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In Karen Gear’s line of work, dentists’ conventions pop up about as often as kids with cavities. So in 1993, when the Madison, Wisconsin, native found herself sitting next to Gail Rice, a New York-based orthodontist, a business partnership was the furthest thing from her mind.
The two struck up a conversation and discovered they shared similar goals and, coincidentally, the same birthday. Gear had long been considering a New York practice, so she willingly exchanged numbers.
Weeks later, Rice called and expressed interest in their working together. Their partnership lasted about two years and ended on good terms–long enough for Gear to round up a sufficient number of clients and money to open her own office in Manhattan. Now, some four years later, she remains the only practicing African American female endodontist in New York City.
Luck did play a part in Gear’s situation, but don’t be so quick to trade in your business cards for a rabbit’s foot. While good fortune is real, it is less mystical than many think. Quite simply, “luck” occurs when persistence meets with opportunity. Gear was fortunate because she knew when to dovetail her goals with a ripe opportunity for growth.
“If you excel at what you do and keep your ear to the ground, good things will come your way,” she says. “Stalwart efforts will only be rewarded if you refuse to quit,” says Gear, 35, whose black colleagues tried to discourage her from striking out on her own.
By knowing how to spot potential opportunities and following some common rules of achievement, you can increase your odds of success in your business or career. For example:
- Develop staying power. Be willing to endure inevitable career slumps or business lags.
- Put yourself in a fortunate position. Attend business and social gatherings. You never know when an influential person will be there waiting to meet you.
- Keep your ears open. Mastering the art of listening will enable you to pick up valuable information.
- Excel in your endeavors. A good reputation will result in potential prospects for your business or company. .
- Embrace failure. Treat failure as a learning experience. No success has ever been attained without it.