January 13, 2010

It's not about luck

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As a companion piece to yesterday's post about excuses, I want to talk about luck.

When I say I'm going on vacation, or working out in the middle of the day at a beautiful stadium across the street from the beach, or that I enjoy public speaking, there's always someone who says, "You're so lucky."

Another variation:

"I wish I had the time/money/work situation to do that."

I'm going to blow your mind right now: It's not about luck. It's about choices I've made to put myself in the position to do those things.

You might disagree, and there are a lot of different beliefs about luck or fate or destiny. Two years ago, I felt very lucky that we were home and not at my high school reunion when a freak accident caused a fire in our house. We were lucky to be there and to be able stop it before it burned down the house. But also, I had made the decision not to go to the reunion. So was it luck? Maybe.

In the situations I'm talking about above, however, these are clear choices we make about the kind of life we want to lead and the kind of work we want to do. I'm not lucky that I love my job. I created this job for myself because I love public speaking. I love doing it, and I love teaching others how to do it. There's nothing lucky about what I do.

Do you find yourself looking at speakers and thinking that they're so lucky because they...

...have "natural" talent
...are confident
...have charisma
...are articulate
...can think on their feet
...always get invited back
...never lose their place
...are "naturally" funny
...love speaking
...and so on?

Think again. Sure, some people have natural charm and charisma, but most of the speakers you see who are successful have worked very hard to get there. They practice, they seek out opportunities wherever they can, they take unpaid gigs, and they do what they have to do to get as much experience and feedback as possible.

They're making choices. They're setting goals. They're meeting people and making connections. They're always learning and never taking success for granted. They're working their butts off.

It's not about luck.

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Unknown said...

You make a great point. So many have a natural gift for a skill- speaking, coaching, painting.... If you don't find ways to actively work on that skill it is difficult to improve.

We must be willing and have the courage to take an innate talent and develop it to really be great.

Thank you for the wonderful post!

Jennifer Conaway, CTACC

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comment, Jen! As you say, even innate talents must be developed. It's that simple!

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