Feeling Lucky? What’s Your Attitude at Work?

Around St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish get credited with embodying and enjoying an extra measure of luck. Even if you’re not a wee bit Irish, your attitude about luck could influence your career. How can you best leverage it for success?

From more than 4,000 assessments conducted the past three years with our DRiV personality assessment tool, we explored combinations of four different scales associated with various ways people perceive and handle risk:

  • Caution: How scary is risk?
  • Competition: How big of risks do you take? How frustrating is failure?
  • Persistence: What do you do when things start to “go south”?
  • Deliberation: How careful are you in managing risk?

Who Are You? When considering these four scales in combination, we found they are embodied in four distinct personality types distributed almost evenly across the population. Which description fits you best?

Lucky Ones.

You are highly competitive, but paradoxically quite sensitive to failure. You set very high goals, but you also really don’t want to fail, so you pursue many different interest areas. This helps you diversify and manage risk. You don’t focus on one specific thing, because failing would be a huge blow to your self-esteem.

Success Tip: Take some time to inventory your skills, passions and the needs around you. Where these three overlap is your area of highest return on investment (ROI). Stop investing so much energy in lower-ROI activities. Find 1-2 things you need to “double down” on – then do them! Also find people who will hold you accountable to that strategy.


You are fast-paced, competitive and a risk-taker with highly ambitious personal goals. You downplay the reality of risks and simply tell yourself that if you work hard enough you can achieve anything. This is the “overconfident” type of luck.

Success Tip: Check the reality of your goals, being willing to redefine or lower them. Calibrate goals with others less optimistic and confident, but whom you trust and respect. Your personal network can advise you when you’re over-investing into a failing strategy; sometimes you have to cut your losses.


You’re not all that competitive and you may feel skeptical at times of your ability to effect much change. As a result, you simply set lower, very achievable goals for yourself. You might find yourself giving up quickly when your goals start to seem unachievable, which could indicate a type of “learned helplessness”.

Success Tip: Harness the power of planning by gradually setting goals that stretch you just a tiny bit – then build (and execute) a clearly defined plan to help you reach those goals. Track these incremental goals and periodically review how far you’ve come.


You’re slow and steady, not worried about failing, and you set realistic, achievable goals. You plan carefully and move methodically; you are diligent, careful, and hardworking. You likely don’t believe in luck because your goals are so realistic.

Success Tip: Find something you’re really passionate about to help inspire you to elevate your goals. Partner with more optimistic people who will challenge you to reach higher. Look for ways to shake things up like reworking your plan so you hit your goals faster, or making your goals bigger, or broadening your scope to target multiple goals simultaneously.