Let’s start with a confession: I tricked you by including luck in those options. The fact is, undeniably luck exists. As my friend Scott likes to remind me: “you’re a member of the lucky sperm club.” At first, I disagreed with him because that phrase is usually about a silver spoon, but, the truth is, I was lucky to be born healthy and intelligent. I was lucky to be born in the USA. And, even though I was abandoned and placed in an orphanage, I was lucky to be adopted by two great, loving parents. But, in my opinion, when it comes to success, that’s about where the luck stops and the work begins. Of course, it’s more exciting to tell stories about wild, lucky adventures where you barely survive with your life! The more boring truth is that, in most cases, luck is an illusion that comes when timing and hard work intersect. Here’s what I’ve learned in my career about the golden trio of hard work, timing and luck and how it has affected my success.
1. It’s All About Perspective.
I’ve failed. Hard. Over and over. I’m talking getting-fired-from-my-own-company failed.
Or have I?
Can you truly call it a failure if that moment was simply one data point on a slope to success that led to the founding of myMatrixx, my pharmacy tech company that I founded, grew to profitability, and ultimately exited at $250mm?
In the moment, failure feels like failure. In retrospect, failures are your friends and your best teachers — the ones that lift you up to your next achievement.
2. Focus On How You Finish, Not How You Started
We can’t control how we get our start in this life, and the sooner we realize it does not define us or where we end up, the better. As you might imagine, academic achievement was not coffee table chitchat in the trailer park I grew up in. Instead, I was often beat up by the neighborhood bully and ridiculed for having a big nose. But my parents encouraged my curiosity, recognized my rebel spirit, and encouraged me to explore my many interests. I distinctly remember my dad telling me “you’re smart enough to accomplish anything you set your mind to.” Their belief in me was the first investment I received towards my future success.
We’re all born with advantages and disadvantages. Which forges greater strength? Is it easier to succeed when everything has always been handed to you? Perhaps, though, while some people may use the advantages to advance, others may come to expect success and become complacent and bitter. The timing and intensity with which you invest your time and effort matter more. Hard times build character. Hard work enables you to beat the odds of random luck.
3. My Take On Timing
You’re more likely to hit the right timing if you are relentless in your pursuit of your goals and observe opportunity gaps no one else is running to. Someone who lives and breathes passion is going to be immersed in it – talking to others about it, making connections and finding opportunity. The more time you spend working towards what you want and studying the full landscape of a market, the more likely you are to just happen to stumble upon your life-changing opportunity. 99% of the time “the right place at the right time” is the place where you’ve got your head down to the critical work necessary to achieve your goals.
4. It’s Okay To Be Different
As an adventurist by nature, I can assure you that, without hard work, the world is definitely out to destroy you. Everything dies. Animals eat other animals. Too hot and you die. Too cold and you die. Don’t find water to drink and you die. Just about everything can (and will) kill you. I understand those who feel the world is against them. It is. So what. Get over it. If you’re lucky enough to be born in a country that rewards entrepreneurship and success, then you get to choose how you live. Be different. Look at life as a great adventure. Take charge of your life and actively control your destiny. Life is (hopefully) long. Be open to the world, be open to what the obstacles are trying to teach you. There is no single path to success. Your sweat equity is the single greatest indicator of your likelihood to succeed.
When you die how will you be remembered? We are all the authors of our own life story. What are YOU going to write? Ready to make me a believer in your world-changing idea? Reach out here.
Enjoy the Ride!