Throughout my career, many people have told me how lucky I've been. Every time that happens, I am taken aback.

Why would people say that? Yes, I have had a great career, started businesses and met great people. I live in a fabulous town and have a great family.

However, none of that was simply luck. I worked hard, was focused, creative and, frankly, willing to take risks. I never let that little word "no" make me feel badly.

Too often, people sit back and wait for luck to happen. It doesn't work that way. We need to determine what we want and how to get it.

A few years ago, I wanted to get more press. So I decided to reach out to organizations where I could be a motivational speaker -- places where my message would make a difference.

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The National Business and Disability Council asked me to speak to its group. As a result of that speech, I was awarded the Small Business Award of Honor, which was presented by then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. That award resulted in a great deal of press, which, in turn, led to more awards and yet more press.

This took a great deal of time and effort. There were also a lot of people who had no interest in me.

When I was rejected, I kept my goals and strategy in mind and kept on going. I knew if I kept going, my efforts would result in good things. Being turned down is never easy, but we need to get over this.

A little while ago. I contacted former President Bill Clinton's office to see if he would come and speak to my ladies. These discussions went on for months. In the end, they said no.

I must admit I was a little disappointed, but the process was really fun. How many people have ever talked directly to Mr. Clinton's staff?

They actually started to recognize my voice. Although that didn't work out, it led me to getting Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough to come and speak.

Your efforts may not turn out exactly the way you planned but they will always take you to new and exciting places. You "fabricate" your luck by your risk-taking and hard work.

Kathy McShane is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at kmcshane@ladieswholaunch.com or ladieswholaunch.com/southwestct.