Yesterday was a holiday in the USA. A lot of people had the day off. I was traveling. I had to get from Denver to Boston because I am facilitating a cross function team building session today.
I usually work on planes, but because it was a holiday I took some time for myself and read a novel, Primal Threat by Earl Emerson. Earl is a little known, but great, writer. I enjoy the stories he tells.
Interestingly, I found some career advice on the final page of the book. The protagonist had survived a forest fire, rescuing his girl friend’s brother in the process. Several years later in a reflective moment he comes to a realization about luck and hard work…
“He’d been lucky in life. He’d fought hard for that luck and knew the fighting was the single biggest factor in it.”
Let’s talk about being tuned in first. People often ask me where I get the ideas to write five blog posts a week, every week. Sometimes it’s luck, I stumble into a good idea – like today’s post about luck and career success. I found my inspiration on the last page of a novel I read on a plane.
On the other hand, I had that luck because I’m tuned into my work as a career success coach, author and blogger. When I read the passage about luck that I shared above, I knew that I could use it to make a point about luck and life and career success.
The passage jumped out at me because I am always thinking about my work. I’m always looking for ways to get across my message about how to create the life and career success you want and deserve.
I got lucky and stumbled across a quote in a novel because I am tuned into my work and what goes on around me. It’s amazing what you can pick up if you just pay attention.
Here’s another story. Evan Williams founded Blogger – software that makes it easy for people to blog. He believes that “the open exchange of information can have a positive impact on the world…I’ve learned that giving people the ability to express themselves is really powerful.” Blogger and other blog software like WordPress give people the ability to express themselves.
Evan sold Blogger to Google and started Odeo, a podcasting company. Podcasting is another way for people to express themselves. While he was running Odeo he and Jack Dorsey created Twitter – perhaps the ultimate way for people to express themselves on line.
Evan has gotten rich by helping people find ways to express themselves. Was he lucky? A little. But I believe that a lot of his luck and career success came from his passion for helping people express themselves coupled with paying attention to the power of technology and the internet – not to mention some hard work.
Which brings me to my second point — hard work brings luck. Working hard to make your own luck is the best way I know to get lucky and create the life and career success you deserve.
There is a story about Joe DiMaggio, one of the most famous New York Yankees, that makes this point. Joe was a center fielder. One day a ball was hit into left center field. The left fielder called for it, but bobbled the ball when it hit his glove. Joe had run over to back up the left fielder. He saw him drop the ball, and he reached out and caught it for an out.
After the game, a reporter commented that it was lucky that Joe just happened to be next to the left fielder when he dropped the ball. DiMaggio said, “It wasn’t luck at all. I back up every ball that’s hit to left field or right field. I’m always there. You usually don’t notice it because my teammates very seldom drop fly balls.”
What a great career success example of the idea of hard work in action. Joe DiMaggio worked hard. He ran to back up every fly ball hit to the left or right of him. Usually this was unnecessary as the balls were caught. But on this one day, his hard work was necessary and it paid off. One day though, one of his teammates dropped a ball and he was able to catch it for an out.
I’ve seen the quote “The harder I work, the luckier I get” attributed to a variety of people; Thomas Jefferson being one of them. Regardless of who coined the phrase, it makes sense to me. In fact it’s common sense. Hard work results in good luck and career success.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple If you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve, put in the hard work necessary for realizing your personal vision of career success. There are no two ways about it. If you want to create your life and career success, you need to put in the time and effort necessary to succeed and you need to be tuned into the world around you. Sometimes this means working longer hours than others. Sometimes it means going beyond what is expected. Sometimes it means laboring in obscurity to develop your reputation as a valuable employee. I have found that a well focused extra hour a week can yield big results.
And, I’ve also found that being tuned into the world around you and being focused on your work can help you find the luck you need to become a career success. Pay attention to what’s happening around you. Think about how what you observe can help you in your career success journey. Put these observations to work.
That’s my take on how to get lucky and create your career success. What’s yours? Please take a minute to leave a comment sharing your thoughts and stories with us. As always, thanks for reading. I really appreciate it.