Throughout my career, as both a practicing lawyer and consultant, the best new business opportunities have almost always arisen at unexpected times and from unexpected places.
Shortly after starting a small law firm, I reluctantly said yes to an invitation to attend a fundraiser in my community. I wanted to say no because I was stressed about a lack of work and felt like I needed to keep grinding instead of “wasting my time” at the event. I went and met an estate planning lawyer who introduced me to my biggest client of the year.
A few years back, I was at a conference standing in line at Starbucks in the hotel lobby. On a whim, after paying for my drink, I decided to hang out and pay for the drinks of the next 10 people in line. This was a fun, no-expectation experience. It happened to lead to a significant coaching and training engagement.
Some call this luck. I call it creating serendipity.
New business opportunities are unpredictable. They arise when you’re in the right place, at the right time and in front of the right people. It’s hard to pre-judge what’s “right.”
Accordingly, it’s important to be open minded, put yourself out there, and say yes to new experiences.
A coaching client of mine shared an experience he had standing in line for concessions at a rap concert a few years ago. His friend turned to him and said, “I bet you’re the only lawyer here.” They laughed, and the guy in front of them turned around and said, “I’m a lawyer, too.” They struck up a conversation, stayed in touch and started referring significant new business to each other.
If you’re spending all of your time where and how you’re “supposed” to, you’ll miss out on opportunities to develop relationships and find work in unexpected places. And doesn’t experience tell us that a great deal of the most beneficial opportunities come our way unexpectedly?
Skeptical that you can create serendipity? Give it a try. I bet you’ll be surprised by what ensues.
Generously create and share content. Enthusiastically connect with people. Engage and be visible. Get active on LinkedIn. Join a new group. Help without expectation.
You’ll develop new relationships, hear interesting ideas and broaden your perspective. Don’t focus merely—or better yet, at all—on pitching, marketing and developing business when trying something new.
When we loosen our grip on what we want, it tends to come our way.
2021: Create serendipity.
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