When I was a kid I went through a phase when I carried around a rabbit’s foot for luck. I still remember it: tie-dye purple on a keychain, tied to my blue roller skates with rainbow laces. I can’t honestly say I had any good fortune come my way because of it, but it did make me feel luckier.
Of course now that I’m an adult, I know better than to depend on silly charms or superstitions for the success (or failure) in life. Yes, I admit there are times when everything’s going pear-shaped and I wonder if I’ve crossed a black cat somewhere, but the truth is, 99% of the time we create our own circumstances – our own luck – by the choices we make.
Many of the people who knew me as a kid think I’m “lucky” to be where I am today, often citing the fact that I was “always that way,” born with some inherent abilities to run a business. And to a certain point, I agree. I DO feel fortunate to have certain talents that others seem to struggle with. But simply putting my success down to the “luck” of having been gifted certain talents is an insult. It wasn’t “luck” that made me spend thousands of dollars on my own education and work 60+ hour weeks for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t “luck” that I learned how to write persuasive sales copy, sell from the platform or implement highly effective marketing plans. And it’s not “luck” that keeps my business growing 25% – 40% year upon year.
Conversely, it wasn’t BAD luck that I screwed up royally and kept myself from hitting my goals for the past two years, going through staff problems, vendor problems, and a host of other troubles piled a mountain high, including skin cancer and other health issues. I made choices and decisions that were 100% cause and effect, no bad luck involved – only poor judgment on my part. I painted myself into a corner more than once, but I was always the one holding the paintbrush.
If you own a business, I think you’ll also agree that the successes you have are NOT by luck either…
It’s not luck that keeps you getting out of bed early every morning, working yourself into the wee hours of the night. It’s not luck that allows you to close a big managed services deal, keep customers, manage a team and generate a profit. It’s not luck that made you smart enough to jump on the managed services bandwagon or develop subscription income in your IT business that is now helping you survive. There’s no “luck” involved in growing your IT services business successfully or even holding your own in this tough economy. Far from it. In fact, I think most of you reading this will agree that, if anything, you get more of a helping of BAD luck than others simply because you’re out there trying to make things happen, constantly fighting gravity.
That being true, you can’t blame “bad” luck for the messes you are in either. Like me, the “bad” luck I experience is usually due to a lack of preparation, prevention or doing the things I KNOW I SHOULD be doing, but neglect to do until it turns into a mess that must be dealt with. Almost every problem that arises can be traced back to a series of bad decisions, poor choices, or LACK of actions we should have taken, but didn’t.
As Earl Wilson once said, “Success is only a matter of luck. Just ask any failure.”
So to all my fellow entrepreneurs; let me send you off into your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with this little Irish blessing:
May those who love us, love us.
And for those who don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if he can not turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we may know them by their limping.