Truth be told, I can no longer stand by idly and read articles entitled, “Create your luck to better your career” or “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” When reading these type articles, it is clear that there is nothing that discusses “luck.” The authors speak about preparation, planning, research, etc. Where is luck in these terms?

If you research the definition of luck, you will find, “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” Articles about luck and success or luck and career only speak to taking action and making things happen for one’s self. Really, it’s not about luck. This is then is about choice. Thus, I am confused! I’ve been told my whole life, “it all about the choices we make” and consequences that follow.

In a world where we want people to take more responsibility and accountability for their actions, we have individuals that can’t even take accountability for their own success. How nonsensical is this aspect of human behavior? Really? You were successful and you’ll shrug it off to luck?

I can hear it now in an interview:

“Mr/s candidate, please share with me how you were successful implementing that marketing program that brought in $10 million in incremental sales?”

“Well, Mr/s interviewer, I don’t know what to say. It was luck! It was my lucky day I guess.”

Now doesn’t that get you all warm and fuzzy inside thinking that a potential candidate you might hire bases their success on luck? Just makes you want to grab them and hug them and welcome them to your high-performing team.

How about the other side of the coin:

“Mr/s candidate, why did the XJ project fail?”

“It was luck! It was my lucky day I guess.”

You mean, you blamed it on luck and you were lucky to have luck to blame for your failure? Here’s the scary part, people whom answer interview questions this way will get hired. Now whose lucky day is that?

Why do I sense people want to be adorned as lucky rather than successful? Why do people insist on blaming luck for their success?

I will share that when I interview candidates for clients and I hear someone use the term lucky, it does not instill in me a sense of confidence, certainty or determination. I cringe thinking that this individual will sit at their desk waiting for luck to fall upon them to get projects done successfully.

“Mr/s manager, when do you think this project will be completed by you?”

“Mr/s boss, it won’t be completed by me. And, it will be completed when luck falls in my lap. When will be that lucky day? Hmm, good question. Only luck knows. In the meantime, I will sit here ready to be lucky.”

Is there stature or a jealous desire to be lucky and have people be envious of you because you’re always “lucky?” I don’t get the “aura” about a “lucky” person. You are either making things happen for yourself or you’re not, both come from the world of choice.

In the world of Be-Do-Have: Where you should BE yourself and always DO the right thing, what you will HAVE cannot be predicted. No one cannot predict outcomes (Have), one can only pursue outcomes. Luck? Really? No.

How about we redefine the word luck/lucky in the above examples to unexpected or anticipated. Will this work?

What occurs from our preparation we cannot totally define. When our actions touch other people, we cannot possibly predict what the individual will do and therefore we can’t anticipate the outcomes from an individual’s participation. Thus, based on who we are, our natural tendencies, how we take action and make choices in a given scenario, we ensure that we do the right thing and hopefully we achieve the results we pursue.

Please, speak with certainty, take action with certainty, respect yourself enough to own and be accountable for your actions and results. Otherwise, if you want to better your career and depend upon luck and chance, go play the lottery or the slot machines at a casino.

The choice is yours! Oops, I mean the luck is yours…

Stuart Friedman is president of Progressive Management Associates. He is a business visionary who guides organizations through cultural shifts. He promotes environments that inspire collaboration, transparency in the pursuit of strategic outcomes and heart-felt desires. Reach Stuart via email: stuart@pma-co.com