Be a Dream Maker for Others

At the age of nine, I designed my own home along with its furnishings with Mrs. Pink Erickson. Whenever I spent time with her, I was placed at the center of the universe, and whatever I asked for came to pass.

“Mom!” I hollered as I walked out my front door, “I’m hanging out with Pink today!”

“Don’t forget to come home for dinner!” Mom replied. This was a typical response, as I’d often lose track of time whenever I went to Pink’s house.

Pink was the lady all the neighborhood kids loved. She was a retired seamstress in her 70’s with an arsenal of fabrics, materials, and tools for all sorts of crafts. She and her husband allowed kids to freely pass in and out of their home. They didn’t have children or grandchildren, so we were treated like their very own.

“What do you want to create today?” she’d ask. Pink had no limits when it came to creating things, so I asked for whatever my imagination could see, and she made the magic happen.

We spent hours together creating dolls from scratch. They came in all shapes and sizes, along with an amazing wardrobe for each doll, perfectly tailored by Pink. My favorite was a 5-inch tall doll, and her wardrobe included a lace wedding dress, snow pants, boots, a glamorous robe, and a nightgown.

Aside from dolls, when it came to designing my own home, Pink’s husband assisted in building the dollhouse, right down to the detailed finishings. Pink meticulously handcrafted all of the furniture. I still have the precious gifts that were created for me over 40 years ago.

What kind of a person devotes this much time with a child from the neighborhood? At the time, I didn’t realize how exceptional Pink was, especially since the Ericksons gave this same unhindered love to all the children in the neighborhood. To give you an idea of the extent of their generosity, one of the kids in our neighborhood inherited their home when they passed. This was just one way they showed how much love they had for us.

Today, I am a TV and video producer, having over 30 years of experience. I’ve worked with the local news stations in sports broadcasting, and I’ve owned my own production company for 20 years. I’ve found that creative people, like Pink, inspire me the most. When I am in the midst of a free-spirited, creative thinker, I feel energized and alive.

Thinking back, Pink was one of the most influential people in my life. She supported my creative development. Because of her unfettered love, time, attention and hand-crafted gifts, she not only shaped my worldview, but also the foundation of my professional success.

To sum up the lessons I learned from Pink, these values illustrate her approach to life.

Possibility Mindset: Pink taught me how to dream. She demonstrated time and time again that my mind’s eye could see and create whatever I imagined.

For example, when I told her I wanted to be a princess for Halloween, we dove into the possibilities, brainstormed design ideas, considered materials and fabrics to use, and the steps to making that magical dream come true.

Too often people are focused on probability or realistic thinking. This is good, but being rational too early in the creative process invites too many barriers. I cannot recall one moment when Pink said something wasn’t possible. Her possibility mindset showed me a discipline of having the patience to allow ideas to flourish without the distraction of limited or negative thinking. We engaged in enthusiastic hope and positive anticipation of what our creations could be, while establishing plans to make it happen.

Now, as a TV and video producer, I approach my work in the same manner. I embrace this mindset necessary in producing visual imagery to match my clients’ visions. Early in my career, I vividly recall one producer who would constantly say, "That's not possible!" or "No, we can't do that!" during the initial brainstorming process. I thought to myself, "We're never going to accomplish anything with that mindset."

Innovation: Innovation goes hand-in-hand with possibility thinking. With Pink, all of our creations required innovation at every turn. She made things happen through resourcefulness, projection, alteration, transformation and breakthrough.

Challenges were approached as a creative puzzle. We would oftentimes have to try over and over to get the right design. Such as, when designing the princess dress, it took numerous attempts to develop a small, ornate, satin rose just right before proceeding with duplicating them for the remainder of the dress.

Innovation is a normal part of my creative process for work. If we lack resources or encounter challenges in depicting something visually, I approach the creative puzzle with innovation, asking a lot of “what if” questions. I do everything it takes to find ways to make concepts come to life.

Nurture: Pink was the epitome of a nurturing woman. She nurtured my imagination, curiosity and ideas continuously from the beginning to the end of each creative project.

It began as a free flow of ideas bouncing around with no hindrance, and then evolved to steps of creative output. Additionally, all of the creations she made for me required her nurturing attention to detail. It was her commitment to quality and craftsmanship that truly amazed me whenever she presented a gift.

I will never forget the day I saw the princess dress. I was in complete awe and wonder. It was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen, with over 50 handcrafted rose buds at the top of dress. The dress was far more than a costume. I became a princess when I stepped into that dress.

Kindness: Pink’s motivation was to freely and generously give. She wanted us to feel supported, special, and cared for. You would be astonished at her workmanship and appreciate the time she invested in me to make my dreams a reality.

Her example of kindness is the way I aspire to live my life. My goal is to freely give in the same manner to my family, my nieces and nephews, and my clients. My desire is to help others with their own goals in my own unique way.

Ultimately, when one operates from a heart of giving, one will always succeed in life. I have found that if kindness and generosity are my highest goals, I can help others while feeding my own soul as well.

Be a dream maker for others. That’s what Pink was for me. Help others make their hopes and aspirations come true. I’m confident if you embrace the PINK philosophy, you’ll experience more out of life, and you can strengthen your legacy by giving people something to remember and cherish for years to come.

Jocelyn O – Minneapolis, MN

For more on Jocelyn, see "A Little Help From My Friend"

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