I was sick with nerves a few weeks ago because I was speaking at an old graduate class… on the subject of designing a better presentation. I was nervous because of the subject, the audience (which included a graduate professor whom I admire), and the overall fear of screwing up.

The morning was filled with random situations that made me really question if there even are such things as coincidences. I was hoping for a solid presentation, but what I got was so much more.

It reinstated my grateful attitude for the unexpected- both good and bad.

Below are the series of events to help put it into context:

  1. The university had given me a code to use for free parking, but it didn’t work. I was slightly annoyed and had to pay $7 for parking instead.
  2. A colleague and friend had planned to video tape my presentation, but she had to cancel the week prior. The professor and I arrange last minute for a University staff member to record the presentation.
  3. Professor and I leave late from class to get lunch, stop at the bathroom, and run into a colleague I had been talking about. We exchange introductions (they had never met), and he shares news with her that leaves her excited and hopeful.
  4. After lunch, the professor wants me to see the new remodeled library. He is excited for me to meet people from the learning department to see if we can grow the morning’s presentation into something bigger.
  5. He insists he pay for my parking, so we take a detour to get cash. We then walk towards the library.
  6. On the way, we run into the director of the Learning Department and discuss options on incorporating my skills and topic into their courses for professors.
  7. We make it into the library and run into the video-guy again. He is in the middle of editing my presentation and asks if I might be interested in doing this for other courses or graduate schools. He had just been asked by the business school for a similar resource.

Would I have met anyone from the learning department if my friend had been able to video-tape?

What if the parking code had worked? We would have never stopped at the ATM, therefore missing the director and the video-guy.

If I hadn’t stopped at the bathroom after class, would my professor and colleague had met at all?

I realize most of us cannot walk around thinking every single little thing that happens is the product of the universe working in our favor – that seems nearly impossible and very narcissistic.

I will, however, always look back on that day as a very “universally aligned” day.

Full disclosure:  There have yet to be any huge business developments as a result of that day, but I’m truly hopeful that there will in the long run. It was nothing but serendipitous, and reminded me of the potential and opportunity in each day… and within each stroke of bad luck.

I am thankful for the mistakes, obstacles, and wrong moves. You never know- they might lead to great things.