Patrick Ewers: How to Create Serendipity



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Some of your biggest accomplishments in your career probably happened because of what seemed like serendipity. There was a series of interactions or introductions that led to a major achievement such as landing your dream job, raising capital for your startup, or landing a major client. It might seem like you need to be lucky to land opportunities like these, but according to Patrick Ewers, there are strategies that you can implore to create serendipity. >Patrick is the Founder and CEO of Mindmaven. Mindmaven helps leaders free up hours a week so that they can use that time to invest in their relationships. It’s an executive coaching firm that gives people the tools and talent to be happier, healthier, and more successful. In my interview with Patrick, he shared how to create serendipity, how to free up your time to focus on your highest impact work, tips for working with assistants, and how to get more referrals.

How to Get More Referrals

Think of your accomplishments that you’re most proud of. Landing a new job, winning a huge deal, or closing a round of funding. I’m sure your relationships helped in some way.

At some point along the way, someone probably made a key introduction for you or advised you to go in a given direction. You connected with the right person at the right time.

There are ways to create these turning point opportunities. According to Patrick, it starts with fostering relationships:

“Serendipity doesn’t exist without relationships. You cannot reach your fullest potential without help from others.”

To create serendipity, you need to build meaningful relationships and stay top of mind.

Patrick’s company, Mindmaven, is a service business. Like most other service businesses, 90% of its business comes from referrals. Patrick describes what drives referrals and how you can manipulate that process to your advantage.

The first step is that someone you know comes across an opportunity for you. Unfortunately, you don’t have control over this. However, you can control whether they think of you.

There are a ton of opportunities out there for you that you simply never hear about because your network doesn’t think of you. You’re probably losing touch with people who could be making introductions for you.

Patrick emphasizes that staying in touch with people is not urgent compared to everything else that’s on your immediate to-do list, but it’s going to be extremely valuable for you in the future.

Patrick recommends creating a list of the 20-30 most important people for you to stay in touch with. He refers to these people as your “legends.” Then, send one email to one person on this list every day.

“It would be a statistical fluke if nothing comes from this”, Patrick says.

Intent + Leverage

You probably know how important your relationships are, but yet, you’re not investing your time in improving them. Patrick says that this is because you’re too focused on what seems most urgent rather than what’s most important.

There are a million and one things that you could be doing at any given time, but almost none of them are as impactful as building relationships.

Patrick says you need two things to change course: intent and leverage.

You need to be intentional about dedicating time for your network. Intent is a skill that you can learn and improve on, Patrick says.

Then, you need to free up your time to have more meaningful experiences with the people who influence your success the most. “Spend less of your time on $5 per hour jobs and more of your time on $5,000 per hour jobs”, he says.

Patrick believes that trust is the most powerful asset in business. You build trust by standing out as reliable. And you can be more reliable if you have the time to do things like sending thoughtful follow up emails and finding ways to help people.

How to Save Hours Each Day with an Executive Assistant

Hiring an executive assistant seems like a great idea. You can delegate some of your work to free up your time for your highest-impact work. But too often, people mismanage their assistants. The assistant isn’t able to be effective, and it ends up wasting your time.

Patricks says that your relationship with your assistant is just like any other relationship. You need to put in effort to improve it. He notes that founders put a ton of effort into improving their relationship with, for example, their VP of Engineering, but don’t make nearly any effort with their assistant.

Patrick shares tips for working with an assistant.

Give them context. Patrick says assistants live and die based on access to context. He recommends making audio recordings after meetings with next steps and the follow up email that you want to send so that your assistant can take action.

As you build trust, give them access to your email inbox so that they can write emails in your draft folder and allow you to update and send them.

Teach them good communication skills. Ask them to keep you updated and informed. This helps build trust, and you need trust so that they can start doing higher-leverage work.