Become Curious, Become Inquisitive
You’ve been thinking about a dear friend or colleague for the last 3 days. On the third evening, the phone rings. You answer; and the person calling is the very person who has been on your mind and heart.
You walk into a bookstore to browse with no intention of making a purchase. As you peruse the shelves, you notice one book that is out of place, sticking out over the edge of the shelf as if it’s about to fall to the floor. As you start to push the book back into alignment with the others, you read the title and it intrigues you. You pull the book off the shelf; in reading its description, the subject of the book resonates so you decide to purchase the book. The next morning, you walk into the office of the CEO with whom you are interviewing. As you shake hands and sit down to begin the meeting, you notice the exact same book on the corner of his desk.
You have been trying for months to schedule a meeting with a well-known person in your industry; she has not yet returned your phone calls. One of your peers at the office asks you to attend a conference with her next week. You say no; you don’t “do conferences”. Still, your colleague persuades you to attend. Seven days later when you walk into the conference center and review the program, you learn that the very person you have been trying to meet for months is the keynote speaker at the symposium.
Surprising coincidences or something more?
Psychologist Carl Jung referred to these perceived meaningful coincidences as “Synchronicities” — “acausal connecting principles” in which large and small events in the external world align to our own experience. In Deepak Chopra’s words, “Synchronicity is choreographed by a great, pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature manifest in each of us through intuitive knowledge.”
I define Synchronicity as meaningful external confirmations that align with my inner knowing. When these Synchronicities happen, I feel them at a somatic level. They validate that I am headed in the right direction — that I am on the right track. As a recent example, I had an idea about 8 months ago which involved a new leadership forum. I knew who I wanted to be involved as the leader of this effort and requested a meeting. Given my schedule and his, the meeting never manifested. And while the idea did not fall away; it was put on the back burner.
About 3 weeks ago, my business partner, Joseph Jaworski, and I had a teleconference with Dan — the gentleman I’ve been considering for this opportunity. It turns out he has been thinking in similar terms. We agreed to set a meeting in Houston (where Dan resides); as Joseph and I knew we would be traveling there several times this month to work with one of our clients. At the same time, I was uncertain as to the exact date we could meet with Dan because the schedule with our client has been a bit up in the air. At the conclusion of our call, I informed Dan that I would need to get back to him regarding a time to meet.
One week later, we were in Houston with our client. At the conclusion of our time with them, we confirmed our schedule for the following week. On the way down to the lobby, I shared with Joseph some ideas I had about scheduling the meeting with Dan over the next ten days, given what we had just learned from our client.
We exited the building and walked toward the curb. While waiting for our Uber driver, I made a jesting comment to Joseph beginning with his name: “Joseph Jaworski, do you realize…” In the same moment I made the comment, I noticed a gentleman turn away from his car, staring in my direction. When he did not take his eyes off of me, I felt uncomfortable. Maybe this was the President or a senior executive in our client system with whom we had not yet met. I decided it would be prudent to shift my behavior from playful to more professional. As I did so, the man who had been observing me walked over and asked me a question: “Do you know Joseph Jaworski?” As Joseph was standing right next to me, I said, “Yes; this is Joseph Jaworski.” Then Joseph and this gentleman began laughing and shook hands. It was Dan – the very person we had been speaking of in the elevator ride down to the lobby and the man I had envisioned as the leader for my forum idea. Dan and I had never met before this moment; and it turns out that he was attending an annual meeting for the roundtable of which he is president. The meeting was taking place on the 50th floor of the building we had just departed; and as we spoke for a few moments, we further learned that our client was the sponsor for the evening’s event.
Most of us have had these occurrences at different times in our lives – and in these moments, we somehow feel different; things are more intense, exciting or inspiring. Yet because we can’t explain what this experience is or how to make it last; many of us tend to chalk it up to a fluke, going about our merry way and at the same time feeling slightly dissatisfied.
