“Oh my God, you are so lucky!”
I’ve heard it my entire life. Maybe you have, too. It drives me crazy.
Luck assumes that things just fall in my lap, like a leprechaun just appeared with his pot of gold and a few wishes. Luck assumes that the process was easy. Luck assumes that I had no part to play in the outcome other than the fact that I somehow had good luck.
When I got my first job in accounting, I was told I was lucky. I’m sure it had nothing to do with my GPA or the fact that I sent out resumes to every accounting firm within driving distance of my house, praying that one of them would give me an internship.
When I had the opportunity to talk to one of the big four accounting firms, I was told I was lucky. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I joined a networking group and one of the women in the networking group was a partner for that firm.
When I started teaching, I was told I was lucky. The job did not appear in my lap. I sent dozens of resumes to every college within driving distance of my house, many of them a stretch. My resume happened to be in someone’s email box when the college needed someone less than two weeks before the start of the semester.
When we went to Italy a few years ago, I was told I was lucky. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that we worked very hard to pay off $70,000 in credit card debt and saved to pay cash for the trip.
My entire life, I have put myself in places that created opportunity. I networked, sent resumes and made connections. I also worked hard. There has never been a leprechaun at the end of the rainbow.
There have been a lot of long days, working weekends, and sleepless nights. There were tears, frustration and cancer. We’ve had failures and successes. We still have a long way to go.
The next time you are tempted to say that someone is lucky, think of the work that person put in to get where he/she is today. Rather than assuming it is blind luck, inquire about how he/she got there. You might learn something.
If you are one of those “lucky” people, just remember one of my favorite quotes from Jon Acuff’s Start:
Do people ever tell you that you are lucky? How does it make you feel?