Principle 5 of 8 reminds us that focused pursuit leads to rewards both planned and unexpected.
Whether you believe luck plays a role in success or not, there’s no disputing the significant role of good old-fashioned sweat equity in building or running a successful business.
One side of the ‘luck’ argument claims that success in life and in business is primarily determined by factors out of our individual control, such as gene pool, birthplace, and extended family networks. They lean on silver spoons and alma maters. The other side insists that our individual efforts directly impact our access to opportunity. They place great value on personal experience and a wealth of grit.
“I’ve often been accused of being lucky in business, but I believe that a lot of very hard work has played a major part in any luck that has come my way.”
A look at several perspectives shows how interdependent luck and hard work can be no matter where you are on your business journey.
Humility & Luck
One champion of luck is financial planner and NYT columnist, Carl Richards (aka, Sketch Guy). In a 2017 column titled “Stop and Acknowledge How Much Luck Has To Do With Your Success,” Richards wrote and sketched about the connection between humility and recognizing the luck in our lives.
From Warren E. Buffett, who says he won the “Ovarian Lottery,” to the venture capitalist Fred Wilson, a lot of smart, industrious and hard-working people admit that luck played a role. Mr. Wilson writes that he wouldn’t suggest anyone take his career path: “It won’t work unless you get incredibly lucky.”
EXCERPT IMAGE AND TEXT BY CARL RICHARDS
Ingenuity & Determination
On his podcast “How I Built This”, award-winning journalist and NPR host, Guy Raz, has interviewed more than 200 highly successful entrepreneurs to uncover amazing true stories. One example features Tim Leatherman, who in the early 1970s toiled away in his brother-in-law’s garage building a foldable pair of pliers using scrap parts from old appliances. Raz discovers that although it took Leatherman seven years to make a single sale, once the right marketing channel was identified, Leatherman began selling a million tools every year. Now the company is worth over $100 million.
Risk & Hard Work
What about risk, reward and everything in between? An excerpt from Richard Branson’s book, The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership (2014), reprinted in Business Insider shares a glimpse of Branson’s philosophy gained over more than four decades of business experience. Known for his incessant hustle, a penchant for risk, and his positive attitude, Branson sums up how he feels about ‘luck’ in business with the famous words of golf legend, Gary Player: “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”
Consistency & More Consistency
Echoing Branson and Player is serial entrepreneur Tony Dimatteo, who believes consistency plays a big role in pushing through business failures. In his Entrepreneur magazine article titled, “The Harder You Work, the Luckier You Get,” Dimatteo provides three steps to cultivating lucky breaks. Though the irony is not lost on us that this advice is coming from the founder of lottery.com, we agree that pushing through failure with a new understanding is a path to something greater.
Above & Beyond
What kind of traits make business owners and CEOs successful? According to Brad Smith, writer for The Business Journals, he has observed six common traits and ‘luck’ was not on the list.
One joy of meeting and getting to know a variety of business owners in our line of work is hearing them share their stories. Stories from men and women. From different backgrounds, different levels of education, and from every kind of university, trade school or none of the above. From time to time we hear about lucky breaks, failure, and renewed dreams. And the common thread we encounter among business owners who find a way to succeed, is their willingness to put in the work necessary to activate their plan and achieve their dreams.