A couple points before I start this post.  Yes, as an SF guy I know the three rules of SF are 1: Always look cool.  2: Always know where you are.  And 3: If you don’t know where you are, at least look cool.  

Also, I normally hate writing lists, but I thought the three rules below were generic enough for anyone to follow.   

1. BE INTENTIONAL IN WHAT YOU DO

When you save money by not buying unnecessary “things” you find yourself better prepared for emergencies when they occur.

You eat right and exercise so you don’t get heart disease and die and you backup your computer so you don’t lose your work and memories.

Opportunities arise as a result of formulaic events: you work hard, position yourself, and (potentially) are rewarded.  Dave Ramsey nails it when he says nobody in the post-game interview when winning the Super Bowl shrugs and says they’ve no idea how they’ve gotten there.  

Understand missed opportunities are often the result of previous decisions made and remember this: your life is what happens while you are planning for something else.  At some point you have to stop planning and start executing.

2. BAD NEWS DOESN’T GET BETTER WITH TIME

Murphy’s Law is an well-known adage that states “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”  In the military we simply refer to it as “Murphy.”

Trust me when I tell you this: “Murphy” will show up.  And, he’ll show up when you least want or expect him to.  A lot of times, he not only shows up, he brings his friends with him.

You will mess up.  Your employees will mess up.  Someone you don’t even know will mess up and, yet, you’ll still be affected.

It will be painful.  Even worse, you will have to deal with it.  It happens, and when it does it’s often best to over-communicate to fix the problem. 

If forced to list one thing I wish I didn’t see senior managers do in today’s workplaces it would be their withholding information from employees.  If two people know a secret, that’s one too many.  Trust me, others are going to find out.

Wouldn’t it be better to hear it from you rather than through the employee gossip line. Messengers are easily forgiven for being the harbinger of bad news.  Liars, even if out of a misplaced desire to “protect,” are a lot harder to forgive.

3. SOMETIMES IT’S BETTER TO BE LUCKY THAN GOOD

Be sure you understand the difference between lucky and good, but never be afraid to use luck to your advantage. 

When you see an opportunity and the timing is right – jump on it and capitalize on the opportunities to gain momentum.  Streamline your processes to ensure you keep it.

Be proactive not reactive.  Be honest – with yourself and with others.

Over-communicate. Never attempt to hide things from people out of fear.

Create your own luck and when you have it, work tirelessly to maintain it.

Quit blaming Murphy for what’s happening and own your life.  He shows up far less often when you are prepared than when you aren’t.