Have you ever had a really cool experience just drop into your lap? Or made a really good networking connection without expecting it?

Well, both of those things just happened to me last weekend, and that helped me realize there are ways to make it more likely this can happen to you too.

But first, let me set the scene. Here's what happened…

“Am I on a movie set?”

My taxi had just pulled up to the Hyatt in Phoenix, Arizona, and I couldn’t wait to check in. I was hot, tired and hungry. But when I walked into the lobby, it was so packed with people that I couldn’t even see where the check-in counter was.

Then I realized these weren’t the regular business people I expected to see. They were all wearing costumes. Amazing costumes! It looked like I had walked onto a movie set and I was the one out of place.

At the registration desk, the two people behind it were also dressed in costumes. And all along the walls and counter were maps and references to Game of Thrones – a map of Westeros on the wall, house names like Lannister, Stark and Baratheon along the counter.

As it turned out, this was the main hotel for people coming from all around the world to attend Comic-Con Phoenix, which was taking place at the convention center across the street.

“I must take a selfie!”

Comic-Con is a very cool event that my kids have talked about wanting to go to. So I was amazed and excited that I had somehow wandered into Comic-Con central!

So I took out my iPhone and was turning around to take a selfie, saying, “I can’t believe I’m here and it’s Comic-Con! I can’t wait to tell my kids!”

The woman behind me in line ended up taking the photo (probably to speed things along). Then the man who was with her said to me, “I just want to thank you for making my day. Your sheer joy is inspiring to me, because it reminds me of how my work is seen through new eyes.”

I later learned that his name is Tim and he has a business that helps game makers market their products and build community. As part of his work, Tim goes to 30 or 40 conventions like this a year and runs the marketing effort for his clients.

“No ticket? Leave it to me.”

Tim and I started talking and he said, “Well, are you going to check out Comic-Con?”

I said, “I’d love to but I don't have ticket. I didn't know this was going on.”

He said, “leave it to me” and a series of great opportunities just landed in my lap.

Tim arranged for me to attend Comic-Con in the convention center for a couple hours. Not only was this an amazing experience, I also bumped into a client and her family who were attending (who knew!). That shared experience will help us build a stronger relationship.

He then agreed to an interview for my new video series (more on that later), and even found a professional videographer, Scott, who was part of the community and just happened to have his camera with him.

And along the way, I learned about the gaming community and how doing something online can lead to greater connection offline, especially for people who are introverts.

I’ve even become an adopted member of the community, getting to meet some of the artists and illustrators who are considered royalty in this field. I also came home with some swag – Magic the Gathering cards and a game mat signed by artist Steve Argyle, whose clients include Sony Online Entertainment, LucasArts and Capcom.

Signed game mat by Steve Argyle

Signed game mat by Steve Argyle

5 Ways to Have Amazing Opportunities Land in Your Lap

This Comic-Con experience was a fascinating glimpse into a different world and it unexpectedly turned out to be helpful to my business interests as well. And for you, it’s probably something completely different that you’ll find cool and amazing.

The good news is you don’t have to go in search of amazing experiences and connections like this.

Instead, here are 5 ways to put yourself in a position to have more really cool experiences, opportunities and connections land in your lap. They’ll help you allow serendipity do its thing.

Be Open

Recognize that opportunities are everywhere. I was just going to check into a hotel – a pretty mundane occurrence. That led to the whole series of coincidences, but only because I was open to them.

So make sure you’re open to spotting opportunities to engage and connect, and be prepared to go with the flow.

Mindset Matters

To capitalize on opportunities, your mindset is absolutely essential. What I mean is this:

So, how do you show up? What’s the energy you're bringing? Are you attracting people or are you repelling people?

You want to make sure you're attracting people. In my case, joyfulness is what attracted Tim and Kat to become my friends. Everyone needs joy and fun, so you’ll always be welcome if that’s what you bring.

Embrace the Situation

When I walked into that packed lobby, I had a decision to make. I could have been annoyed. After all, I was hot, hungry and tired. And there were all these people standing between me and checking in.

Instead, I made a conscious choice to embrace the situation as something really cool and amazing. And so many good things followed from that one decision.

Don’t Over-Schedule

These days, we’re all so busy that our days are packed with calls, meetings and work. But when you over-schedule yourself, you can miss out. Don't schedule yourself so tight that you're under stress every moment to get to that next thing you have to do.

And even if you have a strict schedule, make sure you give yourself some flexibility to change and adapt your schedule so you can take advantage of spur-of-the-moment opportunities.

Connect with an Insider

It helps to connect with someone who knows who everyone is and can give you the scoop. An insider. They’re like tour guides who share the inside stories and explain what you’re looking at or experiencing. That’s what makes things interesting and helps you learn.

It's always better when you're with a guide. Without Tim and some of the people around him explaining the world of gaming, I would have walked right by Steve’s artwork and also missed out on what is a large global community without having any insight, without learning anything, and without connecting with anyone.

When you’re with insiders, you can be the one with fresh eyes that helps them get re-inspired about their work. And they can teach you about a whole new world.

What will you do?

If you want to meet great people and enjoy amazing experiences, it’s all down to the way you choose to show up.

So, my challenge to you:

How are you going to show up so you can enjoy amazing experiences and meet all kinds of cool new people?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

And what amazing experiences have you had and how did the way you showed up make a difference? I’d love to hear your story.