Q: How much does achieving success rely on luck vs. skill? This week a Western Maryland lumberjack named Darvin Moon won $5 million in the World Series of Poker. He insists he is no more skilled at cards than any recreational player. What do you think?
I believe you really need both luck and skill to be successful. It's impossible to have one without the other. Luck places opportunities in front of you and skill maximizes the opportunities.
I often say my success is due to being at the right place at the right time. Close friends laugh when they hear me say that, because yes, I did have some luck, but they're aware that I worked harder than anyone they know to use it to my advantage.
Specifically, I refer to how Reston Limousine entered government contracting. Some years ago, a man came to our offices and said that if we would hire him as a driver, he would get us an RFP to bid on a government contract. At the time, our company had no experience with RFPs, but we figured it out -- Request for Proposals. Reston Limousine won that contract and looked for more. For the next five years our company won every shuttle bus government contract in Washington, D.C.
Reston Limousine didn't win the contracts because we were lucky, but because our company provided excellent service at a competitive price. We learned how to submit bids and we followed through on our promises.
For the first five years in the business, I worked 16 hour days, seven days a week. Office phones were transferred to our home and we answered calls in the middle of the night. I had no social life, no down time, no friends. In those five years we established our business, growing it to a level that allowed employment of managers, which kept us from working that hard indefinitely!
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