How often do we set out to do one thing and end up doing another, with this new direction changing our lives in ways we could never have imagined?
For me, there's a perfect word for it.
I even love the sound of it.
Serendipity is defined as a fortuitous happenstance, a pleasant surprise. Just two examples of serendipitous happenings that have changed our world have been the invention of Penicillin and the microwave. These are things that weren't being aimed at, yet they happened just the same.
I have learned that luck occurs when preparedness meets opportunity. When these serendipitous moments come our way and we welcome them, they can change our lives, making anything possible. How many times has serendipity changed your life?
I can tell you that my best friends, major business opportunities, as well as the major loves of my life all walked through the serendipitous door. Here's one of the biggest chain of this type of events that has occurred in my life to date.
In January 1979, I read the following sentence in the preface of a new edition of Æsop's Fables: "Although Æsop was born a slave in 620 BC with no access to wealth or influence, he later served as Ambassador to King Crœsus of Lydia, the wealthiest and most powerful man in the world." Immediately the thought, "How did he do that?" popped into my head.
In an instant, I felt a surge of energy flow through me that felt like a chill but was not cold.
At the time, I was in the studio with Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, serving as associate producer to his first album produced by Quincy, "Off The Wall." I also had written a major ballad on the album and, outside of this, was continuing to sing and arrange for scores of other clients.
Within weeks of reading this preface and beginning work with Michael, I was offered the creative director position at Radio City Music Hall. Quincy so supportively encouraged me to accept this "once in a lifetime opportunity." Then, within months of my arrival there, I received a call from the top publisher on Broadway, Tommy Valando.
Tommy offered to shepherd me through the process of creating a musical around "ÆSOP," under the agreement that I would leave my position at Radio City. Bob Jani, the president at Radio City and the man who had brought me there, also encouraged me to follow such a "once in a lifetime opportunity."
With Tommy's guidance and a huge amount of trust, I spent six months, eight or more hours a day, pouring over volumes of research to soak up every bit of information I could.
However, it eventually became clear that a musical was, perhaps, not the best vehicle for this extraordinary man and his life. A Broadway writer friend and I agreed that the platform for the story needed to hold space for more. He suggested a novel.
Having never written a novel, I had no clue where to start. Nevertheless, I decided to take the first step by simply saying to myself, "I'm taking action."
Within three weeks, I met a woman named Lindi Stoler at a business meeting. When I mentioned ÆSOP in passing, her eyes got as big as saucers. She asked me if I'd ever thought of sharing the story as a novel. I said, yes, I had decided to do that very thing, but hadn't the slightest idea where to begin. Lindi held up her hand and said, "I'm your girl. Ever heard of Tony Robbins?"
Turns out that he had come to Lindi years ago with a philosophy that she helped him shape it into a book and, eventually, an array of products that have become an international phenomenon.
Working with Lindi was like a continuation and strengthening of the foundation my dad had set for me during my childhood. She, too, showed me where to look, but not what to see.
With her coaching, I wrote "Anything Is Possible," and am currently writing two more books.
Free will gives us the ability to accept or decline. Sometimes sticking to our initial plan is the right thing to do, but often times, we miss out on an opportunity because we close our mind to the possibilities.
And, as Quincy Jones would say, "You want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans."