Have you ever wondered about how your professional life tends to fall into place (or not)? One thing appears to lead to another, which then leads you in one direction or another. One seemingly lucky set of circumstances ends up playing out, over time, into a job opportunity, a promotion, a career, a life choice.
Some people will chalk that up to coincidence. You just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
It’s not coincidence that you understood exactly what to do with those opportunities, once presented.
As you review the history and context leading up to how coincidence has manifested itself in your professional life, you will see patterns emerging over time. The networking chances you decided to take, the coursework and professional coaching and training you invested in because you were interested and passionate in a topic or area of study – although not quite sure how it would all combine in the long run. The types of people and situations you eventually choose to avoid, and those you choose to cultivate.
Professional success has a lot to do with assumption of risk: taking those chances on yourself and others because you have confidence in your ability to deal with the apparently coincidental aspects of business life.
It’s one thing to believe in coincidence. It’s another thing to leverage it. It’s a leap of faith. Once you make this choice, what used to be “coincidental” no longer becomes a matter of coincidence.
When you are confident in yourself, you leverage opportunities when they present themselves. Opportunities are additive and synergistic. You trust that all of these coincidences lead up to something meaningful, although that meaning may not be readily apparent, short term.
The outcomes of coincidence may take years to become apparent. However, once you take that first step, new doors open up, don’t they? There are new directions, new networking opportunities, new questions to ask, new subjects to learn.
New possibilities result from leveraging what appears to be coincidental.
You are faced with the decision to address coincidence or ignore it. How many times have you kicked yourself, years later, for an opportunity that presented itself early on in your career that you decided was too risky so you declined or ignored the offer?
Ignoring one opportunity simply opens the door for others. Do you pay attention to these opportunities? Do you leverage them in terms of how these opportunities can help you add to your skill sets, core professional capabilities, work output, and value?
For the folks looking at you from the outside, they will tell you that you are lucky. Only you understand that you are perceptive. That you recognize how one seemingly small opportunity combines with all of the other small opportunities that you perceive, to result in something additive for what you bring to the business table.
I’m not talking about, or advocating, cleverly manipulating situations and people for your own personal gain. I’m not talking about a self-serving, what’s in it for me and the heck with everyone else, attitude.
There are ethics involved in leveraging coincidence. And leadership.
I am talking about recognizing how all the stuff that is whizzing about you, apparently in a random manner, isn’t random at all. I’m talking about how, if you take a 10,000 eagle’s eye view of the situation, you will see how some of these seemingly coincidental events, introductions, articles in magazines, data, will impact and inspire you to take chances to move yourself forward, towards the greater good as a professional.
You took the chance and made the choice to read this blog post today. How are you leveraging the coincidental in your professional career?
Babette Ten Haken provides technical people and other sellers a solid strategy for how to explain a product, its benefits, and its value in ways that buyers can easily understand and sellers can comfortably present. She gets people together who are often on opposite sides of the table, like engineers and sales people or entrepreneurs and investors. Her company, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, works with technology-intensive entrepreneurs and manufacturers, focusing on revenue-generating business development strategies to take your business to the next level. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? was named 2012 Finalist, Top Sales & Marketing Awards.