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

Facelifts, overhauls, and funerals

Facelifts, overhauls, and funerals

We officially crossed the halfway point in the year. How is the year going for you? Are you on track for the goals that you set out for yourself? Have the goals already been thrown out the window and you are in survival mode?  It’s a great time to take a moment and look at what we need to adjust for the rest of the year.

What needs a tweak or an overhaul and what do you need to have a funeral for in order to have a productive 2nd half? 

What needs just a facelift?

Sometimes we are on track (or just a hair off) of where we would like to be in our personal goals, business models and/or in our relationships. Evaluate important areas of your business and personal life. Is there anything that you’d give yourself a B+ in? Those areas are perfect examples of what could use a little tweak to take it over the top. More than likely, it will just take a little more consistency and accountability to get there. 

Tips to successfully make small adjustments

  • Be intentional in scheduling the activity on your calendar.
  • Ask others to hold you accountable in the area identified. 
  • Set reminders on your phone. 
  • Consider getting up earlier to give you more space in your schedule and routine. 

What needs an overhaul?

In assessing the key parts of your professional and personal life, there may be things that need to be overhauled or rebuilt from the ground up. Don’t be hard on yourself or your team that this needs to take place; instead, learn about what led to this point and use that learning to take a significantly different approach.

Tips to succeed in making overhauls

  • Bring in help to give you a different perspective and expertise on the issue or challenge. 
  • Use the 5 Whys Technique to determine the root cause of the need for change. 
  • Drop the talk and take the action towards behavior change. 
  • Let go of the thought process, “It’s always been done this way.”

Be sure that the identified area that needs to be overhauled actually gets it. In 2013 Yahoo! unveiled its new logo proclaiming at the time, “This represents a significant evolution of the logo. (The purple) is far richer, deeper.”  As you can see, the change was far less of an overhaul and more of a font change and slight color tweak. The design community was not impressed. They are currently on their third design in 10 years. 

Go all-in on your overhaul and don’t stop short by just tweaking the issue. Just as in Yahoo!’s case, you’ll end back up at the drawing board.

What needs a funeral?

I don’t think I’ve met anyone that loves going to funerals. They aren’t fun for obvious reasons. Some things in your life may need that funeral so that you can finish the year in a healthy way. You may need to cut ties with a “friend” or someone close to you. 

The funeral could be for a habit or other activity in your life that drags you down. Be unapologetic and put it to rest.  More than likely your mind and body have been screaming at you for attention in this area. 

Tips to successful funerals

  • Fully commit to making the drastic changes necessary and then do it. Do not go back. 
  • Establish new activities, routines, and habits to replace the old ones.  Remember it takes 66 reps of activity before it changes your neural links and becomes a habit. 
  • Find a true accountability partner to help you transition well. 
  • Take time to morn if necessary and reward yourself as you take on a new journey.

Make the necessary changes in your life, both big and small, to have a great back half of the year. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

How to handle toxic people

How to handle toxic people

No doubt you’ve come across at least one toxic person within your work environment, school, or circle of friends. These people bring you down more than they lift you up. They can be verbally abusive, non-supportive, and emotionally draining.  

You may not be in a situation where you can remove yourself from interacting with the person so here are some tips on how to identify if a person is toxic and steps to handle this type of person. 

Signs of toxic people


You may be involved with someone that is toxic and not even realize it because it’s subtle or you have grown accustomed to it.  

  • You feel drained afterward an interaction. This can be emotionally, mentally or even physically depending on the person. 
  • They never give a true compliment. Their “words of encouragement” are backhanded compliments, sarcasm or just plain rude. 
  • They are very focused on themselves. They get jealous easily, resent others wins, see themselves as a victim and they have no interest in your personal life or what is important to you. They also rarely apologize because they don’t see themselves in the wrong. 
  • They are forceful. Toxic people typically don’t respect boundaries, are aggressive with others to get what they want, and don’t take no for an answer. They can be relentless in their pursuit to fill their own need or want. 

Getting your life back


The first thing to consider is possibly removing the person or yourself from the circumstances that put the two of you together.  This could be difficult depending on the length and type of relationship involved. Include others like a counselor or mentor if needed to help you navigate the situation. 

Here are some tips if you have to deal with a toxic person. Each step is going to require you to have a real and honest conversation with the person. 

  • Build your self-awareness. Reflect on your relationship with the other person. Do you unknowingly support the behavior by giving in to demands or by giving them more attention then they need? There may be opportunities to make some adjustments here to begin pulling back the power of the relationship from the other person.
  • Establish boundaries.  Think about how the toxic person breaks your trust, invades your personal space or time and set clear boundaries with the person. Be fair and to the point. 
  • Be honest and give feedback.  It’s okay to be assertive and to the point. “When you _____activity_____ I get/feel/become ____emotion_____. I need ________ going forward. I wanted you to know this because__________ (It impacts my work and I want to have a good relationship with you, I care about you, I want us both to do well, etc)
  • Hold them accountable and keep the power. Now that you have had that tough conversation, the situation will only improve with your commitment to keeping them accountable. Call them out matter of factly and keep emotions in check when they cross your establish boundaries.  If they are especially needy, hold your response unless it’s convenient for you or absolutely necessary to solve a larger issue. An example fo this would be someone inundating you with texts. Turn off notifications and get back to them later.

