What's Luck Got to Do With It

When I tell people that I was hired to write a book about my favorite TV show, the common response is “wow, you’re so lucky”. No one ever says, “wow, you must have worked hard for that,” or “wow, you earned it!”

That’s the trouble with the word “luck”, it implies you didn’t do anything to get the reward; it just came to you. It’s insulting, when you know you’ve put in hours of time and every bit of brainpower and passion you had to launch that jewelry line or get accepted into that gallery show.

The truth is, most successful people work to get what they get even if, from the outside, it seems like they made a wish and it came true.

For example, many people whole-heartedly believe in the power of visualization or “The Secret”. Photoshop an image of a celebrity wearing your jewelry, post it on your vision board and a year later your jewels are walking the red carpet at the Oscars. Magic!

Not quite. Vision boards don’t make things happen. They simple open up your mind and help you focus so you can make it happen. I’ll give the universe an assist but you have to make the play in the first place. In other words, you have to make your own luck.

The Right Place at the Right Time

One of the ways we make our own luck is being in the right place at the right time.  Again, this often seems like a cosmic coincidence but it’s usually a set of informed decisions – right turns and left turns – that made it happen.

I got that book deal because I paid attention to publishing news. I learned who the players were and when I saw that a media company was launching a new line, I called and left my pitch. Because it was a new venture, they didn’t have any writers on staff yet so I was in the right place at the right time.

To make sure you never miss an opportunity, subscribe to and read industry newsletters and websites,  join online groups and scan Google once a week using the keywords for your business. The opportunities are there, if you just open your eyes and see them.

It’s Who You Know

Another way to make your own luck is to expand your circle of friends. Everyone you know, knows people you don’t and one of those might be the person you need to take your business to the next level. Think Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon then head over to LinkedIn. Pick any person on the site and LinkedIn will show you how you’re connected. You can then use these connections to get a virtual introduction. Don’t be shy about asking, that’s what the site is there for.

You can do the same thing in real life. Ask your friends to list five people they know that you don’t. You might be surprised by the networking options in your own backyard.

Get Out of Your Own Way

The best way to make your own luck is to get out of your own way.  Ask for what you want. Put yourself in front of the people who can make it happen and most of all, go with your gut. Instinct is an incredible gift but so many of us fight against it. Why? Fear of rejection, I guess. I ran into that this week when I started promoting my new book. I followed my own advice and contacted an expert in the field to ask if he’d review my book. He responded by telling me that I was just one of a million writers who wanted to take up his time for free. Ouch. So much for getting out of my own way, right?

But the second person I contacted had the opposite reaction. She said it was a topic she’d been meaning to cover on her blog so this was the perfect opportunity. What a lucky break for both of us!

Hmm. . . maybe the universe is trying to tell me something, after all.

How do you make your own luck?

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