Lately, on my long commute to and from work, I have been listening to the NPR podcast, “How I built This” hosted by Guy Roz about how entrepreneurs and visionaries built their companies. Some of the more fascinating stories include interviews with Eileen Fischer, Stoneyfeld, Edible Arrangements and Instagram. What stands out as a common theme is the serendipitous nature of their success. Yes, hard work, smarts and a vision played an important part. But, often there was a person(s) or defining moment that helped them in ways not understood at the time. Like how the founder of Edible Arrangements, Tariq Farid, had a part time job as a young kid at a flower shop and the owner taught him how to run a business. How Instagram’s inventor, Kevin Systrom, was inspired by his girlfriend to make high quality photo sharing the key strategy for the platform.
So it is with my art practice and building of my own business. What started as a simple workshop in the beautiful hills of New Hampshire with artist/teacher (Squam Art Workshop with Kellie Day) has led me to open my own studio, JuJu Art Studios, develop my art and begin teaching workshops of my own. I am also blessed to have several friends and artists who gently (some not so gently) prod me to keep going and improve. And how the kindness of practical strangers have helped in ways neither of us realize. From inspiration to a little tip or encouragement, it only becomes clear looking back that these were transformative moments.
It is that time of year where the exhaustion of holiday shopping and general chaos drives us to the breaking point. But, it can also be a time to assess how we are living and how we can breathe a little bit of generosity into our lives. I don’t have it all figured out and am confounded by my own limitations and flaws but there are times when the clouds part enough to see clearly. Being open to both giving and receiving benevolence can change us, moment by little moment. What we do and say matters. Let serendipity and generosity reign.