I don’t know if I believe in serendipity, but I do believe in keeping an open mind, being aware of opportunities, and above all, having the curiosity and courage to walk through the strange and sometimes unexpected doors that life opens to you.
Luck’s an iffy thing to put your faith in, so I don’t – instead, I’ve tried to work hard and pursue my passions, even though they sometimes seem like they aren’t leading anywhere productive at first (but that’s OK, productivity is overrated anyway).
Nonetheless, sometimes events happen in life that really do seem like luck. Or even serendipity.
My most recent serendipitous event began with a simple email.
I get a handful of emails a day, many of which are sent by PR people who have me on their mailing lists from way back in my Guardian days. They send press releases and news of product launches and invitations to industry events and information about books and people they’d like me to write about. I almost never do.
I also get one or two emails a week from people wanting to post guest content on SweetMadeleine or wanting me to contribute an article to their site – almost never compensated, almost always for a product/service I don’t use or support in any way.
Bottom line? I’m used to ignoring emails and initially, I ignored this email too.
The message itself was short and sweet, from a company in India asking me to contribute content for their site.
I deleted it.
Two weeks later they sent a follow-up and I had a few extra minutes so I replied this time, asking for more information. This inquiry turned into a Skype call with a man from India, which turned into a Skype call with a CEO in Seattle, which turned into two separate trips to Seattle for interviews.
Initially, I thought I was being sex trafficked. I mean, who flies in a freelance writer for a day full of interviews? And not just once, but twice? I’ve never met any of the writers or editors I currently work with – I never even met my book publisher in person. It’s just really not necessary in most cases. My work is out there for any prospective clients to see, so usually the only things we need to discuss are availability and rates.
But this was different and, happily, I was not abducted and sold on the dark web. Instead, I spent several days over the course of two trips touring the company, meeting with the directors of each different initiative, and wrapping my mind around their astonishingly ambitious goals.
(I also spent a considerable amount of time marveling at their living plant wall and the entire floor they dedicate to an employee wellness centre and the freshly-squeezed orange juice machine in the cafeteria [this is a real thing! A machine filled with oranges, that slices and squeezes them for you at the press of a button. For free! What a time to be alive!])
Gradually, I began to realize that that one little email contained a very big opportunity
As you may have guessed (because you are far quicker on the uptake than I am), they ended up offering me more than a freelance writing position. And, after weeks of careful consideration about my writing and the impact I’d like it to have in the world, I made the decision to accept their offer and join the team at RoundGlass.
If you haven’t heard of this company, I’m willing to bet you will sometime in the next few years because the scope of what they’re taking on is absolutely astounding. Basically, RoundGlass is a holistic wellness company based jointly in India and Seattle, which began as an offshoot of the medical information processing company Edifecs. RoundGlass was founded when Edifecs CEO, Sunny Singh, grew frustrated with a health care system that was primarily reactive rather than proactive.
We sell our health short in so many ways on an almost daily basis. We sleep poorly, eat nutritionally empty food, and our stress levels and depression rates are through the roof. Through it all, many of us ignore holistic wellness solutions because they seem like woo-woo hippie nonsense. (Sometimes, even when you do believe in woo-woo hippie nonsense you still find yourself sleeping poorly and eating empty food and stressing too much because LIFE, man! Ahem.)
The thing is, it’s not nonsense.
Holistic wellness isn’t just for the wealthy, white, middle-class yoga devotee with money to spend on hemp protein powder and mindfulness retreats to Bali. Holistic wellness is simply recognizing that your mental and physical health, work performance, home environment, and the quality of your relationships form a closely intertwined ecosystem rather than entirely separate compartments of your life.
Holistic approaches suggest that it’s short-sighted to treat heartburn, sleeplessness, and anxiety as separate disorders, each with its own medical solution, instead of taking a few steps back and tracing each of these ailments to their source: a failing relationship, an overly demanding workplace, a lack of physical activity or a missing sense of purpose in your life.
Research is increasingly supporting this view of wellness as an interconnected web of causes and effects. You may have heard the recent headlines about how loneliness might be a bigger health risk than smoking or obesity. That’s the mind-body connection in action – not a vague hippie concept, but a proven scientific phenomenon: Lacking connective relationships in your life has a marked, measurable negative effect on your health.
Holistic wellness doesn’t mean that you need to take a skewed, crystal-filled, incense-scented look at your life. It is your life, even if you don’t realize it yet.
With this in mind, RoundGlass works to create dedicated real-life and tech solutions to support research-based holistic development in three key areas:
Live: Wellbeing of self. Supporting parent-child relationships, child development, and those living with chronic illness.
Give: Wellbeing of society. Supporting non-profits and the important work they do to assist those who need it most.
Sustain: Wellbeing of the planet. Solutions designed to recognize and promote those who safeguard the resources we need to thrive and survive on this earth.
I’ll be working remotely from Calgary with occasional travel to Seattle and elsewhere and I can’t express how excited I am to be part of this company. (And also to have coworkers. Coworkers! I haven’t had coworkers in five years!).
I’m excited to be working on projects with such an ambitious scope, with a focus on areas that matter to me so much. I’m excited to be working with a company that has the reach and drive and resources to maximize the impact of my writing.
But most of all, I’m kind of just excited that this happened at all. I answered an email. I flew to Seattle. (I didn’t get sex trafficked!) And now I have the opportunity to channel my energy into something that challenges me, something that demands a lot of me, something much bigger than myself.
It feels good.
On a housekeeping note, you may have noticed that I’ve discontinued my not-quite weekly Friday Night Roundups. Although I’ll be balancing this position with my freelance writing for the time being, I have scaled back my writing commitments considerably so there just isn’t enough to fill an entire post anymore. If you do like keeping up with my other writing, I often share links via my Twitter page.
Of course, this blog will continue as it always does. I’ll continue to be here, writing infrequent, rambling posts about parenting, love, life, and what can happen when you see a curiously bright door in front of you one sunny June morning and make the decision to walk through to the other side.