You know that guy who has all the right connections, manages to crack all the right deals, gets funded early, finds the right folks when hiring and even gets love from the media regularly, right? We all do. And are impressed, amazed, bewildered – it seems like magic or wonderful strokes of luck all along.
Sure – luck has a role to play. And serendipity is just that – it happens.
Yet, you can create opportunity for it to happen more often. There’s something to the idea of “creating your own luck”, after all.
For starters, meet many more people. It is indeed all about networking, knowing enough people and being known to them. People trust someone they’ve met, spoken to, debated with on various topics. Just meeting someone for a specific agenda might sound very efficient, but leaves little scope for a deeper connect. Serendipity happens in contexts you least expect it to happen in – so create that universe of contexts with the people you know.
Of course – be genuine. Fakeness is easily perceived and detected, and will cause you more harm than good. Fake passion, interests and fake dreams and ambition – all of these get seen through sooner or later so it’s important you know what you want for sure. Don’t hand wave through anything merely because you think it will make for an interesting conversation with someone – instead merely acknowledge you know little. Which brings us to the next one –
Seek to learn. It is amazing how people are ready to share knowledge, their insights and opinion on various things. If your interest in understanding something is genuine and your questions and follow up suggests you have done your homework, they will also remember that you are someone who is worth connecting to when a need or opportunity comes up in connection with the space. I have known people who got invited into transformative politics because they had an opinion and were not afraid to express it.
Yes, it is very important to market yourself, your ideas, your beliefs. No, it is not a “dirty” word and you do not have to cringe at the thought. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter and online fora these days, you can express what you think, feel or believe about things you care about. If your words carry weight, and if your arguments are well made, folks who read them will remember you, seek you out for a partnership, or anything to do with the space.
Be diligent. As you start connecting with folks in a space and understand it better, maintain a knowledge base that you keep adding to. You’ll keep finding resources that you can read up, refer to, consult, or even places to ask for advice and clarifications. Take notes for all of these. Don’t stress too much about the exact tool you start using – a simple GDocs spreadsheet will suffice, or you could use something more powerful such as a MindMap. File away what you learn, people you meet and ideas and opinions you have in this regularly. Follow up with those folks once in a while.
Be open minded and large hearted. Be it discussing an idea without fear of it being “stolen”, or seeking a win-win partnership without worry of who gets what out of it – as long as there is value created by you coming together, it’s a win.
You might start seeing your luck turn very soon. Just give serendipity a chance.
Edit: Part 2 of this one here
[Image credit: shutterstock]