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Biz or Job Hunting Success: Black Cats and Lucky Leprechaun Hats

In a bid to generate more success in my life I perfected a ritual and repeated it every morning. I started each day with a prayer to Lady Luck while soaking in a bath filled with four leafed clovers. I got dressed and put on my rabbit foot socks and horseshoes. I brewed a cup of tea from holy water and fed my black cat called lucky. As I left the house I looked in the mirror and said “Paul you can’t fail because you have the luck of the Irish”. During the day I avoided ladders and searched for a black cat lying in the shadow of a gatepost because that black cat tells me luck is on its way. (No prizes for guessing who sang the lyrics :-)).

What a complete waste of time!! Fortunately I gave up this misguided obsession with luck. I threw away my lucky charms and put my black cat up for adoption. I realised that luck didn’t just happened and was something I had to create. This was liberating because it allowed me to take back 100% control of my success (or lack of success). It also saved the pain of trying to find enough four leafed clovers to fill a bath each morning.

STOP kidding yourself about luck.

For years I conveniently used luck to create a reality where success was about me and failure about abandonment by Lady Luck. I was allowed to take credit for all my successes. I could blame Lady Luck for my failures – the defeat in the All-Ireland Schools Basketball Final to a 3 pointer in the dying seconds (bad luck and not bad defence) or when previous job turned out to be a horrendous experience (bad luck and not poor research/decision-making). I also used luck to explain away the success of others – when friends got promotion or landed large contracts (good luck and not hard work). Jean Cocteau’s quote still brings a smile to my face “We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like” Does this all sound familiar?

STOP waiting for luck and get lucky.

I stopped waiting for luck to come knocking at my door and I decided to go get my share by embracing the quote “the harder I work, the luckier I get”. I realised that blaming lack of luck didn’t change my results. I ditched the lucky charms and started thinking and acting like a lucky person. For those interested – lucky people (i) create, notice and act on opportunities, (ii) rely on intuition for decision-making, (iii) expect good things to happen in the future and (iv) have a knack of transforming negative (bad luck) into positive (good luck).

Maybe there is such a thing as luck but I no longer choose to believe in it (except Wednesday and Saturday when I do the lotto). I would be interested in hearing your views on the topic.

Paul Mullan is an experienced career and outplacement professional with 14 years experience working within careers, outplacement and recruitment in the UK & Ireland. He is a former owner of Eden Recruitment and founder of career firm Measurability in 2006. Paul has delivered outplacement programmes for many leading organisations and ran graduate career workshops for leading third level institutions. He has worked with many individuals helping them define and achieve career goals through creative approaches to personal marketing and job hunting. Paul integrates traditional strategies with new Web 2.0 strategies to deliver optimum results. He is known for his up to date, creative and friendly approach to delivering career solutions. Paul is a recognised career professional regularly commenting on career related topics in the national media. He has acted as Career Doctor with Irish Independent and he is currently an online career expert with RecruitIreland.

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  • Brilliant post Paul! Still can’t stop laughing at: “I brewed a cup of tea from holy water and fed my black cat called lucky” Excellent…
    I do not believe in luck either. I can’t live with the idea that, if I made everything possible to achieve a goal I would STILL depend, like you Lady on “Lady luck”. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, it would feel like asking for constant permission to get access to the good stuff in life, wouldn’t it?

    Lotto tip: Paul, there’s no luck in this! It’s all about working harder on selecting the lucky, I mean winner numbers, that’s all!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comments Fred. We are singing from the same sheet. Thanks for the lotto tip. I guess this means I won’t be around on Monday as I will be in town doing a photo shoot and collecting my cheque 🙂

    Here’s to a lucky weekend


  • Lol, Paul, great post! Very funny! I think the only type of luck that truly exists is your outlook. For instance, if everyone here changed their outlook tomorrow, the recovery would take a giant leap forward, don’t you think?

  • I am so lucky that I forget to do the lotto every week! Then I cannot credit Luck for my winnings, and only discredit myself for being forgetful.
    But we all know that we don’t just simply forget things – we forget for a reason. So I will come across my winnings another way obviously (maybe Mairead has it under the Leprechaun’s pot of gold – )

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comments Elaine & Niall

    @Niall – Yes I agree “expect good things to happen in the future” and “have a knack of transforming negative into positive”. Personally I can sense that the dark clouds are lifting for many people over the last few months. I agree that a double shot of positive outlook would get the party swinging sooner.

