2015 was a year of just saying “yes”. I hope you’ll indulge me while I recount one of my experiences of serendipity in action.
I was in Thailand having sold Underwired. I’d made a friend, Jonny: his Ukulele rendition of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ was the funniest thing I’d heard. After a while he said to me, “You need Daisy.” I had no idea what he meant, but others said it too. Just before I left Thailand Daisy found me, gave me a healing treatment that made me believe in magic, and invited me to a cacao ceremony (well, why not?) which unexpectedly exorcised a year of stressful work.
A few months later she posted on Facebook that she was coming to the UK, asking if anyone knew of anything interesting to do. I gifted her a ticket to a music festival, borrowed camping gear from my friends Pete and Alice, and Daisy had a lovely time.
Then she got in touch to ask me a favour: a lift for her friend Olia to Cambridge to another festival, Secret Garden Party (I’d never been). I said yes before working out it was an eight-hour round trip. On the road Olia and I made firm friends.
The next day Daisy called me again and said she’d got me a crew pass to the festival if I was free and could give her a lift there too. I just said yes – and had a great week making new friends and having fun.
Pete called me needing the tent back. I thanked him for the favour and Pete told me about their impending trip to Burning Man, an eight-day event in the Nevada desert I’ve always wanted to go to. So I told him so and we chatted about getting me a ticket in 2016, and we talked about my year of practicing serendipity.
Three days later Pete and Alice called me up and said they had a Burning Man ticket for me.
I had a wonderful, hilarious, physically challenging – actually epic – time, and made many friends. It’s a temporary 70,000-person city built on a ‘just say yes’ attitude which offers inspiration to change the way people live and work together for the better.
Burning Man has led to incredible opportunities in turn: in amongst consulting to a variety of agency boards, my Burner friend Katz invited me to the House of Lords to join Innovation For Jobs, a world-changing employment project chaired by Vint Cerf and David Nordfors.
This year I have met, and continue to meet, incredible people from all over the world and all walks of life who have challenged me and inspired me. I’ve been an extra in a groundbreaking show (YMBBT), learned Salsa (thanks Olia), headlined a conference (which led me to Kiev), helped several agency CEOs, and I am now thinking about my next big role here or in the US (can you help?).
I’ve had a remarkable year of practicing serendipity. I can thoroughly recommend saying “yes” to favours and to new experiences no matter how different from the norm: the payback has been thousandfold.
I am grateful to the many, many people this past year that have helped me, opened up opportunities, given me their friendship, their business, and their trust.
I hope that next year you have a wonderful year too. I hope you will have the chance to do your friends a few favours – and that it leads to some great adventures and a magical 2016 :)