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The Imperative of “Creativity” and “Possibility Thinking” in Helping People Become Employed

By Denise Bissonnette


I believe that the core purpose of our work as employment professionals is to assist people in seeing beyond their barriers and limitations in order to enter the more expansive field of their potential and possibility.  To that end, we have to embrace the imperative of creativity in helping people recover the capacity to dream, to reclaim the vitality of their imagination, and to exercise healthy judgment in making important choices.  The ultimate gift we have to offer is hope and belief on behalf of their future and a broadened perspective from which they can perceive their gifts, their potential, and the overcoming of barriers and limitations.  As such, we are called to creativity in much the same way that the engineer is called to precision, the athlete is called to physical exertion, or the painter is called to artistic expression.  From this viewpoint, creativity is not just an “extra” that we can contribute when we feel inspired to do so, but as the very essence of our work.  What that means in everyday terms is applying “possibility thinking” as the lens through which we perceive every part of the process which culminates in the illumination of a person’s potential and the expansion of their choices.

Here are five core beliefs that have served as an anchor in my own “possibility thinking” as a job developer, a writer, and a trainer:

  1. Everyone is born with gifts.  It is impossible to be born to this world without them.  In the words of Buckminster Fuller, “Everyone is a genius in the right context.”  From that perspective, our greatest challenge is not creating potential in people, but finding or creating the context in which they can express what they have already been given.
  2. We need to expand our thinking and rid ourselves of the illusions that have traditionally shaped the strategies of job seekers and employment professionals.  Among them is the illusion of finite rules with regard to how people should enter the world of work; the illusion that if something hasn’t happened before, it probably isn’t possible; the illusion that the past is always the most reliable predictor of the future; the illusion that employers will not be open to considering anything which they do not already have in place; and the illusion that the world is done being created and now we just have to learn to live with it as it is!
  3. There are endless ways of entering the world of work and making a living.  The very nature of business is to be open and receptive to new markets and new ways of doing things, and the world is far being finished and, in fact, is alive and vibrant with boundless possibility. There are infinite ways in which we may shape a mutual opportunity for a person to employ his/her gifts while simultaneously bringing a benefit or profit to a business.
  4. Our possibilities are only limited by the range of our own imagination!  There are limitless opportunities for everyone in the world, if we but know how to sense them, articulate them, and act on them.
  5. The simplest and most profound way of steering our daily course is by remaining steadfast and mindful of the questions that are animating the journey, knowing that they dictate the “quests” we venture upon.  We need to focus our attention on abundance and opportunity rather than lack and scarcity, feeding the fire of hope rather than fear.  We need to set our sights on the future rather than the past, and deepen our commitment to benefit people rather than a system.   The spirit and mindset with we approach our work colors everything we do, everything we see, and everything we ever hope to accomplish!

Denise is a featured speaker at Cannexus10 in Ottawa, January 25 – 27, 2010 . There, in her Keynote Address, “Beyond Barriers to Passion and Possibility”, she will be addressing these issues of creativity in more depth. Later that day, Denise will also be conducting an afternoon workshop on “Beyond Traditional Job Development”. Denise is an internationally renowned writer, trainer and keynote speaker. A partner in Diversity World, her work is rooted in the affirmation of the individual “genius” of each person. 

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