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They say that ancient Rome was so large, that all roads led to it. My new theory of life, (formulated just this morning), is based on that infamous saying. But my theory is sort of the dominos theory of life…that all life’s serendipitous little events lead us down new paths. It’s which direction we take down those paths that make all the difference.
The Little Things
My “All Roads Lead to Roam” theory takes shape in many ways. For example, a former colleague and friend recently informed me that her dishwasher broke, causing a major leak. As she explains it, “Paul and I figured since we had to buy a new dishwasher and pay a plumber to install it we should also fix the sink cabinet and replace the floor. Since replacing the floor means removing the cabinets, Paul decided that we should get new cabinets.” And so it goes.
The Bigger Effects
Sometimes this “All Roads” theory has bigger implications than just a new kitchen makeover. For example, had I not chosen the particular college I did, I would not have met nor married my husband of many years. Had I not been assigned to that particular wing of our dorm, I would not have come to know the amazing women who are still today my best friends. Or more recently, had our corporate offices not moved out of state leaving me “between jobs,” I would not have met the wonderful new people I’ve recently encountered, nor found the new opportunities for growth that have just opened up to me.
Let me give you an example. The state I live in (NJ), in conjunction with the federal government, offers a training stipend for unemployed workers, so that we can add to our body of skills, and hopefully move off the unemployment rolls. How I chased down those funds is actually a story in itself, but I’ll save that for another day. The point here is that eventually I got those funds and chose a Digital Marketing Strategies program covering, among other things, social media and blogging for web presence and thought leadership.
So, despite having never tweeted, nor put up a real Facebook page to speak of, nor having any interest in blogging, and knowing full well that many other people were already writing on the same topic, I nonetheless started up a blog – this one – on business, careers, and marketing ideas.
One of the first topics I posted was on overcoming fear of public speaking. It led me to write another post showing how great speaking is done – in which I cited one of our Digital Marketing profs, “CK” Christina Kerley, as a prime example of how to do it right. In asking permission to blog about her, CK and I started talking and next thing I knew she asked if I’d be interested in editing a thought leadership article she’s writing. Now, who wouldn’t want to be aligned with one of the most preeminent, if not THE top, thought leaders in their field? So, back to my “All Roads Lead to Roam” theory of life… had I not been unemployed, had I not taken that class, had I not started a blog, and had I not written about CK, that opportunity would never have come up. And who knows where it might lead?
My Theory Isn’t Really New
My theory isn’t really new. We can all think of many accidental discoveries or seminal events in history that have led to the next step. Many people have had similar theories, just expressed a little bit differently. Mark W. Schaefer, another professor in that marketing class, wrote something similar in his book, The Tao of Twitter, (which I should admit, I actually haven’t read, but heard him explain.)
Oprah Winfrey also talked about a similar theory in her “Master Class” series. In it, (and I hope I’m getting this right), I believe she said, in essence, that all life’s turns lead you to the next. Had she not buried herself in books, which enabled her to do well in a spelling bee, which in turn resulted in her being interviewed on a local radio station, which turned into a part-time job offer, which eventually led to her career as one the world’s most well-known and popular TV show hosts, magazine mogul, philanthropist and celebrity… well it’s all a matter of life’s serendipitous events. Not saying that drive, perseverance, personality, ability, talent, hard work, and taking a few chances along the way all didn’t also take a major role in her success. But, if not for one event, the next wouldn’t have presented itself.
So, back to my point. All roads do lead to roam. What path will you take, and where will it lead you?