This month I’m going to be talking about luck, although it might not be in the way that initially comes to mind. I used to hear that word and think “chance, happenstance, random fortunate selection”. Then one day, I heard a quote that completely changed the way I thought about luck. I heard Oprah recite a quote by Seneca,
luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
That quote changed my life. You see all of my life, I’d felt unlucky. I saw the opportunities afforded and presented to others and was discouraged that I didn’t have similar opportunities in my own life. This quote made me stop and wonder if I was doing the preparation needed to maximize the opportunity should it present itself. I stopped seeing those around me as luck and me as unlucky. Of course, life happens and there are things beyond my control but there were also things I could be doing proactively that I wasn’t.
So instead of hoping and wishing for things to happen by chance, I started preparing. I began reading, researching, practicing, and getting ready for things I wanted to happen in my life. I’d just go about my everyday life but opportunities just started to fall in my lap. I’d tell people about the things I was doing just in passing conversation and sharing the things I practiced in a public way. What do you know, when they happened to need someone who did what I’d been practicing, they’d let me know or refer me to someone else.
One thing I’ve been practicing for the past couple of years is public speaking in the form of online video. Growing up I was nervous and downright scared to speak in public. I know video isn’t the same as speaking in-person but webinars and podcasts are a common form of public speaking these days. I figured it would probably be a good idea to start practicing should the opportunity ever arise. I’d record videos using my blog posts as speaking notes. I wanted to get comfortable sharing stories verbally in addition to written form. I’d watch the videos and noticed the things I did well and the ones I could improve.
I started sharing live videos in a closed Facebook group I have. It was such a great way to practice getting comfortable in front of a virtual audience. I ended up getting two unexpected opportunities by going live in the group. Just after the new year, one of the ladies in the group asked me to be her guest on a podcast she was just hired to host. Another lady recently asked if she could recommend me to present on a webinar for a large corporation hosting a month-long event on inspiring women. I had no idea what opportunities I was preparing for but I knew that with the work I’m doing, I’d have to be comfortable speaking in front of people. I didn’t realize anything would come of those videos but thanks to sharing them, I was able to land two great opportunities.
Of course, doing the prep-work doesn’t mean every opportunity is going to work out. But I’d rather do the preparation in anticipation of the opportunity than not be ready for it at all. For example, I’d been taking photography classes and practiced whenever I got the chance. A friend of the family invited us to go to his daughter’s birthday party. Of course, I made sure that I had my camera in tow. At one point, I slipped away from the group and took out my camera. I began taking photos of details and guests just enjoying the gathering. When the party was over and I didn’t think anything of it.
A few weeks later, I received a call from a lady who’d been at the birthday party. She told me she had a friend who worked for a small real estate office who needed someone to take some photos of a property. She said she’d seen me at the party with my camera and thought I might be interested. She asked if she could pass my details along and before I knew it I was discussing the possibility of taking photos of a house that was on the market for a million dollars. I wish I could say that I was hired, unfortunately, it didn’t work out but it’s still a great example of being presented with an opportunity by doing the preparation. Had I not been practicing that day, she never would have thought of me for that opportunity.
Just by doing the preparation and allowing others to see it has led me to some pretty exciting opportunities. Today, I just wanted to encourage you to think about luck a little differently if your definition of it is chance or happenstance like mine used to be. Life happens and there will always be things out of our control but you never know how you can tip the scales by doing some preparation in anticipation of what you want. I’d love to hear what you’re going to start preparing for, let me know in the comments!
Sending lots of love your way,
Former bad luck magnet turned women’s worthiness coach