“She’s so lucky! He has all the luck!” Just like you, I hear these phrases thrown around from time to time.
I’ve often been taken somewhat by surprise when I hear one of these comments. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are times when truly random events of good fortune happen.
Take for instance the lady who recently won $590 million in the Powerball lottery. That’s got to be luck, right?
However, I’ve watched some “lucky” people and noticed a few common traits and characteristics.
Lucky people are prepared. They show up for work ready to fulfill their role in the mission. If there was research to be done to prepare for a task, they’ve done it. If there’s a pertinent Air Force instruction, they’ve read it. They know when their physical fitness assessment and their performance report is due and what ancillary training they have to complete.
Lucky people don’t procrastinate. They complete their career development courses. They sign up for primary military education correspondence courses as early as possible. They square away their service dress uniforms in advance of a scheduled event.
The fact is, the pace of our daily mission is so fast, we usually don’t know what curve ball is going to be sent our way tomorrow. Lucky people understand this and take care of what they can today.
Lucky people seem to have a plan.
Those people with whom I work closely often hear me say, ‘Hope is not a plan.’ For me, hope is four-letter word. Most of the time when I hear this word, it tells me the person talking really has no idea what they’re talking about.
Perhaps unbeknownst to them, lucky people seem to have the same philosophy.
They know how many pages of the professional development guide they have to study each week to be ready for their promotion tests; they don’t ‘hope’ to get through it.
They know what they want to score on the next physical fitness assessment and have a plan to get there; they don’t ‘hope’ to do well. They have a plan with definite goals and milestones, and they stick to it.
Lucky people take personal responsibility for their own success.
They don’t wait for their supervisors to tell them what to do or wait until the squadron sends out a roster of overdue ancillary training. They are aware of what is required and take care of it. If they fail, they take responsibility for it and perhaps most importantly, learn from it, and move on.
Lucky people are disciplined and balanced.
It’s very easy to let one facet of our lives overwhelm the others. Most of us have many titles such as spouse, parent, supervisor and/or student. By capitalizing on those traits, lucky people self-regulate their time to ensure each facet of their lives gets the attention it requires.
Finally, I think lucky people have a heightened sense of situational awareness and take full advantage of it by being fully engaged and armed with information.
They listen to their peers and mentors and follow their advice. They know where to find information and stay on top of the latest news and opportunities. Because they are informed, they often seem one step ahead of everyone else.
Lucky people get those choice opportunities or assignments because when the eye of the Air Force looks around for qualifying candidates, these people have taken personal responsibility for their successes and taken care of everything in their control.
Lucky people don’t need to get ready when an opportunity presents itself; they are ready because they took care of business as early as possible.
It boils down to this: Good fortune, or luck, is usually the result of focused hard work and dedication that resulted in a level of ability that was available when an opportunity presented itself.
Editor’s Note: Lt. Col. Mickey Evans is assigned to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.