“You gotta try your luck, at least once a day. Otherwise, you might be going around lucky all day and not even know it.”
Wise words from Jimmy Dean, the American singer of Irish heritage. Words that St Patrick himself could have drawn strength from before embarking on his mission to bring Christianity to Ireland. It is said he was reluctant to go forth and preach because ‘shortcomings in his education’ left him feeling ‘unsuitable for the task.’ This was 433 AD, St Patrick didn’t have the words of Jimmy Dean to help him through it, but it’s reassuring to learn he did rely on more traditional methods to calm his nerves. Apparently, he ‘liked a drink.’ Something many St Patrick revellers would cheerfully raise a glass to today.
St Patrick could not have foreseen his mission’s success, all the way from the 5th century through to the 21st. The Chicago River dyed green for the occasion, and revellers knock back a thirst-quenching 13 million pints of Guinness on the day. Of course, it wasn’t always like this. For hundreds of years, St Patrick’s day was a sober, religious affair. It was only when the Irish Americans picked it up in the 16th century that the austere mass turned into a celebration of culture with a sidekick of political resistance against the prejudice they encountered. Today it’s easy to criticise St Patrick’s day as perpetuating stereotypes (drunk, lucky, shamrocks), but the Irish Americans drew heavily on these tropes to reclaim them. So, don’t feel guilty as you add a leprechaun to your zoom background and enjoy a pint of Guinness; it’s all within the spirit(s) of the day.
We all know that voice in our heads, the one St Patrick heard, telling him he’s not ready, not credible enough. It’s common to lack confidence, especially when it comes to approaching strangers. How many times has a salesperson thought, ‘It’s not the right time, they won’t want to hear from me, I’m interrupting them, and they’ll think I’m stupid?’ Granted, a new business approach is not on the same gargantuan scale as converting a whole population to a new religion, but there are parallels. It’s easy to accept that voice of self-doubt as if we’ve suddenly developed telepathy and can predict the outcome of our actions before we take them. But the truth is we don’t know. All we do know is the words of Jimmy Dean. If we don’t try our luck, we won’t even know it’s there.
For the month of March, we offer St Patrick as your inspiration to do more new business and make more new approaches. Remember, until you try it, you don’t know the outcome. St Patrick must be looking back now, observing, ‘Well, that went better than expected.’ So be like St Patrick, have a drink and get your message out there. You never know, hundreds of years later, a river might be dyed in your honour.