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Career Changing As a
Life Journey

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Lucia Capacchione

Lucia's Story: Career Changing
As a Life Journey

by Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D., A.T.R.

Author's Preface From The Talent Workbook

I was raised in Los Angeles, capital of the movie and television industries that employed my parents. My father, Frank Capacchione, was a film editor on classic M.G.M. forties musicals starring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. He later became a pioneer in television, editing The Lone Ranger, Gilligan's Island, The Brady Bunch and Wild, Wild West among others. My mother, an expert seamstress, worked in wardrobe at MGM and then had her own business sewing and altering expensive clothes for affluent women.

Talent was honored and taken seriously in our household. We went to the opera, concerts, theater, movies and art museums. My father worked every day with some of the world's greatest talent: directors like Vicente Minnelli and the teams at MGM in the 30s and 40s known as "more stars than there are in the firmament." A great storyteller in his own right, Dad came home with great behind-the-scenes tales about the creative process. Sometimes I went to work with him to see the stars in action on the set or casually dining in the commissary.

A natural extrovert, as a kid I talked to people wherever I went. The word shy was not part of my vocabulary. I was an only child and learned to amuse myself early in life. I remember as a toddler sitting in the backyard of my paternal grandmother Lucia and playing with my favorite toy: plastic discs in rainbow colors strung on a very large key chain. I spent long periods of time handling each disc, fascinated with the bright colors. My mother saved this toy and I still have it today. I can't help but think that my fascination with those colored discs influenced my early interest in art and eventual work as a toy designer. But more on that later.

Another very early memory is of the old wooden radio in the kitchen of my maternal grandmother, Graziela, and listening to the Saturday broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera. For us Italians, the opera was our "pop" music and attending the opera was like going to the movies only wearing fancier clothes. Watching opera performances instilled a love of music, pageantry, drama, costumes and set design. Fortunately, there were lots of opportunities to play around on the pianos at both grandmothers' homes. When I was about eight, I asked for piano lessons and received them. By age nine, I was composing music, playing the organ in church and singing in a Gregorian chant choir. Although I was only a C+ student in parochial school, the Sisters told my parents how important it was to nurture my talents in the arts. For that I am deeply grateful.

Early exposure to the arts and entertainment inspired a deep interest in collaborative theatrical projects. From about age nine the neighborhood kids and I put on plays and musical reviews in our garage. In good summer stock tradition, we all did everything. This gave me a chance to act, direct, paint backdrops, create costumes and make-up, design programs and advertise to the neighbors. It all seemed like the most natural thing in the world. In looking back, I also see how my talent for entrepreneurship was being developed. I have been self-employed almost all of my adult life.

With the dawn of adolescence, art took hold in my heart. Saturday painting classes at Otis Art Institute throughout high school were followed by four years at Immaculate Heart College where I studied with Sister Mary Corita (later known as Corita Kent). Corita became a famous graphic artist while I was studying with her. She became even more well-known during the pop art and op art periods of the 60's and 70's. Since her passing there has been a renewed interest in her poster art. She was best known for a U.S. postal stamp featuring rainbow strokes of color and the word LOVE.

Armed with a degree in Liberal Arts, (Art major, English minor) my first job was working for the world-renowned furniture designer/filmmaker, Charles Eames. That led to a later career as a freelance artist and creator of a mass-produced "Poetry Poster" line, greeting cards, banners for Hallmark and toys for Mattel. My graphic art was characterized by bright colors. One toy that I developed for Mattel, The Talking Pictures School House, taught pre-school children to name colors with discs (miniature records) that inserted into a little playback machine. Those plastic discs in my first and favorite toy had morphed into a more technologically sophisticated product.

During Bible Study in parochial school I heard the parable of the talents, in which a master gives one servant ten talents (coins or units of trade), while another servant receives one talent. The man with ten talents buries them, but the man with one talent uses it and multiplies it ten fold. (Matthew 25: 14-30). The man who buried his talents was cast out (fired); the one who multiplied his was rewarded. In my young mind, I understood the word "talent" to mean abilities or gifts. And that is metaphorically what the tale is all about: resources, opportunities, gifts and talents. This story had the ring of truth to it and the weight of divine proclamation. I took it very seriously. The lesson: talents are to be cultivated, multiplied and shared, not ignored or frittered away. I have lived my life by this rule and it has served me well. It is the foundation of this workbook. It is also the basis of the career counseling I have done for over thirty years as a Visioning® Coach. See my book, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams (Tarcher/Putnam, 2000), and

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