The Cohen-Miller Report: A rock in my head… and other obstacles to invincibility

by Jen Miller, Cohen-Miller Consulting

In art school, we had a creative writing professor who somehow managed to get more creative thinking out of us than any of our other professors. Considering that writing can be daunting to visual people, he did us a big favor and assigned what he called “free writing” homework every week.

The idea is that you sit down and write for 15 minutes, stream-of-consciousness-style, without lifting the pen from the page and without worrying about grammar, punctuation or any of that constraining stuff. It was a very liberating way to work, and actually yielded some pretty interesting thinking. With that in mind, I decided to go on a bit of a personal ramble with this blog,                                                                       so forgive my grammar and my “french”                                                                   but here goes.

Last year sucked – for lots of reasons – bad economy, businesses crumbling, people losing their jobs and everyone else stressed about their jobs.

For me the suckiness started when I got laid off (in January).

then it really kicked in………..following an MRI for a problem with my left eye, I got a call from the doctor saying they found a “mass” in the middle of my brain and I should go talk to a brain surgeon.

black hole, records scratching, world spinning backwards, scary $%*@!! – the kind of thing that one never expects to hear – and isn’t equipped to handle


After lot’s of poking, prodding and probing, the doctors determined that the mystery “mass” was calcified – essentially a nickel-sized rock in my head that might get bigger, or might just sit there. So the course of action was to “watch and wait” – oh, yeah…and continue freaking out

For me the thing in my head was like kryptonite, taking away my sense of power, and for the better part of 2009, making me feel very “vincible”.

It also made me:

  • re-assess what’s really important to me
  • re-claim time to devote to my passions
  • research, research, research my options
  • rely a little more on faith, friends and family

In the process, I learned that the old saying is true – what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger, and wiser, and less scared to take chances and go after the things you want.

So for everyone out there who’s been or is going through down-sizing, outsourcing, re-orging, or any other f-ing thing lately… take time to re-connect with your passions, honestly research what’s out there, and take a leap of faith to find the career you really want.

A year later, nothing has changed with the thing in my head (thankfully), but lots of other things have changed for the better. I started my own business, with a brilliant partner, and things are rocking along. I learned to manage my time better and hold fast to time set aside for doing things that I enjoy.

OK, so it’s kinda funny that I actually have a rock in my head, but rock or not, I’m starting to feel invincible again.

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