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This article was published 12/3/2012 (3233 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
As March arrives, I am always reminded of the term, Ides of March, which refers to the death of Julius Caesar. In case you don't recall this little bit of history, it's a story of how Caesar had been warned by a fortune teller that he would be harmed no later than March 15. Caesar scoffed at the prophecy but sure enough, he was killed by a group of conspirators on that specific day.
Today, we often joke about the Ides of March being a warning of bad luck. There are also other superstitions about bad luck that are still referred to. For instance, Friday the 13th is seen as an unlucky day, while if a black cat crosses your path you will also receive bad luck. That isn't as onerous as breaking a mirror, which supposedly will give you seven years of bad luck.
With so many superstitions, perhaps this is why we also top off the month of March with St. Patrick's Day, to bring us good luck. Yet, these superstitions bring to mind the issue of whether a person actually does create good or bad luck, especially in the workplace. My belief is that people make their own good luck by creating, recognizing and seizing opportunities in life. But where do you start?
The following tips will help you to move in the right direction to building good luck:
Find that positive attitude -- People who look at life as a glass half full rather than half empty see life from a positive perspective. This is simply seeing the bright side of life. Find a list of positive affirmation statements, keep them handy and read one every day just as a reminder to develop a positive attitude. Write in a journal and at the end of every day, ask yourself, "what are some good things that happened today"; celebrate even the smallest of things to make you feel successful.
Listen to yourself -- Have you ever thought about the negative internal dialogue that goes on in our head? If you listen to yourself, you might hear a lot of negative words such as never, can't, just, stupid, or shouldn't. When we do this, we are actually giving ourselves negative messages or putting ourselves down. Listen and learn to recognize your negative thought patterns and evaluate how these are affecting your behaviour and your luck.
Picture your success -- Close your eyes and picture your future success. Where will you be? What will you be doing? Constantly remind yourself of all of the little successes to date. Draw a picture of what your success looks like. Paste it on your fridge and review it every day. Each day take one step toward your success.
Speak up -- One of the challenges people face is that they absorb their anger and frustration instead of speaking up and talking about the things that are bothering them. We often worry about creating an argument or hurting someone's feelings. If you don't speak up, you're hurting your own feelings and this causes negativity that just hangs around you like a cloud.
Link with positive people -- Get rid of those negative people in your life. Stop hanging around with them, they just drag you down. Look for people who have a positive attitude, are happy with life and share their enthusiasm.
Share with others -- There is an old saying that what goes around, comes around. This means that you need to reach out, share with and help others because one day, they will reach out and help you. If you do good things for people, more good things will happen do you.
Place laughter in your life -- Humour and laughter are powerful mood elevators and help to sustain a positive attitude. Watch a movie, read the cartoons, read or share a joke. Watch a group of children and see how laughter helps to bind them together. Look for laughter and humour in every aspect of your life.
Be open to opportunity -- Wipe the word "no" out of your vocabulary. Look at everything as having the potential for opportunity. Develop and use your intuition to see beyond the here and now and determine what could be. Try new ways of doing things. Observe others that you admire, analyze what they are doing when they are open to new opportunities and adapt your style.
Focus on self improvement -- People who make their own luck are also driven by the desire to constantly improve their knowledge. They ask questions and look for opportunities to learn new things; they are naturally curious. They are always trying to change, fix and improve things. They read biographies, journals and magazines, and are always in search of self-improvement.
Take calculated risks -- There are always challenges and opportunities in the workplace; seek them out and ask permission to participate. Learn about new projects, volunteer to sit on committees or project teams. You'll learn new skills and meet new people who can in turn help direct your career.
Do a good job -- Working hard and working well will put you in a position to create your own luck. People will see the quality of your work, you will be invited to take on more projects and/or you may be offered a promotion. Evaluate yourself and compliment yourself for all the little accomplishments. This helps to gain and retain that positive attitude that attracts people to you and helps to create your own luck.
The Ides of March and St. Patrick's Day are all on the calendar this month. But my advice is not to let superstition stop you from creating success in your life. Nor should you worship those good luck charms and just wait for good luck to strike. Get out there and make it happen.
Barbara J. Bowes is president of Legacy Bowes Group and vice-president of Waterhouse executive search. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org