about life

How Reading a Newspaper Changed My Life

I had lunch yesterday with a friend I hadn’t seen in 13 years. It’s amazing how, with some people, you can just pick up where you left off. I am glad we’ve reconnected and look forward to getting to know her again.

We talked and shared what we’d been up to the past several years. She told me about her new business, and the musical pursuits she’d been working on. I told her about getting married, starting a business, and my own musical pursuits. As I was weaving in and out of various storylines, I suddenly had an amazing realization – that one simple action I’d taken 11 years ago literally changed the course of my life. I’ll explain.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’d come through some struggles in the mid 1990’s with my health. Flash forward to about 1998, and my life had changed dramatically. I’d now graduated from my 2nd run at college, and was working in the high tech industry as a content developer and teacher. I lived in my own apartment now and was exceptionally happy with both my work and my new circle of friends. With my life back on track, I started to seek out new creative pursuits. I knew I wanted to get back into singing, but wasn’t sure how. Quickly enough, life got busy again and I put that dream on the back burner.

Then one day, I was casually perusing our local arts and entertainment newspaper, and I came across a tiny little ad in the classified section. “Womens’ Choir auditions – phone xxx-xxxx to sign up”. Having never done a singing audition in my life, I quickly pushed the thought aside, thinking they were probably looking for more experienced singers. However, over the next few days, the thought of that ad kept nagging at me for some reason. With nothing to lose, I finally sucked it up and picked up the phone. My audition was set for the following Thursday.

Skip forward, I was fortunate to get into the choir, a womens’ choir about 40 strong called “Vox Femina”. I proceeded to spend the next 4 years forging some amazing friendships with some terrific women, performing all over the place, including down in the U.S.

One day, I was approached by one of my choir mates. She was thinking of forming an a capella quartet and they were looking for someone to fill the baritone part. I was flattered to be asked and decided it was a great new challenge for me. I joined that group, called Solera, and we proceeded to have another amazing 4 years, performing all over town and even singing the national anthem at a few baseball games too. The four of us became close friends, and we had a blast.

The quartet disbanded when one of the gals moved away to Toronto and another moved to Newfoundland. A few months later, I was set to head down to Toronto for a weekend visit with my friend, and I came across another ad, this time online, for an event called ‘Podcamp Toronto‘. I asked my friend if she’d like to join me to check it out that weekend, and since it was free, we had nothing to lose.

I walked into that event, was warmly greeted by many amazing people, and had my eyes opened wide to a whole new world. What I learned about new media that weekend and what I’ve been able to learn since has literally changed the direction of my business and the way that opportunities have flowed to it. I owe much of my success to the people in that room that weekend.

So you see, if it wasn’t for having a reason to go to Toronto that particular weekend (to see my friend), I wouldn’t have gone to Podcamp and probably wouldn’t have been inspired to start blogging or engaging on social platforms. If it wasn’t for the quartet, I’d have never become good friends with the person I was visiting that weekend. If it wasn’t for the choir, I’d have never been in the quartet. If it wasn’t for me happening upon that tiny newspaper ad that day, I’d have never known about the choir.

That tiny ad changed my life.

But most importantly – my intention (wanting to get more into music) and my action (picking up the phone, practicing hard for my audition) brought the rest of it into reality.

Kinda neat how that works, eh?

Express your intention. Ask for what you want. Take action. And pay close, close attention to the little, seemingly insignificant events in your life, because often, they are the ones that have the biggest impact.

Do you have a story about one event that changed the course of your life? Please share in the comments!

[photo credit: GiantsFanatic on Flickr]

4 Comments

  1. bethwarren

    I am all about “everything happens for a reason”… you just never know how one tiny thing connects to another… I've had it happen many times in my life…. but perhaps I should read the newspaper more! ;-)

  2. Susan,
    It seems illogical that something as simple as expressing an intention–then acting on it–could be such a game changer.
    You know, we live in a world–especially in a business world–where everyone, it seems, is focused on “doing” (How did you land that contract? Have you tried doing this? Here's what I do to get new clients).
    And yet too many of us forget about the “mind stuff”. The thinking, the perception, the belief and, yes, the intention.
    The funny thing is, that's where the magic lies. In the thinking.
    The thinking is analogous to strategy.
    The doing? Well those are just tactics.

    Thanks for your post. You touched on something we all need to be reminded of.

  3. Most of the huge things in my life can be traced back to a single, seemingly random event. I'm back home in Miami and I take a job tending bar in a hole in the wall, to fill in an employment gap. My cheap-ass friend is taking out some old friends he met on a trip back in highschool, and swings by this dive so I can give them all free drinks on their way out to some real bars. One of the girls catches my eye. She happened to be from Toronto. Flash forward, we both now live in Toronto, with our 2 kids, and just celebrated our 12th anniversary.

    You aint' kidding when you say “pay close, close attention to the little, seemingly insignificant events in your life, because often, they are the ones that have the biggest impact.”

  4. Hi Sue; Great post on pivotal moments and actions. If we dare to step back to those things we wished we could do or be some day and take stock now- we can live in denial or regret- or we can dust off the gusto for life and take action! Love it!

    Working on some musical goals myself- back to guitar lessons after 30 some years- always wanted to jam or play in a band since I was 16! No time like the present.

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