How to Create Your Own Luck

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.” – Benjamin Franklin

I distinctly remember a day at the office last year when it hit me more clearly than ever before that you create your own luck. Not always. Not indefinitely. But generally–you can make yourself get “luckier.” As the old Greek proverb goes, “God helps those who help themselves.”

It’s not magic. It’s common sense. But a little gem of common sense that doesn’t seem quite so common to many an “unlucky” person.

Here’s what happened:

I was working as a team with a few sales reps of sorts who would send people my way. The more they sent my way, the more they got paid and I got paid. Having been in their position before, I had lots of tips and best practices to share. I had especially become very good at collecting leads. Since it was their place to contact leads, not mine, I knew I could benefit the entire team by sharing my leads and strategies with them.

I dedicated a lot of time to helping the most senior sales rep with gathering leads and making referrals. I even took on some of her workload so she could focus on building her sales. But she just didn’t deliver. She spent a lot of time finding ways to avoid actually making the referrals. Sales is scary.

Then there was the most junior of our sales reps. She had very recently started with the company–no prior experience, lower rank and pay. No reason to expect she would be the big producer. So I still sent some leads her way and gave suggestions here and there. But she wasn’t my focus. I started to notice, though–whenever I sent her a lead, she delivered. And then I got an email that changed the whole relationship: “Hey, I wonder if you have any suggestions for prospects I could contact?” Immediately my focus shifted. I gave her twice the help that I gave anyone else.

I started to feel a little bad: Was I playing favorites? Shouldn’t I be helping everyone equally? Was I giving the new girl an unfair advantage? So just to feel “fair,” I tried to even it out–invest as much time and energy into the more senior rep. And it just didn’t pay off. When I helped her, nothing happened. When I helped the new girl, results happened.

So I came to the conclusion: The bottom line increases more when you help those who help themselves. The recent hire was creating her own “luck” by producing results and asking for help. Her behavior attracted help.

I have always distinctly remembered her example. Sure, you need “luck.” But often “luck” is sent your way by people who see your initiative and realize investing in you will pay off.

Even if someone won’t directly benefit from giving you help, there’s just something about your having a good work ethic that makes people want to give you a leg up.

Want “luck?” Give people reason to believe in you and help you.

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

I ran across something I wrote down when I got home that day last year:

“There are thousands of people around you who are watching and are impressed when you do something well. They then WANT to help you. For instance, when I see one person looking for prospects and another on Facebook, I am impressed with the first person and try to find ways to help them and encourage their behavior: e.g. sending them my own leads.”

japanese proverb

Author: Peter Elbridge

I am a lifelong learner and avid reader, which translates into doing smart work for myself, my team, and my clients. I have a passion for effective leadership and an even bigger passion for helping others do and feel better. I have a lot of experience in communication, public speaking, and writing. Above all, I have a deep and genuine care for every life I touch. That's why I write. (My opinions and endorsements are my own and do not represent my employer.)

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