So… Can you create luck?
In Gregg Levoy’s book Callings, he devotes a chapter to synchronicity, another way to create luck in your search for your new career path. Synchronicity is a coincidence…a meaningful coincidence that can inform us, primarily through intuition.
Chemist Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”
Yes, you can create luck and Dr Richard Wiseman proves it in his book, The Luck Factor. (Read my book review here). Two things you need are to be open to opportunities (Pasteur’s quote above) and trust your instincts (Levoy’s chapter).
In order to create luck, I talk to my clients about embracing “intentional serendipity” taking action and then being open to discovering something by accident. In order to do this, you have to trust your intuition and instincts.
Our instincts have gotten us to this point in humankind after 10,000 years of trying to survive. Computers and assessments are not the only way to move forward in your career search. Trusting your hunches, those instincts that help us navigate our daily lives are useful in career searching. When you create luck, through action, then you have to trust your hunches on what that action might tell you.
So how do I help my clients create luck?
First thing I do is help them determine what their “value” is in the workplace. What makes them unique? What skills, interests, passions, character traits can help organizations to solve problems. Then I have them take action…even a small action step can create results.
My “go to” action recommendations are:
1. Informational interviews: These are not just an interview to learn about a specific occupation, but an interview to discover what else is out there. I encourage my clients to interview a person about an occupation but to ask questions like: What other jobs have you thought about doing that are similar to this? If you were to do it all over again, would you do something different? Who else in your company needs these skill sets to be successful? So they are not just looking at that specific job, but any and all other jobs that person can think of. Create luck by trusting your instincts to discover what else is out there.
2 Volunteer in an area that is related to what you are exploring. When you get there, do a good job, ask lots of questions, and seek to learn what other people do for work and get their ideas on how to your skill sets might be useful. Ask if they could introduce you to someone doing work that interests you.
3. Part time job / internships. (see above advice in #2 Volunteer)
4. Research online in sites like ONET, LinkedIn, and any other site, letting your curiosity take you anywhere that looks interesting to create luck and discover something new. I like to have my clients / students play what I call a “related occupation” game. Go to ONET or Occupational Outlook Handbook and search for an occupation of interest. Click on it, and then immediately click on the “related occupations” link without reading anything else first. What do you see there that looks interesting? Just let serendipity take its course.
What are the themes? What types of jobs did you find? What do they have in common?
Trust your instincts and go where ever you want to go. Let that serendipity help you create luck in finding a potential new job.
5. Read — just about anything from blogs, newspapers, magazines, LinkedIn posts — and pay attention to what grabs your attention. Is it “heart-felt stories?” Science? Psychology?
Case in point. A client I was working with has a 20 year background in paralegal work and had moved recently to central Maine. I sensed she was not really interested in continuing to work in the legal world and we discussed a number of options. One piece of advice I gave was to follow your instincts and do something you love to do. She was offered three jobs, two in the legal field and one was an entry level position at the Humane Society as a ‘cat tech’. She took that one because she was “excited about it”. After a very short period of time, she was offered the Program Director position.
So, was this luck? I say yes and she created it.
She created it by trusting her instincts, trying a job that she was excited about, and she was open to opportunities that were presented to her.
What stories do you have that “created luck?”
*Read more about intentional serendipity, luck, and happenstance here.
Jim Peacock is the Principal at Peak-Careers Consulting and writes a monthly newsletter for career practitioners. Peak-Careers offers discussion-based online seminars for career practitioners focused on meeting continuing education needs for CCSP, GCDF and BCC certified professionals as well as workshops for career practitioners and individual career coaching.
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Barry Davis says
Great post, Jim!
Whenever I think “luck,” I remember both Wiseman’s book and the great Barbara Sher quote from the chapter “How to Get Lucky” in her book “I could do anything, if I only knew what it was.”
Here ’tis: “The amount of good luck that comes your way depends on your willingness to act.”
Jim Peacock says
Thanks Barry, I can always count on you to jump in whenever “luck” “happenstance” or “serendipity” is involved.
Nice to see you the other day.