Why “Beginners Luck” Is Not Luck

    August 18, 2003

Have you have noticed cases of beginners luck? You know, when you try something for the first time you happen to do really well at whatever you are doing.

The first time my wife played Bunco, she won big – but has never won as big since then.

I’ve got a theory: beginners luck is not luck. Beginners luck is actually the process of bringing a fresh perspective to a skill or situation, and taking the risk that you will fail – in so doing, do better than you ever thought you would.

If you have never done something before, you approach it with a feeling of trepidation or exhilaration: depending on how excited you are about what you are about to do.

In doing this thing you’ve never done before, you are taking a risk that you will fail. This is why you get better results when you try something for the first time. You don’t understand the consequences of your actions – you don’t really know the rules – so you can break them or bend them to get your result. So most of the time, you will do well the first time you try something.

You have no fear – no worries – you don’t understand the limitations of what you are about to do, so you can’t see the limitations before you.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could approach things this way all the time?

About 2 years ago, I was the head techie at a web design firm. They were running out of money so they laid me off. The job market was in very bad shape at the time, so I went back to them and said “What if I switched to a sales role and brought in some business for the company?” They were willing to try.

I knew nothing about sales, I was always a techie – did IT and engineering and some tagging along with the sales people when they went on calls, but I never sold.

Four months later, I brought in a customer which ended up bringing in about $250,000 worth of business.

Beginners Luck? Probably. Because instead of trying to follow the rules of selling as written by a bunch of sales gurus, I just winged it. So beginners luck kicked in.

Now you’re thinking, well that’s no good – I might do well once, but what if I want to keep doing well in future?

Beginners Luck doesn’t need to just happen on its own – you can induce it by mentally placing yourself in the beginner mind set before you do the things you want to do.

Purge your mind of what you know about what you are about to do before you do it. Take a risk that you might not be willing to take before because you knew you’d fail. You might succeed, not knowing that you could fail.

So next time, get lucky before you leap.

Chris Kalaboukis: Connective Sales: Sell Without Selling
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