I’m a firm believer in serendipity, which in the professional world goes under the guise of networking. One of the keys to building a successful career as a freelancer is being open to new opportunities. You have to allow your mind to leap to a possibility and then — this is important — take the possibility seriously.
Mark Helprin wrote about the way this works for a book writer in this essay in the New York Times.
Accident is as much a part of fiction as anything else, symbolic of the grace that along with will conspires to put words on the page. The craftless anarchy of the Beat poets on the one hand, and the extreme control of Henry James on the other, suggest that for most human beings, just as both freedom and discipline are necessary in life, serendipity and design must coexist in a work to make it readable. Fortunately, the world is rich in the interweaving of the two, which can be found almost everywhere.
It’s not enough to notice a connection. A writer has to put the thought on the page. As a entrepreneur, your job is to take a connection to the level of actually doing something. So, for instance, a couple of weeks ago when I talked to Marie Swift about writing for her. We fell into conversation about what it’s like to work at home … and soon I’d written a short blog post (or rather, interviewed her via email for one). Serendipity.
A similar connection helped us start supplying content for the AARP; one of Elaine’s friends introduced her to the editor. We’ve done a few pieces for the organization now and hope to continue.
There are ways of creating serendipity, of course. I’m a firm believer in the idea that doing a favor for someone opens the door to serendipity. Delivering just a little bit more than you’re obligated to is another way to invite it in.
Do you have examples of serendipity you’d like to share? Please do in the comments section below.