I’m not talking tequila here. I’m talking about chance. Although, come to think of it, both are good.
There isn’t a relationship on earth that doesn’t call for you to have faith in yourself at some point or another; to take a chance that could change your life for the better. Personal or business, if you’re not willing to take a shot at the dream, whatever it may be, success is unlikely.
I’ve had five careers in my life. Not jobs. Careers. I’ve had two others that didn’t pan out.
I’ve been told that I’m a lucky girl. One with good timing, and friends in the right places. I’ve been labeled a serial career girl (as if that were a bad thing).
I call myself a girl who is not afraid to shoot for the hoop and make a fool of herself. A blessing and a curse.
I’ve been a self-imposed fool many times over. So many, that I’m as smart as a whip these days. It’s about damn time that I say that out loud.
I’m not lucky. Nor, have I just been in the right place at the right time. It wasn’t the people I knew or the connections I had. These theories are lies that come from people who tell themselves this to make them feel better about not being where I am.
Unless you’ve inherited your fortune, if you’re successful, it’s because you worked your butt off on an idea you believed in. Period.
I was born and brought up one step up from dirt poor. My mother and I lived in a tiny, one bedroom hovel of an apartment. I lived there until I was 18, sleeping in my mom’s bed until I married. Life wasn’t unbearable. I was a happy kid, very much loved by my young single mom. But I was gravely disadvantaged.
Last week I was at a luncheon where a group of women commended me on my success and marveled at how lucky I had been in life, and how well I had I played the game. The conversation was condescending and arrogant. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be like them, women of good breeding, fine clothes, beautiful hair, skin and jewelry. None of them had ever been in the work place. They were there to contribute to charities on behalf of their husbands fortunes.
Game? There’s no game. There was just open thinking, hard work, endless days, fear, doubt, risk, and a boatload of hope. There was a lot of trust in myself, especially when few others did. No game, no tricks, no luck, connections, or favors. Just me, my dreams, high expectations and the thought that I might someday amount to something better than what I was.
I shared those sentiments with them, calmly. I’m pretty sure I’m off their Christmas list for next year. It wasn’t pride that spoke out. It was a need to set the record straight. To enlighten an ignorance. To right a wrong.
Give a girl some credit. Some long overdue credit. I, like so many others, have worked for what I have and where I am. I didn’t depend on the kindness of strangers, love, or family. But I was happy to receive it when it passed my way.
There’s one good thing about building your life from the ground up, you recognize the bottom and the wonderful people you met there. You respect it, and them. And while you don’t want to live there, you know it says more about you than anything else you will ever do.
I am by no means a wealthy woman. Not if you define wealth by a million plus in the bank. But I make a very respectable living and my wealth is found in my family, friends, experiences, and the love I have been fortunate enough to find.
I want to say out loud that chance-taking saved me. More than once. Even when I fell on my face. It gave me hope. It inspired me to try. It took me, always, to a higher level.
Success isn’t preordained or acquired by a stroke of luck. Hell no. It isn’t who we know, but rather who we are, that makes the difference in our life path.
For those who would pigeon hole me and place a judgment on me that would diminish my accomplishments or efforts, take a number and stand at the back of the line.
Success has its price, no lie. But being self-made is indeed a priceless place to live and I like it just fine.
On behalf of women everywhere, if you’re not inclined to take a chance, then have a seat, and make room for those of us who dare to dream that we might one day make it happen.
Watch and learn. Because make it, we will.
Tana Bevan - Never ceases to amaze me how quickly those-who-haven’t-a-clue are quick with the derisive, derogatory and/or demeaning judgments & comments towards those-who-go-forth-and-do. Rather than focus on those negative 3-Ds from those who don’t know, let those who DO know cheer you on with some serious clapping and cheering for the positive 3-Ds you’ve got going for you: Determination. Diligence. Delight.
PS: And when when the spirit strikes, enjoy your Tequila. Cheers!
Melissa Hennrick - Amen, sister…..
Joan Cooper - And I leave you with my Epitah…
Keep a Fire in Your Heart
a Smile in Your Eyes
Scott Morgan - Hell yeah, baby! This is one of my favorite things you’ve written. And I always like what you’ve written. I think it was Bob Dylan who said a successful man is one who wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night and does exactly what he wants in between. This sentiment is certainly on par with that.
Tammy - Tana, I’m right there with you, accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative. The thing is, these people truly believe that the success of many is highly dependent on luck, how they play the game and who they know. Crazy! LOVE your 3-D take on things. I came up with a few of my own, but am pretty sure WordPress would shut me down if I shared them. Eeeep! So appreciate the read, and LOVED the comment!
