"You’re so LUCKY!" and other falsehoods…

I’m at the Lucky FABB Conference today! In honor of this amazing opportunity, I wanted to touch on a topic that is close to my heart. Someone* recently said to me, “You’re so LUCKY to have your house in a magazine! I WISH I had the time to blog.”

After reading this article “15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently” that Lauren posted last week, and “The Real and Good Career” from Jess, it got me thinking about this idea of being “lucky” and “wishing” as if good things come to those who sit around and wait. False.

I guess I thought it was important to share with you that the “luck” that I appear to be having is the tangible result of a conscious decision I made about a year and a half ago, when I rebranded my company, myself, this site (v3 coming soon!), when I started up this blog, and have worked so hard since: to put myself, my brand, and my ideas out there every day, in order to connect with like-minded individuals and businesses, attract a certain quality of clientele, gain exposure through press and events, and build my own experiences both professionally and personally.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain about their situations, and do nothing about it; as if we are somehow bystanders in what happens to us. But on the contrary, only we are in control of how we shape our lives, aren’t we? Let’s take responsibility for our choices and our outlook, every day. (Not easy, I know.)

On the flip side, let’s take responsibility for our mistakes and shortcomings. Own them, work on them. I know for myself I still have a TON of figuring out to do, and there will always be challenges. And that’s ok.

In closing, look to this sampling of inspirational, proactive, hard-working, talented women who have recently changed their situations and continue to shape their lives:

Tamra of ever swoon
Liz of Elizabeth Schneider Style Consultant
Mackenzie of Design Darling
Alex of Alexandra Berlin Design
Taylor of Glitter Guide
Jen of MadeByGirl
Danielle Moss and Alaina Kaczmarski of The Everygirl
Amber of VENZedits/ RewardStyle

I’m gonna guess they’ll all tell you, it’s not “luck”.


Poster image from www.basicneeds.ca

*This person does not actually read my blog, so this post is not a passive aggressive response…just wanted to point that out!

Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. speak, sister. luck: i think not. there is hard work, determination, positivity, trust … the list goes on, but luck, luck only happens to a few people. thank you for highlighting this today. and have a great time at Lucky FABB (you deserve it!)

  2. Love everything about this. Your hard work and perseverance have truly paid off. I hope this post inspires people to go out and make some changes. Have a blast at Lucky FABB! Can’t wait to hear all about it! xo

  3. Thank you for the shootout and I’m with you 110%! I can’t stand when friends tell me I’m “lucky” to work from home. I worked my @$! off to be able to get to this place! It was a conscious and proactive choice and a big risk. Adore this post and can’t wait to meet you in a few weeks! xoxo

  4. Could not agree with you more! Every single day is a struggle to make this “dream” job an actual dream. Luckily, I am surrounded by so many inspiring women who keep my sane through it all. Thank you for including me in this post, so honored to be amongst such talented company!

  5. I totally agree! It always surprises me when people think that people are successful because they are lucky. We hear that a lot here in the UK (we attribute it to the ‘nanny state’ syndrome), and it really bugs us. We love the saying – luck is preparation meets opportunity – and preparation = unlimited hard work! All of you are so inspiring! x

  6. It was never about luck for me. I think a lot of it is I came into the blogging scene at just the right time. But that’s only part of it. I’m very strong in my faith in God & I like to think God has allowed me these things not luck. So I thank him regularly & blessings are what I see them as.
    I love working hard. I started with furniture and then blogging… Todat i run the Madebygirl shop, Madebygirl blog as a business, and then cocoa & hearts, which has done very well, thank God!
    Branding is important , it can result in higher sales & notoriety – so that has always been my goal.
    Thanks for mentioning me as one of those talented ladies (so are u) !

  7. What an awesome post! Thank you. I am still pretty “new” to the blogging world and in the dreaming stage of where I want it to go. Blogs and businesses like yours are so inspiring! Have SO much fun at Fabb! Looking forward to updates :)

  8. I could not agree with you more. Hard work is always behind anyone’s success in my opinion. Perhaps luck comes into play after you’ve worked your ass off, when opportunities begin to open up to you based off that hard work. But to say that anyone who has achieved her goals and seen her hard work pay off is “lucky?” Well, that’s just kind of insulting.

  9. Couldn’t agree more Erika! Good things do not come to the lazy. Good things happen to those whose fires cannot be burnt out – the driven, the dreamers, the relentless. I pushed myself through my undergrad degree and my masters in four years and now I have a lot of “luck” at a young age because of how hard I’ve pushed myself.

  10. TOTALLY, 100 percent agree with you. There are lucky moments, for sure, however insane hard work that results in success is not one of them. People tell me that — and, “I don’t know how you do it all” — but it’s called work, people. :) Haha, anyway, great reminder… though I get the sense that your readership is as passionate, determined and hard working as you are. Have the best time at the conference; wish I could attend!

  11. This is a great post and I completely agree! It is a TON of work. I’ve had so many friends say similar things to me recently. Just this weekend a friends was like, “Maybe I should just become a blogger, so I can get free stuff..” Umm…it’s a lot of work; and free shoes don’t pay the bills!

  12. I love this post and am HONORED to be on a list of such amazing women (composed by a talented, hard working woman!). Thank you for being so honest and open. It’s such hard work (as you know) but so worth it in the end. xo

  13. I completely agree with you. It’s not luck; it’s hard work. I remember when I got my job at BaubleBar, a friend of mine said, “Oh, I wish I could just have my dream job materialize out of thin air.” The truth was that I never would have gotten the job if it weren’t through all the hard work that first went into my blog. I think the tough part is that with blogging – and everything else, the best blogs make everything look easy… but no one realizes all of the work that goes in behind the scenes… the late nights, the sleepless nights, and the crazy amounts of planning. I’m rambling – but, WELL SAID!

