How to create luck for yourself

How to create luck for yourself

I’ve always been a lucky person. At nine, I won a mountain bike from a gas station (that was too big for me) and later won a chest full of Disney merch in a separate drawing. Since then I’ve won clothes, cash, food, concert tickets, VIP experiences, and more. I’m also the lucky charm for folks. Once my in-laws learned about my streak they went down to a car dealership to enter a contest and walked away with a brand new car. Another friend also took up contests and has won countless things. 

Most people think of luck as something that happens to you. Maybe you are born with exceptional talent, or your career is fast-tracked. Perhaps you know someone who wins things like I do. It can seem like the stars just align for certain people. The truth is that you can actually manufacture luck if you know how and where to look for it. The book Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty explains the four types of luck and how to utilize them to become more lucky. 

Blind Luck


Blind luck is generally what people think about when they think of the term luck. This is the one category that is purely chance. There’s not really much you can do here to influence it; it happens or it doesn’t. Think of things like getting the perfect hand in a game of cards or hitting the lottery. You are receiving whatever is thrown at you. 

Luck from Motion


Let’s take it back to grade school physics. An object at rest will remain at rest until an outside force disrupts it. An object in motion will remain in motion until an unbalanced force interacts with that object. That same type of thought is applied with luck from motion. Doing nothing, and remaining still, will never positively impact your luck. However, as you put yourself in motion you are increasing the surface for luck to occur. 

This kind of luck can be increased through physical motion – putting yourself out there at meeting conferences, and meeting more people. Think about a time when you ran into someone or met someone that you walked away feeling really excited about. It can range from a new client to a person that you have admired, a potential new partner, or someone who has the knowledge and skill that you were looking for. You were lucky to meet them because you put yourself out there in the first place. 

It doesn’t have to be just physical motion either. It also includes putting yourself out there virtually. Inc Magazine tells a story about increasing your luck through writing and sharing about your work. Your thought and ideas are in motion as well and you are more likely to run into the right person for you as you share those with the public. 

Luck from Awareness


Studies show that luck is heavily influenced by behavior and not just chance. Situational awareness plays a big part in your luck. Let’s say you go to an event, but you don’t pay attention to what’s going on around you and you head home at the end of the night having made no meaningful connections. On the other hand, let’s say that you looked at the guest list beforehand and recognized the name of someone that you wanted to meet. Then you intentionally seek them out at the event. Later, you hear someone talking about A.I. and a program that you have a good amount of interest in, so you walk over and make another great connection. In the example, it’s the same night but you walk away with vastly different experiences and value. 

I’ve shared over the last couple of years about how my wife and I have gotten into the local art scene in the Atlanta area. We’ve got a list of artists that we hope to own original pieces from. We have been extremely lucky to obtain several pieces that are visually stunning and amazing deals financially. Some costs were 75% less than what a similar piece would go for. That luck has been a combination of both Luck of Motion and Luck from Awareness. We go to gallery shows and have now established friendships with many of those artists. I know what the market price is for these pieces (awareness), so when I go to a show or event (motion) and see an unusually good deal, I will scoop it up if that artist is on my list. 

Curiosity, openness, optimism, experience, and perhaps a little courage also help influence your Luck from Awareness. When you put these together, you’ll start to see luck manifest itself around you.

 Luck from Uniqueness

Luck from Uniqueness favors those who have a standout mix of hobbies, experiences, lifestyles, and behaviors. Steve Jobs spoke several times about his advice for growing a person’s intelligence – it’s typically centered around the idea that the person break the mold of what the typical profile looked like for that person. “You have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does, or else you’re gonna make the same connection and you won’t be innovative.”

By offering the public, your company, and new connections, a unique combination of skills, experiences, and interests, you’ll make yourself more likely to stand out and attract others and new opportunities. Your uniqueness makes you luckier. 

Put yourself out there, dial in your awareness of what’s going on around you, and stand out from the crowd by showcasing your uniqueness. Your luck will only increase and maybe you’ll be called the lucky one as well. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

A reminder of what you can control

A reminder of what you can control

Sometimes it just feels like you are just being tossed about during your day or week. Maybe you feel like you are crawling to the proverbial shore at the end of the day as your ship (plan) was wrecked and sunk again.

