Can You Make Your Own Luck?

I feel lucky much of the time. I’m not like Mark, who can find the best parking spot anywhere, anytime. I’m convinced he has the parking gods on his side, and they wait for him to drive somewhere and park. I don’t have the parking gods on my side. I have a handicapped placard :-)

On the other hand, I do believe I can make my own luck. That’s because I believe in serendipity. Serendipity occurs when you are prepared for risks, have practiced your job, and “good things happen.” Can you help good things happen to you?

Last week, I was at the Booster Conference in Norway. I had prepared all my workshops in advance. I was still working on the keynote. I had already restarted the keynote 3 times. I was up to revision 5 with this third file.  That keynote was going nowhere. It’s a good thing I was the closing keynote–I still had time.

I went to the first keynote, thinking, “Maybe I’ll get some ideas about how to start my keynote.” I was still stuck on how to start.

I did get ideas. I had the transforming idea about how to relate to the people at the conference and which stories to tell. They keynote wrote itself then.

Was I lucky? Sure. Was I ready for the serendipity of the moment? Yes.

We have many opportunities for serendipity. Sometimes we recognize them. When we recognize them, we think we are “lucky.” We are. And, we are lucky because we are ready.

What do you do to be ready for serendipity?

Be prepared. Serendipity comes when we are open to it. I can’t be open if I’m frantic that I haven’t prepared enough. This is why I teach experientially. I’ve done all the work I need to do to prepare for the workshop. I can’t tell what will occur in the workshop, but I am prepared. The good news is that great things almost always happen, things I could never predict.

Be ready to iterate. If I’m serious about staying in the moment, I have to be ready to readjust my thinking. That occurred with the keynote last week. It happens when I teach. I see this as a fun opportunity. I’m not worried about having to replan in the middle of a workshop or consulting. That’s because I’m prepared. I like iterating on my preparation or in the moment.

Be ready for possibilities. I might have a result in mind. And, that doesn’t mean that the result I consider is the One Right Outcome. If I’m ready for other possibilities, I might discover an even better result if I am open to serendipity.

So, are you lucky? You might have a great case of being open to serendipity. Are you ready for it?

Dear adaptable problem-solvers, this is the question of the week: Can you make your own luck?

7 thoughts on “Can You Make Your Own Luck?”

  1. I like to think of the luck you speak about as ‘experienced luck’. I had a good opportunity pop up and I mentioned to the person I was being coached by at the time that I was freaked out because “who was I to go into this new community” and “how I had to set up my game”. She interrupted me and told me to drop that way of thinking. She told me, “you’re there already, you have nothing to prove. YOU did this.”

    She went on to describe, what she called ‘threads of silver’ and that as we progress through life there are all these ‘threads of silver’ right in front of us and by becoming more aware, or being open to possibilities as you state, your ‘luck’ improves because you see more and unconsciously seek out those possibilities through awareness.

    So can you make your own luck? I think it’s less about luck and more about focused intent.

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  4. Robert Geifman

    Johanna, what a great post, resonated with me so, especially after our last exchange.
    I’m a firm believer that one creates his/hers own luck, and it is a hard work preparing and then in the state of mind of seeing possibilities (an not problems), and jumping on the opportunities.

    1. Robert, yes! Pasteur said, “Luck favors the prepared mind.” You and I are practicing being prepared.

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