Tammy - Joan, I could not have said it better myself. Something tells me it is not only your epitaph, but the words you live by! Thanks for the read and for the awesome sharing!
Tammy - Scott! SO great to see you here again! I’ve missed you, buddy of mine! Gotta love the Dylan, truer words were never spoken! I’ve got to tell you, that was one strange evening. It felt like I was in a bubble surrounded by delusion and grandeur. The grandeur was pretty cool. The delusion was ridiculously absurd and bigoted. I needed a shower after it all. Thanks for the pop-in, my friend. Hope to see you again sooner than later!
Wendy Collett - Love this!!
Kitt Crescendo - Oh, Tammy! Again, we’re sisters! Like you, I’ve heard all that propaganda said in that complimentary tone, made to both pat your back and question yourself. I, too, was raised barely a step up from poverty and taught to learn the value of a dollar early by making the money myself so that I could afford cool new clothes before each school year. Like you, my mom was a single parent with two daughters to support. Technically, we even qualified for food stamps/government aid, not that my mom ever used it. She always felt there were others in worse situations than ours that needed it more and wanted to set an example of hard work and dedication.
My sister and I learned our lessons well. She’s a nurse and a semi-professional vocal musician. Me? Well, I’ve done the medically related, sales and management. These days I’ve put myself back out on that limb and am taking my chances with writing. Remember when we talked about writing my book and getting close to publishing? Well, I pulled the trigger and did it! The nerves I initially felt are gone. Now it’s all excitement.
I’m so glad you spoke out to these women and explained the truth. The kind of downplaying they expected you to do leaves a very toxic aftertaste…and quite frankly, tends to be the lesson taught to their children (who are still waiting for that big break to come in, rather than working hard to make it happen). This is where entitlement starts.
Tammy - Kitt, clearly at some point we should compare DNA. You bring up a great point, one I overlooked. To be “that person” who diminishes and disparages others, is bad enough. But to pass that kind entitled ideology to your children, well that’s a different crime all together. Proving once again that ignorance is taught. And to think that I wanted to be one of those ladies when I grew up. Believe me when I tell you, there was nothing lady like about the ignorance these women touted. I couldn’t leave fast enough. Poor never equaled stupid. Wealthy shouldn’t either. I so love having you here in my little corner of the world. Thanks for that!
Marcia - Someone once told me that luck is nothing more than the intersection of opportunity and preparation. ‘Nuff said.
Tammy - Maria, I am left to wonder why I’ve never heard that, because it’s brilliant! You’re absolutely right … ’nuff said!! So wonderful to hear from you. Love knowing you are on the other side of my little blog and love even more when you chime in! Thanks for that!
Suerae Stein - Another AWESOME post, Tammy! You deserve all the credit for where you are today. I admire your strength and courage to take risks, ESPECIALLY after you’ve had a failure or two. Others may not have taken more chances after getting burned just once. I do believe that those who rely only on themselves for survival and success are often the ones who appreciate it most. Way to go my friend!
Amanda Fox - Tammy, I loved this. You are right. There are no short cuts to succeeding – at anything. It takes focus, determination, the willingness to take chances, and freakin’ hard work. Thanks for writing this. You are a definite role model! [heart]
Tammy - Suera, for me, NOT taking a viable risk is a harder thing to wrangle with. If I think its a great idea, I research, check out the competition, mull it over a bit and then pounce. No lie, failing is NOT awesome. Nor is it something you forget … ever. But to think that those people (like me) who achieve some measure of success, no matter how large or small, that we came upon it by luck, well it’s beyond insulting. Bah! Can you tell that it makes me crazy? I so appreciate the read and the feedback. It is ever so nice to know I’m not alone in my littler corner of the world.
Carolyn Durandette - I love you, Tammy. You really understand and you say it beautifully!
Tammy - Hi Amanda, thanks so much for the support! The only success from others that I have known that was derived from luck or game playing always involved a hefty inheritance or a family business. Luck has pity little to do with success. Period. Whatever accolades and profit you have, you earned! It is hard for me to understand how people could think otherwise. I feels just plain weird. So very happy to have you, sweet Amanda, in my corner. We must compare notes for Doomsday. You can never have enough friends to fend off the zombies.
mel glenn - Nobody puts Tammy in a corner. You are the succesful person-product of your own hard work, and nobody can take that away from you – ever.You say you make your own luck, and you have, but what do you say to people who have worked as hard as you have, and have not been as successful? Do you say that they have bad luck? Or, is it a matter, as some (religious) people would argue, there is no such think as luck at all. It’s preordained by a higher authority?