It’s not difficult to fall into a cycle of despair and even hopelessness as circumstances around you influence your life and well-being.  To help you re-establish or reinforce your control over the day, here are some reminders of the things that you do have control over both in your personal and professional life. 

What you consume


When people think of the word “consume” they may naturally think of something like eating or food. While it’s true that you have control over what you consume from a nutritional perspective, broaden that thought to other things that you consume on a regular basis. Your regular consumption includes

  • The news you read and where you get it from
  • Social media and self-image outlets
  • Entertainment
  • Knowledge (podcasts, books, videos, courses, classes, etc)
  • Interactions with your friends, family, and co-workers

Reflect on the past week. What has been a negative influence or perhaps overly influential on your thoughts and actions? Perhaps the weight of the news is dragging you down or there has been drama at the workplace that has taken up a lot of your headspace. Here are some tips to take back control of the things that you consume:

  • Find different news outlets to get your information from. Counselors will often suggest outlets outside of your country if you get too worked up by the news. They are more neutral and have no agenda to drive you toward one conclusion or another. 
  • Take social media breaks and see how it impacts your outlook on yourself and your day. 
  • Put limits on the amount of entertainment you consume to allow space for other productive things. 
  • Check your knowledge outlets for alignments with your goals and ambitions. 
  • Evaluate those that you interact with regularly. Are they adding value to you or are they toxic and need to be managed? (Show 205)

Your mental and physical fitness 


Physical and mental fitness is just good for you. There are countless studies and stories online of the benefits of physical activities including ones from the Mayo Clinic and The World Health Organization. We’ve talked at length over the years about the benefits as well including Finding Leadership in Running (PTB 170) Life Lessons from running at DisneyWhat running 37.5 miles taught me (PTB 128). 

Some tips to control your mental and physical fitness:

  • Studies share that you need 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigours exercise a week and strength training for all major muscle groups two times a week. Forget that! Do what you can. You can control going out for a 10-minute stroll. Don’t let studies that highlight how you may be coming up short hold you back. Take control of those small moments to give yourself the break and conditioning you need. 

  • Read a book or engage in some mentally stimulating activity. At my current stage, it’s mostly working on art with a little bit of reading. Neither one, do I spend a large block of time on except perhaps the weekend. Take control of small segments here as well.  What does that look like for you?

  • Find reading or fitness apps to help get you started and stay motivated. You can find an endless amount of fitness apps out there. I use Caliber for strength training; it’s free and includes plans and videos based on what you have available at your house. I use Apple Fitness for my aerobic, core, and additional strength work. 

Find things that you have an interest in and carve out time to take of both your mind and body. 

Your work ethic


No matter what others do, or don’t do, no one has control over your work ethic except for you. For better or worse, the choices you make in how you do your work are yours alone. Need resources to help drive a strong work ethic? Check out: 

Your work ethics are your calling card. More than anything, it’s how people know and think of you. 

How you approach and deal with people

How do you show up for people that you interact with? Even in those tough circumstances that may rock our day, we still ultimately own and have the power over how we interact with others and come across in conversations.  How well do you control your approach with others? Are you a reflection of your day; nice on a good day and distraught during the bad days? 

Be mindful to be consistent in how you interact with others. Most times it should be effortless; it’s your authentic self where you (hopefully) want to add value to others. At other times, you’ll need to make the choice to be super intentional to keep steady in all the negative noise of the day. Don’t let your day influence who you are. Let yourself influence how your day is going to be. 

If you look more online at the types of things that you can control, you’ll find a myriad of opinions out there ranging from a list of 100 down to an article saying that you can only control one thing. Evaluate your day. What do you have influence over that you perhaps don’t give yourself enough credit or power over right now? Get a solid grasp on those things you can control as you get ready to let go of the things that you can’t control. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Fuel your friendships – Part 2

Fuel your friendships – Part 2

“How did this happen?”

This was Max Dickins asked himself as he thought about proposing to his girlfriend and realized that he didn’t have any close friends that she could ask to be his best man.  Max considers himself to be an outgoing guy with decent manners, but as he began to go through his contacts he realized that he had plenty of colleagues, acquaintances, and work friends, but no close personal friends. He also realized that he was using his girlfriend’s social network as they all hung out together. 

Maybe you are a little like Max. Your work is the main social connection and any connections to others in your personal are really due to other people’s friends. Perhaps you don’t have close friends that are truly your own. 

