Successful Trade Winds

Catching the winds of good fortune

As I sit here writing this very blog article, I just have to say that even though I have been blessed with an amazing amount of success through even the simplest of business types, and you would think that I have all the advantages of experience,  it’s still not easy to get it done. Take this morning. I was awake at 2:45 am to get started on things that were so exciting to me that I couldn’t sleep anymore. This can be a bit of a curse for a lot of entrepreneurs! As I brewed my coffee, I look out the window and see the year’s first snow has arrived. I’m in the construction business so I know now that most of my day’s plans are being pushed back or even shot because of the wet ground.

Okay, no problem, we’ll just roll with it. I head back to my home office to start working on planning my next big business campaign and to work on some branding development for the new company I’m about to launch. Boom! As I sit at my desk- a flicker of the lights on, then off, then back on, and off again and then… out! Power goes out and I am left sitting in the dark by the light of my computer screen with the battery indicator showing me that I have about 92% left on my laptop!

It’s 3:52 am and so far nothing has worked out well for either of my projects this morning! So I decided to write about this and take advantage of the dark, the quiet and the serene tranquility of the first snow of the year and 91% battery life to write a story about how still, with all I have accomplished in my businesses, things sometimes are just hard!

I think it’s easy to assume by a lot of people that when you ‘ve been in business for as long as I have, advantages and experience start to kick in and give you the easier upper hand in your operations. And established companies generally have the financials to weather hardships and the owners like my wife and I have grown a thick hide against the cruel and unfair world of business. But the truth is, we are actually building sails. Not sales as in making a business sale, but sails as in ‘sailing a ship.’ No, I’m not in the boat building business either, although I do know some very successful people who do have boat building businesses. We are building sails to catch the winds of the good fortune.

Stanford University Entrepreneur Professor Tina Seelig has written and discussed this idea that luck is created and made, rather than had. Seelig’s theory is basically this; luck and good fortune are just like the wind. Sometimes it blows as a light breeze and other times its gale-force and we just never know which way it’s coming from or what direction it will push us. The idea about the wind is that most people hunker down and try to shield themselves from the wind and let it blow right past them, meaning in this case- opportunity and luck is everywhere but the vast majority of people hide from it or fear it. Seelig goes on to say that the most successful among us are the ones that are building sails to catch the luck winds and sail their ships to fortune and success. She says people wonder when their “ship is going to come in”, but… they aren’t building the sail. People who build businesses and operations are putting themselves in the flyway currents of these winds of luck and fortune, even if by accident, that’s why it appears from the outside as just stupid luck. I can say that nearly all the luck I have experienced happened to me while I was out pounding the streets hustling my business.

Seelig’s article on sail building couldn’t be more right! I have often said that “All this good luck and fortune sure is a lot of hard work!” You also have to remember that even though you are out there building your sails, sometime your sail will come crashing down by the year’s first snow and a ridiculously inconvenient power outage! (To paraphrase what Mark Twain who was quoted as saying he found the blizzard of 1888 in New York City to be ridiculously inconvenient and an outrage!) As if there is anything we can do about the weather or power outages! We just have to keep erecting and shoring up the timbers in our sails to keep catching the trade winds of luck and good fortune!

If you feel like luck, good fortune and opportunity are not finding you, maybe it’s just blowing over the top of you and you’re not seeing it. Each morning is a blank page in a 365-page book on your life, make this day be the page you write that- you started building your sail!


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