A Case of Cause and Effect

It started out as a beautiful afternoon at a quiet little waterfront café I know.

I had just finished my initial consultation with a new resume client, when an old acquaintance waved me over to the bar.

He asked me if I wanted anything. I said no thanks and asked him how he was doing.

Big mistake.

For the next fifteen minutes he recounted … in more detail than I wanted to know … how a coworker had just beaten him out for some big promotion. He gave all kinds of reasons … luck … pull … bootlicking … everything but the truth.

He said, “Tom, you’re so lucky! You own your own business, you’re making a fortune and you don’t have to put up with company politics. I wish I had your luck.”

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear someone blame his problems on “bad” luck … or attribute someone else’s success to “good” luck.

What a crock!

My Uncle Mike was a gigantic homicide cop with the New York Police Department back in the old days. He was so big my Dad would say, “You don’t walk with Mike, you walk among him.”

I’m here to tell you, when Uncle Mike spoke, people listened.

Uncle Mike always told me, “There’s no such thing as luck. It’s just cause and effect. Nothing happens without a cause.”

So what causes a businessperson to become successful?

The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Get

Success begins with the desire to be successful and the conviction that you can be successful. Only then can you truly make plans to reach that specific objective of achieving success.

After you make plans, you must commit to them. Nobody ever achieves success without making a commitment and developing a reasonable plan to fulfill that commitment.

However, you can’t fulfill your destiny on theory alone. It takes work – hard work. None of the secrets of success will work unless you do.

The harder you work, the luckier you get. Try adding a P to the beginning of the word “luck” because “pluck” determines your success.

I know some people are born with a few more cards in their mental deck, but I believe that every person is capable of truly amazing things – more than they initially realize.

I don’t care how checkered your past is. It still leaves you with a brilliant future – if you’re willing to accept responsibility and do what it takes.

Many roads lead to success, but discipline and sheer dogged persistence enable you to uncover talents and develop creativity that are the best insurance for success.

When you discipline yourself to do the things you need to do when you need to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.

In short, the way you prepare yourself to get ahead is through discipline, persistence and hard work.

Being, Doing, And Having

Take a sheet of paper and draw two vertical lines to make three columns.

At the top of the left-hand column, write “Be.” In the middle column write the word “Do.” And over the right-hand column write the word “Have.”

In the right-hand column, list all the things you really want your part-time business to give you. Things like more money … financial freedom … the ability to retire comfortably … the ability to retire early … more time with your loved ones … a better lifestyle … a new home … college education for your kids … the ability to help others … you name it. The sky’s the limit.

In the center column, identify the things you have to do in order to have the things listed in the right-hand column. Things like learning how to write compelling copy or powerhouse resumes … setting specific goals … developing an action plan … advertising your business … making a list … contacting and qualifying prospects … making presentations … following up … overcoming objections … closing sales … everything it takes to have and run a successful business.

Then go to the left-hand column and write down what you have to be in order to do so that you can have. To have a successful part time business some of the things you must be are knowledgeable, skilled, committed, persistent, organized, accountable, attentive, considerate and helpful.

Know Your Ratios and Be Consistent

If history has shown us anything, it is that being in the right place at the right time is better than being the smartest person in town.

However, my research has found that most people appear at the right place at the right time by design – not by luck. They may get what appears to be a big break, but in reality, they’ve busted their butt to get to where the big breaks come.

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But I know how to work hard and I’m consistent in my efforts.

Even when I’m off, or on vacation, I’ll make a few calls so I can keep my winning streak going.

Having been in one form of sales or another for most of my life, I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that success is determined more by effort than by luck.

When I land a major copywriting client or a slew of resumes to write, some might say I’m lucky. They are mistaken.

All they have to do is look at my planner and they’ll see that I made a certain number of calls every single day that got me a certain percentage of appointments. Out of those appointments, I did a certain number of presentations. Out of those presentations I got a certain number of sales.

Over the long haul, the figures are very consistent.

I suggest you keep a record of your sales and marketing activities for at least the next 90 days. At the end of that period, you’ll begin to get an idea of what your ratios are. And you’ll realize that luck is the direct result of consistent, organized effort. Good luck is indeed a self-manufactured article.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 3.7
Published: July 21, 2009

1 Response to “A Case of Cause and Effect”

  1. Greetings Tom, I just started the resume program last week, so I have only received a couple of "Spare-time Biz Success" articles from you so far. But I tell you friend, your last few emails have blown me away; I simply love the wisdom wrapped in simplicity of your message. I have already learned a lot! Keep them coming!

    All the best, EJ

    EJJuly 21, 2009 at 3:22 pm


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)