Hope’s not lost! Today we continue with our tips to help fuel your friendships. (See part 1 here)

Cadence


A good cadence of connection has always been my life raft when it comes to close friendships. All the other tips are easier to do when there is a good rhythm in place. I’ve also found that when that rhythm gets off, everything else is harder to do as well, action takes more action, time takes more time, etc. 

What that cadence looks like is all up to you and your friend to decide. Mine have looked quite different depending on the person, the shared connection, and life stage. Some included

  • Meeting twice a month to train for a team adventure race
  • Attending a weekly Men’s Accountability group
  • Going on twice-weekly rucks with friends
  • Weekly band practice
  • Quarterly lunches together

Other activities that keep a good cadence:

  • Monthly outdoor activities
  • Book clubs
  • Dinner parties
  • Fun group chats
  • Game nights

There are so many ways to connect and ingrain a good cadence of connection with the other person. 

Imagination


What your friendship becomes is only limited by your imagination. Yes, they can make great accountability partners (EP 191 How an accountability partner can help you on your journey) But can your friendship be more? I know couples that are close friends with each other that go on vacation together and help raise all their children together. Another one gave a kidney to his friend. A different pair go speaking engagements together. 

Sometimes we think of friendships as that ultimate cheerleader, cheering us on from the sidelines as we triumph and encouraging us when we struggle. Your imagination will keep you out of that dynamic and you are an active part of each other’s lives. 

Grace


All the things before this one; Time, Situational Awareness, Action, Cadence, and imagination are all great…. but no one is perfect.  You can’t live up to all of those expectations and nor will your friend. 

Grace is a true gift that you should freely give to close friends. It may be easy to write off someone you don’t know very well when an interaction goes south. Your close friends shouldn’t be that dispensable. They are worth your forgiveness and grace. You can show them grace by:

  • Letting go of grudges, jealousy, and slights against you
  • Extend your hospitality to them and those close to them
  • Don’t wait to be asked for help
  • Be a good listener, even when it’s difficult (ep 303)
  • Be graceful in how you communicate
  • Give without expectation 

Be flexible with each other and remember that sometimes the seasons in your life will dictate a change in the dynamic of the friendship. Be graceful with each other as your friendship flexes during those times. 

The story about Max is what led him to do a lot of research specifically about Men and friendship, and wrote a book called: Billy No-Mates: How I realized Men Have a Friendship Problem. Max sums up his advice for growing friendships as, “Show up when you’re asked. Go first when you are not asked, and keep going even when it’s hard.” He ended up with two people in the best man role by the time his wedding came around. 

Gain and nurture your close friendships. They’ll be there when you need someone the most. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Todays Show in art form
Fuel your friendships – Part 1

Fuel your friendships – Part 1

I can honestly say that I have been blessed with some amazing friendships over the years.  My closest friends have been there to celebrate the great times and to support me during the hardest times of my life. 

Great friendships always bring out the best in you and the other person. They are the funniest, generous, and caring, in their own way, with those friends that they are closest with. Here are some tips to fuel great relationships. 

Time


The first step could be the most powerful and likely the largest hurdle to any friendship; time. Friendship takes time and for many adults, time can be in short supply, especially without good time management skills. 

In order to build a friendship that lasts, it takes a time investment. One study estimates that it takes 40-60 hours with someone to turn that person from an acquaintance to a casual friend. Invest a total of 80-100 hours to elevate the casual friendship into something else. 

The time gate is also the reason you find many of your friendships where you spend lots of time anyway like, work, school, church, and extracurricular activities. Sometimes that time investment is over a long period of time, think about someone you may see during your extracurricular activity (softball, soccer, volunteer, etc) vs someone that you became fast friends with because of life circumstances. 

If you want impactful friendships and relationships it will take some kind of time investment on your part. 

Situational Awareness


Typically as you get older, your social circles begin to settle and tighten. Routines aren’t a bad thing and you are actually being exposed to more future friendships than you may realize. 

Fueling new friendships takes paying attention to your environment and discovering new friendships in unexpected ways. It’s now a normal occurrence to hear stories of people becoming friends in online games and becoming best friends in real life. Look in the online forums that you frequent. Who have you bumped into while on your errands and out and about in your town? Perhaps there is someone in a different department at work that you find interesting. There are lots of places that are in your normal routines for that next friend. 