  • Mmmm…maybe I have Elaine, lol. Great post Paul. I’m constantly astounded by the amount of people who limit themselves on so many levels and blame it on luck. There is a great quote I often see (I can’t remember who said it), “The harder I work, the luckier I get”.

  • Hi Paul,
    You are now responsible for a huge grin after reading ; 0 )

    On the film Titanic, a similar phase was uttered ‘A wise man makes his own luck’. We can turn situations to our advantage if we are prepared to think about them. Life is full of up’s and down’s, but it has always been my opinion that the ‘downs’ make the ‘up’s’ that much more meaningful.

    I do believe in fate (does that count?). The world has a way of leading us to certain events….maybe its a test of our beliefs and strength, or maybe we all must follow an etched path – how we follow it, who joins us and our outlook/personality/experiences are our controlling devices…


  • Anonymous

    Mairead & Tina – thanks for the nice comments. Glad you liked the post. Have a nice weekend!!


  • Anonymous

    Derbhile,nnNetworking can seem like such a mystery. I would caution all of us to remember that it is not a foregone conclusion that you will walk out of every event with clients, never mind prospects. For some people, networking is a very active marketing technique that brings results consistently. For others, it’s much more passive. (Maybe these people are in Niall’s category.)nnRecognizing a certain type of person as you are meeting him/her is certainly useful but only half of the picture. Knowing why you want to develop a relationship with that person is equally important. Otherwise, we’re just operating from the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) mentality which is all self-interest.

  • DISC – Niall adds R. Let me add an in-between one – E for Entertainer (I am often guilty of this) I want everyone to be happy, and find me interesting / entertaining.nnI am progressing I hope.I do find with very localised groups, I am starting to use them more for supplier sourcing, education, information gathering, and mutual advisory & support systems. This may be due to the fact I work at home a LOT, especially in 2010. nnSelf-awareness is paramount, we need to keep an eye on ourselves, as well as the others in the room

  • DISC – Niall adds R. Let me add an in-between one – E for Entertainer (I am often guilty of this) I want everyone to be happy, and find me interesting / entertaining.nnI am progressing I hope.I do find with very localised groups, I am starting to use them more for supplier sourcing, education, information gathering, and mutual advisory & support systems. This may be due to the fact I work at home a LOT, especially in 2010. nnSelf-awareness is paramount, we need to keep an eye on ourselves, as well as the others in the room

  • Gmulhall1

    HinnCould anyone provide e with some advice on how to develop a social networking forum for a National Entertainments Event?nnAny suggestions would be much appreciated

  • lol, “We didnu2019t know much about shaping a marketing message than my cat knows how to open a tin of tuna” One of the greatest Bloggertone lines ever! Dare I say it perhaps the message is something that we here at Bloggertone need to re-address in the new year. Bloggertone was initially a business blog, now it has become something more? Great post!

  • Anonymous

    Great advice Barney. Where i’m working we’ve taken the same approach to creation of our intranet. It’s not our team’svarea of strength so we’ve utilised contractors and have a site which is a thousand times better than anything we could do

  • Love your post Barney, message to market match & knowing who the ideal customer you are aiming your business offering at are the two linchpins in marketing; after that it is all about the communications and once you know who you want to buy what you offer, then you can talk in their language and build relationships that grow business.

  • Thanks Sharon. Spot on and a lesson well learned on my side (better late than never:) )

  • Hi Frank. You’re right to do it. Sometimes it can stretch the budget but spending that little bit more with people who do the “thing” for a living makes a huge difference in the longer term. Thanks for reading

  • Thanks Niall. Not sure where that analogy came from – but it seemed to fit 🙂

  • Hi Facundo. I believe that the challenge you face is similar to most smaller businesses. Getting the balance right between adapting your services but staying true to your own purpose is a tricky line to tread – particularly when revenue are on the line. Whatever you do decide to do around your service adaptation will need to be bound anyway with you “in-scope” “out of scope” definitions otherwise the same thing can/does keep happening. Thanks for the comment.

