If you want to have a successful career in business, then you need to know the three most important factors that can help you achieve your goals. They are (in no particular order) luck, talent and timing.
At first glance you may laugh it off, but if you dive into things then you’ll realize I’m not wrong. Success comes in many ways, but if you’re going to be successful then you need at least two of those factors to be in place, and the most successful people have all three at the same time. If you don’t have them working for you, you face an uphill battle.
Let me explain. You can be the most talented person in the world, or you can be the most knowledgeable on a specific topic -- but if no one knows about your ideas, then success will be unattainable. On the flipside, you could be in the right place at the right time and meet the right people, but long-term success won’t come unless you truly know what you’re doing. And in both those situations, a little luck never hurt.
Some people will tell you that you make your own luck, and to some extent I agree. If you plan on being successful, it takes hard work -- and that work has to be applied to two specific areas. The first is in learning your craft; the second, in networking within your chosen area.
Learning your craft is a long-term, full-time exercise. You are never truly finished learning a craft. Master craftspeople will tell you they practice their whole lives and are always improving. The same goes in business, because the dynamics of business are continually changing. You have to learn from those around you and act like a sponge for knowledge. That process can create talent -- which of course is a key piece, even a core requirement, for your success.
Networking is the other area where you need to focus your efforts. Networking means cultivating relationships and interacting with people, if only for the purposes of sharing knowledge. It means reaching out to people to ask them questions and engage with them when you have no ulterior motives at play.
Some people are “users,” which means they clearly only network in situations where they think they can benefit. If you’re of no immediate use to them, they won’t give you the time of day.
These people will never succeed in a meaningful way. They may end up with money, but they’ll end up with very little personal integrity. You want to network in a way that is genuine and about listening and learning from other people, and sharing your knowledge with them. Don’t look for the quick hit, but rather try and build a series of truly meaningful relationships. Be honest, be open and always be full of personal integrity.
If you treat your networking in this way, then you do tend to make your own luck -- and as the Rolling Stones sing, “Time Is On Your Side”! Timing can be at your disposal as well if you cultivate and foster good relationships because people will think highly of you, and when the time comes for something good, they’ll know whom to call. Be genuine in these relationships and success can follow closely behind simply because you aren’t overtly looking for it. I know there’s a cliché in there somewhere, that success finds those least searching for it.
Scientists and businesspeople, as well as creative artists and musicians, all work hard at their careers. They learn a craft and they network with others to share their insights. They develop their talent, and they try to create their own luck, and along that path they can achieve success.
So my advice to you is simple. Foster strong interpersonal relationships while you develop your own talents, and success will be at your doorstep. And if you operate in this way and are genuine in your interactions, then luck will come your way.