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It Was Never Luck
Luck: The Invisible Equalizer
This was one of the first pieces I wrote on Medium, but still one of my favorites. This is also the last piece from that forum I need to transfer, so now I can focus on new ideas.
People use the word “luck” when you accomplish something they don’t feel they can do: “You’re so lucky.” It diminishes what you’ve worked for and makes you question whether you deserve it. You do.
I am tired of people telling me that I’ve been lucky. My “luck” came from making decisions with courage and determination.
When I was going to the University of Washington, I was a single mom. I had two little kids. My family, friends, and a pretty terrific boyfriend all lived in Seattle, close by.
I missed out on parties, and I worked hard. I slept between classes and stayed up late after the kids were asleep to study and finish assignments. I went to class with baby food rubbed in my hair, and juice spilled on my clothes. But I graduated with honors. There was nothing lucky about it.
As I was graduating, I was recruited. I was offered jobs in the Seattle area. These were mediocre, safe jobs. I could have taken one, continued to live close to my parents, and had help with the kids.
But I was also recruited by IBM. A huge company like IBM and the salary and benefits they offered was life-changing. This was a no-brainer if the job were in Seattle. Even in Portland, it would have been okay. But this IBM location was in Rochester, Minnesota.
Even so, I interviewed for the job, thinking only of the opportunity and giving my children a great life.
And you know, not once during the 8-hour interview process did any of the five managers with whom I interviewed say anything about rolling dice to get the job.
When I took that position, it was all about courage. I left behind my family, friends, and that boyfriend. I left the state where I grew up. And I moved to a place where I didn’t know anyone within 1000 miles. My son was 6, and my daughter was 2.
I was not “lucky” to get to go back to college. I was not “lucky” to get on the honor roll. I was not “lucky” when IBM offered me that job.
And I have not been “lucky” in the years since as I’ve continued to take chances and stretch my boundaries.
Luck would have been winning the lottery or tripping over $100 bill.
When someone tells me, “You’re so lucky…” it feels like another way of saying that I don’t deserve what I worked for. What I’ve done takes strength, courage, and skill.
Don’t sell me short. It was never luck.