# 599                Innovative Leader            Volume 13, Number 4                 April 2004

Even Serendipity Needs Fertile Ground
by Krista Henley, M.A., LMFT

Krista Henley’s company, Inside-Out Communications, provides customized executive and team leadership coaching programs (henley@cruzio.com). 

The power of the mind to aid in healing has been scientifically studied and validated broadly enough now to be beyond question.  This article explains how the power of the mind is equally important when envisioning your business goals and strategies if you are to achieve serendipity and good luck consistently. 

Serendipity and good luck (or a charmed life) are not accidents of good fortune or mere chance.  Each of us can prepare ourselves internally to create the fertile ground that allows serendipity to work its miracle.  As the New Year begins, consider cultivating your own fertile ground for good luck, and notice where you need to focus your time and attention to allow success to flow through and to you. 

Preparing this kind of fertile ground has four components:  First, you can cultivate internal preparation and calm through mindfulness.  Second, fertile ground requires that you have passion for a dream or outcome that you clearly envision, making it ripe for manifestation.  Third, fertile ground requires a serious inventory of your strengths and weaknesses as a human being, so that blind spots, belief systems, and unconscious behaviors are ruthlessly uncovered.  Fourth, fertile ground requires that you be able to let go of your ego’s concerns, issues, and dramas in favor of quiet acceptance and a release of the ego and the sabotaging acts that are its hallmark.

Mindfulness (internal preparation) and passion (fire for your dreams/vision), self-knowledge (ego awareness), and the release of the ego (acceptance) create the learning edges and opposing forces that allow serendipity to emerge.  As one attempts to achieve balance through these opposite forces, positive life force and authenticity replace confusion and unconscious behavior.

Mindfulness and Passion

The first two opposing forces, mindfulness and passion, create an internal dance that is fun to explore and the benefits are amazing.  Imagine, if you really take the time to be quiet, to meditate, and to listen to the wisdom of your higher self.  You take the time to relax, to empty your mind and to trust the stillness.  After a while, you begin to see or hear messages from your higher and wiser self that cut through some of the chatter that you know is irrelevant in the bigger picture of your life. 

Passion, which also arises from a fiercely connected inner state, defines you, your gifts and your goals.  Many people understand erotic passion because it is so compelling and it sends us into an altered state.  Business passion is equally intense, when your vision drives you toward a goal that is compelling and fulfilling.

Quieting the mind, through mindful meditation, allows passion to erupt from the stillness.  The razor’s edge between these two opposing forces, quiet and passion, is the place where serendipity has a chance to emerge.  Perhaps your vision is not clear, and your efforts toward meditation tend to result in more mind chatter.  However, one day, after meditating and asking your higher self to reveal your passion and goals, you have a chance encounter with a colleague who describes a new venture, and you get a funny feeling in your gut.  Serendipity is calling to you to be awake to notice the gift that is being presented in the form of an idea or new venture. 

As you pursue this idea, the doors open easily and you are pulled into more and more clarity.  In spite of the doubt that you had while working on the mindfulness and passion, you are rewarded by good fortune that looks like luck, but is born of hard work and the dance on the razor’s edge between the quiet and the fire.

Awareness and Acceptance

The other contradictory forces that allow serendipity to evolve are the development of ego awareness and the ability to let go of the ego. 

It is vital in business to “know thyself.”  There are countless management books and style indicators to facilitate self-knowledge on the job.  Understanding the impact of your behavior on others, and the perceptions that you create, is an effective shortcut to learning about your ego drives, unconscious motivators, and belief systems.  Examining these ego drives and their origins is a powerful tool that allows you to learn more and more about yourself.  In my work with executives, this is the foundational step that is often ignored, as the ego is often the sabotaging element in an otherwise well rounded vision and leadership strategy.

With ego awareness and understanding, comes the need to develop the opposite skill: letting go of the ego and accepting “what is.”  The ego typically strives to understand the world in order to control outcomes through best guesses and assumptions.  Letting go of the ego involves trust and a deeper awareness that, in the end, we have no direct control over outcomes and must accept life on its own terms.  It is very difficult to know who you are and why you are that person, and then to simultaneously let go of these definitions in favor of “not knowing.” This is the Buddhist perspective of an empty mind and an open heart.  In this process, it is important to dissolve individual concerns and the self in favor of the universal concept that we are all connected in spirit, and our individual needs are often limitations in the broader perspective that is inclusive and all encompassing.

Understanding oneself and the ego, and letting go of the ego, becomes the tension between opposing forces that again allows you to notice serendipity, and opportunities that appear to be seized.  The hard work that you do to understand these forces, is well worth the effort when you both know and accept yourself, and your life will improve as a result.

Preparing fertile ground is the work of true leaders in any business capacity.  A leader must till the soil with mindfulness, till the soil with passion and a clear vision, till the soil with self-discovery and knowledge, and till the soil with acceptance and with the awareness and trust that he or she is part of a much bigger picture.  As outlined above, serendipity and “good luck” come from the effort to create balance between opposing forces.  This requires a mind that is focused and clear about the four areas of internal preparation for leadership success.  Enjoy the process -- and the fruits of your labor.

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