  • Hi Elaine, nnI spend 20 min on Friday planning the next week and then hit the ground running.nnRegards,nnIvann

  • Facundo

    Actually going out on a Sunday (not necessarilly till late) is something that works for me Elaine. I do have to admit that I tend to fall in the traps of your point number 2 🙂

  • Hi Elaine, great post! I absolutely agree with not over indulging on a Sunday, instead try get out for some form of physical activity and don’t leave it too late to hit the hay.

  • Hi Ivan, for me to suggest that would have been another clichu00e9, on top of a few above :)nBut yes, I would recommend planning in advance, I am a great believer in preventative, rather than cure. Do the important things before they become too urgent etc. nnMany people do not have the insight to plan their week in advance. However, letting external circumstances dictate our time is one of the great flaws of time management, I mean self management. nnThanks for sharing what works for you 🙂

  • Going out I have no problem with Facundo, but over indulgence is what causes lethargy, negative vibes, and lack of motivation in a physical, physiological and emotional sense.nnIf someone does not enjoy their work, or do not look forward to their week, are often the very ones to try and anesthetize their feelings. However, many feel they are not in a position to change that, due to varying circumstances,.nnWith regard to step 2, by changing one habit, we can change our whole week, I ensure I do not open the laptop, until minimum 2 hours after I awake. This allows time for breakfast, reading, creating or thinking (planning, imagining, supposing etc).nnThanks for reading and sharing what works for you :)n

  • Indeed Niall, often easier said than done :)nnAll in moderation, I say, all in moderation. Having a lazy Sunday or a late one is sometimes necessary, just to break the pattern, as we are creatures of habit. nnI feel it’s important to change one thing about our day or week on a regular basis, to ensure we do not fall into a state of “over-repetition”. But rest and fresh air are imperative for our survival, esp as Business Owners, in order to manage stress and anxiety levels :)nnGlad to hear you are looking after yourself well :)n

  • Nice post Elaine. I’ve found that since I’ve been self-employed Mondays are a day I look forward to rather than dread. It helps with having to get a 7 year old out to school for 8.30am, then the rest of the morning is mine to get things done. nnOne thing I do is check me emails on Sunday to clear them out before Monday morning as there are less of them over the weekend, so anything that does come in is fresh and can be categorised rather than feeling like it has to be prioritised becasue it’s left over from Friday evening.

  • That’s a great idea for someone running their own business, thanks Mairead.nnI feel it is one of the obstacles to get over for those whose were used to being “employed” and becoming self-employed, to really believe they are in control of everything that happens in their business – it can be difficult to get used to for some.

  • Greg Canty – Fuzion

    Well done Elaine – a great article.. as it turns out this Monday is quite good!!nnCheers,nnGreg

  • I like that quote. Like you said it only takes a mindset shift to change that attitude and it gets easier with practice. Sometimes my “weekend” happens mid-week depending on my schedule.

  • Well that’s great news Greg 🙂 Thanks for reading and best wishes with your own tribulations 😉

  • Adrian

    Hi Elaine,nnGreat article. This is so true. Also it is easy to get dragged into the doom and gloom on a Monday morning (or maybe even any day at the moment). Sometime you need to stop for a moment and maybe put a little distance between your self and the “glass half empty” folks and put a smile on your face and get on with it.

  • Thanks kindly for stopping by and sharing your comments Adrian.nnA glass is only half full, on it’s way to being full. I have had direct experience of allowing negative people affect my thoughts, and the opposite also. I know which kind I will pick in future.nnSometimes we even need to stop and put a little distance between us and our business/job, just to allow different perspectives to enter the mindset, thereby presenting us with more options :)nnHave a great week! ~ we are nearly half there ;)nn

     Nice Website. You should think more about
    RSS Feeds as a traffic source. They bring me a nice bit of traffic

      I think so. I think your article will give
    those people a good reminding. And they will express thanks to you later

  • Hi Lucia,
    thanks for sharing your simple and effective tip, so please you have found ways to improve your mood on Monday mornings 🙂

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