Serendipity is such a wonderful word, isn’t it?
It makes me think of happy chance, and it’s related in my mind to synchronicity, another word I love.
I just found out that we can actually cultivate serendipity. This is exciting to me! Here’s a lovely story about the origin of the word:
In 1754, Horace Walpole wrote some thoughts on a Persian fairy tale that entranced him about 3 princes from the Isle of Serendip who had extraordinary powers of observation. Walpole suggested this tale contained an important idea about human genius: “As their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.” (NYTimes 1/3/16) He proposed the word “serendipity” to describe this talent.
So, serendipity is not something that happens to us by dumb luck. It’s something we DO. It’s about paying attention, casting a wider net, allowing plans to change based on a feeling, using an accidental encounter or happening to chart a new path or open new doors, or make new discoveries.
It means that having too narrow a focus or being too perfectionistic can actually prevent you from finding creative solutions to problems in your business and in your life.
My online biz manager (the wonderful Rodney Washington) told me a story about an animal behaviorist he knows that illustrates this perfectly. She works from home, which occasionally gets dicey when her husband’s activities make for an environment that is NOT conducive to work for her.
She spontaneously left the house one day to give both of them some space. While out, she noticed a woman walking dogs. Something prompted her to go talk to the woman – which she wouldn’t normally have done. As they talked, they realized they could be great referral partners for each other. Not only that, but the dog walker encouraged the behaviorist to raise her rates, because she worked for high-end clients who had plenty of money to spend on their dogs. She’s tripling her rates as a result.
And actually, my current business is due to serendipity – that’s how I met Rodney, and he saw what I didn’t – the potential for me to move past what I was doing into my own much more satisfying work!
I see 3 aspects to developing the Art of Serendipity.
- Pay attention.
If the animal behaviorist hadn’t paid attention to her surroundings, she wouldn’t have noticed the woman walking the dogs. If she hadn’t paid attention to her inner prompting, she wouldn’t have thought to talk to her.
Pay attention to everything around you, like the princes did. Be open to making discoveries you were not “in quest of.”
- Take action on the inner prompting.
Serendipity is about listening to our inner voice, our intuition. It’s about following the subtle inner signals we get, picking up on energy, feeling the inner pull and responding to it.
In our culture, we’re trained to block those inner signals. We second-guess them. We pooh-pooh them. We talk ourselves out of them.
If the behaviorist had allowed her internal self-talk (“I can’t talk to strangers,” or “I don’t want to bother someone” or “I don’t do that”) to override her inner prompting, she wouldn’t have talked to her.
Thank the override voice for sharing, then choose to listen to your intuition, to pay attention to what is calling to you.
- Don’t over-think or over-plan when you get the inner promptings.
Just go somewhere, do something you’re being prompted to do. You’ll find out later what it’s for; what the universe has in store for you.
New solutions in business and life require serendipity. When you cultivate the art of serendipity, you’ll cultivate your creativity, and find magical new solutions that you would never have thought of, and couldn’t have planned for.
When my clients open up their embodied voice, they always strengthen their access to their inner voice and their connection to subtle guidance. They become more aligned with their inner voice. They become more creative. Working with your voice is therefore a delightful and easy path to Serendipity.
Let’s talk about cultivating the Art of Serendipity for you! Schedule a complimentary Breakthrough Session here.
The New York Times is one of my favorite places to serendipitously (is that a word?) find information and inspiration that I didn’t know I needed that spark my creativity. This blog was inspired by the article linked here, How to Cultivate the Art of Serendipity.
Blessings on your path to greater Serendipity!!