How many times do we see someone achieving something we’ve always dreamed of, and say to ourselves, “what a lucky guy/gal?”

During times of stress and upheaval—like we’re experiencing right now, amidst our national response to COVID-19—it’s easy to look at anything positive as a “stroke of luck.”

I mean, we always know that there’s more than luck involved. But when we phrase it that way, it’s kind of a way to comfort ourselves, massage our egos a little, and say to ourselves, “wow, they got lucky—if we could ever get a break, we’d be right there with them.”

And I’ll bet you have some friends or colleagues for whom everything always seems to break the right way, whether it’s winning a door prize at the business luncheon, finding the best parking space, or getting the last donut in the break room. “Lucky dogs!”

Well, there may be more than luck at work here. While there is often a certain randomizer that comes into play that may determine the end result, quite often there are other factors at work that set up that lucky duck with a better chance to win than you or me….because they’ve worked a little bit to MAKE their own luck.

Take the guy who wins that door prize. You may not realize it, but he hasn’t missed that monthly luncheon in the last three years.  While you make it to every third or fourth one, he’s there religiously, watching the numbers on his ticket, and every so often comes back to the office with a gift card or goodie basket. The world belongs to those who show up, and by staying involved and engaged, he’s made himself a lot more likely to get lucky.

Or the friend who always seems to get a great parking space. She pulls into the parking lot and keeps her eyes peeled for shoppers with bags, and the directions they’re heading. She looks ahead and checks the rows, and avoids the ones with other parking space hunters. And while she’s moving down row, she’s checking out the ones on either side for vacancies. You or I may be content just to cruise the aisles and take what comes, but she’s invested in the outcome enough to improve her odds, and make herself luckier.

Now I know may be getting a little silly here, and very few of us consider strategizing our parking lot runs quite that seriously. But my point is this: whatever your goal, large or small, you can make your luck a whole lot better with a little groundwork.

When my new book came out last fall, Every Job is a Sales Job: How to Use the Art of Selling to Win at Work, a few folks congratulated me on finally getting my lucky break in the publishing industry. Well, let me tell you—there was a whole lot more than just luck involved.

My “overnight success” was the result of capturing many years of relatable experiences and ,translating those into a cohesive collection of thoughts and ideas. And THEN spending months convincing prospective publishers of its commercial viability.

And THEN doing the additional prep work, fine tuning, and editing to bring it to life. And THEN getting the word out about it to actually sell enough copies to make the best-seller list.

Was there a little luck involved in getting there? Sure, some. But without all of the hard work I invested in it, that little bit of luck wouldn’t have been enough to carry the day.

And, by the way, if you see the changes imposed upon our lifestyles by precautions against the potential impact of the Coronavirus as a horrible outbreak of “bad luck”—well, I won’t argue with you on that.  But it also may be a chance to take the time and the steps you need to start making some good luck happen—use this unexpected free time to catch up on those nagging projects you’ve put off for too long, or that all-important planning for the future, or a maybe just a little bit of much-needed rest.

Because if you’re tired seeing others get all of the “lucky breaks,” maybe it’s time to take a look at your process and plan, and buckle down and start making your OWN luck.

That’s a good way to GROW BIG…OR GO HOME!