Does your name always get drawn for office giveaways? Do you have a friend who always seems to be “down on their luck?” Are some people luckier than others? I really don’t believe in luck. Luck is defined as a success or failure apparently brought on by chance rather than one’s own actions. That definition doesn’t take into account that luck is a combination of a positive mental attitude combined with leveraging opportunities presented by a series of smart choices. The good news is there are things you can do to improve your luck at work and in life.
1. Optimism – Visualize Success
I read the book “Mindset” a few years ago. The concept is that mindset, not talent, leads to “luck”. A positive “growth mindset” is someone who believes in possibilities and sees a positive outcome. Positive mindset leads to positive actions and positive results are more likely to happen. A very talented person with a negative mindset may not be as successful as someone with average skill coupled with the belief that success will come. Create a self fulfilling prophecy and expect positive outcomes.
2. Maximize Opportunities
I think Thomas Jefferson said it best, “I’m a great believer in luck, the harder I work, the more I have of it.” Being patient and persistent with a positive attitude will change your luck. How to apply this at work? When you have a project or deadline, adjust your thinking to the positive. Instead of “gosh this is hard,” change it to “I know I can meet this deadline.” Some people get so focused on looking for their next job that they miss out on projects that could expand their skills or open a new career path. There are opportunities right in front of you at work every day, you just have to be open to seeing them.
There is something to be said for being at the right place at the right time. When good fortune appears, leverage it. Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” proposed that winners do more with the luck they get. When luck comes your way at work, take advantage of the opportunity, ask for 15 minutes to meet with your manager about a new project and how you can help. When invited to lead a team or project, ask, “what can I do, and what else?” Make the most of the luck that comes your way.
3. Listen to Your Gut
Stop and listen when your gut tells you something. Review the facts but don’t toil over them until your head is spinning! Some people have more luck because they use the facts AND their gut to make decisions. Your gut is your internal voice telling you to trust what you know and your training. Luck is not random. Your experiences give you insights. Seek out new experiences and learning opportunities and you may find your gut has more to say.
4. Take Risks
Lucky people take chances, seems obvious, right? Thinking outside the box and acting on those new ideas is a risk on a new idea, but an approach that can have high payoff dividends. Stuck on a project at work or observe something that isn’t working well? Brainstorm on solutions and don’t be afraid to present those ideas to your manager with a recommendation on which one to try first. Yes, there may be a risk of failure. Lucky people make choices to attempt to succeed and embrace the risk of failing.
Look at life and events as opportunities to MAKE something happen and you’ll find luck is not as random as it may seem.
Patty North, CPC, SPHR, Celebrity Staff General Manager
Patty began her career at Celebrity Staff in 1994 and currently serves as the general manager of Celebrity Staff, a leading staffing and recruitment firm, specializing in placement of administrative, management and legal professionals. Patty has assisted organizations across a four state region with the development and implementation of best practice strategies in the areas of talent acquisition and talent management. Her collective insight and expertise on workforce planning, garnered from her 25 years in the staffing industry, has enabled clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations to improve performance and gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets. Patty is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) and has her Senior Professional in Human Resources Certification (SPHR). She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resources and Family Sciences.