Cecily Sommers, dancer, chiropractor, author, and professional futurist, spoke to a poised audience of over 50 University of St. Thomas alumni, students and staff members this week about the importance of finding your “fit.” Sommers career path has been anything but traditional, leaving several opportunities for self-reinvention.
Sommers details her process for self-reinvention through four steps: dream, discovery, tension, and reckoning. The notion of her desire to become a dancer happened as a child as she saw her neighbors dressed in tutu’s leaving for dance lessons. She quickly envisioned herself as a prima ballerina, and began dance lessons shortly thereafter. Discovery of a future in dance was due to her natural talent and desire to embellish musical notes with flourished movements. Progressing throughout her dance career, tension was created as she became pulled in many directions with school, teaching and attempting to earn a living. The reckoning that followed suit was a realization that dance could not provide the professional and creative challenges her own capabilities craved. Moving forward, she decided to pursue a Business degree, where she was forced to take science classes. This same process occurred while she transitioned from dancer to chiropractor, realizing in a science class that she had a strong desire to learn how the human form and circular system interact together in all aspects of survival. The reckoning developed as she decided that the homeopathic route for medicine best fit her desire to heal.
As she continued on as a chiropractor, she acquired business partners, various clinics and quickly developed a successful knack for business development and leadership. Of the various disciplines she has served, business has provided Sommers the opportunity to involve her strong abilities to think creatively, act professionally, and steer companies in pioneering and profitable directions.
As an attendee, I found the dialogue she provided on an early Wednesday morning to be refreshing and self-introspective. Finding the right “fit” was a key contributing factor for the lucrative and diverse professional background of Sommers. At times I find myself ignoring the little voice I hear or the odd feelings I’ve felt while making a decision. Most often, upon reviewing that decision in hindsight, the voice telling me “NO” was correct. As a working adult, I no longer have the cop out of saying “peer pressure” lead me to the decision I made, I have only myself to hold accountable. After listening to the insight provided by Sommers, I find myself reviewing the current opportunities and challenges I face and seeing how well they fit with my personal dreams.
Sommers will be speaking at TEDX on April 20, this will be her second speaking engagement with the world renowned nonprofit. TED serves to bring together the three worlds of technology, education and design. During her Remembering the Future presentation Sommers discusses the brains ability to conjure memories and that those same memories are the keys to our success. Memories trigger happiness, and regret, they serve as a secret keeper but can also be the guide to our future. Typically in a business venture, numbers, analysis and market trends are the determining factors for success. The concept of being attentive to the “fit” as well as engaging previous memories can also serve as great deterrents or encouragers for future endeavors. While Sommers suggestions may not meet traditional business practices, these concepts can be applied to all individuals looking to reinvent themselves or simply do a ‘gut check’ every now and then.