“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
Stephen Leacock, Canadian writer and humourist
Canada’s Stephen Leacock had it right way back when. In his typical satirical style, he was saying: we make our own luck. We certainly do in business. Business opportunities and success: what’s luck got to do with it? Everything and nothing …
We often hear people say: “that guy, or that girl, is lucky.” Successful people are often considered lucky. More often than not, they look lucky and they sound lucky! Success is a simple recipe: it’s all about perspective and approach to life. It’s also about readiness. Chances are these so-called lucky people are “lucky” because they do four very important things …
- They seize business opportunities when they present themselves.
- They search out business opportunities, rather than waiting for them to arrive.
- They create business opportunities, in places where others see none.
- They recognize business opportunities, where a less curious, less open mind, might miss them completely.
There is luck in having business opportunities present themselves
You’re on a plane and sitting beside you is a marketing director of a national company (although you don’t know that at the time). If you’re open and curious about the person, you say hello, allowing you to take advantage of the luck of the draw that the guy or gal represents business opportunities. There is luck in having an opportunity present itself.
You’d miss that opportunity if you didn’t say hi and instead, opened your laptop and went to work, played a game on your phone, or stuck your earplugs in to listen to music.
There is luck in living in the moment
The fact that you smile and say hello indicates openness and curiosity; you’re in the moment. Being in the moment allows you to recognize opportunity and sometimes, uncover hidden opportunities. There is luck in living in the moment.
Maybe the person sitting beside you isn’t a marketing guru and doesn’t represent business opportunities. That doesn’t mean there is no opportunity. Maybe he’s a guy who travels around the world fixing military ships … so you learn about that. Human interactions have tails, sometimes the tail takes you places or teaches you unexpected things. Opportunities to learn are never wasted.
Good Luck has nothing to do with it
When people say ‘Good Luck,’ just before you get up to speak in front of 200 people, luck has nothing to do with it. You’ve prepared. You know your subject. You know your audience. Same with pitching for a new client — your ultimate success won’t depend on luck. You listened to what the client needed, you can give them what they need, you and your team covered all the bases, now you’re going to present your best.
When you pick up the phone, or get an email that says: “We’d like to you to come and give us a capabilities presentation for Advertising Agency of Record,” it has nothing to do with luck. It means the company’s heard about your work. Typically, it’s because you do good work. When it comes to good work, word gets around and leads to business opportunities. Hard work pays off. Luck has nothing to do with it.
Do nothing and you miss the opportunity and that’s no luck at all
If the company found your business through your website, you’ve obviously used SEO, adwords and content creation successfully. You put technology to work for you. You got found! That’s not luck, again it’s a reflection of your hard work.
You bump into a friend or acquaintance, nothing to do with your business world. She says that she wants people to meet you, that she’s spoken about you … you strike while the iron’s hot. You follow up immediately and make the next step happen. Do nothing and you miss the opportunity … and that’s no luck at all!
Lots of opportunities in life and in business are wild cards
I remember when I first came to Toronto. I’d been in town less than a month. The agency wasn’t even fully established. One of my designers told me that a large national was looking for an agency, but the selection process was already in the works. We could have said … “oh, that’s too bad,” or we could do what we did. We sent them something that was awesome … and received a fax back (yes, a fax!) inviting us to pitch as their “wild card”. We pitched. We got the business. That’s not luck. That’s creating business opportunities – making things happen!
Lots of opportunities in life and in business are wild cards. The “who knows, but let’s take a chance and go for it because I think there’s a chance,” type of opportunities. Even a small chance is some chance. But you have to act on that chance.
Luck in business is not passive
Webster’s Dictionary defines luck as: “the things that happen to a person because of chance: the accidental way things happen without being planned.” When we talk about success in business what counts is making chance count, making the “accidental way things happen” work in our favour.
Luck in business is not passive. It’s 100% active. Opportunity + Readiness = Business Luck. If you count solely on luck, you’ll most certainly be unlucky.
Think you’re lucky? Tell us why?
Send us your Lucky 7 List: we’re looking for a list of seven personality traits or positive actions that you believe have contributed to your success. We’re also looking for an Unlucky 7 List: seven personality traits or actions you feel can hinder or even prevent success. In a future post, we’ll publish the most motivational Lucky 7 List and the most enlightening Unlucky 7 List.