Going back to last year, 2012, when the Olympics were on in London, I had a stroke of luck. A blog I had written (The Missing Link to a Sustainable Future) was published by the Climate Spectator. This wasn’t the lucky part though. As I sat on the beanbag in front of the television at 5am in the morning I saw that Harvard’s Michael Porter* had picked it up and tweeted to his 40,000 plus followers.
Later that day, I told several colleagues about it and I described it to them as ‘lucky’. Michael Neaylon, one of my colleagues at the meet replied: it’s not luck, it’s when preparation meets opportunity.
I thought that this was a very profound quote and, for the record, he told me it came from someone else. It’s nice way of thinking though. In Australia, we often recount the victory of Stephen Bradbury, our winter Olympics speed-skating gold medalist in 2002, who only just scraped into the final. In the final itself, he was well behind in fifth and last place until, on the final lap, all four competitors crashed out leaving him to saunter across the line first.
Is this all luck? Partly yes, but let’s not overlook the preparation that got him there, the talent that saw him into the final. When his opportunity came, he took it. Sometimes we lament missing out due to bad luck; and others times we believe we achieved because of it. Maybe it really just reflects the dynamic between preparation and opportunity.
My challenge for you is to question whether you are prepared for the opportunities you seek? Preparation may be one of your untapped assets!
* Global competitive strategy expert and co-creator of the term “shared value”, when business engages with community interests to co-produce economic and societal returns. See the Climate Spectator article link above for more explanation.