Lucky you

It's said “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The concept of luck can be ethereal, like it’s a mystical force (maybe it is). There are lucky breaks in life that can only be described as fortuitous twists of fate. But in business, so much of your luck can be self-made.

Ready or not, here comes the world

A favorite quote says: “It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity that may not come, than to be unprepared for one that does.” Are you ready for almost anything? Or, are you at least ready for the basics and can quickly figure out the rest? Just in case you need it, is your resume up to date (this doesn’t mean you’re actively job hunting, it can be a great tool if someone wants to know more about you - like if they’re writing an article or researching your skills). Is your website ready for viewing? I recently visited a site that appeared to be ready for outside eyes, but it really wasn’t (certain pages kept delivering “no data”). Do you have a professional bio on hand? Any references or testimonials?

Play ball!

The back and forth of tossing the “business ball” around is part of the ebb and flow of work. You put yourself out there by advertising your services and, hopefully, patrons or clients respond. Recently, an small business owner put the word out online that their services were available. I booked them and they ended up being a no show! Which is too bad, because not only was I interested to hire them, I have four other friends who wanted to as well (but they were waiting for my report). This is a good example of not only not creating your own luck, but squashing what might’ve been a lucky encounter. The business would’ve been “lucky” to have connected with us since it represented added clients and steady work. Now, not so.

Winging it and wanting it

It can be a delicate balance and an intuitive streak: when to know you can think on your feet and wing it, and when to prepare/research/study so you know you can’t miss. I’ve seen both work really well. There can be such a thing as over-rehearsing, such as in the performing arts (bear with my theater-company hat). If you over-rehearse, you leave little room for spontaneity or organic flow. And you can sound too staid, too unnatural. Other times, like for a business presentation or interview, the more you have in your back pocket the better. Even if it’s just brushing up on your work, refreshing your memory so it’s on the front burner. You know you. If you have your credentials down cold and your presentation ready, you don’t need to keep going over it.

I find a good trick is to think from the other side. I was part of a team interviewing for a project and I thought of questions they might ask, specifically about my work and history - especially some stumpers. This prompted me to read through my resume again (updated!) and give my online portfolio one more visit. I’m glad I did! A few specific questions did come up about past work that I had already “answered” in my mind.

Intuition or luck?

Try to keep your eyes and ears open. Have you ever noticed something that was there all along, but you’re just seeing it for the first time? For me, I noticed an old house down the road I swear I never saw before! (The bare trees during the winter help…). I’ve driven by that place thousands of times. It’s just one small example. Sometimes things are right in front of you if you’re open to seeing them or you decide to simply take more in. What if a business opportunity is right there? What if an answer to a problem is within your sight all along? Consider looking at your work with a new mindset. Create those opportunities, Be ready. And good luck!

(published 2023)