I read a definition of success recently that I really like:

Success is when opportunity meets readiness

I think the original quote is about Hollywood, but it’s pretty universal, in my opinion. And it’s been very true about my own life. Every major thing that’s happened to me involved a specific event that occurred unexpectedly, but while I was fortunately ready to exploit it. It could also be considered a practical definition of fate: when the right moment comes along, you’re ready to seize it.
I think where it falls apart for some people is the last bit. They know that finding the right moment is vital, but they seem to expect it to carry them off like a wave, when it happens. But the reality is you have to be able to recognize the moment, react in time, and run with it.