Luck (03/14/07)

Dear Zelda,

According to your press you started out as an "underdog," but look at you now. I'm feeling like an underdog myself, so can you give me any lucky dog tips on how I might turn my luck around? I'm not Irish, but maybe I can convert. Thanks.

Looking for a Four-Leaf Clover

Dear Looking,

Horseshoes, rabbits’ feet, wishbones, and four-leaf clovers are all said to be good luck charms. But I’m a firm believer that we make our own luck. Ironically enough, there’s an interesting example of this in the history of “Lucky Charms” cereal.
 
Lucky Charms was invented in 1962 by a team at General Mills whose leader was John Holahan. The team was challenged to introduce a new children’s cereal within a six-month time frame. Normally, new cereals took two to three years to introduce, but Holahan accepted the job, and the risk, knowing that the only way to succeed was to do something unique. Up to that point, the best-selling cereals were plain-grain Wheaties and Cheerios. Holahan had the bright idea to not only add marshmallows, but to add them in a variety of shapes…the now-famous moons, stars, hearts, and clovers. They also chose to use the iconic Leprechaun as their mascot, and as you know, the rest is history. In fact, Lucky Charms cereal vastly exceeded sales forecasts, and it became the fastest new cereal introduction ever accomplished by General Mills. Until his death in 2000, John Holahan often gave talks about his creation and the selling of Lucky Charms as “a lesson in creativity in marketing.”

What Holahan did was to “think outside the cereal box.” Success often happens when we step back and take another, perhaps unorthodox, look at our problems. So my advice to you is to do the same: sit down and think about the challenges you’re trying to overcome, and what it is that makes you an “underdog.” Then make a list of your strengths and your goals. But here’s the important part: think creatively about unusual and original ways to accomplish your goals using those strengths. Being the underdog often helps, because no one sees you coming!
 
Creativity and courage are the keys to making your own luck. If you have a great idea for a new product and want to start your own company, look at your competition, figure out what they’re overlooking or haven’t thought of, and find creative ways for your product to be better. Or maybe you’re feeling like an underdog socially. If so, think of something unique that sets you apart, or find some way to stand out while still being you. Love to ride the unicycle, or grow carnivorous plants? Start an enthusiasts’ group in your town and you’re much more likely to meet like-minded people interested in the same thing.
 
The logo of our company, as you may know, is yours truly dressed up in a bee costume with the tagline, “Why BEE normal?” That pretty much sums it up. Make your own luck by not being “normal,” but by having new and unique solutions to the obstacles ahead of you. Dare I say…“Good luck?”
 
Zelda
 
Dear Zelda,
 
How can I possibly get over the loss of my twelve-year-old bulldog "Brutus?"

I loved him.

Heartbroken
 
Dear Heartbroken,

Losing a dog that has been with you through thick and thin for twelve years is not easy.  One of my closest pals recently passed away, and I find myself sad when I realize I won’t be able to run around and play tug-of-war with her any more. When I’m feeling depressed about my loss I try to sit down and remember the good times we shared; sometimes it’s sad, but it also reminds me of what a gift that time together was. You need to rejoice in the fact that you and Brutus lived, loved, and touched each other’s lives.
 
To honor Brutus in your home, put his collar in a prominent place where you can pick it up and hold it. Put together a “Brutus Scrapbook” and fill it with your favorite photos of him. Remember, you gave Brutus a home and he gave you his heart. So look deep into your own heart… it’s there you’ll find the strength to make a new start. Brutus also wouldn’t want your grief to hold you back from giving more of your love. Pass that love on to another bulldog, share the lessons you learned from Brutus, and that way Brutus will live on forever. Love never really dies, and when you’re ready, I’m sure there’s a puppy out there that needs you and your love.
 
Incidentally, you and Brutus have inspired me to create a space on my website for photos of friends that have passed over the “rainbow bridge.” I hope you’ll send me a photo of Brutus, and that others who feel like it will send me images of “past pals” so we can remember them together. Email your photos to: zelda@zeldawisdom.com, and we’ll try to post as many as we can.
 
Brutus will always be in your heart, in your memories, and in the lessons you learned from him. Through you, Brutus lives on. Celebrate his life by celebrating yours.
 
Lots of love,
 
Zelda
 
Here is a poem I found that may help when you’re feeling blue:
 
Beyond The Rainbow
 
As much as I loved the life we had and all the times we played,
I was so very tired and knew my time on earth would fade.
I saw a wondrous image then of a place that's trouble-free
Where all of us can meet again to spend eternity.
 
I saw the most beautiful Rainbow, and on the other side
Were meadows rich and beautiful -- lush and green and wide!
And running through the meadows as far as the eye could see
Were animals of every sort as healthy as could be!
My own tired, failing body was fresh and healed and new
And I wanted to go run with them, but I had something left to do.
 
I needed to reach out to you, to tell you I'm alright
That this place is truly wonderful, then a bright Glow pierced the night.
'Twas the Glow of many Candles shining bright and strong and bold
And I knew then that it held your love in its brilliant shades of gold.
 
For although we may not be together in the way we used to be,
We are still connected by a cord no eye can see.
So whenever you need to find me, we're never far apart
If you look beyond the Rainbow and listen with your heart.
 
cg - 1995