Networking? Surrender To Serendipity (the results can be amazing)!

Serendipity. You know what it means, right? You take a vacation – let’s say an Alaskan cruise – and as you’re walking the deck one evening, lo and behold, you stumble into one of your long-lost friends from high school! Unexpected. Unplanned. What are the chances? That’s serendipity.

My friend Dave Delaney underscored the importance of embracing serendipity during a recent talk about networking for the Nashville chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

Serendipity Dave Delaney Since Dave Delaney was the one talking about this theme, I thought it might be fun to trace some remarkable serendipity that occurred over the past year of networking interactions between Dave and me. Here’s the story…

  • When I was researching our potential move to Nashville earlier this year, I decided to make a trip to the city. Coincidentally, Nashville’s annual Podcamp event (which Dave founded) was happening, so he invited me to submit a speaking proposal, which was accepted. Two birds, one stone!
  • While at the event, I met Mark Whitlock, a friendly Franklin resident, and kicked off a budding friendship with him.
  • At one point, it looked like our second-oldest son might be joining us in Nashville, so I reached out to several Nashville contacts about any potential job openings. Mark responded by putting us in contact with a landscaping company looking for someone, and they talked to my son over the phone and immediately offered him a job if he did indeed move down. Huge relief, even though he did finally end up taking a position in California.
  • After our move, my fourth son (who is with us) was in need of a job, and my wife reminded me about the landscaping company. We contacted them – BOOM! Ben gets hired.
  • Last week, I saw Dave’s tweet about him speaking at the ATD meeting so I decided to go – and, it turns out, a valued friend from years past in pharma training, Don O’Guin, who had moved to Murfreesboro a few years ago, is the incoming president for the Nashville chapter of ATD, and he also was attending the meeting. We had intended to eventually get back together, but this “chance” occurrence accelerated the reunion.
  • (then it turns out that Don’s wife works for an organization that does some great work in Haiti, a needy place where I also have some involvement. We’ll be exploring that connection).
  • Are we done yet? Nope. This week, I attend the Nashcocktail networking event, also founded by networking maestro Dave Delaney. There, I run into an interesting young couple doing fitness coaching, who both also happen to be afflicted with diabetes. Now, over the years with my pharma consulting buisness, I have made deep connections with the diabetes on-line community, so I was immediately able to connect them. Did I go to Nashcocktail expecting THAT kind of serendipitous connection? Not in a million years.

Here’s another crazy example. Yesterday, I reviewed a chapter in an upcoming book that features the story of my entreprenurial journey, and many of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. How did THAT come about? Well, I hit it off with the author (Katy Tynan, previously unknown to me) at a 1-day Mastermind workshop hosted in Boston by my friend Peter Shankman last year. No-one could have seen this connection coming. Pure serendipity.

Here’s the thing – we should be approaching our networking with clear purpose and strategy. BUT – we must also Surrender To Serendipity. That’s where some of the most wonderful relationships and results come from.

Many of you have similar stories, right? Why not spread some happiness and tell your story in the comments? We all love to hear about networking serendipity!


Related posts:

The Strategic Serendipity of Social Media

You Two Should Meet!

Oh, and if your company is getting deeper into digital marketing/social media and you need a very smart guide/sherpa/consultant – contact Dave! And – need a talented media maker to turn your “stuff” into great multimedia assets? That’s Mark! Training and Instructional Design consulting? Don O’Guin is your guy!

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