Luck, Lucky, or Just Plain Busy?

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Strange question? It is an interesting one. Many people substitute the meanings of the terms quite often yet they know the difference. I know I have experienced all three during my 30-something years in the HVAC and plumbing industry.

Like many others, I played sports in high school and beyond: football, basketball and rugby. I can’t count how many times people would yell “lucky shot”! It wasn’t always aimed at me, but at some player in almost every basketball game ever played. When the buzzer shot was sunk, was it luck or did they just take the shot?

When I played rugby, I was built for comfort — not speed. Many of the players were the same size, but we had one guy — that was 145 lbs. soaking wet — who always had the ball in-hand and was diving across the touchline for a try (score). I realized that he was not a typical rugger but he was in shape, running up and down the pitch full speed, and covering lots of ground. He was not lucky, just busy. Was Michael Jordan (my favorite of all time BTW) lucky or was he all over the court, forcing steals, running full speed, jumping higher than anyone and taking more shots? I tend to think he was busier than everyone else on the court.

In the ’70s while digging ditches for underground duct systems in the rocky soils of New Mexico, I entered an apprenticeship and then earned journeyman licenses for sheet metal, plumbing and refrigeration. When the boss would hand me a set of prints to the coolest college, school or hospital job, I would hear those same words regarding my luck. I never thought much about it but noticed that I kept lucking out with those projects.

Later, after becoming licensed in a few states, and creating an education business, I was traveling across the country teaching duct sizing and heat loads, codes and licensing laws to prospective contractors. Some of the students would stick around after class to tell me how lucky I was to have such an interesting career. I did feel pretty lucky.

Over the last decade I served as senior director for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) ― and then as executive director for the Plumbing Mechanical and Gas division of the International Code Council (ICC) ― two of the most respected and engaged codes and standards organizations in the world. Even though it was unusual for a tradesman from the trenches to travel the globe, collaborate with industry leaders, speak to global officials, present to Lords and Ladies and even have sandwiches with Prince Willem (now King), it seemed like it was supposed to be that way. Of course I felt lucky to experience all of those great moments but I didn’t attribute it to luck per se.

I finally realized it wasn’t dumb-luck and I wasn’t just lucky. Instead I found that the busier I was, the luckier I was! You can’t just tinker tediously at the same thing over and over expecting your lucky moment to appear. It must be with a purpose, intent, hard work and vision even when others say you can’t.

Join a national association, speak at a local chapter meeting, write a technical article or attend continuing education for your trade. Expand your comfort zone every chance you get so you are available for those “lucky” moments. Keep busy — stay in the game, hustle up and down the court and prepare for your opportunity to shoot so that when it goes in, all you hear is……………LUCKY SHOT!!!!!!!!!!

Jay Peters 
Global Industry Advisor
Cell: +1.909.904.2673
Codes and Standards International

Through all of these great experiences, I have formed “Codes and Standards International,” which now enables me to meet with prospective clients as a product-certification, codes, standards and regulatory advisor, assisting manufacturers and organizations to navigate through the global quagmire of codes and standards, committees and hearings.

Please visit the website, examine our services, my background, testimonials from industry leaders or simply email or call my cell phone. Always honest, direct, professional and discreet.

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