When I was 24 I arrived in Australia looking for a job in Advertising. My intention was to migrate here for at least a few years. I had a one-way ticket. I had exactly 1 year’s experience and no visa. That’s right – I had already used up my working holiday visa when backpacking. This meant I needed to find an Ad Agency willing to sponsor me with a 4 year business visa. As I had only been working for a year I was looking for a very junior job – an account executive role.

I started out by going to see every single recruiter I could find. I’ll never forget this – but one of the recruiters said this to me:

You may as-well book your plane ticket home because there’s no way you’ll get sponsorship with your level of experience.

Was I deterred? No way! Hearing that sentence only made me want to prove them wrong! So – what did I do? Well I certainly didn’t feel sorry for myself or sit around waiting for an ad agency to offer me sponsorship! I jumped into action.

I pulled together a database of over 65 potential advertising agencies and I contacted them all. I knew I had to work really hard to stand out form my competitors, so I spent hours crafting an email that would (hopefully) get some attention. Here is the (pretty ballsy) email I wrote:

Dear Sally,

“Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. “ Steele, John (2001)

Quite simply I know that I have qualities that you want to know about. I implore you to give lady luck a break and give me the opportunity to reveal my passion for creative & strategic thinking.

Check out my CV, if you would like to inject bubbles of life into your agency, call me.

Zoë B

Phone number

There was another naysayer.

His reply was something like this:

‘Don’t give up your day job”.

I was getting some pretty bad luck …(or was I?)

Again…I persisted. The positive replies outweighed the negative so I chose to ignore the negative ones.  Afterall –

you can’t please all the people all the time

I remember thinking to myself that ‘it’s a numbers game’. Surely out of 65 agencies SOMEONE will take me on! It wasn’t an option for me to go back to the UK! I was determined to make it happen!

Eventually I had an interview with a company called Lavender. They didn’t have a role at the time, but liked my innovative approach with my email. They interviewed me and another hurdle popped up.

In order to sponsor me they had to pay me a wage that was a lot more than the going rate for the junior role I was looking for. What happened next was a huge shock. They didn’t retract their offer.

Instead, they offered me a promotion! I was offered a more senior role so that they could sponsor me. I jumped up to ‘Account Manager’ level with an increase in salary!

My eventual outcome was far better than I could have ever imagined and what was initially a limitation (needing a visa) contributed to a promotion and a salary raise!!

Having only heard the end result of my story you may have initially thought something like ‘Wow! That was a lucky break!’ But was it really luck? Or did I commit to what I wanted and persist, persist, persist until I got it!? On the flip side, others may have seen the challenges & hurdles I overcame (being told to get a plane ticket home, and to ‘not give up my day job’) and perceived those as ‘bad luck’.

I often look back fondly to the original quote that became my ticket to Australia (In fact I picked up my first Australian passport last week!):

“Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”

I believe, we really do create our own luck.

Simple Life Strategy | 7 tips to avoid bad luck

Here are my top 7 tips for avoiding bad luck:

  1. Get clear about what you want
  2. Take Action!
  3. Persist, persist, persist!
  4. Ignore the naysayers – stay focussed on your goal
  5. Do whatever it takes to create your own good luck!
  6. Be ‘prepared’ for ‘opportunities’ – you never know when they might turn into good luck!
  7. Decide that ‘failure is not an option’ – As Will Smith said “I don’t have a plan B, I find it interferes with my plan A”

I would love to hear how you have created your own luck? Share your story with us by leaving a reply below.

Know someone who’s had bad luck recently? Share this article with them so they can turn things around!

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