Lisa Robbin Young

"You can't win if you don't play."

Mom used this sentence to justify a lot of behavior when I was a kid: learning to ride a bike, auditioning for plays, joining the cross country team (I took 11th place in the city meet). And yes, mom played the lottery. She had a winning streak where, with a little help from technology and lottery dream books, she won several days each week for a few weeks. Naturally, those words rang through my head every time I was faced with a risk-reward decision.

Until this week.

I won the lottery, and I didn't buy a ticket.


If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have already heard about how I found this lottery ticket on the ground while I was on a field trip with my kid. I thought it was trash (LITTERBUGS! ARGH!), so I picked it up to throw away when we got to the car.

But when I saw it was a lottery ticket, I figured I'd check the numbers when I got home, just in case.

I won the BIG money, honey! TWO WHOLE DOLLARS! WOO HOO!!

But here's the rest of the story...

Every morning, I sit down to do The PEACE System (a process I created to help clear my head and prioritize my day). Because field trips can be stressful - particularly with a special needs kid - I made a point of setting the intention to look for miracles.

Frankly, a well-behaved child would have qualified as a miracle in my book. I certainly wasn't expecting free money to fall at my feet. But hey, I'll take it!

I asked for (and was looking for) a miracle, and I got it. And the kid behaved, too!

You've probably heard stories about people who say "I won the lottery and it changed my life." Never did I think I'd be one of those people, since I don't play the lottery.

But winning those two bucks most certainly changed my life. If you want to test out your luck as well, you can go to sites like 바카라 사이트, for example.

Mom was wrong (and right)

"You can't play if you don't win" is a double-edged sword. In a way, I did "play" because I picked up the ticket and cashed it in. But in a way I didn't play, because I didn't actually buy the ticket. It wasn't even given to me (in the traditional sense). And the person that dropped the ticket probably thought it was a "loser" because they played $10 and "only" won $2. They lost money on the deal.

But from my perspective, I was $2 richer!

The last 18 months have been arduous and hard for me on a lot of fronts. At some point, I probably faced down some depression, though I was never clinically diagnosed. I've done a LOT of questioning my worth, my value, and why I'm really on this planet in the first place.

Two dollars won't even buy me a soda at my local restaurant, let alone pay my rent, but it was a sign. A clear sign that miracles are there if we are looking for them. I know that sounds kind of mystical and metaphysical, but it's true. I found that money because I was looking for it.

Well, I was looking for a miracle, and I chose to see this "win" as a miracle.

You can't earn miracles.

You have to have your eyes open and show up.

You have to be willing to go for what matters to you - even if it seems unreasonable. Even if it seems impossible. If it's in your heart to have it, you have to be courageous enough to show up for it. And keep showing up consistently.

In that respect, Mom was right: you can't win if you don't play.

But she was also wrong. I won without playing "the game" (by society's rules, at least). That little lottery ticket opened a Pandora's box of questions about the "teaching" that's been passed down through my family for generations. The "lessons" and "stories" that, in a previous era, had to be true for survival no longer serve the person I'm becoming in this era of creative entrepreneurship.

In the past, if you didn't "play by the rules", you wouldn't be taken seriously, and you probably wouldn't even get a foot in the door, let alone win. There were gatekeepers, expectations, and unwritten "rules" that were foisted on you by your industry, society and "the world". These rules were designed to keep certain people out, and to protect the survival of others. You had to play their way, or you simply couldn't play.

Now, you have a lot more latitude to define success on your own terms and not just survive, but thrive. You can create your own career, doing what you love, and make good money doing it - without selling your soul. That's the entire premise of how I help my clients!

Those old stories that once served to protect, inspire, and motivate me, had been holding me back from the life and career I was meant to have. I couldn't see that until I won the lottery.

What thoughts, beliefs, and stories do you hold as true, that might actually be limiting your success without you even realizing it? Untangling those beliefs and thought patterns can be tough, but the rewards far outweigh the risks.

Waiting for miracles? Your results may vary...

But here's the other thing that rattled my brain. I won $2. Winning anything was contingent upon someone else. Somebody else played the game, bought the ticket, left it on the ground. At least three other people walked right past the ticket before I picked it up. In short, I had no control over the outcome. All I could do was be in the right place at the time of the miracle.

Miracles are awesome, and they can feel magical. But they are, in many ways, unpredictable - even if you're looking for them. You don't know when they'll arrive, or in what form, and sometimes it's hard to know if it even is a miracle until well after the fact. Sometimes the worst thing that ever happened to you is actually a blessing in disguise... a miracle you won't see until years later.

In life, we can wait for others to open doors for us, or we can make a plan and get sh*t done. (Tweet This)

Waiting around for miracles is the snail's path to success. Can it happen? Sure! I just won the lottery, for crying out loud! But, I only won $2, because that's all the ticket was worth. Someone else got to dictate the terms of my success. I could only win what they played and paid for.