A toxic person does not have to dominate and control your happiness and quality of life.  Take time to identify if they are a truly toxic person, take stock in what’s important to you, and how the relationship is holding you back. Find counsel and follow these actionable steps to bring balance and boundaries in the relationship. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

The value of your audience size

The value of your audience size

We as a society can get caught up in numbers. It’s easy to start attaching our self-worth to the number of likes that we get, the followers we have and comments we receive across social media platforms. I know people who have let the pursuit of numbers fully consume them and miss out on opportunities to connect with others in the real world because they are focused on their next post. 

Two of the most common questions I get from people interested in starting their own podcasts are: How many listeners do you have and how quick can you start getting ad revenue? My answer to both is, I don’t know. Neither is the reason why I started this endeavor. 

An audience of one


Just because I don’t keep track of our weekly podcasts numbers doesn’t mean I don’t have an idea of who our audience is. We announced on our birthday week that we now have Baton Carriers in 101 different countries. Even with the large group that we are blessed to have I still write to you as an individual and you’ll often hear John and I talk about the table for three on the show. John, myself and you. It’s all I’m concerned with. 

I regularly run across people that think they aren’t true leaders until they lead a certain number of people or obtain a certain title. They are looking for a sense of arrival when there is none in leadership. Even if you have zero followers you can lead your peers well by modeling great leadership behaviors. Focus on leading your one very well and you’ll be asked to lead more in the future. Let tomorrow worry about itself. 

Hold on to your why


As your audience grows, there is a strong temptation to change who you are to match the trends of the day. Dale Partridge discusses this cycle in this book People Over Profit. You start out in the Honest Era, being defined by your values. You become successful and start chasing more in the Efficient Era. You begin to compromise yourself in the Deceptive Era and then you try to right the ship in the Apologetic Era.  You can think about any large company are trace how they have gone through this cycle, sometimes multiple times. The same cycle also applies to our personal life in regard to growing an audience and influence. 

Hold on to your Why so you don’t fall into the cycle that Dale talks about. It’s your North Star to keep you focused on staying in the right direction. Check your compass by evaluating yourself, your team, and your organization to ensure that your values still hold true and your values on the wall haven’t turned into just another decoration. I typically do this personally and professionally a couple of times a year. 

When you find yourself drifting from your Why, apologize and right yourself as quickly as possible even if it means letting go of some of your audience. 

Just start


After the numbers and equipment questions, future podcasts often reveal how they are overwhelmed with getting great music, a logo, format, and quality sound. That fear and sense of perfection cause many people to never even start their show and once they do, most shows don’t go past number 7. 

I mean, have you listened to PTB Episode 1?

It’s two guys who are huddled around one mic and not knowing a thing about podcasting. We didn’t even know how to record the show! I think it took me 5 hours to write the first intro music for the show. 

……But we did it. 

You can do it too. Just start. Start leading yourself well today. Start working on that project you’ve wanted to do today. Start that podcast as a full-on amateur hour basement show.  Don’t worry about being perfect for an audience of 1000 that you don’t have (yet). Do it for yourself or a friend or family member. I just want you to start and then figure it out from there. 

Your audience size truly does not matter. What matters is that you are willing to influence others, one person, at a time. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

How an accountability partner can help you on your journey

How an accountability partner can help you on your journey

An accountability partner is able to perceive what you can’t see when blind spots and weaknesses block your vision.
 -Charles Stanley 

I have really appreciated the accountability partners that I have had over the years. They were there when I had no one else to talk to, there to listen when I had something really embarrassing to talk through, and they were there to help me formulate my goals. An accountability partnership can be a great two-way road of added value to each party. 

There are all types of accountability partners

An accountability partner can fit into just about any scenario of your life. Here are just a few of the types that you will find out there. 

  • Exercise/health
  • Spiritual
  • Academic
  • Life coach
  • Men/women
  • Business
  • Support groups

They help keep your goals on track

A good partner can certainly help you stay on track with your goals. If they are honest, they will call out areas where you have slacked off or veered away from your intended target. Think of your accountability partner like the bumpers that go up for kids (and some adults!) at the bowling alley. They ensure that no matter what, you hit your target. 

They help take your excuses away

An accountability partner certainly helps keep the excuses away. You might not want to go to the gym at 5 AM, but if you know that Scott is going to be there and waiting for you, you’re more likely to get out of bed. No matter the situation, you are more likely to hit your commitments when you have to meet with someone and/or show your progress. Excuses can dominate our goals when we try to do it alone. 

They give you a different perspective

Although your partner is walking alongside you, they are not in your shoes and they have a unique perspective based on their own life journey. This gives you a different perspective on your hurdles, struggles, and challenges. Maybe you aren’t looking at the problem right. You could be totally off base and not even know it.

People have blinders. You have blinders. It’s a common occurrence when I’m pointing opportunities out at a  business and the leader says, “I’ve never seen that,” or “I can’t believe I haven’t noticed that.” Although it makes me look like an eagle-eyed coach, that’s not always the case. The leader has put up blinders because they are there every day. When I go into a new location, I don’t carry those blinders. It’s the same in your life. Your partner doesn’t have the same blinders and can point out the obvious to you. 

They give you someone to celebrate with

What better person to celebrate your personal win with than the person who has been involved in your journey? There is true joy in sharing your victory with someone who truly understands just how challenging it has been and how hard you worked to get to your goal. 

An accountability partner can help you in just about any situation. Connect with the right one and reach your goals in a more efficient and enjoyable way.  

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH