Seeking answers, Scott started exploring. She enrolled in a four-day seminar organized by Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker, during which she walked across coals. She googled, "how do you get unstuck?" Oddly enough, the thing that helped most was creating a dream board, an approach popularized by Oprah Winfrey in which people create collages showing things they want to bring into their lives.
Yeah, it sounds hokey.
But Scott had learned long before that doing what might seem unorthodox to some might be the right thing for her.
Born to braid
Scott was diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age. Most of her classes at school were tough for her, but Scott found she was good with numbers. She also discovered that she braided hair as well as a professional. Friends clamored for her to do theirs."I taught myself," she said. "I just became great at it."
In 1993, after graduating from Delaware Valley Friends School in Paoli, which specializes in teaching students with learning disabilities, she enrolled at Hampton University in Virginia. There, she would send her textbooks out to be turned into audio books so she could better process the information.
Scott transferred to Temple University to help out at home after her mother got injured on the job. She got herself an underwriting job at Allstate Insurance and was braiding hair on the side. Eventually, she left school and did the underwriting work full time. But she hated corporate life. So she quit in 2001 and set up shop in her mother's house.
She was so good that clients flocked to her every day of the week, often at odd hours. Scott did her best not to turn anyone away. She worked every holiday, rarely taking days off - until her mother got tired of all the strangers in her home and told her she had a week to get out.
Initially, she set up shop on a fourth-floor, bunker-type space at 17th and Montrose atop an apartment building. To keep from having to constantly go up and down four flights of stairs, employees started tossing keys off the roof to customers waiting down on the street.
Scott eventually moved to the cramped North Philly spot before landing in her current space - nearly three times as large - in the Sherman Mills Artist Studio in East Falls. It's a good place, and she's in a good place emotionally as well . . . and she credits that dream board for getting her there.
Working on a dream
It wasn't a magic wand
At first when Scott hung the dream board on her bedroom wall, nothing changed.
But in time, that act of sitting down with scissors and glue stick in hand - and getting really clear about what it was that she wanted in life - helped her figure out the steps she should take.
Girlfriend hasn't looked back, as the saying goes.
Since then, Scott has become a big fan of dream boards - also known as vision boards or vision mapping. She's even condensed her board into a journal-style book that she carries with her everywhere she goes.
To keep herself centered, she rises about 4 a.m. to meditate and flip through her vision book. "The reality is, you don't need a book," she said. "The reality is that it's just time you're spending without the TV on. It's time getting to the core of you."
"I've been mapping for five years now," Scott told me last week. "What it is, is just a business plan for your life. . . . You can create the life you want to live." This Saturday and Jan. 15, she'll turn her passion into a new paid sideline, hosting workshops to help others create vision boards. The workshops' $35 fee includes a take-home journal for each student. (Details are available at eventbrite.com for anyone who's interested. Type "Duafe" into the search box.)
"I have never led a class like this before," Scott told me. The next leap she's envisioning is to get more involved in philanthropy.
What about the skeptics? The folks who'll read this piece and think that dream boards are just goofy? Scott's not paying them any mind.
"If you can't dream it," she said, "you can't achieve it."
On Twitter: @JeniceAmstrong