Imagine that you lost your job. Do you feel lucky?
Luck is more a matter of perspective than it is the roll of the dice.
If luck is a matter of random chance then mathematically every one of us is equally lucky. Whether you think you are lucky or not is irrelevant. The real question is how lucky do you feel. Because, the way you feel, will determine your approach, actions and outcome.
Consider the passengers of the plane that crash landed on the Hudson River. Were they lucky? You can imagine that there were moments during that scary nightmare that they cursed their luck. Yet after the perspective of reflection they considered themselves extremely lucky because they survived without injury. If you are someone who is afraid of flying you might consider yourself lucky for not being on that plane.
If you or a loved one has faced a fatal illness you can probably remember times when you demanded to know why you were so unlucky. After the recovery you might be thinking about how lucky you were. If that person perished – you might be thinking about how lucky you were to have known them.
If you have recently left your job involuntarily – it’s natural for you to not be feeling lucky. Perhaps a perspective shift will spotlight your luck.
Why are you lucky to lose your job today?
If you lost your job today, you have a lot of company and help available. Today it’s socially acceptable to tell your out-of-work story. Lucky you!
I entered the workforce in 1979 just as a recession was brewing. I lost my first job in 1979 and my second in 1980. My first reaction was shame and embarrassment. I didn’t let anybody know, especially family, friends and neighbours – all the people who might have helped me. From 1979 to 1983 I had eight different jobs, sometimes two at the same time. I was supporting a young family with two children. The third child arrived at the end of 1983.
You could say that I was unlucky. One company went into bankruptcy three months after I joined them – not my fault. And some of those jobs were horrible – long hours, tiny pay and jerk bosses. Mortgage rates were skyrocketing to 18%. I felt lucky when we locked in a five year mortgage at 14%.
I was lucky that I was willing to be adaptable, to tolerate the jabs to my pride and do whatever I needed to do to support my family. I was lucky that the bills were paid and we never went hungry. I was lucky that I believed that persistence would pay off. I was lucky that I decided to be bold. One job came after 6 months of my follow-up. Another, after a year of follow-up. One job was the result of a creative resume that my predecessor had stored in his desk drawer. Just luck I guess.
Of course looking back at my apparent bad luck, I think, I was lucky. That taught me the lessons to build my own business and write my bestselling book on personal marketing.
Recently the news quoted an individual who lost his job after 28 years. He was complaining. Meanwhile I was thinking, he was lucky – for 28 years all he had to do was show up and perform the same job every day. How lucky can you get?
You are lucky – if you chose to be.
You are not alone. We all have fears that we don’t care to reveal. Fear is an emotion and hence irrational. Emotions are irrational, illogical and intangible but they are still real.
We humans experience many different emotions. That includes love, hate, anger, greed, guilt, pride, compassion, lust, hope…
All are intangible and impossible to measure on any scale. Yet, our life is directed more by emotion than by any other thing. Our motivation and direction is most often guided by our emotions.
Of all the emotions we feel, the strongest is fear. You might not like to hear that but fear is the most important emotion to our survival. Fear resides in the Amygdala of our brain. That is often referred to as the Lizard brain. Why? Because it is at the top of the spinal cord and even lizards have that minuscule brain. Higher evolved species have that plus more developed brains.
The thoughtful question might be, “Why are most species equipped with the emotion of fear?” Because fear is the prime motivator for survival.
Perhaps you’ve heard a motivational speaker command you to ignore your fears. Why is the speaker telling you to ignore the strongest emotion you have? That’s funny because motivation is about emotion. Is the speaker suggesting that you ignore certain emotions while embracing others? Why? Clearly a motivational speaker doesn’t speak logically.
The speaker might even be so bold as to proclaim that fear isn’t real. They might even spout the acronym that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. That might sound cute. The motivational speaker might feel clever. But it’s nonsense.
Perhaps you’ve heard a motivational speaker or therapist command you to ignore your fears. They might have proclaimed that Fear isn’t real or specifically that your fear isn’t real.
That first statement would be a lie and the second would additionally be insulting and insensitive.
Fear is as real as any other emotion. It’s also the most powerful emotion. It’s the most important emotion to our survival.
We don’t need to live our lives in fear. We simply need to accept our fears for the illogical and powerful forces they are. When our fears seem to disrupt our progress then we need to take the time and consider the rational to manage our fears.
Acknowledge, respect and manage your fears.
At the age of 22 I declared that I only wanted to do two things with my life. I wanted to ski all winter and ride a motorycle all summer.
Instead – marriage, family, career and business took over my life. About 30 years after that initial declaration I finally got back to those two pursuits. Now either of those activities are the best part of my week
It might have taken me a lot longer than I expected – but I’m doing what I love to do.
Gary, one of my neighbours is 71 years old. He made a point of telling me that. He looks good for his age and I guess that he is proud of that.
What impressed me more was his activity.
Gary started working one day a week at the small company where his wife works. He was hired to prepare small value quotations in response to prospective queries. The boss restricted him to $2,000 jobs yet Gary managed to help the company win a $75,000 deal.
