How Lucky Are You?

March 2, 2014 by Lynn Faughey

How Lucky?

After enjoying the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations a couple of weeks ago and hoping for a little “luck of the Irish” to come my way, I started thinking about how lucky I really am. When Rose and I started FlexPro in 2008 the economy was tanking and mass lay-offs were becoming commonplace. Instead of waiting to see if we would be impacted we decided to quit our high level corporate pharma jobs and start our own business venture. Crazy? Quite honestly, we weren’t entirely sure! But at the time we saw an industry need and instead of waiting to see if we’d become another layoff statistic, we chose to take a chance and create something that we were passionate about. In this case the economic downturn created an opportunity that we were able to capitalize on. How lucky was that?

I recently came across an article written by Jim Collins, who I enjoyed being able to hear speak at the last Inc. Conference. Published in the New York Times, it’s titled, “What’s Luck Got to Do With It?” and it discusses, “trying to quantify something as elusive as luck”. According to Collins, “The crucial question is not, “Are you lucky?”, but, “Do you get a high return on luck?”. He goes on to discuss various people – using Bill Gates as one example – who were able to capitalize on circumstances and create a huge return. Collins explains that luck happens to everyone, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad. He cites that the difference is that people like Bill Gates were able to “recognize luck and seize it…”. He’s one of the “leaders who grab luck events and make much more of them.” What I take out of this is that people who appear lucky are also very adept at seeing opportunity. They are in tune with what’s going on around them and are willing to take action in order to get what they want. Kevin Daum elaborates on this in a recent Inc. article titled, “5 Things Super Lucky People Do”. Here is Daum’s list to help you make the most of the luck that flows your way:

  1. Play to your strengths. Focus on what you do best and delegate everything else.
  2. Prepare in advance. Proactive is always better than reactive.
  3. Start early. Don’t focus on what only brings immediate gratification, think about the long haul.
  4. Connect with as many people as possible. In order to create an audience you need to provide something of value. The bigger your audience the greater your influence.
  5. Follow up. This could be even more important than initiating contact. Opportunities are often lost because of lack of follow-up in a timely manner.

So as it turns out Rose and I have a lot in common with Bill Gates and his ability to get a “high return on luck”! Maybe we don’t even need the file drawer full of four leaf clovers? What we do need is to be able recognize opportunity and have the foresight to know when to close our eyes and jump in with both feet! Perhaps easier said than done, but that’s a newsletter for another day… So, how lucky are you?

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