Stop Looking For Luck

So many leaders are looking for luck these days. They may not say it in those specific words but they are.

Image by Dawn Ellner

Image by Dawn Ellner

There are leaders who are looking for the superstar salesman who will increase sales ten-fold. Then there’s the manager who will increase productivity, if only they could find them. Or you’re looking for the next big thing, wanting to catch it at the very beginning.

All of these actions are a form of looking for luck. They’re relying on an outside factor to increase sales, to increase productivity, or to bring the next big program. And we’re doing it all wrong.

When we’re waiting on luck, we’ll be waiting a long time. I know plenty of “lucky” lotto players who will win the Mega Millions on the next draw.

You know what? The odds of that are not in your favor. So stop looking for luck.

Instead, let’s begin creating our own luck. Did you know you can create luck?

How To Create Luck

“Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get”
— Ray Kroc, Executive

I love what Ray said about luck. It’s not playing the lotto. It’s not waiting for the stars to align.

Instead it’s about the blood and sweat you put into your work. This is how you create luck.

In case you don’t know who Ray Kroc is, he’s the man who made McDonald’s the powerhouse it is today.

Ray, at one point, worked for room and board at a restaurant so he could learn the restaurant business. From there, he became a salesman of Prince Castle Multi-Mixers. As a salesman he sold 8 of the multi-mixers to the McDonald brothers. These sales made him take note of McDonald’s and eventually to his purchase of the corporation.

Ray created his own luck through his hard work and perseverance. It didn’t just happen. Looking at his history, it was a lot of sweat equity that paid off.

We can apply the same strategy to our roles as leaders. The drive for performance, the search for great leaders, and the end goal all require this luck.

Here’s three quick tips on how you can make your sweat turn into the luck you’ve been desiring:

  • Begin networking: Networking is one of the easiest ways to “create” luck. Rub shoulders with other leaders in your industry. Go to seminars and events that revolve around your work. Who knows, through networking you may get “lucky” like Ray Kroc and be able to add a valuable team member to your organization or build upon a great idea.
  • Do great work: Here’s where you can really add deposits in your sweat equity account. Do work that you and your organization can be proud of. The more great work you do, the more the organization will be noticed.
  • Invest in others: Ray didn’t start the business of McDonald’s. Two brothers did and yet Ray reaped most of the rewards. Why? Because he invested in others and he found luck waiting for him. Begin investing in those around you. Find young men and women you can help mold into the next generation of leaders.

I hope you’re through looking for luck. It’s not going to just happen to you.

You’ve to work hard and sweat it out. Look for the networking opportunities in your area, do great work you can be proud of, and invest in others. These are the ways you’ll discover luck.

Question: Are you ready to stop looking for luck? What are you going to do today that’s going to change your future? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I wrote a book when I was in university, for a class that I took. I was encouraged by my professor to get it published. It is a reference book. Likely, only college and university students will be the only ones to use it, when writing essays for English courses.

    Since I am now taking the time to seek publication of my book, I called the university library to find out who the person is that makes the decisions about book acquisitions for the library. I made an appointment to speak with said person at her convenience. I will also be showing her my book,

    When I send out my letters to potential publishers, I will be able to provide them with information about marketing my book, and (hopefully) the fact that my local university is willing to add my book to their collection!

    This surely is an example of creating luck; doing the work and research beforehand will set me apart from someone who did not. It will definitely increase my chances of being accepted for publication, don’t you think?

    (Psst. Cross your fingers, and wish me luck!)

    • That’s an excellent way of creating your own luck. You put yourself out there, did some hard work, and made the connections. I’ll keep my fingers crossed as you attempt to get the book published. Which, by the way, should stand a good chance!

  • Amber Ecker

    I love the saying creating your own luck. I truly believe luck finds you when you are working hard to achieve your goals. I don’t believe I am going to be the next great leader of a school just because I teach at one and I may get lucky. I believe I am going to be a great leader because I am working hard by getting my sixth year, networking with administration, and always doing whats best for students.

    • Amber, that’s a great mindset to have. You know it’s not your presence alone that will ensure success. It’s by working your tail off and getting in there. Good luck as you progress in your leadership!

  • I like your insights into the Ray Kroc story, and thanks for sharing that great quote of his as well.

