I thought to myself recently, that if you are around me and a close work friend of mine, you will often hear us saying how lucky we are to be in our current position and how lucky we are to work where we are, with the boss and colleagues we have.
On further reflection and after another friend saying “no, you deserve it”, I’ve realised in fact, that I am not lucky. I have worked hard to be the person I am today and to be where I am. I am resilient, I am driven, and I am fortunate, and I am thankful… but I am not lucky.
As Michelle Obama once said… “there is no magic to achievement. It is really about hard work, choices, and persistence.”
Winning the lottery is lucky, as the numbers are chosen at complete random. Tossing a coin and getting the correct call is chance. However, many of the outcomes, events, and experiences in our lives are brought about by us as individuals.
I have some examples of instances where I was the driving force behind my success(?), and not luck or chance.
1. My degree
It wasn’t by luck that I got in to UWE to study Journalism and graduated with a 2:1. I chose my A-Level subjects in relation to the path I wanted to go down. I sat in classrooms from a young age and absorbed information from an amazing line of teachers who were dedicated to giving every bit of energy and knowledge they had to us.
I was the one (with a push from teachers and parents) who went home and revised in the evenings or on weekends so that when I sat my exams I could answer to the best of my ability. I was the one who decided on a university and worked hard to get the grades I needed for entry. I was the one who studied and completed assignments to achieve the final grade that I wanted, whilst persevering with 2 part-time jobs.
It wasn’t by luck that around 4 years ago I went from being chronically depressed to the point I had to pull over on the A303 after considering swerving, to finishing my degree, getting a full-time job, and working hard to improve my mental health.
I was fortunate to have an incredible group of friends (and family); who I knew I could turn to for help. I’m the one who sought help through my GP surgery and uni. I am the one who pushed and pushed and pushed myself time after time to be sociable, get active and work on self-help methods to get me out of one of the darkest moments of my life so far.
4. My career
It wasn’t by luck that I ended up in a job that I love, working with an amazing team of people. I got a degree and was in my first job before I’d even handed in my dissertation. When I didn’t enjoy that working environment or the people in that environment, I made the decision to follow my instinct and quit. I was jobless, but I scoured the internet for job listings and when I found the listing for my current position, I gave the interview every ounce of energy I had because I knew that was where I wanted to be.
Since then, I have met clients from different companies, I am managing client projects, I am in charge of Varn’s online presence, and I have met Olympic athletes. I am now in a position where I can continue to grow both personally and professionally, and work with a team of awesome and unique people.
You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your career and your workplace.
5. Personal and professional development
It wasn’t by chance that I got a gym membership or made small changes to my diet in a conscious effort to improve my health. It wasn’t luck that made me go on holiday on my own last year to become more comfortable with being by myself and to experience the world through my eyes only.
It also wasn’t chance that enabled to start a Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing. I have always been hungry to learn more and be more. I had the passion and the courage to want to take on a diploma whilst in full-time work so that I can ultimately become the best I can be in my career. This drive is what showed my boss that I was serious about developing both myself and this role and helped him make the decision to support me financially in doing so.
Separating luck from hard work
I have worked hard, as many of those around me have. I have asked questions, tested or pushed myself (and definitely tested the patience of others! Ha), I have been outgoing and demanding but I have also been modest and shy. I have experienced both ups and downs and I have not always been the perfect example of a human being, but I have stayed true to myself.
We can all be guilty of saying “you’re so lucky” to people when they tell us about an amazing opportunity or experience they had, and whilst luck definitely happens in our lives and there is an element of chance in certain things that we do, in a lot of cases people have achieved that because they have pushed or fought for it.
Congratulating someone can sometimes come across as being patronising, particularly if it is not something that initially appears to be a massive achievement, but I think that this is something that is really important for reminding people that they are shaping their lives and that their hard work is paying off as well as being recognised by others.
One of my close friends Katie New, once told me in a card: “I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you for going out there, rolling your sleeves up and grabbing your future by the balls!”
That card still makes me smile most days and reminds me that everyone is responsible for moving themselves onwards and upwards.
I am lucky to be alive; I am lucky that I am healthy and living in a country where I have free education and free healthcare. I am also incredibly grateful for the friends, family, teachers, and colleagues who I have met, who have put up with me, and who have given me incredible memories or supported me along the way.
But luck is not what has shaped me into the woman I am today, and luck is not what has gotten me to where I stand currently. And trust me when I say, luck is not going to get me more opportunities at work, or a new car, or the mortgage I’m saving for…