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  • Writer's pictureKaren Caswell

The Path to Serendipity: A Gift from the Heart

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

I really don’t know where to start with this book! The front cover of The Path to Serendipity by Allyson Apsey has the byline “Discover the Gifts Along Life’s Journey”, and while the book most certainly will help you do that, I think the true gift is Allyson herself! She is open, honest, vulnerable, endearing, funny, authentic (my #OneWord2019) and so many other wonderful things – you will feel a heart connection with her after reading this book.

I have a tonne of notes I took whilst reading the book, because there are just so many things I want to remember – so many ‘ah-ha’ moments, so much useful information, so many valuable nuggets that I just don’t want to forget. The copy of the book that I read was borrowed from my school Professional Library, but I’m going to have to buy it myself as I NEED my own copy! I want to always have this book available to refer back to when I need a boost or a reminder, when I need help understanding my own and other’s behaviour and actions, and just to be able to reread because it is so good.

This book takes you on a journey, with stops along the way, where Allyson shares stories from her life and lessons we can learn through similar types of experiences. Where she helps you identify how to find the gift in every day – no matter what is happening. It’s easy to be happy and positive when things are going well, but when something goes awry, your world is crumbling, or you’re simply having a bad day, it is soooo much harder. Allyson helps you find a new way of viewing ‘life’ in all it’s joyful, heartbreaking, boring, frustrating, busy, funny, crazy, wonderful glory!

There were times I laughed, cringed, and cried as Allyson opened herself up, yet I was always awe-struck at how she found the gift in every situation, no matter how disappointing or devastating. To me, that ability is a true gift! Yet, it’s not simply a matter of being ‘able’ to identify the positive – Allyson teaches you that it is a choice. YOU have the power to choose how you will react, respond and deal with what life throws at you. YOU control you. YOU need to identify what you need. YOU decide how you will get it. YOU need to control and own YOUR actions.

As mentioned previously, each stop (chapter) along the Path to Serendipity journey has valuable lessons about your own motivation, behaviours, actions and responses. The book is also practical – Allyson provides tips and strategies to help you navigate life’s challenges. However, you must take the next step in the journey, and apply what you’ve learnt to others. Use what Allyson teaches to help identify and understand the motivation, behaviours, actions and responses of others. Only when you fully acknowledge, appreciate and see life from both yours and others’ perspectives, can you truly live a serendipitous life.

The biggest lessons for me were:

The First Stop: C.R.A.F.T. a Need-Satisfying Classroom

As an educator, the lessons in this chapter are vitally important. Allyson reminds us that everyone has five basic needs (as identified by Glasser) and that every behaviour is a choice made in an attempt to satisfy one, or more, of those needs. We need to identify what need/s certain behaviours are trying to meet for our students, or ourselves. This knowledge not only helps us with students, but in all relationships - those with spouses, our children, colleagues, the person who served us at the coffee shop this morning, everyone!

Allyson then shares her way of creating a need-satisfying classroom through the C.R.A.F.T acronym (it is a Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc book after all😉). C.R.A.F.T stands for: Choice; Relationships; Ask, don’ tell; Fun; Turn it around, and Allyson explains what each means and how you can use them to help students succeed, whilst trying to meet their needs and your own.

"By viewing other people's behaviour as information, we can better understand what they're really saying to us."

The Tenth Stop: Assuming Takes a Toll on Relationships

Boy, oh boy, don’t I know it! I think I have a terrible habit of making assumptions about why people are behaving in a certain way, and of thinking it’s about me. I know that sounds terribly self-centred, but that thought process is actually rooted in self-doubt and anxiety, not self-absorption. This stop really helped reinforce that most people’s behaviour is about them – not us – and provided practical ways to avoid making negative assumptions. And, I could really use some of that naïve body spray!

"Nothing is so bad that we cannot face it with gratitude and dignity, keeping the needs of others at the forefront of all we do."

The Thirteenth Stop: Looking Through a Lens of Gratitude

“Life is sweetest when viewed through a lens of gratitude.” How true that is! We need to identify and acknowledge the positive, instead of dwelling on the negative. Accept we will make mistakes, get things wrong, and fall down – but always get back up and keep moving forward. Accept that there will be nay-sayers, critics and those who revel when you stumble – but ignore them, and find and listen to ‘your people.’ Stay humble and true to yourself.

“When we embrace the difficulties in our lives, when we embrace the person we want to be, when we accept that we are not there yet, we leave the burdens of defensiveness, insecurity, and jealousy behind.”

The Journey Continues…for us all. Most of us rarely end up where, or who, we want to be – I know I’m not there yet! Yet we continue to take risks, set goals, and strive to achieve them. We try to be better every day than we were the day before. And if we have failings along the way, that’s okay, because it’s better than regrets. As Allyson says, I’m not awesome. Yet.


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