I don't want someone else to dictate how successful I can be. I don't want someone else to have that much influence over my success journey. I mean, I won't turn away blessings when they show up - even the $2 variety - and I'm not going out of my way to play the lottery, either.

I know I can't control everything - and some might say that control, like safety, is an illusion. But if I set an intention and follow it with consistent action, I'm going to move the ball further down the field more often than the guy standing around, waiting for a winning lottery ticket to fall at his feet.

Will there be setbacks? Most likely. As we all know, the so-called "overnight success" stories usually involve a lot more preparation and hardship than we realize. As Thomas Edison famously said, "opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

I'm no stranger to hard work, although I'd like to be. 🙂

There were other gems of discovery that I'm still unpacking, and I'm sure you could tease out a few lessons of your own from this story, but ultimately, while I welcome all the miracles and blessings coming my way, I'm not going to sit on the sidelines and wait for them. I'm going to keep showing up, sharing my Great Work, and defining success on my terms. Not my mom's terms, or the terms of my ancestors, or even the terms of my fans and clients.

My game is the only game that matters for me. It's a game I'm happy to play, and one I can't lose, because I make the rules.

[Note: I originally wrote this post a few years ago, for my Business Action Hero website. I've refreshed it here because it's still relevant - maybe now more than ever.]

"If you are deliberately trying to create a future that feels safe, you will willfully ignore the future that is likely.”

- Seth Godin


It hit me between the eyes. This painful, jarring sensation at far too early on a Sunday morning - on a holiday weekend no less. This strange need for safety that we all seem to crave - even go out of our way to re-inforce.

Even if the result is less comfortable than pursuing change.

Safety is often the anti-hero.

We don't want to rock the boat and get people mad at us. So we stay in the comfort zone. Maybe we push a little here and there, but we're not really making true progress on our own path.

It's here where we have to choose:

A future of so-called "safety" or adventure?

Because safety is the ultimate risk. Hoping and praying that nothing will change. Images of ostriches with their heads in the sand come to mind. They can't see that tornado bearing down on them, but golly, they sure feel safe!

[tweet "When it comes to owning your dreams, safety is the ultimate risk."]

Back in 2010, I had the honor of interviewing best-selling author Jonathan Fields about the upside of being an entrepreneur. During that interview, he said something that has stayed with me:

"There is no sideways in life. It's an illusion. There's only up and down. Usually this is the most horrifying scenario of all."

- Jonathan Fields

At first, I didn't want to believe it, but my own experience has validated that there's no standing still. You're either moving forward (as you define it) or you're getting left behind.  When I interviewed him again for his second book, "Uncertainty", he offered up this gem:

"If you want to do great things in the world, you have to go to a place where you don't know how it's going to end."

- Jonathan Fields

(You can listen to that interview here.)

Since then, he's launched the Good Life Project and Revolution U, all the while, going where he'd never gone before. It's been fascinating and fun to watch. Clearly, this is a guy that continues to choose "adventure" over "safety".

Safety is your nemesis.

I don't mean you should recklessly throw caution to the wind. We need to be smart about the risks we're taking. Safety and security is one thing most of us crave - it's the foundation of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Without it, we don't feel like we can move forward.

But once we "have" it, we're less likely to move forward because of it. Safety means we don't have to push, strive, or work as hard because, well, we're safe, and nothing's going to happen to us in our safe space, right?

That's a wicked catch-22.

Safety works hard to keep you stuck - just as hard as you work to plow forward in your adventure.

"What if they don't like it?"

"What if they think I'm crazy?"

"What if it flops?"

"What will _____ say?"

"That's too hard/easy/fast/slow/tedious/tiresome/boring/good for me."

"I'd love to but I don't have enough ______ (or I am not ____ enough)."

We judge ourselves so harshly that we don't give ourselves a fighting chance. Let's change that!

Judgment has to end so that the adventure can begin.

Remember: perfection is an illusion. You're already as perfect as you're gonna get. You're human. To expect perfection 100% of the time will only cause more judgement (pain, resentment, frustration). Stuff happens that we call "failure". Big deal. Take a moment to celebrate the wins, stop staring at the door that closed, and look for your next steps.

The nature of a nemesis is that it has an equivalent level of power and sway. Think of The Joker and Batman, Prof. Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes. A nemesis is not easily defeated, but can be thwarted and often contained. It is when you underestimate your nemesis that it takes a foothold, and often wins a battle or two.

A simple way to thwart your "safety" nemesis:

  1. Where do you find yourself getting all judgmental on yourself?
  2. How can you be honest AND compassionate at the same time?
  3. Look clearly at the situation(s) that you judge, and give yourself an appropriate amount of credit where due.
  4. If you struggle with #3, ask for help in identifying your strengths, and ACCEPT that help.

Simple, but not easy.