Last fall I had an idea. I wanted to bring my coaching work into organizations to help leaders be their best, and I knew exactly the Fortune 100 company I was interested in approaching. I was in the middle of my work and very focused on business when my Aunt Jane called to say she’d love to take a trip to L.A. together to see our favorite guy, Neil Diamond, perform at the Hollywood Bowl.
Too busy for joy?
Now if you know anything about me, you know that I love Neil Diamond. And I love my Aunt Jane! But in this moment I was so intent on ‘producing’ and ‘achieving’ that I politely thanked her for the fabulous idea, but I had “too much work to do.”
However, as the week went on, Jane even offered to treat me to this wonderful little getaway in celebration of my upcoming 40th birthday. Basically, everything was all set-up for me. I couldn’t turn it down! What a way to be following my joy…spending a week in the sunshine with one of my best friends and celebrating life by cheering on Neil Diamond. Okay, it was perfect. So I said yes.
As I grocery shopped later that day, I heard Neil’s music play in the store. That made me smile. Okay, Universe, I appreciate your support and vote of confidence in me following my joy.
Setting my intention
Before I left home, one item of business I felt must be taken care of was to set my intention for coaching in the organization I had my eye on. So I put it in writing, tacked it up on my bulletin board, packed my bags, and got on the plane.
On the flight to L.A., I spent a good amount of time going through reports and research about organizational coaching, pulling bits and pieces out for my pitch to the company. On the plane I shared my exciting new focus with my aunt. Then we touched down in sunny California and I let go of all my business ideas in service of staying present and enjoying every moment of this vacation gift.
It goes without saying that our two back-to-back nights at the Hollywood Bowl with Neil and his crew were phenomenal. 2nd row one night and 1st row the next (yep, we do it in style!). Two warm fall evenings with a purple sky and 17,000 concert-goers abuzz with excitement as the night-time stars shone brightly. It was quite a thrill!
In addition to the concerts, Jane and I walked the beach, ate out, checked out Hollywood, laughed, and explored. This was following my joy in the purest sense.
The ultimate synchronicity
When it was time to head back home, I checked-in for my flight at the counter and was met by a ticketing agent who said: “Oh I’m sorry. We thought you’d be happier on flight #312 instead, so we moved you to that one.” Great! I didn’t really want to have a connecting flight anyway and this one was with my aunt and non-stop. I had actually checked earlier and this flight would have cost me 50,000 additional frequent flyer miles, so I dismissed the fact that it was even possible to switch. I looked at the woman in surprise and a bit confused and she said, “This only happens once in a blue moon.”
I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, so I figured there must be some rationale behind why I got moved. Maybe my original flight ran out of peanut M&M’s? That would have stunk.
So I waltzed over to my new gate, thinking I’m cool because I just got upgraded. And who should approach my gate at exactly the same moment as me?
The lovely CEO of the company I was so interested in.
Wow. I could not have orchestrated this meeting any more perfectly if I had spent months planning it. What a powerful reminder that anything is possible. All that was required was for me to follow my joy and let things unfold.
Embracing the gift
So I seized the moment and introduced myself. Our interaction was delightful, amid mutual smiles and genuine handshakes. We exchanged contact information, and in that moment I felt my future take a direct turn. It was time to board, and as I sat down in my seat, the in-flight magazine in the seat pocket had this CEO’s mug-shot on the cover, smiling at me. It all left me pretty speechless.
For much of the 3 ½-hour ride home, I was teary and reflective and grateful for the awesome synchronicities in life. This was no longer a “business” thing. This was about the power of following my joy, and the magic that is created as a result.