Pay Attention When Opportunity Knocks — Embracing Serendipity
We’ve all had moments of serendipity when seemingly random events occur as if by chance in a way that benefits us or brings us joy and happiness unexpectedly.
These could be big events like sitting next to someone on a plane who turns out to have a need for your services and becomes your next client or boss. Or having a spouse with a rare disease and running into a specialist at a friend’s party who happens to be the leading expert on that disease and winds up saving your partner’s life. Or buying a lottery ticket from a store that’s about to close and having a big win. Or they could be smaller things like wanting to go for a drive on a sunny day and having a scenic back road all to yourself, or thinking of a particular song and it comes on your radio, or having a hummingbird hover right in front of you.
Over the past few weeks I can think of at least three experiences I had that felt like serendipity in action:
*I was invited to attend and speak at an event in Las Vegas last month on The Future of Blockchain and Web 3.0 entitled The Takeover and hosted by Real Vision, a media company I had been unfamiliar with until then. It was a highly curated event of some of the most progressive, bright, forward-thinking entrepreneurs and leaders in the space.
I met a lot of interesting and amazing people during the course of the event. But one individual and I connected pretty deeply across multiple dimensions; he was truly a kindred spirit, and we bonded instantly. Weird things kept happening to us as if we were in our own little orbit. We’d discuss something rather abstract or obtuse, and the next thing you know someone would join us out of nowhere and bring up the topic we had just been talking about. Or we’d say a strange uncommon word and someone would show up next to us and say it right after. It was noticeably odd and this phenomenon repeated itself time and again. We experienced the bulk of the event together from then on, and have remained connected since. I don’t know about you, but that depth of connection doesn’t happen to me all that often. I’m not sure what will come of it; at the very least I’ve met a great new colleague, friend and a possible collaborator. Serendipity in action.
*Then when all the chaos was going on during the Holidays with thousands of flights being cancelled, I just sailed out of my home airport with ease and my arrival at my destination couldn’t have been any smoother. When it was time to reverse course, my flights were delayed heading home (from two different airports), and when I arrived at the second airport, the flight departing prior to the one I was booked on, (which was delayed by a couple of hours) happened to be boarding just as I arrived at the gate — and I was able to hop on and secure a preferred seat near the front. Again, the process was just as smooth as my initial travel leg the way things worked out. I felt like I was being looked after and treated with kid gloves. It was all so seamless.
*Finally, this past weekend I was running an errand and was led to take a detour down a side street I never go down where a childhood friend lives that I’d been estranged from for 20 years. She happened to be outside in front of her house, which she never is, and recognized me as I was driving by. She yelled “is that you”, and I stopped. We wound up spending three hours together catching up entirely unexpectedly, which was deeply healing for me (hopefully for both of us), and we are now back in each other’s lives. I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Why does it seem like certain individuals experience more of these moments than others? I guess the question is, can we prepare ourselves to find things we’re not looking for when they show up for us? Are serendipitous events purely random or can they be cultivated to a certain extent?
Here are 3 tips for cultivating more serendipity in your life:
*Stay alert and aware — I believe there’s a certain pattern recognition you can foster within yourself that allows you to be receptive to seeing connections and opportunities that others might miss.
*Be receptive — if you’re curious and open-minded, you’ll naturally be operating within the realm of possibility and that tends to foster and dare I say “encourage” (and even anticipate) more of these moments arising for you. It can help to assume you have special powers that allow you to perceive opportunities like antennas that may alert you to clues (and patterns as referenced above) where you may connect the dots more readily than others.
*Trust your intuition and follow it — we all have a built-in guidance system that some feel is tied to a higher power (myself included), which is geared to guide us to optimal outcomes if we just honor it when it arises. The three examples I provided above are just a few ‘chance’ encounters that happen for me more consistently than not, and intuition can work for you as well if you tune in and follow where you’re being led. The right people, opportunities and circumstances can line up in your favor when you do so; it happens to me too often to be considered random.
Give some careful thought to all of this and resolve to pay better attention moving forward. Be better prepared when opportunity knocks. Let me know what interesting experiences come your way as a result — I’d love to hear.