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Make Your Own Luck

Have you ever noticed how some people just seem lucky? No matter where they go or what they do, opportunity seems to favor them and they’re always getting ahead. They get the guy (or gal). They get the job. They get the client. They get the promotion. They get the raise. They win the door prize. They get the freaking parking spot!

Would it surprise you to know that these “lucky” folks probably take a lot of steps that “unlucky” people don’t take? Chances are good that every day, they’re doing something to improve their “luck” – meaning it may just look like luck to those looking in from the outside, rather than what it really is: a particular way of living their lives.

If you’d like to start bringing some more luck your way, here are some things you can do to improve your odds:

  1. Expand your horizons. Be willing to socialize, meet new people, embrace networking instead of dreading it. Remember to also keep in touch with your old friends, colleagues, vendors, and clients. Check in with them once in a while to find out what they’ve been up to lately.
  2. Know what your goal is and see yourself accomplishing it – literally, in your mind, playing out like a movie. Better still if you’re acting it out instead of watching. Give thanks for achieving that goal as if it’s already happened.
  3. Give without expectation – let it be OK if people don’t send thank you notes. Lend a hand where you can. Be a mentor. Sponsor a Little League team. Giving feels great and the rewards come back to us in amazing and often unexpected ways.
  4. Learn to be spontaneous once in a while. If you’re the type who’s got every minute planned, there’s little room in your life for luck to show up. Be open to new things and interested in the world beyond your immediate surroundings. Go out of your way to meet a stranger today!
  5. Look for opportunities. Sometimes good fortune seems to fall into your lap – but just as often, opportunity knocks because you were paying attention. You followed through on that zany idea, made that call, or asked for what you wanted.
  6. Leave your comfort zone once in a while. Luck’s probably not going to fall on you while you’re staying safely hidden away from the world. Read blogs on topics you’d never considered before. Listen to a podcast about a place you’ve never been. Join Toastmasters. Take a Zumba class. See an art film or a documentary.
  7. Work hard. Really – it’s the rare lucky person who hasn’t worked hard to get where they are. The universe will see your efforts and reward you with that “lucky break.”
  8. Don’t underrate optimism. Most lucky people have a wonderfully positive outlook on life. More importantly, they expect good things to happen to them.
  9. Take setbacks in stride. No matter how much effort you put into “being lucky,” life is life and you will invariably experience the occasional obstacle. Are you going to waste time asking, “Why me?” or get right back up, shake it off, and know that tomorrow’s a new day?
  10. Focus on the present moment. This is not to say you shouldn’t make plans, but live in the now. Relish THIS moment and leave worries about the past and concerns about tomorrow for someone other unlucky schmuck.

How lucky do you want to be? You probably have a lot more control over it than you realize.

Oh, and Happy St. Pat’s!

An abbreviated version of this story originally ran in the March issue of my newsletter, The Creative Quill. If you’d like a complimentary one-year subscription, please email SubscribeQuill@writemarketdesign.com with your snail mail address.

Laura

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SEE your success before it happens

Depending on which website or biography you read, Albert Einstein imagined e=mc2himself running alongside a beam of light – or riding it. Either way, he arrived at E=MC2 – one of the most famous scientific theorems ever devised – by visualizing himself doing something extraordinary. And as a result, he arrived at a crucial conclusion that no one, to that point, had reached.

Now I’m no Einstein – nor do I really mean to compare myself to him – but I thought about the German physicist yesterday while looking up at the clouds through the window in my bathroom. The clouds were heavy – a few hours ahead of a later summer storm in Phoenix – and low enough that I could seriously study them with my naked eye. Which led me to wondering what they would look like, up close and personal. And what it would feel like to reach out and touch one? If I could build a ladder tall enough, or propel myself high enough in a helicopter without doors, that I could touch the cloud, would it have weight or substance?

touch a cloud

OK, all you weather geeks out there who already know the answer, I was an English major and mostly steered around all those science courses. I’d guess the cloud would not have weight or substantial tangibility, but wondered for a few moments what it might be like to try. The most important thing was I could see myself doing it – climbing that seemingly endless ladder or sweeping open the hatch on my hovercraft and then reaching my hand out to wave it through the mist.

I’ve been fortunate for most of my life to be able to see the things I want to create long before I sit down to create them. So much so that I’ve always believed that as long as I could imagine it – visualize it, if you will – it was as good as done. What kinds of things? Anything from a craft project to a client to a vacation.

Not everyone is a natural visualizer – but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how.

What is your next goal for your book? Finish writing it? Get it laid out and ready for the printer? Start scheduling readings and book signings? Sell 5,000 copies of you next run?

Regardless of the goal, can you SEE it happening? Can you see the reporter calling you to follow up on the news release you sent her last week? Can you see yourself on the phone for an interview with a popular book blogger or podcaster? Can you see yourself hosting a book signing at a swanky hotel or popular bookstore in a major city? Can you see yourself selling hundreds of copies of your book from the back of the room following a keynote address you give to a roomful of frenzied fans?

If these goals sound like things you’d like to achieve for your books, but you just can’t see them happening yet, perhaps you need to do some visualization practice.

Here are a few tips:

Be the doer, not the watcher. Imagine your scenario first person, as if you are standing in front visualization practiceof the room reading or signing books, not watching yourself do it.

Imagine every detail. Don’t leave anything out. Do you drive to your reading, take a taxi, or have someone pick you up? What are you wearing? Are your books already there or do you have them in a wheeled suitcase?

Engage all of your senses. Create the full experience. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch as your scenario is playing out?

Put it in writing. Committing your visualization in longhand (not at the computer) will help anchor it in your mind, and help your brain start figuring out ways to make it happen.

Keep practicing. I once taught a creativity seminar to engineers at American Express. I was new to public speaking and ridiculously nervous. What can I offer that these great minds don’t already know? Well, I found out what they didn’t know – they had no idea how to visualize. I asked them to imagine a red ball, and then change the color of the ball to blue. Then change it from a ball to a cube. Seemed like a pretty basic exercise to me, but it was really difficult for many of them, especially the men. If you can’t see something as big as yourself hosting a grand book event, start small. See yourself typing an email to inquire about the event. See yourself receiving a phone call to confirm it. Whatever you do, keep practicing!

Even if your goal seems lofty and you can’t imagine how it could come to pass, visualize. See it done. Remember, the Universe conspires to support you – as long as it knows what you want to achieve.

Here’s to SEEING your success!

Laura

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