Neha is a great example of that for me. We initially met a few years ago as we volunteered at the Atlanta Chapter of the Association for Talent Development. At first, that time investment was slow, but it sped up as we got to know each other more and discovered several shared interests. Now she’s celebrating a year and a half as our podcast co-host. 

Don’t limit your situational awareness to just new connections. Look around at some people who perhaps have entered your circle of influence for a little while now. What connection may be good to take to the next level?

Action


Time and awareness hold little value if you don’t take action to advance the friendship. Action does take a dose of courage. You need to be willing to step out of your comfort zone at times to put yourself out there for the other person. The beginning stages of a strong friendship can seem a bit like dating. You see something in a person and you may need to step out to make a connection to get things started.

Not all action is created equal at the beginning of a friendship. Some may just easily happen with a little extra effort. I’ve made lots of friends by being paired up with people in both military and civilian training environments. The action hurdle is lowered when you are together morning, noon, and night. 

Outside of time, action may be the hardest part of keeping a strong friendship going. Friendship can be work. It takes thought, intentionality, and effort. All that effort may seem hard or discouraging, but remember the joy and connectedness that you, and the other person, experience as a result. 

Friendships won’t grow without action, and that’s ok for a large population that you encounter. Nurture those relationships that you want to have in your personal and professional life. The benefits of friendships include:

  • A stronger sense of purpose and belonging
  • Reduced stress and increased happiness
  • Higher self-confidence and self-worth
  • Support systems during challenging times
  • Guardrails during major life choices

Bonus Tip – Reconnection


Perhaps you’ve had strong relationships in the past and for whatever reason, you both drifted away. This is a natural part of life and is a natural conclusion for some friendships as the dynamics between the two change. Other times there is an opportunity to reignite those friendships.

A years-long pandemic certainly impacted many relationships across the world. I was not immune to this and found many of my friends that I used to spend my time with were not as close anymore, because of the isolation caused by the heights of COVID-19. I would encourage you to not give up on those relationships if you feel like there is still value in the friendship. Reinvest some time, and take action to re-engage. 

Next week, we’ll continue to look at the ways to fuel your friendships by talking through grace, imagination, and cadence. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Todays show in art form
The power of thank you

The power of thank you

Two of the most powerful words that you can speak are, “Thank you.”  Showing appreciation and gratitude are gestures that no one can ever get enough of. It can make someone’s day, pull someone out of a bad frame of mind, and affirm their behavior. 

Don’t fight charity and gifts


Many people have a tendency to fight charity and gifts. You’ve likely seen someone playfully argue with someone else about getting a meal paid for. “You really don’t have to do that. No, no, I can pay for my own stuff. You don’t have to do that.” Maybe you’ve said those things to someone!

Part of the problem is that we can have difficulty accepting gifts. It can be rooted in a sense of pride or guilt that you don’t have anything to give in return. When you fight back against a gift or charity you are robbing the joy from the giver. They shouldn’t have to argue, playfully or seriously, to give you something.  If you receive a gift or service, simply thank the person for the gesture and show your appreciation. Doing so affirms that they gave you something of value and makes them feel good for doing so. 

Convey the meaning and impact of your thanks


Saying thanks and thank you can turn into the phrase, “How are you doing?” It’s a pleasantry that we truly don’t expect any answer back other than fine or good. Be sure to share the meaning and impact of your thanks from time to time to break up the monotony of just simply saying thanks. 

Tell the person why you are thankful. “Thanks for doing this for me. This is really going to save me some time on my project.” “Thank you for mowing the yard. I know it’s a lot of work and hot out there today. It looks awesome!”

Giving them the why and impact of the thanks conveys an extra sense of appreciation and acknowledgment of what the person did for you. 

Show thanks and gratitude in other ways. 


Words are powerful and your actions can back those words up. Gifts, gestures, service are just a few of the ways you can show your gratitude besides just words. Don’t just do things for others after they first do something for you. Be proactive in looking for ways to surprise and delight others with your thanks appreciation and gratitude. Here are some areas to discover how you can show your gratitude:

  • Find out what their favorite snacks/restaurants.
  • Discover what their hobbies and interests are. 
  • Understand what they love to do. 
  • Understand what they really don’t like to do. 

Are you saying thanks enough? Do your actions convey the same message? Increase your gratitude and strengthen your relationships. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH