The Work of Being Lucky

Lisa Crispin‘s article about her team not being special (We’re Not ‘Special’) reminded me of something I heard a few times in the past: Me being lucky in being were I am.

And it’s true: I was lucky a few times: In 2009 (if I remember correctly) I went to a presentation at Lehmann’s  (@Lehmanns in case you prefer Twitter) where, apart after a great presentation about Scrum and during the discussion and socializing part someone from the Xing team told me about the Agile Testing Days later that same year. Sure enough, I went there — and met a whole lot of exciting (and excited) people there. The connections to colleagues from all over the world also was worth going there.
So yes, I was lucky meeting the person who would give me the information I needed.
However, to me at least, being at the presentation was not lucky or coincidental at all: It took me a 200km drive by car to get there and another 200km drive to get home again.
So was it sheer luck? I don’t think so. In fact I truly believe that in order to be lucky, one needs to go to the places where it happens.

There have been other times I was lucky: Being (kind of) dragged into a dinner of a conference (the same one as above, BTW), was another time I was there, ready to be lucky: Someone asked me whether I’d like to join dinner. Of course I did and had a great time. A great time until someone asked me about the presentation I would give, and someone else then asked me whether I knew that this was the speakers dinner. Oopsie, I didn’t know! I found that was embarrassing, even though everyone else thought it was amusing. Now, a while later, it’s certainly a funny story to tell.

I think that to be lucky, you need to go out and be there, be present in a context where you’d like to be lucky: This might be a local user group gathering, some conference … or twitter (for this also see my post over at Zen & the Art of Automated Testing). Did I mention that I was lucky to find a cool new project via Twitter? Well, I did. 🙂

In other words: It’s work and you (well, I at least) will have to pay a price to be lucky and I totally find it worth the hassle.

Now go out there and get lucky. And if you’re lucky in getting lucky you may become happy as well. Good Luck!

That said, I think Lisa’s team might in fact be special, but not in the way Lisa is frustrated about: To me it seems special because of the hard work, experiments and continuous improvements it went though. In this (may be special) sense they’re special and lucky.

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4 thoughts on “The Work of Being Lucky

  1. “The harder I work, the luckier I get” Sam Goldwyn or Gary Player

    If you don’t buy a ticket you wont win the lottery

    Same sort of story for me – I landed what I hope to be my dream job and think I’m lucky to have got it, but I landed it partly because I was active on a s/w testing list. If I hadn’t made that effort I wouldn’t have heard of the life-changing opportunity that I got

  2. Stephan, if you hadn’t inadvertently crashed the ATD speaker dinner that time, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten to know you, so I feel lucky that you did that! And hopefully, this year your presentation will be selected, which will make the program better, and let us enjoy your company at the speaker dinner again!

  3. Yes Lisa, you’re so right. I really am very grateful I crashed it! Especially since it was you who asked be what I’d talk about. Some conversations I’ll hardly ever forget. 🙂
    But… ‘crashed’ is such a dramatic word. 😉

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