This goes for all personal and professional relationships in your life. I heard a woman on a podcast say this, and it struck me. She was speaking about meeting her husband and when things clicked versus when they first met years prior. She could’ve been telling a story about meeting someone who helped her professionally. We’ve all met someone randomly and have these types of stories.
If you say you don’t, you just haven’t spent time thinking about it. You don’t want to live with your foot in the past, but knowing and, if you’re comfortable with it, acknowledging those who have helped you along your path, especially people you met by chance, makes a difference in both of your lives.
I feel lucky enough to have a number of these stories in both my personal and professional lives. For instance, I came to my firm, Jaburg Wilk, through an attorney there I had randomly come into contact with at the beginning of my career and by then I knew a bit as a professional connection. The interesting part is that through that same person I had the opportunity to come work at Jaburg Wilk in a few years earlier, but turned it down to go to work at a large local firm. When I ultimately came to the firm it was the right time for me to do so and happened because of me randomly running into that same connection at a professional event.
The point is that you never know what a chance meeting, interview, or connection may lead to in the future. When I came back around, I was lucky enough that the firm still was willing to speak with me. Luckily my longtime connection who worked there was open to speaking with me about a position and to talking to his partners about interviewing me again.
You have no way of knowing who you meet that may be important in your life. No matter what side of the relationship I am on, the connection may ultimately be beneficial for me. It may be a situation where I give 10 minutes to someone I am informally mentoring. You will find that if you treat people kindly, with respect, and give them your most valuable resource, your time, there is a better chance that if they are related to a potential opportunity, it will be visited upon you.