The world would have us believe that successful people are just lucky with their mind-blowing stories of chance encounters, riches and adoration — think “discovered” musicians and authors with “overnight success.”

But, it is all a lie. There is no such thing as luck.

The naked truth is that success requires hard work, preparation and risk-taking. Successful people decide what they want, hone the skills they need, seek out the people who can help them, and they find solutions to the obstacles that get in their way. Success is not accidental — it is intentional.

But, this misleading concept of luck has the rest of us believing that we are unlucky. This theory is plainly untrue, horribly debilitating and it serves as a scapegoat when we aren’t doing well. We blame it on luck and take no action or responsibility — don’t be that person.

Instead, follow these six steps that will help you create success:

1. Set goals

Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up somewhere else.”

You need to be clear about what you want. Is it more sales in a particular market? If so, how many? And what is your deadline for achieving them? What types of knowledge will you need? What kind of outreach will you employ, and how often?

2. Study hard

It’s time to hit the books. Jack Canfield said you need to learn more to earn more in his landmark book, “The Success Principles.”

Learn as much as you can about your market. Get to know the common architectural styles; when each neighborhood was built; the average sale price; the average price per square foot; the number of active, pending and sold listings; and the total volume of the market for each of the past 10 years.

3. Seek need

Your target market will benefit from your new knowledge. But how do you reach those people? Some towns allow you to download the names of homeowners from public tax records.

Otherwise, you might have to purchase a list or make one by hand. It is also wise to meet as many people as you can in a face-to-face setting.

There might be neighborhood group or homeowners association you can attend — or, perhaps you can join the local Rotary Club or chamber of commerce.

4. Share expertise

Now that you know who the target audience is and where to find them, it is time to be a resource. Your new knowledge can be a big help to those people in your area.

Many homeowners don’t know the current value of their homes. Additionally, they might not know the market value differences between neighborhoods. Share this information in monthly market reports, blog posts, articles, videos and live seminars.

5. Step up

Your new goals, skills and targeted outreach will create opportunity. Now you need to grasp it with both hands.

Take each opportunity, and make the most of it. Do great work — in other words, be highly recommendable. Ask for reviews and referrals. Share your clients’ success stories in the content of your outreach efforts.

6. Say thanks  

You need to thank your clients, your referrers and those who have supported or inspired you. In a fast-moving world like ours, a personal note of thanks is unusual. Therefore, it is cherished and makes a lasting impression.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”

These six steps can be used whether you are just beginning your sales career, growing an existing career or are planning to transition into retirement.

No matter your current position or future goals, these steps will help you to create, recognize and grasp more opportunities. If you follow them, success is more than intentional — it is inevitable.

Colleen Barry is the director of productivity for Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston/Cambridge.

Email Colleen Barry.

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