It’s easy (and fun) to hope for a lucky break.

  • “If I could just get ten minutes with the president of the company, my ideas would get me promoted.”
  • “As soon as I win an orchestra audition, my music career will be in high gear.”
  • “Once I land that big account, I’ll be on the fast track.”

These statements may all be true. The problem is, lucky breaks are unpredictable, and they sometimes don’t turn up at all.

Waiting drains our most valuable resource: time. If we adopt an attitude of “I’m as good as I need to be at my craft; I’m just waiting for my moment,” we may end up squandering months and years that could have been spent honing our skills further (or adding additional ones). And the better we get, the luckier we seem to get: a posture of continual improvement attracts lucky breaks like a dropped french fry attracts my dog.

On top of the timing issue, we’re frequently poor judges of our own abilities. Arrogance and timidity cloud our vision, sometimes simultaneously, as we overvalue our chops in some areas and sell ourselves short in others.

So let’s not put our feet up just yet.

Instead of asking ourselves “what lucky break could change everything?”, let’s use Jim Rohn’s classic question to examine our daily habits: “What am I not doing that would be easy to do?”

  • Reading?
  • Focused reading (3-5 books on the same new subject)?
  • Taking an online course to learn a new skill?
  • Spending two hours a week helping colleagues with their projects?
  • Sharing my ideas with the world?

When the lucky break comes, grab it. But in the meantime, keep your nose to the grindstone. It may be the next six months, not the last six years, that define the next decade of your career.