    This ties in with a favorite quote of mine, by Thoreau “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

    Don’t dispair – the payoff happens when we least expect it. The harvest is always in a different season than the planting.

    • That’s a great quote by Thoreau. It’s all about the forward movement. While we’re doing it, it may not seem big. But once we’ve done it for awhile, the results are monumental.

    • Great quote Jonathan.

  • Luck has a way of finding those of us who do not quit.

    • Then is it really luck or the results of hard work? (-;

      • Quitting is easy. To perservere takes hard work. So, its lot luck. It’s hard work.

    • Nice quote Charles!

  • I love when people say “well he was just in the right place at the right time and got lucky”…yeah…he was putting himself in the right places.

    • Jim, so true. “Luck” won’t find you unless you put yourself out there. When you do, you’ll begin to be in the right places at the right times.

  • I was speaking to a friend of mine and told him that if we continue being intentional there will be no room for surprises (good and bad).

    The feeling of “wow, I can’t believe this happened to me,” will be rare. An increase in pay, new opportunities, and other blessings wouldn’t tickle us any more if we continue to apply the right principles. Those things are expected!

    We should always be forever grateful, humble, and confident. We create our own luck in away, no?

    • Josue, that we do my friend. With our hard work, dedication, and intentionally we create the luck so many are looking for.

  • This reminds of the post from Michael Hyatt’s blog of there being no silver bullets in life; and also what Seth Godin advises we should do “Drip, Drip, and Drip.” Or in other words, take down something big one step at time.

    Goods post Joe!

    • I must have missed that post Mike. Sounds like it would be a great one.

  • CM Logan

    I have always been bothered by the fantasy of luck. I see people pour countless dollars into the lottery or just sit on their hands and wait for “fate” to go their way. But, as “luck” would have it, we’ve been born in a time and place where hard work, clear vision, and relentless drive can get us to our goals.

    • I’ve seen that too CM. People will invest in a system that relies solely on luck rather than investing in something that actually works. How do you think we could help these people break this cycle?

      • CM Logan

        It would be hard because I believe this mentality that luck is a satisfactory replacement for hard work.

  • thanks for this reminder Joe

    • My pleasure Kevin! Thanks for stopping by and sharing the post.

  • Doug G

    Great words and advice…love the “invest on others” …too often these days people look to others to get something from them. Lead with the relationship…not the product or whatever.

    • Doug, investing in others is the key. I’m not sure how we came about the me, me, me thoughts around leadership but we can see them failing greatly today. Leadership isn’t about ourselves, it’s about others.

      • this reminds me of what John Maxwell says all the time – it is about “adding value.” How can I add value to you today?

  • I read a book on sales a few years ago with a great saying. “If you work it easy, it’s hard. If you work it hard, it’s easy.” The same goes for most things in life.

    • That’s a great line. I can see that being true. Most of the time we do “easy” work, it winds up costing us more in time to redo the work to correct what we did wrong.

      • I like to do things right the first time. It’s actually less work – and I’m lazy that way. : )

  • Joseph you’re right, there really is no such thing as luck. If you look at the Bible you won’t find luck there either, instead you’ll find the providence of God. I think for me it helps to know that everything is under God’s control. My job is to be faithful, to work hard and do my best and God will produce the fruit.

  • You definitely hit the nail on the head. Hard work is absolutely essential to success. Too many people think success should just be handed to them. The entitlement mentality has to end at some point.

    • I hope the entitlement mentality does come to an end, sooner rather than later. It’s a parasite that has slowly killed the U.S.

      • I hope so too. Unfortunately, it’s more likely to trend the other way. It may take a serious crash to shake things up.

  • Funny how all the people who work hard get all the luck, isn’t it? I couldn’t agree more, don’t wait – make your own luck! It sounds trite and maybe condescending, but it is a message that has to get out. I think our grandparents got this better than we do today.

    • It is Tom. It’s one thing we hear more often than not: That person was just lucky.

      But when we begin to dig into the history of the lucky ones, they did hard work and busted their butts to get where they are today. If we want the same kind of luck, we’ve got to be willing to work hard and put ourselves in the right places.

  • This is really a nice and a surprising blog for me. I never thought it that way that leaders a;so need luck and that too in that way. Thanks for bringing insight into this concept.

    • My pleasure. How could you apply this to your leadership?