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The most important hiring question ever, you'll never guess

The most important hiring question ever, you'll never guess

September 01, 2011

Do you consider yourself lucky?

Don't try to qualify your answer. Just answer: Yes or no.

Now, ask the same question of your staff? Your clients? And most importantly, ask your job candidates.

This isn't a take on Clint Eastwood's famous line in 'Dirty Harry' in which he points his gun at the bad guy and says, 'You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky? Well do ya punk?''

Rather, it's one of the most important questions Zappos.com asks its job candidates. They are so successful at hiring that its harder to get in there than Harvard.

Their team is on fire and passionate, which means profitable. They only hire 1 out of 100 applicants. It's helped them build such a compelling company that Amazon.com bought them for $1.2 billion. When you look at this story you'll have an 'ahahh' moment. I'll tell you why they ask the question and the answer they look for ' and the answer you should look for too ' in just a moment.

People who 'feel' lucky (blessed), create their own luck!

Ask people whether they consider themselves lucky and you may be surprised what you'll find. They may use other words besides lucky. For example, I use the word 'blessed' but it essentially means the same thing.

Recently, I had a meeting with the Zappos team in Henderson, Nevada and boy was I blown away!

But it was that one question they ask of their job candidates that really caught my attention. They want people to say, 'Yeah! I consider myself lucky (or blessed)!' Why? (The study below will surprise you.)

Because good things happen to people who consider themselves lucky. They're more optimistic, not pessimistic. They look for the good things. Where there are challenges, they see opportunities.

For me, I believe that everything happens for the good, even if bad things happen. I often say, 'A setback is a set up for a comeback.'

Those who don't consider themselves lucky or blessed, are not the people you want on your team. They expect bad things to happen to them. And guess what, they do! It's a defeatist attitude. They're the type of people who get stuck in traffic and say, 'Wouldn't you know it! This always happens to me.' In the same way that lucky people expect good things to happen, unlucky people always expect the worst. And guess what? That's exactly what they get! Unlucky people tend to be tense and anxious. Research has shown that anxiety disrupts our ability to notice the unexpected.

Lucky people are more relaxed, network more and are open to new ideas. Check this out. Is this lucky thing just a nice idea or does it actually produce results and profits?

Good things happen to those who consider themselves lucky. According to one study, people who considered themselves easily found the answer to a question posed to them while browsing through a newspaper.

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, invited a large group of people.

1. He asked them several questions.
2. One of the questions was do you consider yourself 'lucky.'
3. Then he gave them each a newspaper and asked them to count all of the pictures in the entire paper.If they got the right answer they would receive $100.

Here is the mind blowing part. The unlucky people in the group took a few minutes to count them all but the lucky only took a few seconds.

Why? Because on the second page there was a large headline that read, 'Stop counting, there are 37 pictures in this paper.' (See the related video at the end of this article my daughter and I created for you for more.)

The people who considered themselves lucky saw the headline. The people who didn't consider themselves lucky never saw it!!!!

Did you get that? People who consider themselves lucky actually see good things that the others don't.

The lesson is this: unlucky people can't see the forest through the trees because they're so worried about the task at hand.

What's your reaction if you have to walk into a roomful of people you don't know? There are two ways to react. You can (1) shy away and keep to yourself, which is my natural tendency, or (2) make a deliberate attempt to meet 3 or 4 people and make new friends, which is something I force myself to do because I know that if I do, good things will happen.

The tale of two entrepreneur clients ' same business, dramatically different results ...

I see it every day in how people run their businesses. Take the tale of two nursery owners. In one case, a client offered to host a garden club meeting at her nursery but they wouldn't send out an email for her.

Her reaction? 'This always happens to me ' No one wants to help promote my business ' Oh, they're just not interested.' Unfortunately, I've seen she's working from a sense of fear and lacks confidence. No one wants to refer someone else who is complaining. Is it any wonder her business is struggling?

Tony Avent of PlantDelights.com isn't afraid to create catalog covers like this one because he believes he's the luckiest guy in the world, He always believes good things will happen and a result, they usually do. It's one of the reasons he's so successful.

Now take Tony Avent, a Brand Launcher client and owner of PlantDelights.com, who is enjoying terrific business.

He believes he's the luckiest guy in the world and has a ton of fun and money. He is so passionate about his plants that he's created a catalog to share his passion. He's confident people will just love his plants.

His catalog covers, which look like Mad magazine, are infamous. Here's one called 'Securing our borders.' He's willing to take a chance and gets lots of love mail ' and hate mail (which he gladly posts on his website).

Here's the funny thing, people who feel unlucky complain that they are singled out. One Mexican said 'everyone discriminates against us, your whole cover is filled with them' (even though there are 22 people and only one is Hispanic). At the same time, he got mail from people like the old lady who was getting harassed thanking him for sticking up for them. Every catalog people see what they want.

He firmly believes that if he has fun with his business, good things will happen. He's not afraid of negative reaction.

Result: He's one of the most successful mail order plant companies in the United States.

Bottom line: have fun, expect good things and they will actualize.

So let me ask you again, do you consider yourself lucky? Do you believe good things will happen? What about those around you? Change your answer to 'yes' change your life.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon

P.S. Many of you emailed and called to say you enjoyed last week's column in which I talked about how to become a 'rock star' with those you care about the most. So last week my other daughter, Tali, and I made this video for you during our 'special time' on our father-daughter trip to Washington, D.C. Funny thing is we had no idea how we were going to pull this off but we trusted that if we try it, good things will happen. Enjoy'