Neil Diamond, CEO’s, and Magic

Michelle Stimpson & Jane_Hollywood Bowl

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.

Michelle Stimpson & Jane_Hollywood Bowl Front Row

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.

Michelle Stimpson & Aunt Jane_Santa Monica

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.

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16 Responses to “Neil Diamond, CEO’s, and Magic”

  • Bill says:

    One of my favorite stories…and it still gave me goose bumps reading it again!!

  • Yapha says:

    Great story. I also believe that things hapen for a reason and this is a great example of that!

  • Michele Dettloff says:

    What an amazing story about the power of intention and following your joy, Michelle! It’s very inspiring. Keep ’em coming!

  • Very Sweet. You, the universe, the story. Makes me wonder, and wonder. Thanks for letting it touch us.

  • Stephanie says:

    Wow! That’s awesome, Michelle! You are one lucky person! Thanks for sharing.

  • Niki says:

    AWESOME story!!!

  • Michelle,
    Nice work on your blog! I’m proud of how you have held the center and heeded your calling.

  • Katie says:

    What an amazing story, Michelle! You’re such an awesome role model. Thank you for sharing a “goosebumps story”!

  • Jay says:

    I enjoyed this story, and it was the jolt I needed to focus on the present. Thanks.

  • Amy says:

    I truly enjoyed your talk last week and it really got me thinking about how I spend my time. I need to make ME a priority. Thanks for reminding me of that. I’ve already carved out some time each day for myself and I’m planning some fun things in the coming weeks with my husband and my family.

    My biggest problem is that I FORGET to take the time for these things. I just have to keep the reminders in front of me and your blog will be one way to help me to do that.

  • Jane says:

    As a witness to your delightful saga Michelle, all I can say is “Pretty Amazing Grace” and that I am SO GLAD you were born!!!
    Love you!
    Auntie Jane

  • Carol says:

    What a beautiful message and amazing life experience. What you suggest is exactly how I choose to live my life, and go ever farther to say, I only do those things that will bring me joy and peace. It has worked tremendously. For one, it has forced me to articulate myself more clearly on my wants, expectations, dreams, and dislikes, to ensure that my space and life are enveloped with as much love and joy as I can experience and share with others. All due to a change in attitude on how we receive God’s gifts.

  • I am so blessed to be cheered on like this! Sincere thanks and appreciation to my readers, my friends.

  • Char says:

    Loved this story when I first read and this re-read was just awesome!
    Just reading how when you live in Joy and Love of Life and let the Universe handle the rest, look what happens!!


  • Sharon says:

    Hey Michelle! I just re read this one….still have goosebumps after like two min!!!!! SOOOOOOOO awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!! love, sharon

  • Phil Bolsta says:

    Awesome story, Michelle. Speaking of CEOs on planes and connecting with people through pure intentions and joy, I wrote a brief blog post about how my friend Neil met his business hero, Irwin Jacobs:

    After I posted it, Irwin’s executive assistant sent me a nice e-mail, which I added to the post. Then Irwin himself e-mailed me and invited me to stop by his office sometime, which I hope to do during this trip to Minnesota.

    I was trying to think of a way to convey the consciousness that attracts these kinds of connections, and a prayer by Sri Daya Mata of Self-Realization Fellowship came to mind, which I paraphrase as:

    Guide me to behold only that which is good,
    To speak only that which is pure and true,
    To love as God loves, purely, unconditionally,
    And fill my soul with that bliss which draws me ever forward down the path of that which is right.

    Phil Bolsta
    Author of “Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World”

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

The Parent Company

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