Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity

Attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca, this quote has long been one of my favorites… I like it because I like having control, and this perspective gives us a way to take ownership of our destiny in the midst of a crazy, chaotic world that can sometimes feel like it’s happening TO us.

Each day we are presented with hundreds and thousands of choices, many of which involve how we will react to moments, people or circumstances we find unpleasant.

Like most of us, I really struggle with some of these choices – especially when people do things that I interpret as inconsiderate or inefficient and I slip into a bit of an impatient monster… Just last week on a flight, someone abruptly put their seat back and it smashed my laptop and it was very hard to control the urge to shove the seat forward in retribution! Same trip, we had a waitress that give us the stink eye when we said we had reservations for 3 at 9… THREE she said glaring at us (like by somehow wanting a table for three was super offensive to her personally). These little injustices drive me INSANE and I struggle to not respond to nasty with nasty.

But I do believe that our happiness, and also our luck, is defined by the choices we make, most especially when it comes to the shit stuff. So I TRY to choose kindness and empathy instead (but of course I don’t always manage it).

Today is Friday the 13th.

I wanted to release this brand new podcast today because just a few days ago, July 5th, was my 13 year anniversary of ‘officially’ becoming an entrepreneur. In a second I want to tell you a bit more about that, but first I want to take a moment to tell you why this podcast exists and what I am hoping it will be.

In our next episode, I will actually dive in a bit more to what a magic maker is, and how to know if you are one or want to be one…but for now, I want you to know that the magic maker podcast exists to give you weekly insight, inspiration and actionable tips to help make it easy for you to live by our magic maker code:

  1. Do Good
  2. Be Real
  3. Find Happy and
  4. Build Brands that Matter

During our time together of course I’ll shed light on why I believe each element in our code is important (and what didn’t make it into the code and why THAT is important) but for now all you need to know is this… if you are interested in all 4 of these  – you’re really going to like it here.

Now, I also want you to know that I aim to keep these episodes short. Generally these Magic Maker podcast episodes will range between 10-15 minutes. We aim to bring you an occasional feature episode that is a bit longer and more in-depth – possibly with some VIP guests or on a topic that with think deserves more exploration in order for it to be useful to you… but most of the time you’ll be able to gobble up whole episodes while making your morning coffee or driving back from dropping off the kids… you might even be able to squeeze in a few during a workout, dog walk or while working away at your desk.

If you have any questions about the podcast, or topics you’d like me to cover, feel free to email us at team@jnicholesmith.com – we’d love to hear from you.

Ok, now I want to circle back and tell you a bit more about my entrepreneurial journey!

My first legit business opened its doors on July 5th 2005 in Poulsbo, WA . I was 23, had just left college to start working for myself, and dove straight into the deep end without finishing my degree, without a plan, a parachute or any business experience.

Now, I’m 36 and other than still being an entrepreneur, my life is virtually unrecognizable.

I’m married to the man of my dreams who is also now an entrepreneur.

I live halfway across the world in London, except when we decide to relocate to insane locations like Lake Como, Italy or Mallorca Spain for a few months of sunshine (because we have location independence and we can).

Husband and dog walking on Mallorca beach

My heart dog, the Harlequin Great Dane named Olivia who inspired my first business is sadly no longer by my side, but we now have a tiny, wicked smart little fawn Frenchie named Pippa to keep us on our toes. Instead of being a ‘college dropout’ I have a Masters in Marketing… and instead of being a hot mess in the business department, I am co-founder of a multi-million dollar lifestyle brand, I co-own two digital businesses helping entrepreneurs build brands, one in the US and this one in the UK, I recently launched my passion project, a niche stock photography site and I’m working on my third book. I used to live pay check to pay check and now I’m planning 6-figure launches, and I’ve nearly paid off all the debt I racked when I was young and dumb and I hadn’t yet realized that debt and freedom cannot co-exist.

For me, the early days of being an entrepreneur (and doing everything wrong) truly feel like an entire lifetime ago. I’ll be honest, I don’t miss those early days of uncertainty and gut-punching worry… but the funny thing is… it wasn’t my circumstances, or my marriage, or my degree, or my list of impressive clients that finally allowed me to create the business, brand and life of my dreams. It was a series of simple shifts and choices, a few little tweaks, and some very deep work on defining what I actually WANTED (and didn’t want) that led me to be sitting here, talking with you about Luck.

Lucky #13.

Now, to some, the number 13 is unlucky… apparently a superstision with ancient roots, connected to the bible and judas, the 13th desciple – the one who betrayed Jesus. But in several cultures, like for the Chinese and the Aztecs, and even bikers, the number 13 is considered lucky

Interestingly, in Tarot, the 13th card is the Death card, which although it sounds dark and unlucky, this card is more about transformations then endings.

And of course as we’re near the 4th of July, it’s important to note that the US flag has 13 stripes to represent the original 13 colonies.

And, since I believe luck is preparedness meeting opportunity, and that we make our own luck, personally I like to think of the #13 as lucky (although to be fair, I don’t really like to think of anything as unlucky).

But here’s another little bit of luck or happy coincidence. One of my favorite books that I randomly found nearly a decade ago, is called ‘59 seconds’. This is the book that kickstarted my interest in the topic of ‘what actually makes humans happy’. I never really clocked who the author was.

When I was researching luck, to bring you some interesting stats for this podcast, I found the work of psychologist,  Richard Wiseman, who claims that lucky people generate their own good fortune in four ways…

Wouldn’t you know, he is in fact also the author of 59 seconds. I love it when little magical connections like this occur… to me it feels like little lights popping up to illuminate the way… which makes me feel distinctly ‘on the right right path’.

So what are the four ways that Mr. Wiseman believes humans create luck? 

  1. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities,
  2. make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition,
  3. create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations,
  4. adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

[Read ‘Luck Factor’, Richard Wiseman’s research on luck, here ]

What do you think?

Do you believe luck is random, or do you believe we have a hand it in? Are you a fan of the number 13 or do you think it’s unlucky?

If you’re an entrepreneur who finds these little magical discussions interesting, and you’re keen to find out how to have it all…

Hop on and join our free:
‘Magic Makers HQ’ Facebook Group

Inside you’ll find a wonderful little ‘Getting Started’ guide that will help outline the steps to being an entrepreneur who does NOT become a workaholic with not enough time, not enough money, and neglected loved ones, and who DOES have it all: freedom, fulfilment AND the ability to a positive impact on the world.

We would love for you to subscribe and of course, if you would be willing to invest a few moments in helping us reach more magic makers, we’d be so grateful if you’d be willing to write a review for us on iTunes.

That’s it for our first ever episode of the Magic Maker podcast!

Welcome to the headquarters of entrepreneurs who want to do good, be real, find happy and build brands that matter. We’re thrilled you’re here, and can’t wait to chat with you next time.

xx – Nic