Best of the Month – Synchronicity
Editor | On 17, Oct 2018
To be honest, I’ve put off reading this book for a long time. It’s sat in my library, next to The Fifth Discipline since I found a copy in a junk shop several years ago. The reason I invested a whole £1 in it is largely because Peter Senge wrote the introduction. Beyond that, the cover photo and the words ‘inner path’ have meant that, whenever I see the book’s spine on the shelf, I immediately think it’s going to be a bit of a ‘woo-woo’ journey into New Age nonsense. As it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. My own piece of timely synchronicity maybe?
Synchronicity, the book, turns out to be an inspirational guide to developing the most essential leadership capacity for our time: how we can collectively shape our future. Through the telling of his life story (through the framework of Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ – even better), Jaworski posits that a real leader sets the stage on which “predictable miracles, ” seemingly synchronistic in nature, can – and do – occur. While I realise that the word ‘miracle’ definitely sounds like we’re heading to Woo-Woo-Land, it’s important to know that what he’s actually talking about is Campbell’s ‘Ordeal’ and the subsequent resolution of a contradiction. He shows that this capacity has more to do with our being – our total orientation of character and consciousness – than with what we do. Leadership, he explains, is about creating – day by day – a domain in which human beings continually deepen their understanding of reality and are able to participate in shaping the future. He describes three basic shifts of mind required if we are to create and discover an unfolding future – shifts in how we see the world, how we understand relationships, and how we make commitments – and offers a new definition of leadership that applies to all types of leaders.
The charm of Jaworski’s story is that it is his own, personal story. He was a successful North American lawyer from a famous family of lawyers, and the promise of a successful life ahead of him – until the day his wife suddenly asked him for a divorce. He was in his early 40’s. His world crashed around him and he was faced with having to construct a new one. Within that process, he found himself again, and re-discovered ways to connect with his intuition and the natural flow of life.
Many good things happened to him personally and professionally from then on.
His life is particularly interesting if you are interested in the subject of leadership. As a result of a series of very interesting events and encounters – what some might describe as “coincidences” – Jaworski found himself “called” to fund the American Leadership Forum. He was then headhunted to lead the now very famous scenario building team at Shell headquarters in the UK.
This book offers some great tips on how to be, learn, intuit and change, and work in partnership with life – not against it, or in spite of it… One tip that will remain with me is to nurture the courage to act on what we sense. In particular, to reach out to people we meet and immediately “know” from the moment we first see them – without knowing why or how. That is how Jaworski met his second wife – in an airport, of all places – and many other key figures on his journey. We often allow our mind to hold us back, out of fear, or out of respect to social norms. Jaworski’s life story shows that life can be more rewarding when we trust and follow our inner knowing and allow ourselves to connect with others, only because we sense we need to – not because we need something specific from them – thus, we are able to allow life to unfold according to its natural, benevolent flow.
The moral of the story? Good things happen when we listen to our inner voice or follow our (contradiction solving) intuition – when we are connected to it…
…not to mention that Senge’s 14-page Introduction alone is worth the price of entry.