Do you believe in luck?
I've been thinking about luck a lot lately, in part because St. Patrick's Day is coming up in a couple of weeks and I'm making several of my hand stamped lucky shamrock necklaces for a customer.
People often tell me how lucky I am, especially in regards to my work, so I started thinking closely about a couple of recent events:
A former boss from about five years ago contacted me and asked if I was interested in a writing assignment. Was it luck that she contacted me out of the blue? Maybe it was luck that my name popped into her head, given the huge number of people she knows in her many years in the field. But I'm also certain that she went beyond just thinking about me to asking me because she knew me, my skills, my work ethic, and my ability to meet deadlines.
After joining an Etsy group on Facebook, I made a very short "hello everyone" post. I got a sale almost immediately from one of the members. Lucky? Well, yes. There is luck in making yourself (or your product) known to the right person at the right time. But luck had nothing to do with all the work I'd done previously to stock my shop, take good photos, write clear descriptions, and garner positive customer feedback.
I received a form letter rejection for a pair of magazine projects. Bad luck? There is an element of luck in getting accepted for publication. There are a limited number of slots and hundreds of submissions. In an effort to be diverse with the types of materials, techniques, and skill levels, the editors might not select your item, no matter how wonderful it is. Looking at my jewelry submissions with fresh eyes, I can see how they might not have been the best fit. (In fact, one of them would make a good gift for a friend's nine-year-old daughter, which tells me that it wasn't a great submission for a magazine that prides itself on being sophisticated and fashionable.)
It's easy to attribute someone's success or failure to luck, but chances are that wasn't the only factor.
"People often remark that I'm pretty lucky.
Luck is only important in so far as getting
the chance to sell yourself at the right moment.
After that, you've got to have talent and
know how to use it."