In honor of the day most people think is about drinking, some people think is about leprechauns, and all people think is about luck, this month’s team tip will address 5 of the most famous quotes surrounding the subject and how they apply to our profession.. Start counting down… now.
5) “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca
I think this old Roman philosopher got it right. The good fortune people are referring to when they reference “luck” doesn’t occur by happenstance or by random coincidence as is often implied. To get lucky, you actually have to pave the way.
One can never exactly plan for opportunity. We don’t know when the stars will align and a new chance for something [presumably] better will come along. The best we can hope for is that we’re ready when that something comes along. That’s what Seneca meant when he referenced preparation. But how do we prepare for luck?
In business, there are a few clear-cut ways to prepare for luck:
- Know what you want. If you’ve never spent some time day-dreaming, I highly recommend it. Don’t limit yourself during this exercise. Allow the biggest “wants” you have to enter your mind, then envision yourself enjoying them. If you don’t know what you want or where you’re going, you won’t recognize an opportunity when it comes along.
- Associate with those who can help you get it. Tom Chenault recommends The Power of Who by Bob Beaudine. Why? That book clearly demonstrates that it’s not about what you know, but who you know. And it’s about building real relationships so that you can leverage them (and they can leverage you) to affect positive change. Many times in our profession, people make the mistake of reaching out to past friends and colleagues only when they want something. Why not build relationships for the sake of meeting someone else’s need? The more we give, the more we get. And the more time we spend with others cultivating a real relationship, the more value that relationship will offer both parties. A note of caution here: be careful who you choose to spend your time with. It’s been said that we become most like the 5 people with whom we spend the most amount of time. So choose associations wisely.
- Be on the look-out… always. It won’t matter how clear you are on your goals and aspirations, nor will it matter how many people you have in line to help you, if you miss the signs of opportunity. So keep your eyes wide and your arms open.
Bottom line: When opportunity strikes, be sure you’ve laid the groundwork to receive it.
4) “The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.” – Bret Harte
Boy, isn’t that the truth?! While the hope is that things won’t shift too frequently or too abruptly, things do change. This is demonstrated time and time again in networking. Just when you think your business is on an upswing, BAM. Someone drops out. Or a major life event gets in the way. Or you hit some sort of personal snag that affects your time or money resources. Even the biggest builders have slumps. But do you know what makes them big builders in the first place? They know “luck” has nothing to do with it.
Things happen, sure. But it’s more about LIFE than luck. There will always be ups and downs. The key is to remember that another “up” will follow. Focus on that. Set a clear path for getting back on track and change your own luck.
Let’s look at how to set a clear path for getting back on track:
- Determine what you did right. Most people start the getting back-on-track process by focusing on the negative. Not me. I say start with what was working. When you were in growth mode, what caused it? Were you prospecting more? Enrolling more? Were your people enrolling more? Were you providing more training? Focusing on personal development? Making more calls? Attending more meetings? What were you doing that made you feel good? What made others feel good? If you were tracking your activities, this is an easy step to evaluate. If not, that’s a good place to start when moving onto number 2.
- Determine what you did not-so-right. If you’re not tracking your progress, take note of that here. It’s hard to know what is and isn’t working if you’re not keeping score. That’s why sporting events always end with a clearcut winner. They keep score. Now if you were tracking your activities, this step will be easier. Which activities were you doing less or none of? What good habits have you broken? What relationships have you let slide? Or maybe it’s less about what you stopped doing and more about what you started doing. Where did a little laziness or procrastination sneak in? What distraction have you allowed to pull you off of your path? After giving a little thought here, move on to number 3.
- Decide to do more of the right stuff and less of the not-so-right stuff. We don’t need to dive too deeply into this one. It’s all about the first word: DECIDE. Make a decision and enforce it, effective immediately. Do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.
If you thought getting back on track was going to be complicated, you were wrong. This 3-step system is actually pretty easy. The problem is, most people just don’t do it. Don’t be one of those people. Figure out what works, what doesn’t work, and fix it.
Bottom line: When your luck changes, change it back.
3) “Each misfortune you encounter will carry in it the seed of tomorrow’s good luck.” — Og Mandino
That’s pretty much fancy adult talk for, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” And I agree. Wholeheartedly.
Who wants to be a quitter? Good fortune always awaits those who persevere. You can quote me on that. I’ve found it to be true 100% of the time.
It’s not that misfortune won’t hit — it most assuredly will. Again, life happens. But it’s how you handle the “here and now” that determines your tomorrow. If we’re to believe Mandino, there is a causal relationship between your reaction to today and the fortune awaiting you tomorrow.
Thinking a little deeper, take note that Mandino choose the word “seed” to describe where tomorrow’s luck resides. So, what do we know about seeds? They never sprout without a little effort, right? The ground must be fertile and well prepared, the seed must be carefully planted and watered, and the sprout must be cared for once it arrives. Mandino does NOT say each misfortune will result in luck. He says it includes a seed, which I believe is often buried deep, that can sprout into greatness.
Bottom line: Find the seed of good fortune in every misfortune, and cultivate your greatness.
2) “Luck is believing you’re lucky.” – Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire
Belief is everything in this business. No matter how sharp, eloquent, or friendly you are, if you lack belief in yourself — let alone belief in your company, your comp plan, or your products — you will not survive in network marketing.
Conversely, I’ve seen people do very well in this business — despite being less than eloquent, not so sharp, and not always friendly — because they paired belief with action and made things happen. And those people are the type who never sit back and expect things to simply happen for them. They MAKE things happen. They believe they are lucky, and it becomes so.
Have you ever noticed that when you think positive thoughts, they begin to manifest? That’s why positive affirmations are so strongly recommended. And when used correctly, they work! I took affirmations for a test drive several years ago and didn’t get the results I was hoping for. I finally realized that while I was saying my affirmations out loud once or twice a day, I was THINKING thoughts that negated those affirmations throughout the day. The truth is that affirmations work. You just better be sure yours are always positive.
Now if we were to take this Tennessee Williams quote in context within the famous play, it’s intended to reference capitalism and the idea that people are justly rewarded for hard work. To get ahead in the world, the character says you have to believe you’re lucky.
No one promises this mindset will be easy, but it will be worth it.
Bottom line: If you want to build big, brush up on your belief. Said another way, by one of my favorite authors, Napoleon Hill: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
1) “You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don’t help.” -– Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes
I think we have to admit that we all have bad days. Even my 3-year-old wakes up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes. We’re all probably entitled to some amount of crankiness from time to time, but we have to recognize a bad attitude as a choice. Attitude is a choice. I’ve spoken about that topic many times before. It’s important that, when it comes to attitude especially, we choose wisely.
Calvin was obviously having a bad day when he whined this sad little complaint to Hobbes. And he was exhibiting a totally defeatist attitude. I recognize it, all too well, because I’ve allowed life to get me down before. I’ve had those days where my own proverbial rocketship underpants weren’t enough to pull me out of a funk. But it’s those very days that the best opportunity may be lying in wait. And with a bad attitude, I know I’ll be sure to miss it.
Bottom line: Don’t rely on your rocketship underpants to save the day. Make your own luck instead.
So, there you have it.
Luck is a fickle thing. Some have it. Some resent it. Some chase it. Some make it. But if we’re to learn anything from these five quotes, it’s this: If you notice your luck beginning to shift in the wrong direction, shift it back, and lay the groundwork necessary to receive success. Cultivate your greatness by building belief. And above all, make your own luck.