And then another synchronicity occurs – days, months or even years later. Because you have already glimpsed this phenomenon a time or two before, you become curious, causing you to become more aware – more conscious of these meaningful coincidences. This awareness induces a feeling of mystery and excitement; because even though you don’t yet understand these occurrences fully, you know they are real. Your experiences have become your evidence. You are beginning to sense that there is another aspect of life that you have yet to discover – some other process underlying human existence.
So what do these mysterious happenstances have to do with business?
The process of discovery is a process of growth. When you become curious, you become inquisitive. When you become inquisitive, you become more open, allowing for deeper insights to enter your consciousness. As they do, you begin to realize that life is filled with all kinds of fortuitous encounters, intuitions and meaningful coincidences – all pointing to a higher purpose behind your life. As you become more open, synchronicities occur; and as they do, you take conscious action to create more of them — wholly affecting the path of your life and your business. You’re in Flow – you’re in the Zone – a state of operating where you are fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and joy. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the psychologist noted for giving Flow its name describes it this way: “A state of being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows inevitably from the previous one…Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
Imagine your business as a platform for discovery and growth – a place where you and your employees are operating towards your higher purpose, using your skills to the utmost towards wholeness and harmony. Can you see how this state of high performance could benefit not only your company’s bottom line, but the lives of the people who work for you? I can. And this is why Synchronicity in business is crucial – especially in today’s volatile, uncertain and complex environment.
We all get glimpses of Flow – the natural, effortless unfolding that moves us towards wholeness and harmony. We all get foretastes of Synchronicity – those meaningful coincidences created through pervasive knowledge innate within all of us. Synchronicity – significant signs that point the way to an unfolding of our personal destiny — is the “hidden language” of Flow. The challenge is how to sustain it.
So how can you experience Synchronicity on a more continuous basis, enhancing the performance of the people in your company? I believe there are two underlying principles:
You think of someone and they call you. You stumble upon a book title and see it the following day on the CEO’s desk. The person you’ve been trying to meet for months appears as the keynote speaker at a conference.
These occurrences happened without conscious involvement. So imagine what could happen if you brought more awareness to them. What innovations, solutions and possibilities could be accessed if you became more conscious of these “coincidences”; and how would this impact your personal effectiveness and that of your company?
Whether you believe in Synchronicity or not, expect it. Once you have the experience of it, you will know that it is real. Pay attention to the signs and symbols at play in your life — consciously using them to make decisions. In doing so, discover whether occurrences line up, events fall into place and obstacles melt away. Experiment…See if your acceptance of Flow begins to permeate your life with a deeper sense of purpose rather than a life of meaningless struggle and notice the positive impacts to your life and your organization.
Conversation is a primary means for human interaction. Because of this, Conscious Conversation is an evolutionary force with extraordinary potential – and it’s the truth that will set you free.
At its core, Conscious Conversation is about being authentic. It is a living process of awareness, attention and presence because it requires you to speak the truth of your experience – for better and for worse. This takes some fearlessness; yet if you can muster the courage to say the things that really need to be said, expressing yourself in a way that is clear, honest and expressive, you will be freeing yourself from the very blockages that prevent Synchronicity and Flow from occurring more consistently in your life.
Have you ever been in a meeting where you have disagreed with the boss and instead of authentically sharing your view, you decided it was better to go along to get along? How often have you done this? How does it feel?
Have you ever embellished a story to make you look better to peers, creating some façade that you then need to maintain? How much energy does it take to continue the embossed story you shared with your colleague?
Taking to heart these two underlying principles can create more Synchronicity in your life. They are so simple; and they are so hard. These tenets require us to shift our worldview – expecting something we may not yet fully believe. They require us to speak and thereby act our truth – despite vulnerability or any fear we may have to do so. Yet these two principles are the very first things you can do to get below the surface — opening channels to deeper levels of insight, creating the freedom for extraordinary breakthroughs and opportunities never before thought possible.