The Awesome Power of Serendipity
You never know where the collisions of people will take you
I have been on a bit of a hiatus with the newsletter. Watching the events unfold with shock and horror in the Ukraine, I have been distracted, as I am sure many of you are also feeling. If you have loved ones, friends, or colleagues in the Ukraine, know that I am praying for you and them, and I stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Long before the events in Ukraine, I had already booked travel to Singapore. I was on the fence about going, but ultimately decided it was better to continue with my plans. As with many things in life, there is no such thing as the perfect time. Sometimes you just got to get on that plane.
What is the big deal about Singapore that could not wait? It was the place I was supposed to work before COVID tossed that plan to the wind. By the time I got my offer letter, the world was already in the throes of COVID. With Singapore on lockdown and travel significantly reduced, I instead started at AWS based in NYC.
Why was I in Singapore in the first place? It was a country where I ended up spending much of the last eighteen months of my time at a previous employer. I was building up the business in Asia and establishing a completely new market for the company. During that time, I built up a wide and deep network of relationships all throughout the ASEAN region.
Despite COVID, I quickly added to my network in Singapore over the past two years, connecting with both AWS colleagues and startup founders. As my network grew, so did the collisions of different people and networks coming together, expanding my network further. With each of these collisions unlocks potential that, when accessed, generates unexpected and often fortuitous outcomes.
I fully believe that serendipity leads to exponential opportunities. The ability for a person to tap into the potential of serendipity is a superpower. We can see that with certain people we run across that are superconnectors, those rare individuals that seem to know everyone in the community.
How does this play out in real life? I shared a short post last week over LinkedIn about one of those unexpected connections in Singapore. Here is what I wrote:
One year ago, I started an experiment using the social audio app Clubhouse. The idea was to connect with startup founders and budding entrepreneurs to share how Amazon Web Services can help their startups to build, grow, and scale faster on AWS.
In hosting rooms on Clubhouse, I got to meet Nicole Patrice who was such a big help in mentoring me and driving attention to the shows. This led to meeting Yin Mei at Per Scholas who reached out to me to talk more about community building.
When we talked, Yin mentioned an awesome entrepreneur out of Singapore that was building a community platform and that I should reach out. I sent a LinkedIn connect request to the founder last November with a short note hoping to chat.
Fast forward to last week, I shared a post here about coming to Singapore. Edwina Yeo of Supermomos reaches out saying she is back in Singapore and would like to meet. So yesterday we had a chance to finally sit down to get to know each other and dig into all things community building!
Networking is a force multiplier. Making time to build genuine connections creates long-term impact. You just have to put yourself out there and take a chance!
I said that networking is the force multiplier, but in fact what makes networking work is serendipity. Would I have met Edwina otherwise? Perhaps, but it the power of these connections that unlocked the opportunity.
Sometimes you just need to roll with the unexpected and see where it goes. Here is another post I shared recently about my Singapore trip which unexpectedly turned into a mini-book tour.
Of the many highlights in my week-long trip to Singapore was the opportunity to share my experiences in community!
People are thirsting for more meaningful connections with peers to learn from and to grow in their careers. Companies are seeking better ways to engage customers and build value. That glue is community.
Community is an important theme in the development of my own career. From the communities I joined, to those I launched along the way, the life-long bonds I formed and the shared experiences I had forever shaped and enriched my life.
Thank you all that I met with this week for taking time to chat with me about building, growing & scaling impactful communities.
If you are curious to learn more about how to build a sustainable, purpose-driven community, feel free to reach out to me. And for those that did not get a book (I ran out quickly😬), I am back in Singapore next month with more copies. Cheers 😁
I did not think all that many people would be willing to meet given COVID was still on the rise in Singapore. Some apologized saying they could not meet because they tested positive. Still, I booked 60 in-person meetings over the course of the week, some specifically from people that were interested in my book.
The world is now emerging from two years of a global pandemic. With this reopening, we once again have the opportunity to make those unexpected connections, to forge authentic relationships, and to build partnerships. As we start to come together in real life in our sales meetings, meetups, and conferences, I want to share two thoughts.
First is to be bold and connect with those you normally wouldn’t contact. You might think this is strange advice being this is a sales community. But I often come across sales reps that are on the fence, fearing they might come across as pushy or salesy. They want to wait for the right message or the right time. As I said before, there is never a perfect time, so never hesitate to shoot your shot.
Second thought is that we are going to get crunched for time real quick. It is already happening with my schedule. That being said, you should not pass up opportunities to connect with others, even if the opportunities are not readily apparent now. This goes both ways as well, because there may be people that reach out to you. It is better to be more open and see where things go. There have been connections I made a decade prior that only became relevant years later, like what I am seeing here at AWS reconnecting with folks from many years ago.
I would be thrilled to hear where in the world you are going and what plans you have for getting back out to events and conferences. And hopefully soon, we can get back to in-person Enterprise Sales Forum events so we can gather as a community.
Happy selling (in-real life)!
Mark Birch, Founder of Enterprise Sales Forum
P.S. I am at SxSW from Friday, March 11 to Wednesday, March 16. If you are in Austin or in town to attend SxSW, let me know and would love to meet up!
The Enterprise Sales Forum is a professional community championing the practice of sales through monthly sales talks at chapters globally. Our chapters provide an open, collaborative and diverse environment to share new ideas, network and learn actionable insights for professional sales development.