Everyone is familiar with Nike’s iconic global theme line “JUST DO IT!” It’s one of the most recognized and celebrated catch-phrases of all time, written by advertising legend Dan Weiden who recently went to that running track in the great beyond. Chances are, when you hear the “JUST DO IT” call to action, you experience a burst of adrenaline and feel motivated to dive into whatever audacious goals you’ve set. Over the past couple of years, a new mantra has emerged which gained traction amongst us overachievers who might be experiencing a healthy dose of burn-out. This new motto is “Don’t do something, just sit there!” When I first heard this catchy phrase it literally put my brain on pause. I had to unpack the words a few times before I smiled and laughed. Hearing this was a delightful relief after decades of full-throttle living.
And, like most things in life, both adages are wise and true. Today, I want to share my personal experiences with something I call SEAT SYNCHRONICITY which embodies the Yin and Yang (best elements) from “Just do it” and “Just sit there!” Looking back on key relationships I’ve made over the past 22 years of running my nonprofit Soaringwords, the most significant ones sprung from this magical combination of agency, tenacity, and being open to being open in the knowledge that I’d be directed to meet the right person, at the right time. And just a couple of days ago it happened once again!
I’m halfway through an incredible solo show workshop to transform my debut memoir SOARING into Strength: Love Transcends Pain into a one-woman show. It’s a passion project and a dream that has been ten years in the making. The workshop is led by Kristin Hanaggi, the fabulous Broadway theater director of School of Rock, and the wonderful stage, film, and television actor Maddie Corman. My creative energy is on fire. When I heard about Everything’s Fine, a new one-man off-Broadway show that just opened, I bought tickets immediately. While waiting for the show to start my character strengths of zest and curiosity naturally kicked in so I started chatting with the couple sitting two seats away.
“What motivated you to choose this show?” I inquired.
The woman said they were visiting NYC from Austin, Texas on a theater trip. I asked about what shows they were seeing, and she mentioned another show that my husband and I had booked for this coming week. Coincidence number one.
When she asked what prompted us to attend Everything’s Fine, I told her that I had just published my first book and I was now writing it into a solo show. She smiled when she told me that she was also a writer. Coincidence number two.
I asked her to tell me more and discovered she’s written many books and magazine articles. In fact, she was going to do a reading the following morning in the city. Naturally I asked for her name so I could find her books. When she introduced herself as Ruth Pennebaker, I took a beat and said, “Tell me, by chance, are you related to Jamie Pennebaker?” At which point her husband leaned forward and said, “That’s me!” Coincidence number three.
Dr. James Pennebaker is the foremost expert on positive narrative in the world. Seizing on the seating synchronicity of this positive encounter, I invited him to be a guest on my show and he wholeheartedly accepted.
Life is about showing up and also knowing when to “trust the process” with the surety that you’ll be directed to the right opportunities. This reminds me of one of my favorite SOARING quotations from poet Henry David Thoreau: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”
I’m sending you strength and love.