Random events and success

by Michele on August 7, 2013

Random events and solopreneur success

One of my least favorite things to hear when someone tells their story is how their success is due to a random event.  A lot of speakers and teachers do this and I always scratch my head and think “Do you really think this builds your credibility?  You owe your entire success to a random event and I’m supposed to follow what you teach?”

Yes, of course random events play a big role in everyone’s life and in their business.  Since we can’t control them or make them happen though, there’s little to be learned from them for business success.  That’s the rub – if someone is claiming their success is based on a random event then they have nothing to teach me about becoming successful because I can’t make that same random event happen for me.

What is a much better success strategy is to focus on being prepared for, and taking action after random events.

Consider a networking or training event as an example – you pretty much never know who will be there so there’s a lot of chances for random meetings.  Knowing this, you can show up prepared.  Have the materials you need.  Make your appearance convey what you want it to.  Learn good networking skills.  Have your calendar with you so you can schedule and confirm a meeting on the spot.  Have an idea ahead of time of how you respond to the different types of people you might meet (a referral source, a potential customer, someone you can refer to, etc).  Have good answers for what people often ask you.  This is how you prepare to make the most of random events.  If that one person that can make your business soar to new heights happens to show up, make sure you are ready for them.

The other key is to take action after your random event happens.  If you meet that one fabulous referral source  and wow them because you are so prepared, chances are nothing will happen unless you take action after you meet them.  The follow up action will look different depending on what the random event was, but there’s almost always something else to be done.  It’s not realistic to think that success will just drop into your lap with no action needed from you.

There’s really two points to make here.  One is that random events do play a role in the success of your business, but much more important is what you do before and after those random events.  The second is that when you are telling your story, make sure to focus on your role in preparing for and responding to a random event when describing your success.  Your actions will impress me, not what random events happened to you.

How has your preparation and response helped you benefit from random events?  Share it in the comments.


  1. don talbert says:

    I agree with you that random events do not make one successful. that’s the equivalent of wandering aimlessly, hoping everything works out. When attending networking events, I always plan ahead, just in case I “randomly” meet someone new.
    If an event is posted on a site like EventBrite, many times a list of attendees is right there on the event page. I always take time to peruse the list, see who I don’t know and look them up on Linkedin or Google, to find out more. Many times, I will seek out those who could become meaningful contacts, based on what they do for a living, and how it is compatible with what I do. These are highly effective strategies that yield real results over time.
    It’s entirely to take randomness out of the equation, if one replaces it with purpose and focus.
    Great article!


    1. Michele says:

      Don, As always that’s a great strategy for not approaching networking events randomly and hoping for a good result. Sure, there is some element of randomness in the sense of who we meet when but what’s not random is how a person handles that chance meeting. Thanks for the interesting tip.


  2. Mozette says:

    I totally agree with you on this article.

    Being a writer, I find that my success ebbs and flows – like the tides. It’s a strange kind of life; but it’s fun when I’m on a roll; and the creativity is really hot (like now actually).
    But I didn’t get here by saying that my success was because of a random event. I learned to read, then learned to write and realised I wanted to be a writer… I didn’t know at the tender age of 6 that it was going to be so bloody hard to get into this field and be where I am aged 40.
    I know so many writers, publishers and only about 2 agents who will actually talk me; and agents can be smart-asses too because some of them have really cornered the market (it’s a darned stressful job being an agent). If I ever had to make a speech of how I came to be where I am in life, I’d never say it was because of some random act or event… well, maybe I would, I’m not sure. But I’d add in there in big massive letters that it takes a lot of hard work, years of study and many rejection letters to know where you want to be.

    And even though I’m not published, I’m still doing what I want to do – writing to entertain – and if you love what you do, even if you’re not a big famous person, that’s the main thing, isn’t it… along with random events that push you along in the right direction. 😀

    1. Michele says:

      Mozette, I guess this is the missing comment? I love that you claim credit for your hard-earned success. It’s so much more inspiring (and able to be modeled) than someone who just gets up and says “Oh, I missed my train and met this person on the next train who was totally responsible for all my success.” Even if random events do help along the way, very few people (if any at all) find success without hard work. Lots of people find it without random events though. Michele

  3. Mozette says:

    I left you a comment here before, but it must have erased itself somehow…

    Random events can shape how we end up where we are in our lives; but people shouldn’t depend on them as being fate. So, when people have told me it must have been fate, I kinda blow it off and think what’s happening has a lot to do with good old-fashioned hard work.

    I wouldn’t be where I am today without working hard for what I wanted in life. It’s just how it all is. You create your own world, your own business and where you want to be in your life by working hard for it.
    I’m a writer – yes – but have yet to be published. However, no matter how hard I try to be published in Australia, nobody wants to publish my work. And yet, I have had editors from the USA have a look at my work on my blogs and they love what I write; and wonder why I’m not published yet. It’s geography for me, so I have to change where I am for a while then work on my goal in another place.

    So, what I’m doing as an writer and as an artist is making sure people know me for who I am… it’s not rocket science… it’s not fate… it’s not random events. It’s hard work on your part – that’s all. 😀

    1. Michele says:

      Mozette, I totally agree – hard work is the essential ingredient. Random events may help things along, but it’s all about doing the work. One of my pet peeves is when someone looks at a success that I worked hard to earn and tells me I’m lucky. M

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