During the week of St. Patrick’s Day, luck is on our minds. We may think, “When will I get my lucky break? When will it be my turn?” We may feel overlooked for things like promotions and raises.
From the outside, it can appear that those who are successful did it overnight. We can be left wondering how they were so lucky to get such a great title or to make so much money.
Unfortunately, a pile of horseshoes, four leaf clovers, and rabbits’ feet cannot bring enough luck to create success at work. Professional success is something that is built over years, from the ground up.
By the time someone gets a corner office, chances are good that they’ve spent many years climbing the corporate ladder to get there. In Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers, he describes the “10,000-Hour Rule.” Gladwell says that the key to being an expert at anything comes down to practice – 10,000 hours to be exact.
But, it’s often not until the successful executive gets the big promotion that they catch our eye. We don’t see them hard at work for years and years. We notice the physical signs of success like expensive shoes, beautiful jewelry, or a shiny car that go along with their new title.
Former NFL football player Jack Youngblood said, “Good luck is a residue of preparation.” He’s right. In order to truly be successful, a routine of preparation is key.
To create success in our own lives, we must try to stop focusing on others accomplishments. Instead, we should try to refocus our energy on our own daily routine. The more we strive to be consistent and to grow, the more we will find success in our own lives
Creating success is also about doing more. It’s not about doing what’s expected and stopping there. It’s about asking for extra projects and learning new skills on our own. It’s about going beyond our job description – without being asked.
I recently interviewed two successful executives who received internal promotions within their own organization. Internal promotions are a frustrating area for many employees, as they often feel overlooked. I asked the executives to share what it was that allowed them to be recognized, and to be promoted internally multiple times. In both cases, their answers were the same. They expanded their educations on their own. They asked for more projects and responsibilities that were outside of their core skillsets. And, they introduced new ideas to the organization. It turns out that luck wasn’t part of the equation at all.
If you find yourself racking your brain about what’s missing in your career, it may be time to take a step back. Rather than waiting to be the chosen one, think of ways to create your own path and success on your terms. And, realize it’s not possible at every office. There are times when creating success may mean leaving your current company.
Whichever path you choose, you can create your own lucky break through hard work.