When Online Investors Advantage (OIA) merged with Telescan, the company that provided OIA with its financial data and investing tool technology, the name was changed to Investools. I was the CEO and Chairman of OIA, and because I wanted to get back to focusing on marketing and business development, Lee Barba, CEO of Telescan was made CEO and Chairman of Investools. OIA had started off as a small company providing seminars, workshops and home study programs to help people become self-directed investors in the stock market. When we hooked up with Telescan they were a large company backed by Paul Allen (yes, the same Paul Allen who was a founder of Microsoft). Telescan had many clients who were contracting their services (CNBC and Business Week to name two) and OIA was just a small and insignificant client.
However, in just a few short years OIA grew to become Telescan’s largest client in terms of revenue generated. As the Internet bubble was starting to burst Telescan found itself on the verge of bankruptcy. Paul Allen had made the decision to stop funding the company and to let it fall into bankruptcy if it couldn’t become self-sustaining. At that point we started looking for another potential financial data and tool provider to replace Telescan. This was not an ideal situation for OIA because we had built our entire marketing and instructional content around the Telescan investing process and tools. We also found that at the time there wasn’t a close second to switch to.
So we made the decision to “merge” the companies. Although we made it appear as a merger, technically little OIA acquired Telescan by paying off $6 million dollars in liabilities. Shortly after the merger, the CEO of the bankrupt Telescan, who became CEO of the newly merged companies, felt the need to set the record straight. He was educated at a top business school and had been a very successful investment banker at one of the largest banks in the world. I, on the other hand, graduated from a much less prestigious university and had only been a small business owner.
In a meeting shortly after the merger we were talking about the meteoric success that OIA had achieved considering its very humble start. During this discussion Lee said something to me that has since had a powerful impact on my life. Referring to the success of OIA, he said:
“Scott, you’re really not that smart – you were just lucky.”
At that moment I took it as the put-down it was intended to be. With my ego bruised and my self-confidence shaken, those words kept playing over and over in my head for the rest of the day and into the night. And then, that night, I had an epiphany. Lee was right, I really wasn’t that smart, I was lucky. It’s been said that “a friend tells you what you want to hear, but an enemy tells you the truth.” It became apparent not too long after the merger that Lee definitely was not a friend, and as an enemy he had revealed a very insightful truth about me.
You see, I had to admit to myself that Lee was right, I really was of average intelligence. I was always an average student in school. If you were to contact my high school teachers and college professors and asked them about me they wouldn’t even remember me – I was an ordinary person with no outstanding qualities – except one.
That one outstanding quality that I had, that Lee revealed to me, is that I had a track record of being lucky. I can go back to my early childhood and identify lucky break after lucky break after lucky break. My life truly is a series of one lucky break after another. Once I was able to put my ego aside and admit that I truly wasn’t smart enough to have achieved the successes that I had achieved in key areas of my life (namely family and business) I was able to see the reality – the “cause and effect” of lucky breaks more clearly.
It may have been like an “Aha” – Egos Anonymous – experience for me. I clearly understood that there was an intelligence vastly superior to mine (and all other mortals, including the really smart ones like Lee) that I could tape into simply by applying certain universal principles. And that I had learned to apply these principles unknowingly.
Since there appeared to be a pattern to my lucky breaks, I decided to go back over the lucky breaks throughout my life to find that pattern. And when I found it, I started studying the successes of well known individuals and businesses (such as Bill Gates and Microsoft) to see if the lucky break pattern was a factor with them as well. And guess what – in every situation that I studied, I found the lucky break factor played a key part in the success. Yes, even really smart people like Bill Gates owe their success to “lucky breaks” too.
Here are the steps that create The Lucky Break Factor:
Prepare – prepare yourself the best you can for whatever you’re wanting to achieve
Plan – create the best plan you can with the preparations you’ve made and the best knowledge you have to achieve your objective
Act – act on your plan with the intent to succeed
Expect – expect a “lucky break” because you realize that you can’t know everything but there is an infinite intelligence who does and will help you
Recognize – recognize the “lucky break” when it happens – because it will happen
Act – adjust your plans and act on the “lucky break” when it happens because it may take you in a different direction than your original plan
Thank – always express gratitude for your “lucky breaks” – acknowledge that you too “really aren’t that smart, that you were lucky.”
Next week, in “The Lucky Break Factor – Part 2,” I will share with you more details of these key principles that create the “Lucky Break Factor.”
Best of Luck Always,
PS – I recently acquired the domain name http://www.luckyscott.com and have directed it to my blog for now. That’s how serious I am about being lucky 🙂
(c) 2011 Cosmic Bridge