Yes, we know. We dedicated an entire article recently explaining why your success (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with luck. We’re not reversing course. In fact, we’re doubling down. Success isn’t about luck in the truest sense of the word – success or failure brought on by chance. While there are outside factors that can contribute to the success of your business or your career, there is a lot you can do to help propel yourself and your company forward. That’s what we want to explore today.
Think You Can
Remember Watty Piper’s “The Little Engine That Could?” What made that train successful? It wasn’t luck. It wasn’t timing. It wasn’t happenstance. It was grit and determination. It was that engine telling herself over and over again, “I think I can. I think I can.” With each utterance, that train leaned in and pressed forward until she reached the crest of the hill and could glide down the other side. That uphill climb wasn’t easy for the little engine. This was a small engine previously only used to move cars around the station. This hill, this was a new untested challenge, but the small engine was determined and had faith in herself. “I think I can.” That’s you. Sure, there’s more to success than simply saying you’re going to be successful. Meeting your goals, however, starts with the belief that you can and you will.
There’s a simple truth about taking gorgeous photos of children and animals: simply take a lot of photos. Sure, there’s something to be said for skill set and for having the right tools. Even the most talented photographers using the best photography equipment, however, know that grabbing the real money shot can require sheer volume. Your impish toddler may not sit still long. Your adorable puppy may be ready to bound off after a leaf blowing in the wind. If you want to capture a bit of magic on digital “film” you need to just keep shooting because somewhere in that array of frames is the perfect image. How does this translate to your career success? The more you put yourself out there, the more connections you make, the more opportunities you jump on, the more challenges you embrace, the more you learn, the more you grow, the more likely success becomes.
Take (Calculated) Risk
No one was ever successful playing it safe. Okay, maybe some folks reach a level of comfortable existence by playing it safe, but ultimately, remaining in your lane, tucked tight in your box and all those other proverbs that go along with it is going to land your career at a plateau. If you want to reach new heights, whether that’s advancing your career, pursuing your own entrepreneurial dreams, or achieving a personal goal you’ve set for yourself, you’re going to have to stretch and get uncomfortable. That means taking a risk. Let’s be clear, though, all risk isn’t the same.
Reckless risk taking does not land you at long-term success. We’re talking about calculated risk. This is doing your homework. It’s understanding your market. It’s taking honest assessment of your skills and what it’s going to take to expand those skills to achieve your dreams. But once you’ve done your due diligence, shake things up and make things happen!
Be Willing to Fail
Potential failure comes along with taking risk. While we’re on the subject, putting yourself out there to network or for job interviews or for relationships comes with the risk of rejection. You need to be okay with that. You need to be willing to stumble and fall. Don’t fear failure. As we’ve discussed before, failure can offer us invaluable lessons if we’re willing to pay attention.
Sure, sometimes opportunity knocks. Sometimes it sneaks in a window. Make your plans, but be willing to change them. Be adaptable. If your approach to the goal isn’t working, then be ready to shift gears and try another angle. Be willing to redefine the goal itself if you need to. Don’t be so locked into one idea and one path that you make success difficult to achieve. Successful people are adaptable people.