It’s St Patrick’s Day so what better time to address this mysterious factor? Whether or not you have the luck of the Irish, there is a way to produce more luck in your career. Even better, there is no magic involved (or green beer).
The Luck Formula: The 4 Factors You Need
In reading one of John C Maxwell’s books, I came across the following luck formula and thought it would be a great topic to expand in an article. The good news about luck is that 75% of the model is completely within your control. The remaining factor – opportunity – may be influenced by your perspective though it is not fully under your control.
Luck = Preparation + Attitude + Opportunity + Action
Let’s go through each factor of the luck formula one by one. Increasing any aspect of the formula will lead to greater opportunities for you.
Preparation: Be Ready For Luck To Appear
Preparation takes many forms in career development. The time you spend taking courses, reading this website and studying for certifications give you increased capabilities. Beyond technical skills, taking care of yourself comes into the picture. If you are tired, distracted or otherwise “off your game,” you will not able to identify and maximize luck when it comes your way. Preparation also requires a strategic vision for your career, a willingness to look beyond your current job or projects. If you start developing management and executive skills today, you will be well placed to move ahead in the future.
Preparation goes beyond studying and formal learning activities. On the job learning and development is widely considered one of the best ways to learn new skills. Therefore, analyze around your current job and department for ways to add additional skills. For example, volunteer to take on new tasks during department meetings. Or ask to cross train with a co-worker – that way you can take over part or all of their workload when they head out on vacation.
Resources To Propel Your Preparation
- 51 Training Resources For Project Managers
- 10 Agile Resources For Project Managers
- How To READ The News For Career Growth
- 5 Career Resolutions I Completed In 2016
- The 5 Best Strategies for Learning on the Job
Attitude: Develop Strong Self Awareness
Developing the right attitude regarding your work and career make a big difference. Imagine you are a manager with two staff with roughly comparable technical abilities and you have a new assignment to hand out. The assignment will require personal growth and a willingness to learn. The person with a stronger positive attitude is likely to get the assignment and the opportunity to shine. I see attitude as a part of self-awareness which is a key part of emotional intelligence. Developing and maintaining a positive attitude becomes even more important as you take on leadership roles.
As a leader, your team tends to follow your attitude lead. If you are negative about the company or project, that influence will spread to the rest of the team. In contrast, walking into a meeting with a smile and positive energy puts a different spin on the event. The attitude you bring to meetings has a significant impact on your reputation and ability to get work done through other people.
- Tip: Sleep your way to a better attitude! Research reported in Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson showed that people who miss sleep tend to emphasize negative thoughts and undervalue what is going well in their life. If you are struggling with keeping a good attitude, additional sleep is one solution.
Resources To Develop Your Attitude
- How to Create a Positive Attitude (Inc)
- Nine Attitudes Of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders And Managers
- Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success?
- Why You Need Grit To Get Your Projects Done
Opportunity: Seizing The Moment
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
Opportunity takes many different forms and it takes training to identify all this factor in its many forms. Opportunity may take the form of complaints from a manager or stakeholder: that gives you the chance to do better. Opportunity also shows up as event invitations – you never know what you may gain by attending an event and meeting the right people. Hustle, work ethic and long hours of work are another type of opportunity. Several successful people – Gary Vaynerchuk and Elon Musk come to mind – attribute much of their success to pure work ethic. Finally, opportunity may appear as a painful event that creates space to do something new (e.g. Michael Hyatt started his blog, later the foundation of a multi-million dollar business, when he was off his feet for an extended period recovering form an injury)
Opportunity is not evenly distributed. That’s an important reality to recognize as you plan your professional development and growth. Some departments are growing constantly such as sales and customer service while corporate functions tend to add staff more slowly. Before writing off an organization as having no opportunities, look beyond your personal situation. For example, look for any projects or activities that have changed the status quo over the past eighteen months. Do those changes suggest new ways to contribute value? Likewise, look for staff changes – new staff hires, promotions and manager hires – as new people often bring new ideas. If you see no opportunity signals, then it is time to search for greener pastures.
Resources To Find More Opportunities
- 3 Volunteer Opportunities That Will Seriously Boost Your Career
- How to advance when there is no career ladder
- Six Ways To Grow Your Job (Harvard Business Review)
- Find High Growth Companies: Profit 500 List of High Growth Companies (Canada) and the INC 5000 – America`s Fastest Growing Companies.
Action: Do The Work!
Once you are equipped with the right knowledge, it is time to get down to work. In addition to putting in the hours, make sure you are following smart work principles. This part of the LUCK formula does not have the same excitement as the other points covered above, yet it is highly important. Failing to deliver and complete assignments on time will do much harm to professional reputation and ability to get ahead in your career.
Which “LUCK“ factor will you work on this month? What are two specific actions you plan to take?
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