Over the past couple of months, I’ve had three opportunities to get involved in new projects, in ways that challenge what I once thought was possible, and that each make profound connections to my core purpose. Please read on, because I hope this will help you as well.
   The first opportunity came from having lunch with the CEO of a large, well-known nonprofit in our area. I was referred to this CEO (let’s call him Brian) by a mutual colleague. At the end of this introductory lunch I asked Brian, “What are the three most impactful things you will be focused on this year?” I like asking CEOs this question because, as management consultant and author Peter Drucker has said, “Leaders ensure the right things get done and managers ensure things are done right.”
     Brian gave me his three focus areas, one of which was to recruit a new executive for a significant leadership position on his team. He was about to begin interviewing executive search firms to help with this task. Having just learned about his background, I asked if he had much experience in vetting and selecting search firms and he said, “Not really.”
     In the past, I have hired dozens of search firms to consult for companies and clients seeking this type of expertise. I offered to help him with the vetting process to ensure he made the best pick. He paused for less than a New York minute before saying he’d welcome the help.
     The second opportunity resulted from a conversation with another CEO who is a client I am currently coaching. Mike had indicated he was looking to potentially relocate his manufacturing business to a more favorable location for a host of good business reasons. I asked him a similar question as in the first example, “How much experience do you have doing this?” He replied, “Not much, but there is no one else in my company who can help with this situation.” (He was obviously anticipating my next question as his leadership coach!)
     In my own network of professional colleagues, I knew two Economic Development Executives and I suggested to Mike that I could ask them what questions he ought to be thinking about in regards to a relocation. He took me up on this offer. Even though I wasn’t an expert in this particular area, I knew the right people who could educate me so that I could pass the information along to Mike and enable him to make an informed decision with much less leg work than he originally thought. After all, he has a manufacturing company to run and grow!
     The third opportunity was just as serendipitous as the first two. I received a call from a friend in Atlanta who is in his mid-sixties and is passionate about convening and mentoring groups of younger men in their 30’s for a year-long session. He has literally written the book on how to do this effectively and a number of churches throughout the US have adopted Rob’s model.
     He told me he was working with the senior leadership of my church and that they are “all fired up” to launch the mentoring program across the multiple church campuses. He said he was going to be involved in the launch and that each group of 8 men would need two co-mentors. When the leadership team told Rob they would assign him a co-mentor, he replied that he only wanted to have me as his partner. This is what he was calling me about – needless to say, I was humbled and honored to be able to work alongside this man. We are in the process of finalizing the plans to launch this exciting program in a month or two.
     So what’s the point of all this? Although I wrote a piece last week entitled “The Road To No,” these three opportunities have a common element. One of my passions is to serve others and to be in a position to add value to their lives, personal or business. All three of these opportunities fit with my core purpose, whether they are good for business or not.
     While on the surface these three opportunities are vastly different, they each affirmatively answer one of the questions I raised in last week’s piece, “Will investing your precious time on the request help you get closer to one of your primary goals?” Sometimes opportunities may initially seem like they will take time you don’t have to give.  But we also have to learn to be open to unexpected possibilities that stretch us beyond ourselves and widen our spheres of influence.
     Sometimes insights and opportunities come to us in seemingly odd ways and if we let them pass by, we will miss out on something really great. I submit that we (myself included) must be open-minded, yet focused; be willing to see the potential beyond the initial investment of our time; and believe there is a greater plan that is available if we will only have enough margin to consider it.
     How about you? What opportunities have come in the last 3-6 months seeking your involvement? As you read this piece, did one of those opportunities suddenly came back into your memory? If so, don’t ignore the prompting – the opportunity may have sought you out, for a specific purpose that only you can fulfill.
     I hope this has led to some serendipitous thinking on your part!
     Best regards,