Cheryl Nicholl - Holy Shit. I love you. It’s about time all of us set the record straight. Luck. Connections. Privilege. All smoke-n-mirrors. Hard work and recognizing an opportunity, having the ammo and imagination to act on it- Now, that’s what I’m talking about! You Roar!!!!
Ruchira Khanna - well said indeed 🙂 loved your take on the women of today!
Tammy - Hi Mel, I don’t make my own luck, I follow my own dreams and aspirations. No luck involved. I remember my grandfather teaching me a lesson on work ethic. It involved a fly in a window. The fly buzzed around for hours trying to get out. Eventually he died on the sill. My grandpa pointed out to me that no fly could have worked harder to get out. But only 4 feet away was an open sliding glass door. Had he ventured further, he would have survived. Sometimes you need to work smarter rather than harder. It can make the difference between life/death or success/failure. As far as our lives being preordained, I haven’t a clue. But I can tell you that I am doing all I can to help myself along, so should it be so, I can look God in the eye and tell him I gave it my very best shot. It’s all I expect of myself and I hoping it’s all God can expect of me too. Here’s hoping. I do so love our conversations! Appreciate you!
Maureen Musgrave Armentrout - Would have loved to been a fly on the wall when you set them straight!!
Ande Lyons - Now you’ve gone and done it Tammy. Your powerful post made me cry. A Barbara Walters moment, for sure!
Thank you for spotlighting the often misuse of the word “LUCKY.” It’s an outlawed word in our home. The word fortunate is tolerated… we allow the occasional use of good fortune… but not luck… good or bad.
Darling Man and I are so committed to our fully expressed lives we’ve scared ourselves and our children way too many times.
Recently, while trying to figure out how to pay the utilities AND the phone bill, we scratched our heads and said “Why are we doing this at our age? Most folks are retired and living off their savings/pensions.”
Then we laughed and said WTH (okay, it was WTF), we LOVE pursuing our dreams. They’re not always pretty, but they are defining. They help us experience all of who we are and who we will be. Worth the struggle, the tears, the no money, the gobs of money.
Because we can’t just feed our bodies… we have to feed our souls.
This is why I LOVE and CELEBRATE YOU, dearest Tammy. I appreciation you and applaud you for being willing to create a life of your dreams. For using tenacity, perseverance, resiliency and hope to give yourself a life you can be proud of and take joy in.
I also love that you surround yourself with folks who celebrate you, not merely tolerate you. BRAVO!
As one of my favorite sheroes always says/sings:
But the world is full of zanies and fools
Who don’t believe in sensible rules
And won’t believe what sensible people say
And because these daft and dewey-eyed dopes
Keep building up impossible hopes
Impossible Things are happening every day !
Love sharing the circle with YOU,
Tammy - Ande, I will be forever grateful that the land of Twitter brought you to me, me to you. I don’t think for a minute that it was a coincidence. Not by a long shot. Birds of a feather do gather together. That’s a fact. You are right, of course, pursuing our dreams is often messy, cluttered and less than monetarily rewarding. I can’t think of a better way to live each day. There are times I make more money that I feel I have a right to, and others when I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul. But either way, I wake up smiling and happy to go to go to work each day and see what strides I can make. My life is awesome because I work to make it so and because I have loving people who support one another as a big part of it. Being with a wonderful man who loves and supports my every move and whom I love with the breath of me makes it all that much better. I’ve seen way too many wealthy people who are dreadfully unhappy to know that money won’t buy happiness. Love of yourself, your work, your family, friends and home, not THATS something you can take to the bank. Grateful for you, my friend.
Cynthia Jordan - So so true Tammy. I’ve also come up from the trenches of life and I’m proud of it. It wasn’t luck at all, but hard work and stamina.
Tammy - Hi Cynthia, there are so many of us who are still looked down on or regarded as “lucky” because we made it to where we are in life. Bull! You’re right, my friend, luck had pity little to do with it! So happy to hear from you! Nice to know you are still out there behind my blog. xo
Debra Tosca - Congratulations on your success! You are an excellent communicator and I wish I had half of your ability, Although knowledge, good fortune, who you know, right time-right place are all important in “making it”, self confidence is the best attribute for success. You have inspired me to keep pursuing my dreams (I will get more than 4 twitter followers, lol) and I thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge with me.
Tammy - Hi Debra, I’m betting you probably have TWICE my ability. But I’m THRILLED to hear that I’ve inspired you to jump on the social media bandwagon. And if I’m not already following you, bet sure to tweet me, because I want to be counted among your growing number! Let’s keep in touch. I’d like nothing better.