I’ve been wondering lately exactly when it was that I made my decision to become a creative professional. I have a memory of waking in a cold sweat one night, in the midst of my post-graduate studies in Art History, deciding if I would convert my MA to a PhD and commit to a life of academia. It was also the night that I decided to give up the Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship that I had been living on. I remembered writing something of a declaration in my journal that night, and today I found that journal entry:

I AM SUSAN BROCK
ONLY
NOT DR
NOT ATTACHED TO ANY INSTITUTION
OR DEPARTMENT
ALONE
WITH MY FRIENDS
MY HANDS
MY DREAMS
ALL MY SOUL
and
I TAKE FULL FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

It is dated 9th November 1998- 14 years and 10 months ago.

I remember that moment as one of the most pivotal in my life, right up there with my wedding and the birth of my babies. In fact, I think of this as the birth of my very first baby- the creative entity that came about as a result of my choice and commitment to satisfy the drive in me to seek a more creative life. I stepped out into the unknown and made the commitment to myself, that, though I didn’t know how yet, I was going to figure out how I could earn my living from being creative. It may sound very simple, but to me it was the holy grail- to support yourself financially from doing what you love. Quite a fanciful dream for the daughter of a nurse and a fireman.

In 2000 I registered a business name- Manque Design– and that business has sustained me financially ever since. It began as a jewellery and accessories line and ended up a women’s clothing label. I started selling my wares at local markets, went on to wholesale nationally, then open my own retail outlet in Melbourne. Once I became a mother and moved to a smaller town, I made the decision to downsize my big city life and business and closed my shop and studio in Melbourne and fine-tuned Manque Design Online as my chief sales avenue. Just as well, since my second child arrived just 16 months after my first one and I really had my hands full. But my trusty enterprise chugged along and continued to give me an income.

But it no longer gave me the feeling that I was living the truest expression of my creativity that I could, and that troubled me.

Pregnancies seem to have a tendency to foster creativity in all areas of a woman’s life. It’s almost as if something about the process of gestation, followed by a period of intense and exhausted fascination and devotion to the child created, sparks of all kinds of little metaphorical gestations in the mothers life and psyche. For me there was one in particular that wouldn’t go away. And the embers of this creative fascination were well and truly fanned at the Big Hearted Business Conference, run by Clare Bowditch, that I attended in March 2013.

One afternoon I found myself with a microphone sharing with the fabulous group of women in attendance. I had every intention to be eloquent and impressive. What I did was cry, and trip over my words in a flood of gratitude that such an event was FINALLY being held- a conference that supported business from the heart.

I had, for years, forged ahead in a business world that seemed to expect that I grow my enterprise according to a prescribed formula with level-headedness and no emotion. As I operate almost entirely intuitively and instinctively (with a dash of practicality), and am frequently haunted by inappropriate bursts of emotion-such as at conferences- this is clearly a model that had me feeling at odds with traditional business most of the time. The strange thing is, that I was successful at what I did, and seemed to be onto something in my style of business.

I began to study, I mean really study, what creativity is and the awesome creative potential of human beings in general. I could see from my success that I was good at being creative, but I wanted to understand what I was doing. When I say I really studied, I’m talking about 2 years of intense, hands-on practical training in the ancient philosophy of alchemy, and deliberately developing my intuitive ability and its incredible capacity to create a life aligned with what we most love and most matters to us. If all this sounds a bit weird, remember it’s coming from someone who spent two years at university researching miraculous images of the Virgin Mary and the cults that develop around them. I am a little weird. But I am also entirely fascinated by the mystical aspects of life, particularly when it comes to learning to use them to create concrete reality.

I came away from that conference knowing that the path ahead of me professionally was not just that of clothing. I had, with the training I had undertaken, come away with a coaching and facilitating qualification and had coached a number of successful creative professional people and run workshops. I LOVED this work. Helping others to develop a closer relationship with their intuitive ability and assisting them to build healthier businesses and more fulfilled lives has become my passion. I had put that aside for a while when I became a mother, but am now more ready than ever to get back to this work.

So here I am, at the birth of another business baby- Creative Conversation is her name, and she’s beautiful, though she often keeps me awake at night. And as the name suggests, its all about having conversations about creativity, creatively.