Synchronicity and Serendipity
Synchronicity and Serendipity came up in a discussion during a mastermind group video call in the Career Pivot Community when we were discussing a member’s success. Before I go further with this story let me define the terms.
Synchronicity is defined by Dictionary.com as the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
Serendipity is defined by Dictionary.com as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
How do these apply to our careers and life? Sometimes we need to be in the right place at the right time for good things to happen. We could leave this to chance or we could just start trying things to give us the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes you need to do something rather than nothing.
Willie and Her Story
Willie, who we were discussing, had a rough couple of years both personally and professionally. She lost her job several years earlier and was completely burned out. She was given the opportunity to go work for a close relative at a tech startup. This was really exciting for her but a year or so into the job her close relative died and so did the company.
She got the tech itch and decided to pursue attending a coding boot camp. In fact, she attended several and even though she enjoyed the challenge it was very difficult for her.
After successfully completing the boot camps she started to apply for jobs. She got nowhere. The technology that was in hot demand when she started was no longer hot. She was in her late 50s and no one wanted to hire a 50+-year-old female junior programmer who still needed a lot of help.
She kept applying and applying and getting rejected. You get the picture.
At the same time, she was the primary caretaker for both her mother and father who lived separately. At the same time, her partner of many years had a major injury where he broke a lot of bones.
From both a personal and professional point of view, Willie was having a rough time.
Driving for Lyft
After her father eventually passed away and her partner recovered, her partner suggested that maybe she should drive for Lyft or Uber. The idea was repulsive to her in her current mental state.
She asked me and I told her she needed to do something. Go drive for Lyft or Uber, go work at Whole Foods, or start pet sitting but just do something so she could have success and feel better about herself.
Willie consulted several other people she knew and trusted and they all told her to go do something. Driving for Lyft or Uber would be good for her.
Willie sold her sports car and bought a sedan and started to drive for Lyft.
Synchronicity and Serendipity Get Started
Willie loves to drive and interact with people. She ended up driving for Lyft for 5-6 months. The social interactions with customers in her car picked up her spirits. She did have a few really bad incidents with customers but none put her in physical danger.
She had the time freedom to take care of her parents and was able to work out when she wanted, which was really important to her. Her spirits started to lift.
When customers got in her car they often asked Willie why she was driving for Lyft. She told them her story about going to coding boot camp and wanting to become a coder and not finding work. Many actually wanted to help but were not in a position to help. Others presented her with interesting opportunities that did not pan out.
One day, the fiance to a CEO of a tech start-up was a customer of Willie’s. The customer went ahead and introduced Willie to her fiance. This led to some consulting work that fed Willie’s ego. Willie was starting to feel good about herself again.
She was then approached by someone she knew from one of the boot camps she attended about helping with some coding during her maternity leave. It was not a lot of work but she was getting some experience.
This went on for more than six months.
Things Just Start to Happen
Willie’s confidence was coming back and she was soon bringing in enough work to fill 70% of her time. This still allowed her the time to be the caretaker for her mother.
At our mastermind group, Willie announced she had just signed an agreement that would fill her schedule and would bring in more money than she had made in years.
When asked what she had learned from this experience she explained that driving for Lyft changed everything. Her partner suggested it, I agreed, several other people told her it was a good idea but she still did not want to try it.
She learned that she needs to take advice from others more readily. In addition, by just getting out and doing something she put herself in a position for things to happen. She now realizes that was absolutely key.
Whether it was synchronicity or just serendipity that allowed Willie to create a new path for herself is unimportant. Willie took action when taking action was really hard.
Are you willing to take action so synchronicity or serendipity can happen?