A New Way to Work

Success and change without burnout by Dr. Geri Puleo

Paradigm Shifter #54: Luck = Preparation + Opportunity

Paradigm Shift

Many people believe that Friday the 13th is unlucky.  But if this one date is unlucky, then are all the other dates in the year “lucky?”

Believing that every day has the potential to be lucky is a true paradigm shift.

But what exactly is “luck?”  Are some people “luckier” than others – or, conversely, are some people cursed with “bad luck?”

One of the most powerful insights that I ever experienced was the realization that we can control the amount of “luck” in our lives.

“Luck” magically occurs when preparation meets opportunity.

Think about this 2-step formula for luck:

  • Preparation relates to the internal work – the consistent planning, action, and practice.  These activities need to be completed even if the goal that we’re seeking might appear to exist on some far off horizon.  Baby steps are still steps toward the ultimate goal.
  • Opportunity relates to the external work – meeting others, establishing visibility, and being curious about our environment.  Opportunity tends to “magically” appear when we take our preparation out into the world.

Luck requires both preparation and opportunity.

  • Preparation without opportunity indicates that we’ve ignored the environment in which we all exist.  “No man is an island,” so it is critical that we harness the courage to take our gifts and talents out into the world.
  • Conversely, situations will never be viewed as opportunities unless we’re adequately prepared to take advantage of them – now!  Being ill prepared delays how quickly we can pounce on both expected and unanticipated opportunities.

But what exactly is an opportunity?  According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, an opportunity is “a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.”

Even if the condition is right, we won’t succeed unless we are prepared to take advantage of it.  In fact, acting on an opportunity when we are not prepared often leads to failure – the results of which may be either short-term or long-lasting.

I personally know how frustrating it can be to commit yourself to take the necessary actions that will prepare you to move forward – but the opportunities just don’t seem to arise.  This is especially seen in small businesses as well as job candidates – situations in which both are looking for that “break” in order to get what is desired.

In this type of situation, we can sow the seeds for future “luck” by focusing on creating new opportunities for ourselves:

  • When you’re really good at something, don’t be afraid to let others know what you can do – not just what you want to do, but also what you can do to meet their needs or resolve their problems.
  • Don’t be a recluse and hibernate!  Actively reach out to meet new people who have similar interests; this creates a common platform from which conversations about joining forces often emerge.  Social media, online groups, and live networking events can be a great start.
  • Don’t forget to make sure that your friends and loved ones are also aware of what you want to accomplish.  Far too often, those closest to us really don’t know what we are trying to accomplish – tell them!
  • Don’t limit your vision.  Sometimes the opportunities might not be geographically around the corner; in fact, the Internet and social media have expanded the potential for opportunities on a global scale.  Always practice due diligence, but don’t be afraid to reach out.

“Luck” is not the result of some mystical force that is outside of our reach.  Rather, it is the ultimate result of internal preparation meeting external opportunities.  Shifting our view to this simple equation lessens the possibility of feeling like a “victim” and instead emboldens us to proactively move forward to what we really want.

P.S.:  For some strange reason as we embrace the power of preparation plus opportunity, the number of unforeseen “lucky” circumstances seems to drastically increase.  The question is, are we prepared to take advantage of them?

Dr. Geri Puleo, SPHR, is the President and CEO of Change Management Solutions, Inc., an eLearning company focused on techniques to eliminate the 5 workplace stressors that create and sustain burnout:  Job Change, Organizational Change, Work-Life Imbalance, Poor Leadership and Management, and Ineffective Human Resources.  An entrepreneur for over 25 years, author, blogger, career coach, university professor, and researcher, you can see her “in action,” watch her TEDx Talk on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFkI69zJzLI.  To contact Dr. Puleo, please go to www.gapuleo.com

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