No such thing as bad luck

On Friday the 13th, and a beautiful spring day here in my tiny (p.769) town of Winhall (the state's name) or Bondville (the fed's name), the wake-up question for this morning is do we create our own luck?

Ray Charles-2The iconic Ray Charles in his 1950's classic, "If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all", sings about tough times and his being on the bad luck end of "a slow horse and a fast woman". 

Like the innovative genius that Ray Charles was, his famous...and yes, sometimes had nothing to do with luck. 


His success was a result of his hard work directly in the face of rock-hard adversity of being rural poor, being black and being blind and it had nothing to do with luck.  

He was known for his long hours in the studio and the absolute perfection of his music down to the point where if he didn't feel that the result of his backup singers was exactly what he wanted, he would record the backup himself using multiples of his own voice in falsetto mode to substitute for his backup.    

  • Hard work!
  • A drive to perfection! 
  • Innovation!

As a sales & marketing guy, I've learned there's no such thing as luck! 

Yes, of course, occasionally, there's going to be that small jelly-bean size order that magically appears in an inbox some morning, but the hard reality of true success in the profession of Sales comes only as a result of wicked hard work, long hours, detailed planning, and of course...loving what you do!  

As a professor of courses in marketing and sales at Tufts, I absolutely love what I do!  What I teach in the classroom perfectly syncs into my management consulting work and seamlessly provides my juniors and seniors with high-paying jobs.   Having said that, the toughest part of any semester comes down to what I did at 6:00 PM last night, and that was to submit the final grades for 36 students and 4 TAs.  These courses run over 13 weeks each of which is packed with 3-hour classes structured around semester-long, real-life projects requiring 3 to 5 hours a week of project teamwork outside the classroom.  And then, everything comes down to one click on one digital page at 6:00 PM, on a Thursday in May and grading is done, and already, I'm planning for the fall semester.  

But there are no surprises, and certainly there's no luck!!! 

Grading formulas are described in detail in a 17-page syllabus that goes out one to two months before the semester begins (always on July 5th and December 26th).  Criteria and rules (The Infamous Derby $5.00 Rule among them) are defined in detail with requirements for pre-course readings of David Meerman Scott's book The New Rules of Marketing & PR and Hubspot Inbound certifications completed before the first day of class.  

Bottom line for success in my courses, just the same as in life...

  • Hard work!
  • A drive to perfection! 
  • Innovation!

Just a few things to think about this morning when your associates wish you "good luck" on Friday 13th!

Have a great day selling and a superb weekend!


Jack Derby, Tufts Professor & Sales Coach

At any time, if you want to discuss your own sales and marketing planning for June and the rest of this year, just connect for some quick ideas and feedback. There's no cost to a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about this new rapidly changing world of sales and marketing.  

In the meantime, take a look at our 2022 edition of "Writing the Winning Sales Plan"  

Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts. 



Tags: sales coaching, student intern marketing projects, how to write a sales plan, marketing planning, sales management productivity, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 sales planning, 2022businessplansuccess