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What's luck got to do with it?

Posted by Chad O'Connor  March 14, 2014 06:00 AM

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When it comes to success in business, do you rely on luck? When you are congratulated for scoring a new client, nailing a presentation, or receiving an award, do you shrug your shoulders and credit the achievement to an unforeseeable stroke of fate?

There are unpredictable events that can take your career to the next level, many that could be considered pure luck:

  • Sometimes an opportunity just falls into your lap.

  • Sometimes a serendipitous meeting leads to a new job opportunity.

  • Sometimes a company-wide layoff keeps your job, and removes the guy next to you.

But is it safe to place all of your bets in the game of luck? In the world of business, there is no such thing as a sure bet. Even whatís considered "lucky" in business is far more complicated than finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk.

Success is rarely the result of a random event. For that reason, these seemingly "lucky" events beg the questions:

  • Would you have been considered for that new job if you didnít have the credentials to make you a viable candidate?

  • Would a new opportunity have come out of a chance meeting, if you hadnít been prepared with an elevator pitch, business card, or at least the business savvy to sell yourself on the fly?

  • What were the circumstances under which your job was kept? Was your position saved because your company saw you as a valuable employee?

I believe that luck can be misleading. Some think that being lucky will make others believe youíre good at your job; that the "work smarter, not harder" mantra will help to keep up a professional front without breaking a sweat. But if we come to accept that timing, fate, and circumstances outside of our control are the determining factor in business success, whatís the point in being good at our jobs at all?

"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it," Thomas Jefferson wrote.

Sometimes luck keeps us in the game, but hard work and perseverance are the secret ingredients that lead to the big wins. Striving for success is a constant, uphill struggle. And if itís better to be lucky than be good, Iíd rather be the best.

Shevaun Betzler is a Publishing Associate & Social Media Coordinator at Bibliomotion, books + media. She can be reached at

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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