Ever read the business press and online articles about the “self-made entrepreneur?” Don’t believe it for a second. No matter how much success a person had, and no matter how hard they worked, their success also involved luck. Lots of good luck. Anyone who claims it was all their own effort is deceiving you, and probably themselves. Luck is crucial to success in business and in manifesting your creative, entrepreneurial dream.
Think You Are Not Lucky? Think Again…
Before you slink off with your head down thinking, “It’s no use then… I’m not lucky!” listen up. First of all, if you are reading this you live in a place where you can be an entrepreneur. That alone is good luck! Many countries won’t allow it. Many more control entrepreneurs. Especially if you were born in the west, you are lucky. If you were born in the USA, you won the lottery! Good luck is all around you. Pay attention and you will find it.
How To Create Good Luck
But the real question is how to create more luck for your business. In addition to being an entrepreneur, I am a poet, a literary artist. Creativity comes from the muse, and all creativity is essentially creative luck. The thing about creative luck is this: Luck doesn’t come unless you get moving. It’s like that with poetry. You cannot discover the words, images, ideas, and thoughts that will arise unless you start writing. You’ll never see the lucky things show up on the canvas if you do not put paint on the brush. You have to engage with the art, or else nothing happens.
The same thing is true with your business! Your business will receive no luck unless you are going out into the world and inviting it to appear. Action is invitation. Action creates a ripple in the universe, like a pebble thrown into a calm pond. It reverberates. Bigger actions make bigger ripples. That’s all key. But then there is a second ingredient — awareness. You have to watch to see what arrives because the gift that comes will almost certainly not be what you expect. It’ll have a different form. It’ll show up uninvited or challenge you. It will surprise you. If you are too focused on only one form of luck, you will miss the gift that is sent to you.
How I Made Some Luck Happen
On the other hand, you can make your luck happen. Here’s how it happened to me.
Back in 1996, I had just started my business. At about the same time, my dad had a heart attack which almost killed him. He was only about 65 years old. And at one point the doctor came to us and said, “You know, it’s time to make preparations because he probably won’t make it.” We were shocked. We prepared for his death, but the old coot was having nothing of it. Dad was a perfect candidate for an experimental Medtronic implantable defibrillator called ‘The Jewel’. The Jewel got my dad out of tachycardia, which is the deadly arrhythmia he had in his heart. And that got him out of the hospital.
Now as that happened, I started moving down the path of my business really without telling my dad very much. Up to that point, he had been my mentor, but obviously, he had enough going on at the time and didn’t need me to think about. He just had open heart surgery, he almost died, he had this defibrillator put in, and, you know, he was a little overwhelmed. So without help from him, I tried a few things, made a couple of contacts, and did not get too far. It occurred to me that I had to get a lot more serious about what I was doing. I knew I needed something more dramatic, so I wrote a letter.
At the time, I still used physical letters sent by snail mail. But I addressed it to everybody I knew announcing my new business and asking for help in finding clients. I told them specifically what I was looking for — that I was looking for writing and training-type projects because I still thought of myself as a writer and that I wanted some help to launch my business. And so I sent it to everybody I knew, everybody I had an address for.
About a week later, weirdly, I get a call from my dad. ‘Tony’, he says, ‘you should come over here because our next-door neighbor wants to talk to you’. And I said — ‘Really, why Dad?’. And he says — “I was telling him about the letter you sent me. You see, we have been talking a lot in the last year — me and Toby,” (that was his name), “because Toby is one of the lead engineers on my Jewel defibrillator at Medtronic. He’s assured me it is a great device. Anyway, I showed him your letter, and he said he would help you connect to some people at Medtronic where you might be able to get a project.” And that’s how I got my first project with a Fortune 100 client.
Now some people say, and to some extent they’re right, “Tony, you’re so lucky.” But here’s the point: SO ARE YOU! We are all lucky if we just create the invitation through action, and then pay attention to what arrives. These kinds of connections already exist in your network, but they aren’t helping you because you didn’t ask. Someone as close to me as my father never thought to help me until I asked in a written letter.
Here’s another, more recent example. Recently, because of the challenges of writing for cash on Medium and elsewhere, I have considered coaching people on manifesting in business. It goes in line with my desire to manifest creativity in the world, especially creativity around solutions to climate change. It’s been knocking around the back of my mind, but nothing happened.
My life has calmed down this year and for the first time in decades, I put together a list to send out holiday greeting cards. A few old colleagues came to mind, and I reached out to get their addresses. About a week after exchanging addresses, I get a call out of the blue from an old colleague who works with entrepreneurs. It is an invitation to speak at an online conference she is organizing and it is focused on manifesting luck in business. It’s not writing, and it is not what I have been doing, but it is in the right lane for being an expert on a thing I know a lot about. Discern. Do I have to pay for this? No — the offer is to get paid. Is there a ton of work to prepare? No — it is material I already know. What is its effect internally? See above — a quick outburst of creativity is a good sign, but maybe not definitive. Do I pursue this? Do I merely accept it? It is, no doubt, a certain kind of luck that has appeared, and at an auspicious time.
Chances are that this good little bit of luck hit at a lucky time and I am going to go forward with offering coaching and consulting. I have too many years in business and too much knowledge to not offer it as a way of continuing to make a difference. Sometimes, this is how luck hits in business. You need to be awake, see it for what it is, and respond. I’m going to.. are you?
This post was previously published on ILLUMINATION-Curated.
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