The Million Dollar Chance Connection

Have you ever bumped into a connection that changed your life forever? Whether the encounter ignited sparks of partnership, or innovative ideas rolled over, impromptu meetings and informal chats can open possibilities that never existed before. From initiating insightful discussions, giving wings to new ideas or launching new products, a chance meeting can open doors to drive businesses forward in unimaginable ways.

A chance meeting is something unplanned, almost like an accidental collision that forces interaction between two individuals and strengthens bonds over time. It plainly happens when the right people cross paths with each other at the right place and time and not necessarily in a boardroom full of executives.

Over the course of my life, I was fortunate to bump into the right people who mentored me along the challenges I faced in my entrepreneurial journey. In this piece I narrate the example of how a chance connection helped launch a business plan and gave wings to a young professional’s ambitions.

For Sanjiv Kaul, a chance meeting with legendary entrepreneur Ratan Tata on a Jet Airways flight changed the trajectory of his career forever. Flying back dejected over the refusal of a large industrial house to invest in his pharmaceutical startup, Kaul was busy examining what went wrong in his business presentation. Out of the blue Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Group, sat down on the seat beside him and after this brief encounter, the rest is history. From understanding the cause of his frustration to cheering him up, the business tycoon invited him for a meeting giving wings to a research-based pharma company TATA Advinus. This was all because one man believed in the idea determined by fate.

Ratan Tata, the iconic gentleman over the years has not only steered the salt-to-aviation conglomerate to great heights but also selflessly mentored budding entrepreneurs and professional folks in the process. His young assistant Shantanu Naidu reminisces how one fateful meeting with Mr. Tata transformed his life altogether. Working at the Tata Group Naidu spent his off-office hours designing reflector collars for dogs to save them from road accidents. The news of this noble act spread like wildfire and deeply touched Mr. Tata, an animal activist who invited Mr. Naidu for a meeting. From expressing admiration for his noble works, funding his venture and becoming Mr. Tata’s assistant cum confidante, there’s no looking back for the young lad. His lucky stars fetched him the right boss, mentor and friend whom he fondly nicknamed the ‘Millennial Dumbledore.’

These two incidents are a clear depiction of how running into someone can give you the opportunity of a lifetime. The next time you stumble upon someone unexpectedly read between the lines to discover hidden value from the meeting.

Life’s plans, call it ‘destiny or kismet connection’ is when lives collide and change forever in one moment. It’s wise to look back occasionally and connect the dots to understand and appreciate how invaluable connections served as stepping stones in your journey.