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Make Your Own Luck

Sometimes we do get lucky, but are you giving yourself enough credit for your accomplishments?

The dictionary defines luck as “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.”

As a fairly superstitious Irish girl, I have done my share of attributing credit for various opportunities or challenges to good or bad luck. It is easy to do in the moment when we are not exactly clear on how things happened or turned out the way they did.

However, if we take the time to look back at all of the details and the series of decisions, actions and inactions leading to the outcome we start to notice a different story.

Perhaps it started with a decision to go out to a happy hour or social event rather than stay in on a weeknight that led to a conversation with someone, who happened to be looking to hire an employee with exactly your skillset that landed you in a job you love.

Sure, it may have been lucky that this person was there, but you made the decision to be in that social setting, you have worked to develop the skills they are looking for, and you spoke to them in a way that created interest and excitement around the capabilities you could bring to the position, so much so that you got the job.

What about that promotion you’ve been chasing? Finally, a position comes open and you get the phone call from your boss that it’s yours if you want it. You feel lucky to have the opportunity because you have wanted that role, however, it is yours because you’ve worked hard for it. You worked hard to develop the skills needed, spent time speaking with your boss about your goals and ambition and finding ways to set yourself apart from the other candidates so that you would be the clear choice.

“The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself." Douglas McArthur

It is very easy to dismiss our capabilities and hard work and then attribute our accomplishments to luck. It is more difficult to reflect and embrace that our hard work leads to achievement.

When we start looking at where we want to go or what we want to achieve, we can choose to be strategic in our actions. Rather than throwing spaghetti at the wall or just leaving things up to chance, strategy can help us reach a whole different level of success.

Some achievements come easier than others, some faster or slower than we would like, but very rarely can we honestly look back at the lead up to that achievement and have no idea how we got there.

Looking at our career through this adjusted lens is very exciting. It is fun to say we experienced luck but how much more rewarding is it to realize that we’ve earned it, rather than lucked into it. This also provides us with the power to affect our success.

Let that sink in for a moment. At the beginning of this article, you were probably thinking I was going to be talking about shamrocks and good luck charms, instead I’m inviting you to embrace the opportunity to be in control of your success.

Look back on recent achievements that you have made, take some time to jot down a few notes about the sequence of events, the decisions you made or did not make (remember not deciding is still a decision), what seemed to work well and what didn’t.

This information can help you to be more strategic in how you create a plan to achieve your next goal. We are constantly learning but often we forget to stop and really absorb the lesson. What did the last situation teach you? How can you apply that knowledge as you take the next steps towards future goals?

We can still hope for a little luck but at the core of your achievements is you and the hard work, preparation, and tenacity that you applied to get you there. Don’t dismiss the part that you play in your own success and honor that.

“It takes time to build castles - hard work and planning will reap rewards eventually." Irish Proverb

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