Remember that previous post on serendipity?
After attending the Women in Fund Management panel last Friday at noon at the Commonwealth Club of California, I really have an answer.
Guess what they said. Yes, you guessed it. Five women on the panel all basically said the same thing. Serendipity. Not that “sit and wait for it” kind like a “shrinking violet” kind of serendipity or a whining loser, but the actively seek it and “live life all the way out to your fingertips” kind of making your own serendipity.
I was also called “scrappy” recently. Scrappy as in “I want it and am gonna be up front about it and make it known that I want it.” There are many connotations for scrappy, but in this case I am referring to “aggressive” and “full of fighting spirit” scrappy.
What does scrappy have to do with serendipity? Scrappiness has everything to do with creating your own serendipity. It is a healthy alternative to whining. Scrappiness is “no holds barred” passion and “full speed ahead” serendipity making. It is decisive, directed, focused and forceful. Not to mention, compelling and seductive to those who tire of witnessing a world full of people living half-lives of potential.
What’s the alternative? The omnipresent malaise, blaming, desperation, whining, and victim looping that our culture is locked in right now. It’s everywhere. Pulling the economy down, bringing everyone emotionally down. That doesn’t sound like the kind of optimism that will pull us out of the worldwide malaise.
In Spanish, the other word I keep hearing is virguenza as in, “¿y no tienes virguenza?” Virguenza is shame. No, I am unashamedly, unabashedly pursuing serendipity. What is the point of being ashamed to ask for what you want? What is the point of timidly waiting until there is silence?
It’s harder than it sounds. Women are socialized to wait politely. There was a man at that talk, too. After the talk, while women were gingerly approaching the podium, he made a beeline for the podium and requested each presenter’s business card. After an hour of talking about how so many women shrink from risks, the presenters had the grace to seek out the women who were politely hanging back. But the observation was not lost on me. If I really passionately want, not as in “could be OK with,” but instead as in “nothing short of this will do,” I have to show that kind of focus.
In trying to find the words to describe this, I found an actual definition for beelining apropos to conversation on serendipity.
“When a forager bee finds a source of nectar it returns to the hive and communicates its location.” http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/make-a-beeline-for.html
The metaphor is highly relevant to serendipity. When one finds their passion in life, one communicates it. They indeed exude it out of every pore-it is unmistakable. We have a “waggle dance” called job searching. Complicated and elaborate, time consuming and confusing, but this dance is essential to communicate important information what we want in a job (and for them to know that there is indeed a match between their needs and not just our abilities, but also our strengths) so that we are “able to fly directly to the source of the nectar.”
I would argue that the nectar is “the good life.” Not just money, but truly doing something you love for an appropriately rewarding compensation package.
Note that I did not say “volunteering,” “paying to play,” or “taking a vow of poverty,” but instead working for an appropriately rewarding compensation package. That’s where the “money isn’t everything” comes in. But it is also a recognition that if you know what you want so intimately, you can also know what needs to be done to make it pay what you need to be happy.
Does this level of intimacy have risks? Of course it does. The greatest risk requires the courage to think the unthinkable, speak the unspeakable, and to embrace the derision of those who would undermine your happiness (including any psychological demons aka negative tapes in one’s head). With the greatest risk comes the greatest reward.
And since succumbing to the worldwide worrywarting is not a productive or pretty picture, I choose to pursue that serendipity post haste. I’ve got some scrappy serendipity-making to do, without virguenza/shame, to take the risks and make a bee line for what I really want.