Have you ever stopped to think about the unique chain of events that led you where you are? I was doing this the other day with several things in my life. One of them went something like this:
- If I hadn’t wandered into an organizational store in college and picked up a book on creativity, I may never have developed an interest in how the creative process works.
- If I hadn’t spent years plugging away in the music business, facing rejection every night and striving to do something worthwhile I would never have understood the urgency of creating on demand.
- If I hadn’t been rejected by every major label, I would probably first have had a low-tier performing career and then done something else entirely.
- If I hadn’t been offered my first opportunity to lead a creative team, I would never have realized that I could do it. I would have probably ended up in sales or some other profession.
- If I hadn’t – on a whim and with no expectations – started a podcast discussing the creative process five years ago, I probably would never have met you. (Nice to meet you, by the way…)
- If Kim Palmer from US News & World Report hadn’t written an article on Accidental Creative when the company was still fairly young, many doors would never have opened, including…
- If my agent Melissa Sarver hadn’t picked up that article when she was selling a book for Kim, I wouldn’t have had an agent, and…
- If my agent hadn’t had an interaction with David Moldawer at Portfolio while we were writing the proposal, I may never have had the chance to work with a fantastic editor and publisher, and…
- I may not be seeing a life dream fulfilled on July 7th when my first book releases.
That’s just one example. I could go through this process with so many other things, like how I met my wife, how our daughter was adopted, how our sons were born, etc. It’s simply amazing.
As someone who likes to dwell on possibility, I spend a lot of my time looking forward. But sometimes that causes me to see all of the things I’d LIKE to happen rather than all of the fairly miraculous things that HAVE happened. Whenever I stop to think about the chain of events that’s led me to the opportunities I’ve had, I’m deeply grateful.
Here’s the challenge: think about three “if…then” things in your life and write them out. (You can even do it in the comments!) For example, “If I hadn’t….then I wouldn’t have….and I couldn’t…” or whatever form it takes. It’s a great exercise and reminder that no matter how much is in front of us, we all have pretty amazing stories behind us. We just have to look for them!
Photo credit: Stebulus