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Thursday, October 13th 2011

8:11 PM

How to be More Lucky

I am really lucky.  Like really, really lucky.  I mean, realistically, how many 27 year olds today own three businesses, are their own boss, do what they love, inspire those they meet, get paid to travel, create their own hours, get to be healthy for a living, all while doing exactly what they want with their time every day?

I would guess the answer is not many.  So, yeah, I’m really lucky.

But am I lucky? Really?  A few of my friends have told me how awesome my life is and how lucky I am to do what I do, so it must be true.  But let’s digest this thought for a few minutes…

Now, all the above statements are true.  I have my own businesses, I do what I love, I create my own schedule, and I get paid to travel.  These are all things that I feel the majority of people would love to obtain; AND I’m not going to lie to you, all these things are sa-weet.  Every day I wake up and feel like I’m living the dream.

But, is it luck what got me there?

Am I lucky? Or do I just take a bunch of calculated risks and work my butt off to ensure those risks become a success?  I think you can see where I’m going with this already.  Yes,  my life is great, but the real question is, wouldothers be willing to do what I’ve done to get what I have?

In 2007 I was faced with a choice.  The kind of choice that literally and figuratively alters a persons life; it altered mine.  I was graduating college and ready to enter in to Doctorate Physical Therapy Graduate school in Denver, CO.  I was accepted after working hard, studying my butt off, and sacrificing during my undergrad; typically PT grad schools have hundreds of applicants of which they choose 30-40 to attend each year.  At the same time of my grad school acceptance I was also offered a job with an international cruise ship company.  My choices were: 1) Accept my spot in graduate school and spend the next 3 years studying and learning to become a Doctorate of Physical Therapy or 2) defer my spot, meaning I would have to reapply all over again, and accept my position with the cruise company.

Take the highly sought after spot in grad school or sail the high seas around the world atop a cruise ship?

I risked a secure future and chose the cruise ship.

Beside the valuable experience of traveling the world and meeting new people, it was on the ships that I met my future fiancee, Andrew, who borrowed me a book to read, The Secret.  This book is all about the power of positive thinking and how it can drastically navigate the direction of your life.  This book, among other things, inspired me to run across America for my mom and those affected by the Multiple Sclerosis disease.  It was upon this realization of my running/fundraising dream that I was faced with yet another difficult choice.

Stay put on the cruise ships where I was guaranteed a paycheck and the ability to travel almost anywhere around the world on the company dime, or resign, move home, and try to convince as many people as possible (including sponsors) that I could run a marathon a day, six days a week, for six months while transversing the US?

I risked a secure future and chose home.

It was after I arrived home that I chose to establish MS Run the US, Inc. and hold two jobs while trying to train and build the non-profit organization.  I was living at home with my parents, and Andrew was on the other side of the world, while I was trying to chase the dream of fundraising $500,000 to help end Multiple Sclerosis.  It was in 2009 that I received some of my greatest gifts, in the package of a “No”, that I have ever received.  It was also in this year that I received many gifts in, in the package of a “Yes”, precisely at the time that I needed it the most.  It was during 2009 that I faced more choices:

Continue toward my dream of running America for MS or let the dream die and build and safe life for myself near home?

I risked home and chose an adventure for MS.

Through all the No’s I found the Yes’ which carried me all the way to California on March 22nd, 2010.  From there I crossed the Golden Gate bridge, and the entire United States, one individual step at a time, day in and day out for 6 months, until I reach the island of New York.

Upon completion, myself and Andrew hadn’t worked or earned an income for over 7 months.  To say that the completion of the run in New York was the end of our problems would be a fantasy; in many ways it was quiet the opposite.  But through it all, we stayed committed to our life philosophy: strive for health, happiness, and to do what you love, and in return you will be successful.

It’s just now, this year, that things are really beginning to take off.  The solo work of MS Run the US, Inc. that has been on Andrew & my shoulders, gratefully, for the past two years is now starting to be shared.  Other individuals are beginning to step forward and contribute their own personal time to see the success of MS Run the US increase.  We have volunteers wanting to contribute and community members wanting to rally teams in support.  We are more confident to ask sponsors to pitch-in and are thrilled about the opportunity we are creating to promote brands we believe in.  We are networking on a greater level and using our platform to inspire others to do bigger things.  We are raising more money for MS and contributing toward the research that will find a cure to this disease.

On a personal career path I took more risks, started my own boot camp business and began working for a nutritional company.  I make my own hours but the integrity of each business is now dependent directly on the amount of time, energy, and effort I want to contribute to each.  I love both, so the time I contribute is a lot, but I still think people would be surprised at how much I “work”.  I love what I do so it doesn’t feel much like work at all.

So, to answer the question: am I lucky? Yes, I am very, very lucky.  But there’s something to be said about the amount of luck one creates for themselves.  It’s common knowledge that the harder you work, the luckier you are.  I believe in that motto, but also feel it needs some modification; I know plenty of people that work very hard, long hours in a factory that don’t feel very lucky at all.  Luck and success also involve risk and passion.

Discover your talents, take risks to utilize them, and help as many people as you can along the way.  When you do, I feel you will find your luck increasing day in and day out.

Much love.

~Ash

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