Open to the unexpected

Open to the unexpected

Career Development – Always Be Open To Serendipity

Serendipity – the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.

Open to the unexpected – I come from a generation that was taught to make career plans looking 5, 10 and 20 years ahead. We could always tell you what our next move was going to be and when we were going to make it. Now, of course, things have changed. There isn’t an economic forecaster in the world who can predict what the economy, and the world of work, is going to be like in 10 years’ time. Even looking 5 years ahead, has lots of risks around it. But, we all make some assumptions about the future in choosing a profession or investing in a new business.

Looking back, though, life was never as my friends and I had forecast. Things happened that we didn’t expect. New opportunities arose – one former colleague was offered a year’s secondment from London to Tuvalu. Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. It changed her life forever. Another spent six months in Greece working for the UN in his forties. He changed so much his wife didn’t recognise him when she came to visit – he looked years younger. Others found themselves falling in love or having children they hadn’t expected. For others, a change was far less fortunate. But some were very lucky indeed and reached the top in their chosen field by virtue of a number of quite lucky breaks – I don’t mean they had not prepared well.

Always Be Open To Possibilities

It does help to have a vision of the kind of life you want to lead and to know the kind of work you want to do and what you are good at. Working at what you are good at does help. As does getting better at doing it and showing your enthusiasm. But, what matters most is to be open to possibilities and to be prepared to listen to your own heart and intuition.

I had always written poetry and articles but never anything longer than about 3,000 words, except for formal written reports at work. Then, out of the blue, a while ago, I had a dream. Yes, a real dream while I was asleep. And out of that dream came the idea and inspiration for a novel.  I could have just dismissed the idea, of course, because it didn’t fit in with my plans at that time. I didn’t! I went with the flow.

A while ago saw the publication of my first novel, The Wolf Project. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed writing it and how proud I am to have my name on the cover. It is a gift I never expected– an example of serendipity at play – I discovered I could write a novel.

You never know what surprises, and what opportunities, life has in store for you. So keep an open mind. Be prepared to be flexible and open to the possibilities. Who knows, serendipity may fly in your direction any day now, just as she did in mine.  And you may end up being just as grateful.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at

As well as the Wolf Project, Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link


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