The first time I truly began thinking more deeply about serendipity and the role it has played in my life was about seven years ago when I was marketing an educational program to physicians, nurses and psychologists. I had come across the name of a potential contact – a candidate likely to benefit from enrollment in our program – but I hadn’t had the time to reach out to her due to an increasingly heavy work load.
Suddenly, out of the blue one morning, I felt compelled to make the call – and she answered. (Quite surprising since, at that time in my experience, most healthcare providers had at least a layer or two of people to get through before I could actually speak directly with the individual I was hoping to reach.)
The nurse was as startled as I was, but was kind enough to take the time to speak with me for a few minutes, which enabled me to convince her to participate in our program. (She later went on to become one of the best students we ever enrolled.)
What sparked the “Huh” reaction was when, as we were closing the call, she said, “I’m just amazed that you reached me. Normally, I’m very hard to get hold of, but I was just visiting my mom and am literally stuck in an airport because my flight was delayed. What’s even more odd is that I’ve been thinking a great deal about my need for more training in this area.”
As she was describing the problem she’d been having for a patient that was motivating her to enroll in our program, she began searching for an explanation of how weirdly fortunate it was that I had chosen to make my call to her at that precise moment when I could actually reach her by phone.
I spent the remainder of my day shaking my head and smiling at the series of several happy accidents that had just occurred. The nurse I had been speaking with could certainly have delayed our conversation until she arrived home from her travels. Instead, she chose to take my call and engage with me.
There was certainly serendipity involved in my reaching her at just the right moment when she had time to talk without being interrupted by work or family – but it also took a moment of kindness to give serendipity a chance.