As a child and young person, I believed in luck. I would see someone with something and think to myself “they’re so lucky." I never considered the work that went into whatever I considered luck.
As an adult, my experience has taught me you create your own luck, your own situation. Whatever that is good or bad, by the decisions you make. For me, asking questions is the best shovel for uncovering opportunities.
I didn’t become a business owner because I was lucky. I put myself in a position to become a business owner. During my interview I asked my now business partner what his plans were for the business when he decided to retire. He told me he wanted to sell it to the employees, that was my opportunity. I created the opportunity by asking a question. If I didn’t ask, I wouldn’t have known and may have kept searching for my opportunity elsewhere.
Two weeks ago, I was in Chicago at a trade show promoting my children’s book Bully on the Bus and talking to educators about speaking opportunities at their schools in order to share my journey. I have two stories from this event of creating my own opportunities:
First, Ashton Kutcher was a key note speaker on the last day of the event. I sent out a tweet to Ashton and asked him to stop by my booth before or after his keynote because I wanted him to have a copy of my book. I didn’t want anything from him, other than to see if he would come and I would be happy to give him a copy of my book. He didn’t come, and that’s what I expected. However, if I didn’t ask, I knew the possibility would be zero. I’m in the same building with him, why would I pass that up? I refuse to not stick my foot in the door if there is a small crack.
Second, It’s the last 5 mins of the show and a group of educators stop by. I tell my story about being a bully and give each of them a copy of my book. They ask if I would come to Nashville to speak, but didn’t have the funds for travel expenses. I just happened to have a business trip planned to Nashville for my day job! I told them I would be there and could come a day early or stay a day later. I’m spoke at their school on last week to 500 students and gave all of them copies of the book. It's not luck that I was in Nashville where they happen to be and it's not luck that they stopped by and we talked. I had a group of people and asked where they were from, they told me Nashville and I made sure to let them know I was going to be there in a couple of weeks.
I’m currently participating in an online course with 400+ high functioning individuals. The group dynamic ranges from CEO’s to Realtors, to Entrepreneurs, and athletes. Other than the course, how am I going to seize this opportunity? I asked everyone in the private FB group that wanted to stay connected and network to leave a comment with the following:
2. Where are they living
3. What is their occupation
4. Email address
So, if 5 years down the road I partner with one of these contacts in business, did I get lucky or did I create the opportunity? I will say it’s the latter. Think about it, there is literally no down side there’s 100% positive EV. Is everyone going to do it? No. Who cares, if they don’t want to share!? I wouldn’t be a good fit for them anyways. I will focus on the 15-25% that do respond and want to stay in touch outside of FB.
I feel there is tremendous value in the contacts of this class. So much so I plan on taking it every six weeks to do this same thing over and over. Who knows maybe I meet my next business partner by simply asking a question, again.
People tell me all the time how lucky I am to have my wife. I’m very fortunate, but as you know I don’t believe in luck. In high school, I was never the kind of guy that would just start a conversation with a girl. However, I was working in a restaurant as a dishwasher at the age of 18 and the most beautiful girl I had ever seen walked in and asked for an application. To this day I cannot tell you why, but I walked over sat down and started talking to her. We have been together ever since, that was 25 years ago. I didn’t get lucky, if I didn’t take that opportunity, I may have never seen her again and I wasn’t about to let that happen.
What did you do to create the opportunities in your life that others would consider “lucky?"
What decisions have you made that have contributed to things that you or others would consider “bad luck?"
Unlimited opportunities are available, are you going to put yourself in the situation to seize them or let them pass?