Serendipity is not a quality or objective that many of us consider relevant or appropriate when thinking about moving our careers and lives forward. Like good luck, we consider it a random happening, not to be counted on for achieving specific goals and objectives.
However, many innovators, inventors, and disruptive thinkers often mention the role that serendipity has played in their success and accomplishments. “Fact is, inventing an innovative business model is often mostly a matter of serendipity,” notes Gary Hamel, influential business thinker, Forbes magazine. So perhaps it’s time for the rest of us to consider including “serendipity” in our box of tools to elevate our own careers and experiences!
So is there a way to include serendipity—the appearance of something good that you weren’t looking for—in your planning and career scenarios? Yes, but not in the usual way that most of us think about planning. With serendipity, you have to create the space, time, and opportunity for it to happen and then be alert to recognize it when it appears. Too often, we are so focused on our plans that we gloss right over the serendipity that might have gotten us to where we wanted to go faster, easier, and more effectively.
Experiment with serendipity in your life and career, and see where it takes you!
- Identify times when serendipity has created new opportunities for you. Take a few minutes and think about when serendipity—something good that you weren’t actively seeking—occurred in your life. What factors made it happen? How did it feel? How often does it occur?
- Make time and space for serendipity. Let go of the need to plan and fill every moment in your life with activities, actions, or distractions—this is key to opening the door for serendipity. Find 10 minutes each day to breathe, relax and daydream—see what new ideas and opportunities emerge!
- Acknowledge and enjoy the serendipity in your life. Be more conscious of the serendipity in your life. What good thing has come to you unexpectedly, by your being in the right place at the right time, or even by reacting to a situation in a certain way? Celebrate the richness and fun that it adds. Cultivate it and more will occur, bringing new possibilities within your reach.