“What if you just did it your own way? No rules, no right or wrong, just what you think is beautiful?” ~Sandra Magsamen, Living Artfully
There’s really something to be said for going your own way. I often talk about my Darden professor who warned us to “stay away from the boxes”: the ones people (will try to) put you in, the ones you put yourself in, and the ones you put others in.
I was reminded of that idea again today when I watched an interview with Mitch Albom. He was a sports writer who wanted to write a book about his dying professor and the important lessons he was learning about life by visiting him. Publishers didn’t want the book. They told him to stick to sports writing. That’s what he was good at. That’s what he knew. And this book was too depressing. “No one will want to read that,” they told him.
Albom persisted because he wrote the book in hopes of being able to pay for Morrie’s medical bills. One publisher finally took it, several weeks before Morrie died. And it was a very slow build, not an instant best-seller. Fast forward 20 years: Tuesdays with Morrie is read all over the world. It’s sold over 15 million copies in 45 languages and is read by kids, seniors, and everyone in-between.
Albom has grown, too. He’s gone on to write novels, nonfiction books, and stage plays. On one of those now famous Tuesdays, Morrie asked Albom how he supported his community and Albom told him he wrote checks to charities. Morrie told him he could do more. And he has. Albom founded an orphanage in Haiti that he visits once a month and has 9 charities total that he runs. So much for all those publishers who told him to stick to sports writing. Thankfully for us, and the world, he didn’t listen to them. He refused to stay in that box.
Albom, and so many renaissance men and women around the world and throughout time, teach us that it’s okay to not be neatly defined. It’s okay to do a lot of things as long as they are meaningful to you. Look at the people who founded our country—not a single one of them was just one thing. Somewhere between then and now we got into this rut in our society of having one narrow focus for our careers and our lives. Let’s embrace the idea that we are complex, intricate, and multi-talented beings. Be proud of always growing in new directions. Let’s be all that we are.
Published by Christa Avampato
The short of it:
Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day.
The long of it:
My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events.
While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series.
A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist.
I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media:
• I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference;
• I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable;
• I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me.
Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.
View all posts by Christa Avampato