life. Is the glass half full or empty? We get to choose how we handle the challenges and the bumpy roads. We can complain, be a victim or we can look for the gifts. We get to choose how we make a difference in the world. Do you want to be a role model, a mentor or volunteer? You get to choose what is the best version of you. You get to choose how you show up in the world. What are you choosing today? What is your winning adventure?

My top fifteen.choose to see the good

  1. Helping others…from the time I was a little girl and I saw Shirley Temple in the movie Heidi, I knew that I had to help the Clara’s of the world: People who had grown comfortable in their pain and circumstances, frightened to reach out toward healing, wholeness and joy.
  2. Personal freedom…visiting new and exciting places while experiencing new cultures and hearing people’s stories:  riding a camel across the desert in Israel; eating fish and chips in front of the television with the owner of my New Zealand B and B; belly dancing in a local restaurant in Morocco.
  3.  Love…Being involved with family and friends in loving, compassionate and deep heartfelt ways. Having agreed to disagree conversations with my adult children and getting to be GRANDMA (Raspberry kisses, make believe and magic).
  4. Finding the fun in life…being able to laugh at myself and the things I have tried all in the name of losing weight or healing: shake rattle and roll machines; all the chocolate cream filled donuts you can eat and swimming for two hours diet; sitting in the car at midnight, waiting for the train to go by while I screamed at the top of my lungs.
  5. Being creative…from the time I was six and I had Miss Rae’s Art School; scribbles and doodle; reading tarot cards; or taking candid photographs of laundry around the world and intimate portraits of flowers.
  6. Being old enough to BREAK THE RULES: having dessert for breakfast (Crème Brule and almost any ice cream with gold brick topping and marshmallow fluff); saying NO to friends and families unreasonable and sometimes reasonable requests; and starting a new business at age 60.
  7. Say yes to wearing exquisite, vibrant colored clothes and accessories, and bold, big pieces of jewelry and my cowboy hat.cowboy hat
  8. Authenticity…Standing in my power and sharing my truth in print, live and on the radio.
  9.  Diva Rae singing in public, draped across the piano in a purple sequined gown, a sultry version of the itsy bitsy spider. (LOL)
  10. Being a spiritual eclectic: studying eastern and western religions; attending different services around the world; taking what I want and leaving the rest.
  11. Nature… Enjoying the sound of the seagulls, the sun shining on my face and the wind blowing in my hair.
  12. Envisioning a bigger, better, brilliant, abundant future without knowing the how.
  13. Gratitude…A big thank you for every moment I am alive.
  14. Watching So You Think You Can Dance and The Voice and listening to country music.
  15. The ultimate winning adventure …Loving Life! No matter what your past, you can choose to live creatively, passionately and joyfully.

Make your life and work a winning adventure.

Please share your winning adventure with me .Download your free vision and goal setting report.