Genetics, Luck, and Karma: Secrets to FamBiz Success
People ask me where my blog ideas come from, because I find something different to write about each week. My answer: “anywhere and everywhere”.
This week it’s from watching Jeopardy, and one of Alex Trebek’s brief interviews with the contestants.
Top 5 of All Time
A bartender named Austin Rogers had a fantastic run recently, running up over $400,000 in winnings in just over two weeks, which placed him in the top 5 of all time Jeopardy winners.
After he had accumulated some sizeable winnings, Alex asked the likeable young man from New York to what he attributed the success he’d been having on the show.
His honest reply struck me as quite refreshing:
“Genetics, Luck, and Karma.”
Fits with Family Business Success Too
I couldn’t help think how nicely these three elements fit with family business success too.
I realize this isn’t necessarily obvious, but hey, that’s why I write these blogs, to share my thoughts on just this kind of thing. Let’s take them one at a time.
The family business angle fits pretty clearly with the genetics comment. “He sure seems to take after his Dad”.
Yes, indeed, we do inherit many traits from our parents, and in a thriving family business, the hope is usually that the next generation will have many of the same positive characteristics that made the parents successful.
Problems can arise though, when the children have different positive traits, and clashes can happen when the generations don’t see eye-to-eye on everything.
Luck is a bit harder to get agreement on. Successful people like to think that they alone are responsible for their company doing well, and in most cases that’s true, but it’s only part of the formula.
I can’t help think that luck has more influence on how things turn out than most people acknowledge.
Yes, I’m quite familiar with the expressions “You make your own luck” and “The harder I work, the luckier I seem to get”, and they resonate nicely with me too.
But, for every business person who blames failure on “bad luck”, there’s probably another who should be thanking “good luck” for their success.
If you think that luck was a difficult concept to grasp, let’s move on to karma, and try our luck there.
Let’s start with a quick Google search, which turned up this nugget:
Karma (car-ma) is a word meaning the result of a person’s actions as well as the actions themselves. It is a term about the cycle of cause and effect. According to the theory of Karma, what happens to a person, happens because they caused it with their actions.
That wasn’t exactly what I thought my search would turn up, but who the heck am I to argue with Google? That might not bring me good karma. (See what I did there?)
A lot of different things come to my mind when I think about karma. The “Golden Rule”, and “Do unto others” are a couple of them.
I also think about humility, and not acting like you’re better than everyone else, because that probably won’t create good karma.
Humble and Kind
The Karma idea made me flash back to a blog post from June 2016, Humble and Kind, in which I wrote:
And if you do start out humble and kind when you are young, how did you get that way? My guess is that most of it comes from your parents and the example they set.
When family businesses fall apart, it is usually in large part because of family conflict, so what happened to the humility and the kindness?
When I first thought about Karma and family business, I thought about in the ways that the business interacts with customers, suppliers, and competitors; you know, the outside interactions.
But now that I’ve re-read the excerpt from that blog, it makes me realize that the internal Karma, within the family, is probably even more important.
Teaching your children about karma brings good karma.
Something to Think About
Back to Austin, our Jeopardy contestant. He eventually lost a game and was dethroned, but his reaction seemed to fit with his penchant for keeping the karma gods happy.
He was last seen laughing and high-fiving the woman who beat him.
His luck might’ve run out, but his karma was going strong.