Gary decided that the business needed a website so he convinced the boss to let him build one. Gary wasn’t a web designer but he had worked in the printing business so he understood design and promotion. Now the company has a 50 page website – thanks to this old guy. How ironic.
Gary spent much of the past summer sailing remote control boats. These aren’t motorized. These are miniature sail boats controlled by remote control. He’s been building models since he was seven. And yes he is a life-size boat sailer as well. I was amused to learn that this old guy arranges sailing meets with his retired friends via email and online forums.
He told me that he wants to do some more skating because he used to play a lot of ice hockey as a child.
Archery is another of Gary’s pastimes. He has several bows. He prefers to shoot the old-fashioned way – “without all the technology of the compound bows that don’t allow you to miss”.
So how did I originally meet Gary? He is a motorcycle rider, like me. We first connected while looking down the street and noticing that “Hey you ride a motorcycle too?” We started by comparing stories about motorcycle routes. And yes – he still rides his bike. (Me too.)
71 years old and active!
Gee, I hope I will still be so active.
That was an inspirational conversation. I was cold while standing outside to chat. We were both outside to shovel show. I attacked the rest of my snow shovelling chore with more vigour.
You are reflecting on the events of the past year. Assuming that the year went perfectly, finish these sentences.
You cleaned up…
Spend some time thinking about each of those sentences. You might have more than one ending for each.
After you’ve done that answer the following question for each outcome:
What did you do to make that happen?
Powerful tips here. I’m not sure of the source. I like these tips and will expand on each in the new year. Happy New Year to you.
A long time friend emailed me these little instructions for life. Since it nicely wraps together thoughts on influence, I thought you’d appreciate it. Urban myth cites the author as the Dalai Lama. However, from what I could determine the list is actually extracted from a much larger one featured in Life’s Little Instructions Book by Jackson Brown and H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Enjoy!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE
- Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
- When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
- Follow the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others, and Responsibility for all your actions.
- Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
- Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
- Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
- When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
- Spend some time alone every day.
- Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
- Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
- Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
- A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
- In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
- Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
- Be gentle with the earth.
- Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
- Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
- Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
- Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
The calendar year 2012 is ending soon. It’s a good time to review the past year in terms of your actions and success. The two are intimately connected.
Here are some questions that you might ask yourself about the past year to help you prepare your actions and success for the next calendar year.
List your successes – big and small.
What did you do to encourage those successes?
What factors outside your control contributed to those successes?
What did you learn?
List your failures – big and small.
What did you neglect to do that contributed to those failures?
What were the factors that were beyond your control?
What did you learn?
Future ACES is a nonprofit organization that runs a weekend conference for young teens to enhance their confidence, shape their character and develop their leadership skills.
I’m delighted to speak to the students each year about how to develop their public speaking skills. I’ve spoken seven times over the past nine years. It’s challenging speaking to teens – especially when my usuall audience is composed of mangers, professionals and executives. Talking to the teens has made me a better presenter because I had to adapt my style to be more flexible and interactive.
Speaking at Future ACES is rewarding becuase I’m impressed with the good work that they do for students – and I’m glad to contribute to the betterment of our future leaders.
These teens come from a mix of cultural, racial and economic backgrounds.
As an instructor it’s my responsibility to teach and inspire them. Yet, I leave with an renewed sence of motivation every time. It’s curious how helping others can pay us back with renewed motivation.
You can not succeed until you posses the confidence to succeed. You must believe in yourself. (Yes I know that sounds cliché but it is true.)
You need the confidence to sign up. You need the confidence to drive yourself to prepare. You must have the confidence to believe that you can win. You must have the confidence to compete when family and friends doubt you. You must have the confidence to believe that you belong in the room with the other contenders. You must have the confidence to fail and get up again. You must have the confidence to work past the pain that screams stop.
Business, sports, or even social venues the same analogies apply.
Just think of all the scary things you would attempt if only you believed that you would succeed.
If you want to succeed, you need to find more confidence.
What can you do to feel more confident?
First, give yourself permission to have doubts. That is normal. A person who has no self doubts might be insane. But, your clients and competitors don’t need to hear your inner voice.
Second, give yourself permission to strut even when you might not feel that confident. If you look confident – people will believe you are confident and treat you accordingly.
Third, build small wins that make you feel good. Keep a record of those successes to boost your confidence because confidence builds on confidence. You don’t go from zero to 100 in one step. It’s a series of steps and wins over time that build your confidence.
Fourth, be willing to fail. Don’t bet the farm on long shots. Instead take small risks that test your abilities as compared to the competition. Enjoy the wins and learn from the failures. The failures also prepare you for the uncertainty of long term success. You need the failures to teach you to heal quickly.
I believe that your realistic appreciation of failure can be your biggest boost to self confidence.
The more self confidence that you feel the more you will push yourself. The result of that will be two things – more failures and more success.
If you are willing to live with that mix of results the better for you.
Imagine the Muppets and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. That has to excite you.
I’ve always found this song from Queen uplifting. Curious that one supporter of the Hamilton Around the Bay 30k Race played this every year for the runners.