lucky_2013

Some might view the year 2013 with trepidation. It's the only year ending in "13" that most of us will ever see. But rather than see this as an unlucky number, here are seven ways to focus on good luck in your business this year.

  • Believe in luck. You may think of luck as random chance, but Seneca, the Roman politician and philosopher, pointed out that it can be controlled. Luck, he said, "is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."
  • Canadian humourist and economist Stephen Leacock (or possibly Thomas Jefferson—historians differ) simplified the concept even further. "I'm a great believer in luck," Leacock said. "And I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."
  • Many people seem to encounter good luck because they actively seek out opportunities to win. They constantly put their best efforts into meeting new prospects, bidding on contracts, experimenting with product and service innovation or applying for awards.
  • Know the odds. In your business, you need consistent small wins to maintain confidence, but you also need breathtaking, long-shot objectives that require immense effort and get everyone on the team excited. Balance the effort you put into the easy victories and the big ones.
  • Winners are often determined by sheer luck; sometimes the margin of difference is miniscule. Think of a World Cup hockey game that ends in a shootout, or an Olympic sprinter or skier who wins the gold medal by less than a tenth of a second. Make sure your team stays motivated to perform by understanding the difference between finishing second and being a loser
  • Change your perspective. Basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain wore the number 13 on his jersey throughout his 13-year NBA career. He always maintained 13 was an unlucky number—for his opponents.
  • The superstition surrounding "unlucky 13" is mainly a product of western culture; it is not the norm in Asia, for instance. This is a useful reminder of how important it is to focus on foreign markets—which now account for an ever-increasing share of global economic activity—and to recognize cultural differences whenever you enter a new market. What works in some markets may be less lucky in others.

The fear of No. 13 is so common it has its own name: triskaidekaphobia. But leave the trembling to your competitors. As you navigate through 2013, recall the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt: the only thing to fear is fear itself.

Rick Spence is the Toronto-based author of the Canadian Entrepreneur blog and a consultant on marketing, strategy and business growth. You can reach him at rick@rickspence.ca.

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