My mom always told me how “lucky” my dad was. And of course he was because he was married to my mom (ha-ha). But she meant it more in terms of winning at various card games or being in the right spot at the right time. He claimed it was his Native American heritage (not so sure about that). My mom on the other hand (who had some Irish blood)–not so lucky. She had as good a chance as anyone, but next to dad, we all knew who was going to come out the winner. I guess I feel I am somewhere in between. You would think with my dad’s Native American heritage and my mom’s Irish heritage I would be BEYOND lucky. However I feel like I have worked for most of what I have, with maybe a little luck sprinkled in.
But yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, the luckiest of all luck days, right? Perhaps you are of Irish descent, or maybe you aren’t, but put on your best green attire, cooked up some corned beef and cabbage and had a few green beers hoping the luck o’ the Irish would be thrust upon you. Didn’t happen? Don’t despair! You can make your own luck. How you ask?
Here are five ways to increase your luck:
- Take action! There’s a saying that “fortune favors the bold” and it is indeed true that if you don’t take action to reach your goal, it is unlikely you will ever reach it. For instance, if you want a better job, if you don’t start looking, it is doubtful you will find it. You want a good friend? If you don’t show up in life (in reality or online), you won’t be meeting her.
- Know what you want in life so that when it arrives, you will be able to recognize it. If you live your life with a bunch of “woulda’, shoulda’, coulda’s” bouncing around in your brain, you really understand what this suggestion is about. A generic “life could be better” malaise can be most easily cured by tuning in to what we specifically feel is missing. Have you ever stepped back to let another person take credit for something you’ve done? Then kicked yourself for being too “nice” or “too modest” or something similar? Remind yourself that you are longing for some glory for your own good work and when the next opportunity for a pat on the back comes along, get in line. It wasn’t “good luck” that got your colleague the positive attention, it was a chain of events that didn’t happen in a vacuum.
- Take off your blinders and sharpen your metaphorical peripheral vision. Being focused on your goals is essential, but don’t let unexpected and one-of-a-kind opportunities go by unnoticed. Sometimes “luck” is about taking advantage of an unplanned detour or a sideline distraction. Listen to what the folks on the side are saying and keep your eyes peeled for potential paths that might be off the beaten track. Capitalizing on something that no one else has spotted isn’t just “good luck,” it’s an example of astute perception and a shrewd response.
- Build your social network. This is key to increasing the opportunities that will show up at your doorstep. Have you ever asked someone how they got their dream job and heard them respond, “I just knew the right people”? Or did your best friend meet his true love because a good friend hooked them up? So often, good things happen because of “who you know,” not always “what you know.” Get out there into the social world and see if your own “luck” grows in direct proportion to your social network.
- Similar to building your social network, this suggestion is to build your geographical or virtual network. Learn about the world around you – get involved in community organizations, special interest groups, and professional associations. Not only do good things happen when you “know the right people,” it is also essential that you are “in the right place at the right time.” If you spend your days surfing the web as a lone wolf, you may gain a lot of knowledge, but you won’t have the opportunity to put it to use if you don’t leave your laptop.
Good luck, happy accidents, and lucky streaks won’t happen in a vacuum. If you’re not moving through this world, keeping your eyes open and your sixth sense tingling, it’s difficult to change your story or your fate. For those of us who might prefer to ascribe the outcome of our fates or our lives to a higher power, remember that it’s written that God helps those who help themselves. Remember, too, not to give up or to let failures keep you down. The lucky break that can change your life may have to be courted a little more persuasively than you might expect.
Find your own lucky break by blazing a trail through life that only you were meant to follow.
So you know what I say if you put these in action? GOOD LUCK!