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Luck & How to Prepare for It
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ~Seneca
I work with a client whom many people would call lucky. She works as a freelance writer, which many people who work 9 to 5 jobs would think of like winning the lottery. But more than that, she’s working steadily during a time where people all across the country are struggling to make ends meet. She didn’t always have this level of success, but rather relied on a system of working hard and then worrying. How many other freelancers and independent contractors relate to that familiar way of living? Now that she’s become so lucky, it’s time to ask: how did she do it?
How to Be Lucky: Preparation
When my client came to me for a website, she didn’t have any grandiose ideas about what her site could do for her. She didn’t think it would make her the top freelance writer in the world who would be discovered by Lorne Michaels for her wit after she was sent around the world by National Geographic. She just wanted to:
- Highlight her skills and experience for people who might want to hire her
- Support her existing word-of-mouth business
- Get more traction (and a cleaner design) than her LinkedIn profile provided
How to Be Lucky: Opportunity
I developed a site for her that highlighted her skills and experience (which were considerable), and her business exploded. Now she’s the luckiest freelance writer she knows, and here’s why:
- Convenience: The people who wanted to recommend her felt more comfortable doing so with a website to point their friends and colleagues to because that’s how business is done now. We click a link and send a message.
- Professionalism: The people who needed her services felt more confident hiring her because her website shows she’s a serious professional not just a friend of a friend who writes sometimes.
- Awareness: The people who already hired her could see the other types of jobs she tackles and hire her for different kinds of work.
How to Be Lucky in Business: The Formula
If luck is the marriage of preparation and opportunity, then the formula for luck in business is easy:
- Work hard to build your skills (Preparation)
- Do good work (Preparation)
- Cultivate satisfied clients who are willing to recommend you (Opportunity)
- Make it easy for people to recommend you with a professional presentation (Opportunity)
A great website is the modern equivalent of a good suit. It’s not going to make your work better, but it’ll get you the right kind of attention (even if you’re in your bathrobe).
How to Stay Lucky: Appreciation & Belief
The way to stay lucky is to appreciate it. Once you start treating your opportunities as burdens, your work as hard labor, and your preparation as administrative drudgery, well, that’s when the lucky streak is broken. Sure, it’s a delicate balance. You have to:
- Keep moving forward without feeling frustrated by what you don’t have
- Challenge yourself while taking time to savor victories
- Look for the upside to failures or disappointments
People who consider themselves unlucky might think that the world has treated them wrong while others get everything they want. But the reality is that lucky people know how to deal with challenges. They appreciate the ups while telling themselves that the downs aren’t as bad as they seem. Resilience is one of the greatest traits you can have if you want to be lucky.
While it couldn’t be more simple that the harder you work, the more luck you have, luck is also a mindset. To misquote Henry Ford, whether you think you have good luck, or you think you have bad luck…you’re right.
Luck isn’t always outside our control. By following these tips, you can wrestle that leprechaun to the ground and make off with the pot of gold before he knows what hit him. In all seriousness, the formula to being lucky truly isn’t as complicated as it may seem. All it takes hard work, an ability to seize opportunity when it presents itself, and the right mindset.