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Women in Business - are we born lucky?


Donna Robertson everywoman

Last week I went to the Guardian’s ‘Inspiring Women in Business 2012’ event, featuring:

It was a really good evening and these women are very inspiring so it was great to hear their stories.

During their speeches they often cited situations where they’d felt lucky, such as I was so lucky when they agreed to invest.

The theme was so strong that during the Q&A session, a lady asked if the panel thought luck was the key to their success as it’s hard to aspire to be as successful as someone if their success is down to luck, you can’t emulate that.

After a bit of discussion, I believe their success is a result of hard work, determination, taking risks, not being afraid to go out and try new things, having charisma and presence and really importantly being passionate about what they do. Naïve optimism was mentioned a few times too. One of them said that they’ve never met anyone really lucky who didn’t work hard. Another said you have to articulate your passion to get to the audience and bring them along with you, it is crucial to any kind of success.

In my view, passion drives enthusiasm and a positive attitude which is generally contagious and results in people taking notice and keeping you front of mind. Hard work drives results and positive outcomes. Being brave enough to take risks means you expose yourself to and uncover new opportunities. So although Jane, Laura, Tamara and Lesley-Anne feel lucky, they have most definitely driven that luck – so the old adage ‘you make your own luck’ rings very true to me.

When you look at lucky or successful people you can be fooled that it has always been easy for them. I loved that, despite the fact that the speakers felt very lucky and were all very positive they didn’t mask the fact that business can be tough and it doesn’t always go according to plan. They had been through very challenging times.  Importantly, they said that during the dark moments it’s important to share your concerns with someone else and business mentors are so helpful in these situations. Interestingly, it seems that coming through the tough times made them braver, less afraid of failure and less risk averse.

They also agreed no matter how awful you feel and whatever is crashing around you, if you’re leading a team or it’s your business you need to take it on and be strong and positive when you come into the office or work environment - you need to encourage everyone to work towards the end goal even during the adversity.

Finally one of the speakers summed the evening by saying, you need to live your dream and not be afraid to go out and try new things - the chances are that if there’s something you are passionate about, it is a risk worth taking.

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