After I left Uganda, I traveled to Kenya for my first safari. On the first day, our guide asked which animals we hoped to see. In my excitement, I rattled off a few animals not knowing the likelihood of seeing any of them. I was in the moment, simply thrilled to experience whatever unfolded – no expectations; just gratitude for anything that might happen.
As I mentioned an animal that I would like to see, within a matter of minutes we would see that animal. This continued, one after the other, in the order I mentioned for our entire first day. We witnessed the Great Wildebeest Migration, even thought it wasn’t expected to happen for another three weeks. Although many people don’t get to see even one river crossing of the wildebeest, we actually witnessed four. By the end of the first day, I was in disbelief that I had already seen every animal I wanted to.
Later on the trip, driving in the middle of the Northern Mara, a hailstorm came out of nowhere. We were told that they hadn’t experienced anything like this in this area for years. As we scrambled to quickly cover the top of the Range Rover and waited for the storm to subside, I said, "Wouldn't it be cool if we saw a rainbow after this?" A few minutes later, when the hail and rain had stopped, we got out of the Range Rover. I turned to look behind us, and to my surprise, there was a huge rainbow over the terrain. Having lived in cities all my life, I have never seen an entire rainbow, let alone one forming a double rainbow on one end – in Africa, of all places!
Like my crazy travel day earlier this year, this safari made me pause and reflect in a way I haven’t done in years. I kept asking myself, “What should I take away from this experience?” I couldn’t simply say that what happened on this trip was a set of coincidences – there were just way too many of them.
What continues to resonate with me now, and speaks to what many of us may be experiencing in our lives, is the power of possibility— of saying "Wouldn't it be cool if …?" Sometimes we close ourselves off and take options off the table before giving them a chance.
If you’re a go-getter like me and most of my clients, you might find yourself often trying to control things too much (that's especially true now, as uncertainty seems all around us.) We can get caught up in our own expectations and driving to a specific outcome, especially when we feel like a lot is at stake. When we do, we put out a very different type of energy. Instead of having a sense of openness and possibility, we feel uptight and full of angst. And when we show up like this, we tend to get in our own way.
I’ve personally experienced the difference. A large project that I’ve been immersed in over the past year has tested me in ways I never expected. It has taught me that I have to let go of things beyond my control, be clear about the outcome that I want, and trust more that whatever happens next is what should. My Kenyan safari showed me this time and again, and made it real at a level I never expected.
My next step is to start applying this insight to other parts of my life. As I experiment, I want to challenge you to do the same:
Get clear about something that you want or something that's important to you.
Be open to it actually happening — even if you can't imagine how it could possibly could.
Simply allow things to unfold without demands or expectations.
Be grateful for whatever happens next.
Remember that small steps lead to big results. And even one small step toward being open to the power of possibility can have a big impact.