Updated: Apr 19, 2018
"Big money. Big money. No whammies. Stop!"
As startup founders, we are told it is all about the hustle. Or the grind. If you want it bad enough, you will lean in and make it happen. That by sheer will, 24/7 effort and great personal sacrifice, you can force success and leave failure for the weak.
If only it were that easy.
Hard work and grit are critical to succeed at most everything. (Duh.) You will not cross the finish line without a little sweat on your brow. But, you cannot always force something to happen. Sometimes, it takes a little luck.
Take Fred Smith, founder of FedEx, for example. He is lucky. Faced with a young company on the brink of bankruptcy in 1973, Fred took the company’s last $5,000 and flew to Las Vegas. The company was out of options, so what did he really have to lose? With a run of good fortune at the blackjack table, he returned with just enough to fund another week’s worth of operations. (You could argue that Fred was more foolish than lucky, but that is a topic for another post.) Without luck, there would be no FedEx today.
Luck is more than flipping a coin and having it land in your favor (or beating the house in cards). It is that happy accident that sparked your big idea. A chance collision with the exact person needed to move your company to the next level. Or maybe landing in the lap of the right customer at the right time.
Many founders will talk of that one moment. The one where their tides turned on a dime and they went from imminent doom to wild success. Some may credit that seismic shift to pure chance. “I was one of the lucky ones.”
But luck is not reserved for a select few. You don’t have to find that elusive four-leafed clover to be a winner. Or hit the lottery to chase your dreams. As Dr. Richard Wiseman surmises in his book, The Luck Factor, good fortune is more fluid than you think. Something that can be influenced, even.
It just takes a change in mindset. A belief that you can – and a resilience to dust yourself off and try again if you stumble.
Create your own luck. Don’t sit on your hands and leave it up to fate. Take control. Make informed decisions. Take calculated risks. Put yourself out there. Be a good person. Don’t be afraid to fail. And opportunity will find you. Good fortune will come your way.
And when Lady Luck smiles on you, be sure to smile back.
Lady Luck by Richard Swift
For this song, Richard Swift musters his seemingly endless confidence and sings the entire song in falsetto. And yet, he somehow still sounds like a badass. Someone that could punch you square in the mouth – and you would respect him for it. Probably even buy him a drink.