Career luck… and how to create your own

Image of someone holding a lucky shamrock in their handLooking back over my career, I know I’ve been extremely lucky.

Time and again, I’ve been in the right place at the right time – and met someone who’s changed everything. They’ve lent me a book, or told me a story… shared a resource, or introduced me to someone.  That luck is behind just about everything I’ve ever done.

Before you think, great for you, but how does that help me… I want you to step back and take a good look at your own life.

I want to change the way you look at luck – especially in your career.

We tend to think of luck as something floating around out there, settling on some people, missing others… something completely beyond our control. We say that some people are just born lucky – they’re the ones who always land on their feet, who lead charmed lives. Pretty greedy, when you think about it. If these people have all the luck, then what does that leave the rest of us?

The luck I’m talking about isn’t passive – it takes curiosity, initiative and follow-through.

Think about it. Of all the good things that have happened in your life, how many of them honestly just landed in your lap? Just wandered right up to your sofa and laid at your feet?  I’m willing to bet they didn’t – that in fact, you got up and got out there, spoke to people, did your work, showed your interest and made it happen.

You were in the right place at the right time, because you actively went there. You met the right people, because you made the effort. And when you found yourself there, in the midst of a possibility, you grabbed it and ran with it. There’s nothing passive about that.

If it’s worked for you before, it can again – and it’s crucial for your career.

First, you need curiosity. The things that interest, intrigue and engage you are the fuel to your engine – they’ll fire you up and keep you moving. Pursue things you care about and you’ll keep learning, growing – and opening new doors. If you’ve lost that spark, move on – or widen your horizons. The world’s constantly changing; be curious and change with it.  What’s new? Where’s the future? What opportunities are out there? Never stop learning.

You also need initiative, to take your skills and interests to where other people care too. You’ll find like-minded people wherever you are; online, in clubs, at talks, through training. Opportunities come through people – and it’s the ones you don’t know yet who’ll open the most doors. Get out there. Talk to everyone you can, and learn as much as you can. You won’t get your foot in the door if no-one in the building has a clue who you are.

The last bit of luck? Follow-through. Getting anywhere worthwhile takes time and graft – but hard work’s not ‘work’ if you love what you do. Keep growing your networks, building your knowledge and honing your skills. If you hit a wall, step back and find other ways in. Be flexible, be creative and do what it takes. Luck favours the dogged.

Some things you can’t influence… if you want to win lotto, you’ll need sheer dumb luck. In the rest of your life, there’s a lot you can do, to stack the cards in your favour.

What are you doing to create your own career luck?  


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