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Luck is always the last refuge of laziness and incompetence



For the past few weeks I’ve been working on a project. It’s a big project, a really important project. If I pull this off it could be life changing, if I screw it up it will always sit there lurking in the shadows as a reminder of my incompetence.

And incompetence is the word. I am so far out of my comfort zone that I can barely remember what I am actually capable of doing without significant thought and effort. Because everything is an effort and nothing seems easy.

I hate feeling like this. You’ve probably figured by know that I am a control freak by nature. I see no point in fun fair rides, the adrenaline rush cannot overcome the distress of the feeling of being out of control. I get that some people like this sensation, but I don’t.  All I get is a feeling of being ridiculously stressed.

Sure I have people helping me and there is the wonderful world of the interweb to provide me with more information than I can possibly digest in one sitting. But I am used to knowing more than the people helping me and I just don’t have time to do a crash course. How can I tell if what I am being told is right, if I don’t know the answer myself?

The simple truth I guess is that I just have to do my best. And I have to trust that people are doing their best and that the work they do is good. Perhaps most importantly, I need to trust my own instincts and back myself to be able to work my way through. And hope for a bit of luck…..

I’ll hopefully be able to reveal more in time but for the moment I worry that I’ll jinx it. So just keep your fingers crossed and  if  when I manage to pull this off I’ll let you all know what it was all about.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda Harris permalink
    08/26/2010 08:36

    You describe the times when the HR job is at its most enjoyable, at least in retrospect!

    Your control freekery will ensure it goes to plan, and there’s no danger of boredom (the one thing worse than things being outside of your control)


  2. 08/26/2010 08:38

    Boy can I relate to this… don’t do fair rides, play Blackjack not Roulette… like or used to being in control so yes when you have a project like the one your working on completly related to your post.

    By way you’ve already make you luck and more importantly “trusted” your team and I suspect they know how you feel and will deliver.

    Good luck.

    PS RE Stress a “holiday in France and Red Wine”… hope you had a good one – mine was great.

  3. 08/26/2010 14:15

    1. I’d rather be lucky than good.

    2. Chi-Chi Rodriguez (American golfer) said that the harder he practiced, the luckier he got.

  4. 08/26/2010 22:29

    “the harder you work the luckier you become”
    “fortune favours the brave”
    “you create your own luck”
    these and plenty of others are great – but bollocks TBH.

    I set up my company two years ago. A business selling a recruitment solution in what quickly spiralled into the “most depressed market since the 2nd world war” or something. I have, to be (probably too) frank, put everything on black with this. Too big a mortgage, too little savings and a young family. To some (maybe many) it was a mental decision.

    Now I have never been one to shy away from work when I was an employee (1st to get in and last to leave was, for a large slice of my employed life, fairly standard, but not for effect, just because I was, like you, a control freak) – and whilst workload has certainly fluctuated wildly over the past 24 months I have NEVER worked as hard as I have done over the majority of the past year.

    As it goes we’re doing as well as I could ever have hoped right now (although have been through some spots where things were worse than I might have feared) and as things stand I’m more confident than I have ever been that we have a very bright future (excuse the lack of modesty – I normally am far more so, but this particular reply requires honesty & frankness for it to be potentially of use to you). We are literally delighting clients we have delivered for, and punching well above our weight in winning contracts to build ATS for clients such as Monsoon (currently being built).

    So yes we work damned hard. But whilst I’m no fatalist – I know that luck has also played its part too and in ways that I have absolutely no control over at all (as luck does). A client who wants to pay 12 months up-front the month before a tax bill is due. A cracking hire turns up on our doorstep just when I’m wondering where I’d find someone with the right skills out in the depths of Essex. And there are plenty more examples.

    We know what we’re doing (again apologies about the immodesty), have built a great product (that’s getting even better every deployment) and address very real needs for our clients. Our perfectionist but approachable and pragmatic nature is, we believe, both refreshing and compelling. Price point isn’t too bad either ;). But I have no doubt that luck/fate/karma, call it what you will, has played its part in getting us here and will do again in taking us wherever it is we’re going.

    So as one overly controlling, perfection seeking, vociferously principled and at times potentially too loud for his own good bloke to another (whether you are a bloke or not is, in my book, immaterial) I’d say feel the fear and do it.

    What is true is that all you can do is your best. You will make mistakes, but as long as they don’t kill you & you learn from them they’re fine. You’ll be disappointed and let down by some on your journey, but don’t let the fear of that hold you back – because like the kid wrapped in cotton wool, if you don’t feel a bit of pain every once in a while how do you know you’re truly alive. But I can assure you that you’ll also work with people on your journey who will recharge you and refresh your believe in human kind (and much more so than those who erode it).

    Bad luck is indeed what many people blame when they should look harder at themselves – but for me I have convinced myself that whichever way this ends up then as long as I can look at myself in the mirror and know I’ve given it my all and been true to myself then I will be the better for it. If my business fails then it will have terrible material consequences as well as a considerable amount of stress, but if I didn’t try then I wholeheartedly believe that that would be worse, because if a fire burns inside and you try and ignore it then I believe it will consume you in the end. So fan your fire – let it burn bright – believe in yourself and see what will be.

    1 life – live it.

  5. 09/07/2010 07:52

    @Amanda Harris – Thanks for taking the time to comment, much appreciated. I’m sure you’re right and since writing this post, things are starting to look up!

    @Keith Robinson – Thanks Keith. That holiday feels a long way away. Bring on the next one!

    @The gold digger – Yeah, but then your luck can run out right?

    @Alex Hens – Great comment. And I know you’ll majke a success of it, but please stop writing comments that are better than my original post! 🙂

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