Author Debra Silverman wasn’t planning to see her former husband. But as she casually waited for her coffee order, she turned to see him waiting in line behind her.

What a surprise! No – it was more than that. It was serendipity. He had been on her mind, and there he was! Their conversation was friendly and warm.

As he got up to leave, he gave her a long embrace. A little too long. She patted him on the back, stepped away and said with a smile, “Bye-bye now!”

We’re almost at the end of the year, so November is the perfect time to have a series about release and surrender. As you look back at 2016, have you been holding on to something a little too tight? What is the area where you need to say, “Bye-bye now!”?

Jazz trumpeter Chris Botti was hardly a starving artist when Sting called. He had been successful since high school. A prodigy, really, earning two grants from the National Endowment of the Arts. He dropped out of college, but he had a good reason to – he was working with jazz great Buddy Rich and then icon Frank Sinatra.

In no time, he had cemented his reputation as a talented studio musician and sideman. For almost a decade, he toured with Paul Simon. Sessions with diverse artists like Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell and Roger Daltry followed. He also signed a solo contract, releasing two records in two years.

That’s why he didn’t leap to accept Sting’s offer. Another touring job? That was a quick turn-down. He was too busy building his solo career, which was humming along just fine.

But then Sting called again. It turned out that they would be in London at the same time. Would Botti join him for drinks at the famed Savoy Hotel? One hour, a relaxed get-together. Chris caved in, even though his mind was already made up.

Their meeting didn’t go as Chris had planned. He wasn’t trying to game the offer. In fact, it wasn’t about money at all. It was simple – Chris couldn’t get where he wanted to go being in Sting’s band, even as a featured artist. And that’s where things got interesting.

Sting told him, “You’re successful in jazz, but if you come work with me, you’ll be in front of a whole new audience. A mainstream audience. And they’ll get you.” Within two years, Botti had a whole new set of fans.

And that’s the story of how Chris Botti said “Yes” to a whole new road and “Bye-bye now” to his ego.

Like Chris Botti, you may be meeting all the goals you’ve set for 2016. But take a moment to look at the big picture. Do you need to give your ego a vacation, become a beginner and take a chance?

This week, take some quiet time to tune in to understand what’s next. That oddball offer? The left hand turn that looks like a step down to someone else? You might hear yourself saying before the year is out, “That crazy thing? I just couldn’t say no.”

Published by Michelle Mains