By Joryn Jenkins

Serendipity is such an odd thing. I had a late lunch today with my sister at La Segunda, a cafeteria-style Cuban bakery and restaurant down the street from my office that I have missed wildly during our worldwide lockdown. It has been over a year since I last lunched there regularly and Sam presented last night down in Bradenton, so she spent the night with us before speaking again tonight in Clearwater. I wanted to take her to one of my favorite eateries while she was in town.

We both ordered salads, but nothing to drink. “I never drink while I’m eating,” Sam enlightened the cashier, making me smile. (How many times have I said that very same thing? We are so alike!) She asked for bread, too, and the high schooler who conveyed it to our table brought us each a piece. I saved mine for later, when I could magically transform it into Cuban toast. (It’s delivered in a little plastic baggie, so it’s easy to grab and go.)

My Nail Tech Believes In My Vision

When we were finished eating, I hugged Sam, who headed to Clearwater. I, on the other hand, headed north for my standing appointment with my nail technician.

Jan is the one person in this world who refers me more clients than any other. We’ve known each other since my first marriage, when she did my nails for my wedding. I later negotiated her divorce for her and, as a direct result, she and Cliff, who’s remarried, still talk to each other at least twice a year (on each other’s birthdays), though they never had children.

I think, in the 34 years we’ve been friends, she’s referred me at least two divorces (or now collaborative life planning matters) every year. She has also sent me at least one partnership split-up, back when I still practiced in the commercial arena. Jan believes in my mission.

You Are What You Eat

As always, we traded stories about events in the three weeks since we last met. I told her about my sciatica, and she told me about her brother’s heart attack. Then she shared “I might have discovered why I’ve been feeling so unwell the last 18 months, and it’s not the quarantine. Now I just need to test my theory.”

Jan knows I’m diabetic and very careful about any food I put in my mouth. And she knows about my daughter’s stretch of dealing with multiple, overwhelming food allergies, so she continued, “I might be sensitive to gluten! I decided to just see what would happen if I eliminated it from my diet. Haven’t had any in two weeks and I seem to be feeling better.”

“Well, that’s good news. And why am I not surprised?” I replied, smiling. We had talked this plan through three weeks ago.

So now I just need to visit my neighbor, “borrow” a piece of bread, and see how my system reacts!”

I laughed. Jan’s sense of humor is in no sense sly. She smiled. “Well, I don’t want to buy a whole loaf of bread just to test my theory. What if I’m right? Then I’ll have to throw the entire loaf away!”

Serendipity! “You won’t believe this.” I paused. “I have a piece of bread in the car.”

“Wait, what?”

“I have a slice of Cuban bread in the car, from my lunch at La Segunda.

“Are you kidding? How often does that happen?”

“Maybe once a year,” I responded. “You want me to get it?”

Did Her Theory Work?

I still don’t know if Jan is really sensitive to gluten, but sometimes, it isn’t the results that matter. Something as small as Cuban bread will be a memory that we laugh about for years. Jan has friended me through two different marriages, a chronic auto-immune disorder, and a schedule that is always changing. We don’t talk every day, but I have a standing appointment every three weeks. I’m thankful to have a friend who enriches my life and my business.

You never know where you will meet your best friend. Be open and friendly to anyone who may cross your path. Your waitress might be the next consult that calls your office. Your son’s little league coach (who refuses to put your son in the game) might have a cousin who is getting divorced. Instead of focusing on generating leads, focus on building relationships. You’ll be surprised by who shows up in your office because they know someone who knows you!

For more on how to build friendships that invest in you and your practice, reach out to me at or find me at Your Collaborative Marketing Coach, because your marketing is my marketing! And if you’d like to learn how to become a Collaborative Champion, buy my toolkit or attend my training!

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

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