Definition: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way
My interpretation: If you want something – do it. Despite the risks amazing things will occur
I have just spent an amazing weekend with my good friends from ‘Misfit Inc’ (http://thelacproject.com/) – AJ and Melissa Leon. Almost 2 years ago to the day an amazing act of serendipity occurred. Todays blog post is the story of an American couple, an English guy and the power of good acts.
Having struggled through my transition from university to home and then to London, my attentions had changed focus. I had spent nearly 2 years fighting for care funding, managing a care team, navigating around a big city with unfriendly infrastructure and finally breathing a sigh of relief. The one area I was not totally content was my life’s purpose having reached my dream of living in London. Sitting at a fundraising conference I happened upon a guy from New York talking about social media and changing the world. The feeling was and is unexplainable, but something lit me up. I carried on through the day and attended the other sessions feeling inspired.
That evening I sent an email to this guy from over the pond explaining I had been blown away by his talk and how much it resonated with me. I mentioned that I wanted to change the world for disabled people, but that working in a large organisation had its restrictions in revolutionising positive change. Yes, I can be inpatient. Later that week I was at the JTSMA conference in Stratford-upon-avon and received a reply. AJ and Melissa (his company partner and wife) floated the idea of meeting in a Starbucks to chat more. Could I dare to dream that my utopia goals could be a reality?
A few days later we met, chatted and dreamed. I said to AJ recently how I was unsure of dreaming as it sounded ‘unreal’, but that actually it’s fine if your dreams come true. They both have made this a reality for me. In that coffee shop www.martynsibley.com was sketched out, I learnt about Twitter, video blogs and so on.
2 years on as I wind down from my amazing 5 years at Scope, having learnt so much and met so many great people at the charity, I look back and see the serendipity. It is in:
- Working for Scope straight out of uni and learning so much there
- Being at that conference
- AJ and Melissa managing to make the conference from the US
- My sending that email
- Writing over 200 blogs and videos about how I rock out everyday and overcome any barriers to do with disability or other – now I have 1,600 amazing people following me on Twitter and Facebook
- The emails and comments I receive from many disabled people and their families around the world
- Launching www.disabilityhorizons.com with Srin, finding the talented writers, cool articles and new experiences
- The experiences I had travelling to Mexico and California
- The consultancy I have done for Hackney council, DisLib and so forth
The media tart I have become and love being – on BBC Breakfast, the Hardest Hit march video, writing for Disability Now, the Times and I will stop there ;-)
Mentioning my wish to do more exercise to my social worker a year ago. Then being told of an accessible pool nearby and improving my swimming over the past year. Having swam from 4-16 years old my spinal surgery stopped my ability to swim. Last night I swam for the first time unaided in 11 years!
I could go on, but you get the point. By working out what I want to do, understanding the barriers in my way, knocking them down one by one and trying; things do work out. I never planned to be starting my own social enterprise for disabled people, but it only happened because I never settled for something and then serendipity did the rest!
After a weekend of being yet further inspired, tooled up and drunk with the guys, I am good to dream bigger and better. The next months will be tough not having a regular income, but I back myself and the world to make it happen. I am planning to enjoy my last weeks at Scope, attending Bob Dylan, Kings of Leon and Mumford & Sons concerts, before going solo. On Monday 4th July watch out for my Independence Day blog where I will share the big projects we are going to embark on together and change the world for disabled people everywhere.
Get your rest in, enjoy my blogs of the concerts and start dreaming yourself. Serendipity is waiting for you too, you just got to give it a chance.