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A 3-Second Fix to Create More Luck in Your Life and Career

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You know those bogus headlines that scream, “All you need to succeed in life is 5 minutes a day!!” or “Lose 10 pounds in just 3 weeks – GUARANTEED!!”

Well I promise you this isn’t one of those. Because what I am about to suggest really does take three seconds and it really could create more luck in your life. So I hope you’ll stick with me to the end. I’ll share the “fix” in a few, but first a story (and a bit of a rant) about why I’m writing this.

Last week my husband and I took a walk down at the beach. As we strolled around soaking in the beautiful vistas, we couldn’t help but notice all the other people walking – while staring down at their cell phones and missing their chance to fully savor incredible views like this.


There’s no doubt that our growing addiction to technology is affecting all of us, all the time. For example, my husband, who travels a lot for business, used to routinely engage in conversations with people on planes (with both interesting and entertaining results).  But these days, not so much.  Instead of talking, most people prefer to pop in their earbuds or stare at their phones, preemptively shutting down any chance for conversation.

I know people want to be left alone to zone out, or get work done, or play Words with Friends. But really, are we all so busy that we can’t take five minutes to chat with the person sitting next to us on a five-hour flight?

I recently attended a conference and was astounded by the number of people who checked their phones ALL -THE -TIME. During lunch. During coffee breaks. While waiting for the speakers to start. Call me hopelessly old school, but it seems to me that if you’re going to make the effort to travel to a conference, it’s smart to take advantage of the venue to meet some interesting people.

Poor manners aside, here is why this trend really worries me: Over time I’ve learned that you never ever know when you’ll have a life changing conversation. Or who will provide it. Or where it will occur.

The vast majority of the people I interviewed for my book found their next act simply by talking with other people and then something “lucky” happened. But when we have our eyes on our phones and our ears blocked by headsets, we dramatically reduce the odds of luck entering our space.

I could share many examples of random conversations leading to lucky things. For instance, here’s an e-mail I received (in a seeming wink from the universe) just a few hours after my husband and I took our walk:

“Hi Nancy, my daughter xxxx recently chatted with you on a flight. She sent me your website information.I am looking to retool my career (I have 15 years before I can retire). Do you ever work with individuals in this situation? If yes, would love to connect via phone.”

These days I am only coaching people around semi-retirement, so I turned this one down. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that if I hadn’t bothered to chat with that young woman, I never would have gotten the chance to connect to her mom. 

Granted, being a book author makes for an easy conversation starter with strangers. But you know what? Every one of you has something unique that others want to hear about.  Every one of you. And that brings me back to the 3-second trick. It’s remarkably simple, as long as you’re willing to give it a try. Ready?

The next time you’re at a conference – or waiting for a plane – or sitting next to someone on a long train trip:

  • Second 1. Remove your ear buds. Put away your phone. Glance up from your Kindle.
  • Second 2. Smile at the person next to you.
  • Second 3. Initiate a conversation.

That’s it. It’s painless and you never know what might happen. Of course, if the other person doesn’t want to talk, take the hint and move on. You can always use the down time to meditate, savor your surroundings or quietly mull over a problem – there is tremendous restorative power in that as well.

But if they’re game, who knows? The most random conversation – with the least outwardly impressive person in the room –  may provide just the spark that’s needed to ignites your next opportunity.

All it takes to get started is 3-seconds. Guaranteed.


Get my Free Downloadable Workbook:

25 Questions To Help YOU Identify Your Ideal Second Act. You'll also receive my free newsletter filled with second-act ideas, tools and inspiration.

Get it Now!