LUCK & SUCCESS
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
9 May 2019
Think about one of your most powerful successes. Was it getting a new, enormous client? Or perhaps buying your first home? Maybe it was rescuing your beloved mutt from the shelter? Or possibly saving the zucchini from fungus last summer? Whatever it was, I now want you to ponder two things:
- What work went into bringing about that success?
- Was there an element of luck?
While working in a sales role many moons ago, I did what most new salespeople do: I spent hours reading industry news and stalking the internet for email addresses. In one endeavor, I opted to send out personalized emails to a self-determined list of business folks who might have interest in what I was selling. The email had a quick, concise note with a professionally laid out sell sheet in PDF format attached. Even though I wouldn’t have admitted it then, the activity was largely arbitrary. Even so, it taught me several important lessons.
The Big News
It was 8:43 a.m. on a normal Tuesday morning as I dutifully fired up my standard issue IBM Thinkpad (you know the one with the red TrackPoint nub). After I double-clicked on the blue Outlook icon, I saw it. The reply email stared at me as it gloriously proclaimed RE: Thinking About (Insert Service Here)? Before I opened it up, I checked myself. This email likely reads, “Please remove me from your mailing list.” But it didn’t. It said something along the lines of, “Thank you for reaching out to me. How did you know this was the perfect time? I want to chat ASAP.”
And the rest is history …
While hard work is always a part of success, we should never forget about the ever-present element of luck. In Melinda Gates’ new book, The Moment of Lift, she reminds us of this exact sentiment when it comes to her husband’s success.
“Bill worked incredibly hard and took risks and made sacrifices for success. But he always understood that there is another ingredient in success, and that is luck—absolute and total luck. When were you born? Who were your parents? Where did you grow up? None of us earned these things. They were given to us.”
Bill has even been quoted as saying, “I had better exposure to software development at a young age than I think anyone did in that period of time, and all because of an incredibly lucky series of events.”
Luck is no substitute for hard work. But hard work will not propel your successes alone.
Good luck out there!