March 17, 2023

In Honor of St. Paddy’s Day: How I Learned that a Little Luck Doesn’t Hurt.


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For years, I’ve rejected the term “lucky.”

To be called “lucky” always felt as if good things happen to you accidentally.

You claim the parking spot at the front, “You are so lucky.”

You get to travel the world and see amazing sights? “Wow—so lucky!”

You live by the beach? “Oh! So lucky!”

But what about all of us who work pretty damn hard for our fortunes?

What about those of us who sacrifice, who scrimp and save? Those who study their butt off to qualify for a good job they finally land? Those who grind at the workplace to make ends meet or save like mad to travel and snap those wildly Instagram-able shots in iconic places?

Surely, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Someone famous once said that, and I believe them.

“Blessed” is another word I’ve shrugged off. When someone tells me I am “blessed,” I do understand this is laced with kind intentions. But it just feels too churchy for me to trust it. Although, I say “bless you” all the time when others unleash their sneezes or pop with untimely hiccups.

Come to think of it, I often say that I “count my blessings,” so, I’ve just caught myself being inconsistent with when I accept the word “blessed” and when I turn it sadly away.

My replacement for both “lucky” and “blessed” has been “fortunate.”

Somehow, “fortunate” seems to be a happy medium between lucky accidents and bestowed blessings. It’s a word that acknowledges personal efforts and humbly encompasses the idea of being “blessed” without making me feel like church somehow took the credit.

I am so fortunate to live on the beach here in Nicaragua.

I am so fortunate to be able to work for myself doing what I love.

I am so fortunate my neighbor had copious amounts of freshly caught fish and called me over to eat some this week.

See? “Fortunate” sounds appropriate and fair.

But every once in a while, our belief systems are pushed to the surface, and we realize our inconsistent mantras are self-defeating rather than empowering.

A few weeks ago, a call with one of my book coaching clients unexpectedly reversed how I feel about the word “lucky.”

Like me, she has faith but doesn’t subscribe to any church that would control when and how we are blessed. Like me, she believes in the greater good around us—a higher source that guides us when we pay attention.

Unlike me, she loves the word “lucky.” And she aligns that word with the meaning of being loved, of being looked after. “Lucky” means we are given opportunity and we are recognized for our efforts. Lucky means we are chosen, special, and rewarded.

She tells herself all the time. “I’m so lucky” and “Wow, that was really lucky!”

Where I had ascribed a kind of a judge-y, negative definition to “lucky” based on my own resistance to the stories I placed behind this word, she did not. She illuminated the word “lucky” with a charming kind of positive gratitude and awareness that she was being looked after by something greater. Kindly and effortlessly.

How about that? The idea that good luck can feel effortless? That “lucky” means we are being looked after beyond what we can see?

The effortlessness of luck doesn’t mean we have to negate our own efforts. This is a mistaken belief I’ve held for years. A limited belief I didn’t realize I had (to our own detriment, most of our limited beliefs we don’t recognize).

“Lucky” can be feeling like something is on our side while we are toiling and preparing and snatching for opportunities.

Her point of view made me think differently. It gently called me out on why I am up in arms when labeled “lucky” and asked that I put my guns away.

Yes, words matter, but there is flexibility in semantics. What matters more is the feeling behind the words we use and the intention in them.

I’m not sure why I started balling my fists when paid a harmless compliment such as “ooooh, you so lucky.” I don’t know when I first threw dark shade over the thought and interpreted “lucky” to mean that my journey is an easy path to trod and that my hard work was not acknowledged.

Lucky doesn’t mean any of that.

It just means good things happen to us and for us. Good things happen because of us, because of good energy around us and the influence of positive powers beyond perception.

That kind of “lucky” actually feels good to me and I want it now.

When my efforts are acknowledged and I am being gifted a kindness from above (or beyond). When I understand that both definitions of luck can work together in our favor, then my scowling face softens into one of delight at living a lucky life.

Yes, I have suffered excruciating loss, deep sorrow, hardships in every category, and unexpected disappointments—just like we all have. But I now realize I’ve actually been resisting the good on so many occasions by shutting down the word “lucky.”

am living a lucky life, and it’s time I stepped into it. Believe in it. And invite more of this luck. Raise my own energy by agreeing that being lucky is a positive I am grateful for and call more in.

Then share that sh*t around.

I’m pulling the word “lucky” back into my vocabulary, hugging it close and promising to not misunderstand or criticize it anymore. I am going to quit correcting my friends from using “lucky” to “fortunate” because I finally understand what it feels like to accept all of the good I’m given.

So listen up, leprechauns: When someone tells me I’m lucky, I will smile and earnestly thank them.

I will tell others how lucky they are when they receive good news and mean it. I will wish them good luck in the face of any challenge because couldn’t we all use just a bit more of that?

And when good things happen to me, amidst the bad and the ugly, I am going to remind myself how lucky I am too. Because it is my lucky day. I hope it’s your lucky day.

I hope it’s all our lucky days.


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