You are as Lucky As You Believe

March 1, 2016

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.