Get Lucky

Chance favors the prepared mind.
– Louis Pasteur -Nineteenth century French chemist.

Some people look at other successful people and make excuses for their achievements. A popular excuse is, “He’s just lucky.” There is no such thing as naked luck. Luck is when you are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that naturally present themselves. Don’t confuse luck with hard work and preparation.

Throughout life, there will be many chances to get ahead. It’s your responsibility to be in a position to take advantage of those opportunities. As you increase your knowledge, education, and skills, you increase your preparedness. As you increase your preparedness, you will be able to take advantage of an increasing number of opportunities. When that happens you can begin to pick and choose the best opportunities. You can seek out the best results with the highest probability of success!

Robert Shaw, CEO of International Jensen, Inc., a $153 million manufacturer of home and automobile speakers, went to Japan to solicit business from the Mazda Motor Corporation. After lengthy meetings on Friday, Shaw was told that if he wanted to submit a bid on upcoming work, it would have to be submitted by Monday, and it had to be in Japanese.

Shaw had three days. Shaw’s team worked through the weekend and, on Sunday, submitted their bid before leaving Japan. It turned out to be the winning bid and the beginning of a long relationship with Mazda. The chance to bid had nothing to do with luck: it was the outcome of Shaw’s careful preparation of nearly six months. International Jensen learned from their relationship with Mazda and expanded their exports. This was all possible because Shaw was prepared for the opportunity when it presented itself.

My window company spent several years developing a comprehensive marketing program for our dealers. Our color brochures were the finest in the industry. We offered training manuals for dealers to use with their sales force. We provided direct mail literature. We put together a whole assortment of window samples and display cases of window parts. In other words, we offered the dealer a chance to really impress the homeowner customer.

Because of this complete marketing program, we won several large accounts. Obviously, it hadn’t been luck that brought us these large accounts. It was because we were well-prepared and added value to our customers which created opportunities.

Another popular excuse for dismissing the success of others is, “Oh, she’s a born winner.” I don’t believe in the notion of a “born winner.” Success is based on skills not genes. I seriously doubt that in the delivery room, right after the birth of a baby, the attending surgeon said, “Now there’s a born winner.”

Winning is the result of good input, such as good research or good advice, and hard work. If you buy into the notion that there are no born winners, then you must also buy into the notion that there are no “born losers.”

Take this a little further. If there are no born losers, then everyone can be a winner, if they have the right input and apply themselves in a positive manner. The beautiful part of all this is that there is no time limit on when the quality input must occur. You can benefit from quality input just as well if it comes in your 50’s as if it had come in your teens. As a matter of fact, later in life you may be in a better position to take immediate action on the road to success.

You can make your own luck through diligent and thorough preparation. If you take advantage of the opportunities that naturally present themselves other people might think that you are the born winner. Now, you’re on the road to Building a Better Biz!


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