It’s St. Patrick’s Day and I’m Irish!! And on March 17th, you get to be Irish, too!! In fact, on St. Patrick’s day, we all have the opportunity to wear green and tap into the luck of the Irish. A little more luck never hurt anybody…
First, a little history. According to Wikipedia…
Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional anniversary of the death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption.
Do you know lucky people?
Irish or not, we all know people who just seem to be lucky. They win things all the time. They have cool stuff. They are vibrant and healthy. They get promotions. Opportunities seem to come their way often. Their businesses seem to grow with little effort. They have great relationships. They have social privilege and power. Disaster and adversity seem to pass over them, as if they are protected. They are lucky in love, lucky in life, lucky in business. What’s their secret?
Is it linked to a “good” family? To genetics? To socioeconomic standing? To special privilege? To a good attitude? To work ethic? To dumb luck? Or is it linked to preparation?
How much of our luck is in our own hands? Is it fifty percent? Perhaps only 25%? Or perhaps even less?
What about your health and well being? Some people believe that disease and illness are determined by our genetic make up. Doctors that I’ve spoken to suggest that health/illness is 50% genetics/ 50% lifestyle. Based upon that ratio, we can increase our luck in terms of health by making good choices in what we eat, what we drink, what we put on our skin, what we inhale, how we move our bodies (aka exercise), where we live, what we do for a living, and how we manage stress. Even the choices we make in terms of relationships can make us “luckier” in terms of health. There are many variables that determine how lucky you will be with your health. Some of those variables are controllable by you, and other variables are out of your control.
How to get luckier in health. Eat kale, the dark leafy green vegetable. It’s one of the eleven super foods that you can eat. It’s so much more than garnish – it’s loaded with vitamins. minerals and anti-oxidants. I fell in love with kale when I was going through treatment for ovarian cancer. It’s a very versatile food: you can eat it raw in salads; you can blend it in smoothies; you can bake it with a pinch of sea salt and olive olive to make crispy kale chips; you can slice it and saute it with other vegetables. It’s easy to grow in your garden – long growing season, and practically disease resistant.. There are many varieties of kale to plant and nurture. Kale is your friend. It will make you lucky in health.
How much luck do you have in terms of your career? If you work harder, will you get luckier? Not necessarily. If you get an advanced degree and take on massive amounts of personal debt in the process, will that make you luckier in landing a great job and fast-track career? Hmmm… The ROI on higher education is currently under scrutiny.
How to get luckier in your career? Actively growing and sustaining your network is one of the best risk-mitigation strategies for your career. Having strong people-relationships is key to your career advancement. People have been and will continue to be instrumental in any job search that you undertake. Networking continues to be the dominant method in which people get jobs. Period. An estimated 70-80% of all jobs are filled through networking, not job boards or online submissions. If you want to be luckier in your career – always be networking!
Is there luck in business? How much luck is needed to build and operate a successful business? Did you pick the right market? the right industry? Have you built a solid brand and strong reputation for excellent service, quality, and value? Do all that and still you are subjected to forces that you can not control, like the economy, the weather, taxes, world events, etc.
How to get luckier in business. If you are running a small business or entrepreneurial venture, you are, in effect, the Chief Financial Officer. You can’t delegate financial oversight of your business. It is imperative that you know your numbers. You must track your numbers. You must meet your numbers. If you find yourself meeting with your Accountant at year end and have to ask the question, ‘Did I make money last year?’ – you know you are in trouble. You need to hire a business coach who is well grounded in best practices for small business success, including numbers tracking, client attraction, and new business development.
What about your presentations? Maybe they won’t ask you hard questions or challenge you in ways that make you feel unsure of yourself. Maybe you’ll be brilliant and all the right words will come to you as you “wing it.” Maybe your boss won’t ask you to edit your PowerPoint slide deck for the 8th time and you can spend time preparing in other ways. Or maybe not?
How to get luckier in your presentations. It’s all in the preparation. Before you open any presentation slide software (PPT, Keynote, Prezi, or other) start with a blank slate. Go analog and use Clean Sheet Thinking™ – the pre-planning presentation template. Allow yourself time to think through your presentation challenge. Even 30 minutes of thinking and planning will give you a huge boost of “luck.” Consider: 1) Who’s the audience? 2) What’s your objective? 3) What’s your key message? The planning phase of your presentation should always precede the design phase, which should always precede the delivery phase. Need help? I’d be happy to work with you and your team on presentation skills coaching and training. Check out my signature program: The Motivated Presenter™
What about the airport? How much luck is involved in getting to your destination? Well, I have been “stuck” at the West Palm Beach airport for the past two days. Not feeling so lucky! Delta Airlines has had “mechanical problems” that they just can’t seem to fix. And not just on one airplane, but on two. They can’t seem to put me on any other Delta flight, because they are all “full.” They can’t move me to a different airline, because they don’t have partnerships with JetBlue or Southwest. They can’t move me to business class where seats are available, because they “don’t usually do that.” And they can’t give me a free-bee day pass in the Delta Club because “they don’t have authorization to use that as compensation.” I would have to pay $50 to use the facility so I can get work done in a quieter environment. Being not only Irish, but also a little bit Scottish (thrifty), I am standing at the counter, typing away at this last portion of my blog. I’m still smiling…but growing weary. They just made an announcement that we have to move to a different gate. Keep your fingers crossed.
How to get luckier at the airport. Book direct flights whenever possible, even if it’s not the lowest cost fare (what’s your time worth). Have a back up plan. Know what flights are available before and after your flight(s). Have the customer service number pre-programmed into your mobile phone. When working with customer service personnel, “be polite but firm,” says Linda at Delta – the fabulous lady who helped me check in my luggage. My husband counseled me on the phone: “Write your letter, but be nice to people.” Above all, keep your sense of humor.
A good attitude and broader perspective can help us realize how lucky we are. If that plane took off on time yesterday with potentially deadly mechanical problems, the outcome might have been much more unlucky than the inconvenience that I am currently experiencing.
Key take-away: Sometimes you can be very lucky and not even realize it!