1. Pursue worthwhile things that matter to you: Decide what it is, and read, study and learn everything you can about the subject. Put one foot in front of the other. Start moving forward and start learning as you go. I have often taught a new sales person to go get their nose bloodied, or go make mistakes. I don’t think you even know what you don’t know until you make mistakes and learn from them. Also know in advance what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve what you want.
2. Persevere: I have always loved the story of the man who dug to within 3 feet of gold in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. The man in the story catches the gold fever and heads west to dig for gold. He staked a claim and began digging. He eventually found some gold and was excited to mine the vein. He would need to get some help and raise money to get the equipment he needed to mine the ore. He borrowed and enrolled family and friends in the cause and went back to the mines with the needed but expensive equipment. They pulled out the initial haul and were excited because they had found a rich vein that was sure to bring wealth and prosperity to the man and his family. Unfortunately the vein they had found soon ended and they began to only pull up rocks. They drilled and drilled hoping desperately to find again the vein but they were unsuccessful. They quit and gave up. They sold their equipment to a junk dealer and went back home to answer to unpaid debts. The junk dealer was an enterprising man and wondered about this mine. He decided to get the advice of a mining engineer to see if there was still a possibility of finding gold in the abandoned mine. The engineer surveyed the project and said that he believed the previous operation failed because they didn’t follow the fault line and that they were merely 3 feet from where gold would be found. He was right. The junk dealer found gold and pulled millions of dollars worth from the same mine that bankrupted the previous miners.
3. Seek Expert Opinions: The junk dealer showed wisdom in seeking the advice of a successful person in his new field of pursuit. I have often had the chance to hire new sales people at various jobs I have had over the years. One of the most challenging things I experienced were sales people who, with all sorts of promise and potential, would listen to a negative family member or friend and remove themselves from the chance to succeed. I always say, if you want to learn something, don’t ask the guy on the couch with an opinion on everything, ask someone who is good at it. And if you want to be great at something, ask someone who is great at it and replicate their approach.
4. Be flexible: I have often found that success looks different from what I had originally envisioned in my mind. My first job out of high school was what most would consider very successful. I made more money than I thought possible. I was a top performing district manager and had seen great success. The only problem was, I was working 60 hours a week in the off season and around 90 in the busy season. I am a huge fan of working hard but I was sacrificing something more important to me than money…my family. I made a change because I wanted something more than the money I was earning. I found success in other ways that weren’t so time consuming. They still took work, just not life consuming work.
5. Count your blessings: I find that I feel much luckier when I acknowledge the blessings and beauty in my own life. It helps me to stop envying those around me who seem to have “all the luck!” It also gives me perspective. I once complained and worried to a business mentor about the struggles I was having in my business. He told me to stop for a minute and look back to a year ago and see where we were comparatively. By doing so, I was moved by the progress we had made and it helped me to realize that the problems we were having were natural and part of what we could overcome by continuing to move forward. It also made me grateful for where we had come from.
These tips might not help you win the lottery and definitely will not help you survive a plane, train or car crash, but I believe they can help you create some of your own luck in your life. I have also found that timing is everything. Sometimes the stars align yet at other times they do not. It takes wisdom to know when things aren’t aligning so you can adjust the set of your sails. Like the ocean the tide comes in at times and recedes at others. You can either be frustrated at the receding sea or you can grab a board and enjoy the waves.
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