Create Good Fortune In Your Career: Being lucky isn’t always true of fortune – it can be about making a deliberate effort and creating the conditions for your own success.
You’ve heard it too many times: the super-successful person who’s interviewed and attributes their success to luck, or just talks about being in the right place at the right time. But if it’s just luck, what’s there to learn? And how do you get to the fairy dust that has propelled that person’s career?
What is fate, really? Your odds of getting a four-leaf clover on your first try are one in 10,000, but your chances of advancing your career are much better—when you take deliberate and proactive steps.
While there may have been some career successes for which pure luck was a factor, if you look more deeply, they are probably the rare exception. Luck really is something you create for yourself and that you can prepare for – taking advantage of good deeds and deliberate effort that almost always precedes the discovery of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Also, consider that ascribing your success to simple good luck diminishes your success. You’ve worked hard and done some great work – and deserve the kudos and credit that comes from the results. Whatever the luck, great thinking, hard work, and developing relationships abound.
How to Create Luck in Your Career
Here’s how to create the conditions for luck to be yours (and the efforts you can embrace and take credit for when you succeed).
One of the keys to being lucky is to be prepared and move on based on a sense of what is happening around you. Be cautious and read your reference. If you think your company is considering major changes in your division, create a strategy for your next steps. When you see that your group can be reported through a new leader, reach out and join them. Or be prepared to recommend a new product, service, or direction when you notice that your customer’s needs are beginning to change.
Also, always research. Be curious about your market and your customers, obtain certification or additional credentials that match your interests, and seek to learn in new areas all the time. By getting used to the next things that interest you, you’ll be prepared if your current situation changes, and you need to make plans for the future.
Statistically, your next job or career move is likely not to come from your primary network, but from your secondary or tertiary network. By definition, the people you are closest to probably have access to the same information that you relate to new opportunities. But your more distant connections will have access to information on opportunities that you probably don’t. And it’s a great way to make sure you’re “lucky” in your next steps—by staying connected to a network of people who will learn about new possibilities.
Reach out to others and strengthen your network all the time—even when you’re not looking for a new role. Focus on building relationships, not just adding your number of contacts to a transactional method. Try to add value to others, and stay connected when you see people get promoted or change jobs. Send people congratulatory notes or forward articles they might be interested in. Nurture relationships on an ongoing basis and in a meaningful way, and when you need some good luck facilitating your next career move, you’ll have people you can contact and ask for support.
When you are looking for the next opportunity, your past and present performance will be under scrutiny, and they will basically shape your prospects. Recently, a co-worker learned that her husband was being relocated to another country, and it was the right decision for their family to bet and shift. As a result, she had to leave her current role and look for a new role—and she was expected to stay within her global company. Because she had a good record of performance and good relations, she was able to reach the leader of the new field, and a position was adapted for her. While she could have blamed luck for it, it was actually a result of her reputation and credibility based on her strong track record.
Performing well in your role today (even if it’s not your ideal position) is always one of the best investments in your role for tomorrow – and creates the “luck” that will be part of securing the next opportunity.
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Sometimes, when you need to make a change, the right role might not come out. In this case, it may be wise to take what is available and know that you can move on from there. You don’t want to settle for something below your abilities or for a poor cultural fit or poor work experience, but if the role is close-knit or requires you to settle on things that aren’t important to you, So taking on a less-than-ideal role can be a valid and smart move. It’s always easier to find a job when you’re already employed, and in the real world, most people need to be employed to pay the mortgage and keep groceries on the table.
So take the next step, even if it isn’t your last. Know that you can learn from what you are going through and trust your ability to grow and move forward. Also, be flexible with your partner and family. Sometimes your work will be given priority and sometimes theirs. The best partnerships embrace the ups and downs of careers and the dance of the flow. Be flexible about when your partner’s job takes priority and be firm when it’s time for your career to blossom.
Career advancement often requires you to let go and take risks. The moment you leave an organization for the next big-time assignment or a nice new job, you need to go out on a limb. Be smart in assessing the opportunity and everything that happens with it, and be diligent in determining if it’s right for you and your future. And when you determine that it is, mobilize support, take the plunge and make the decision that will lead the way for your future.
SummaryMost of the time, luck isn’t really luck. So try, do great things and lean towards the next new opportunity. And in the process, take credit for what you have achieved and be confident about all the places you will go next. Now is a great time to explore, be proactive, and build relationships that will move you positively.