  14. YOU GO!!!!!!!!!!!! This also is along the lines of: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” That applies to doing the bare minimum on a regular basis and expecting a different result. Lucky is picking the Derby winner, defining and accomlishing goals is success. May not turn out how we would like the first time, but try, try again. You are a true inspiration, as are all of the other beautiful women you listed. You, I must confess, are my first read in the morning; there is a reason for that. Erika, you are the face of hard work and success.

  15. I agree completely! I can also relate to what Oprah once said, “Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity…” and I think the emphasis is on “preparation” which is working hard, sometimes around the clock, to meet your goals. I think it’s obvious you are passionate about what you do Erika, and your hard work definitely shows!! :)

  16. Completely agree…all the fabulous ladies you listed have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are and I know that they aren’t stopping there…cant wait to see what everyone does next, you too !! Have fun at FABB !!!


  17. You and all the other bloggers you mentioned are so inspiring to me. I definitely know it takes hard work and is not luck…hopefully I will get to a good place with my blog at some point. Great post!! xoxo Elizabeth

  18. I can’t tell you how often I read your posts and commend you for being SO ON TOP OF IT! I’ve been “lucky” enough to witness your hard work pay off. And of course I love the list of other talented ladies who have worked equally hard to get to where they are.

  19. Love this post, and I totally agree with you!!! Just starting this whole blogging experience and it is such hard work! It’s so annoying when people think you’re so “lucky.” I truly appreciate your honesty and everything you do, along with the other amazing ladies you listed. Can’t wait to see what you do next. Hope you’re having fun at the conference, you deserve it :)

  20. I loveeee this post. And I love your blog. But this is very well written and I completely agree with you. Blogging is fun and rewarding in so many ways, but it isn’t always easy! I, like many bloggers, work all day and if I want to do a post, I do it at night. Sometimes I would rather sit on my butt and watch HGTV or E, but the key to social media success is to stay plugged in and keep interacting with your readers. I do hate when people write it off as luck though… having good taste and creativity may be partly a gift, but it involves work too! Thanks for sharing. xo

  21. You said it. I believe that we are all afforded opportunities – but some aren’t willing to take the leap, put in the hard work, and really go for what we want. Saying someone achieved things because they were lucky not only diminishes their accomplishments but is also a cop-out…”I’m not as lucky therefore I won’t be as successful”. I’m inspired by the bloggers you listed and many more. I don’t doubt they’ve worked extremely hard to get where they are.

  22. What an awesome post that goes beyond blogging in terms of how it applies to the direction our lives take! Instead I am going to say you DESERVE all of the good that is coming your way and that you have earned it – nicely done! :)

  23. You know I love this post and I know how hard you work every single day. I don’t know another blogger or designer who puts in the time/creativity/thought that you do to every job you take on. I find it fascinating that every time I try to express some frustration or true thoughts about how hard our jobs are I lose followers and people get offended! I think you are able to express better how much work and struggle goes into being successful at any career, but especially a creative one. I am so proud to know you and I love all of your WORK – because I know it is not lucky breaks, but intensely hard work.
    xoxo -e (modern24seven)

  24. this post really resonates with me today. lately ive been feeling down about myself and my career – but within the past few days, its suddenly dawned on me that no one is going to hand me my dream job – i’ll have to create it for myself!

    that being said… i think i owe you an email… after all, if im going to strike out on my own, its silly to do so without the best possible brand (and brand queen) on my side! xoxo

  25. Erika, I love that you’ve written this. You’ve verbalized feelings that I’ve had rolling around inside my head for a while now. One of my favorite quotes (I can’t recall who said it) is that many people miss opportunities because they come dressed in overalls and look like work.

  26. I really love this message and this post! I referenced “luck” the other day, but I consider luck to be things outside the circle of what I can control; a great family, solid circle of friends, etc. My profession, my livelihood, my career – this is nothing but my own choice and I am so grateful that you share what you do of your personal life as it relates to building your own company… your own brand! Accomplishing what you have (and have worked so hard for!) is a dream I am working towards myself. I always look forward to reading your posts :) Luck, shmuck! -L

  27. Fantastic post, Erika!! It’s true in every facet of life. If you make a commitment to something — a hobby, a job, a relationship — then it’s not luck that makes it successful…it’s the passion and dedication! It’s been amazing (and so inspiring) to see all your hard work pay off over the last year!

  28. This is an incredible and powerful post, Erika…music to my ears…words I love to hear. You and all of the women you linked to provide daily inspiration to me… I love how real and honest you all are about what you go through as an entrepreneur. I am so grateful to have you and this group of amazingly talented ladies surrounding me…it constantly reinforces my decision to change my own situation & step into the exciting & challenging world of entrepreneurship. That’s right…times are a changin’ around here for me in the next 6 months or so…can’t wait to put my blood, sweat & tears into something I can whole-heartedly believe in! Thanks for always keeping it real & inspiring :) XO brynn

  29. I am so inspired by the amazing blogging community and how much motivation and encouragement there is to push you to make your dreams come true!
    You, to me, are definitely one of those people, Erika!
    Things definitely don’t come your way by luck..it takes hard work and dedication!
    It’s comforting to know that you’re not alone when working to make your dreams a reality!

  30. sometimes you read something when you’re in a rut that kicks you in the ass and makes you realize what you’ve got. it’s easy to get beaten down by the numbers, lack of inspiration, and others’ success, but when it gets down to it, those things are the basis for why we do what we do. thanks for this post.


  31. well said! I’m sorry I didn’t run into you at LuckyFABB…. I agree completely with this message. Please often say I am so lucky to blog, edit and write. Well… it is loads of work (as I sit here on Cinco de Mayo largely working and not playing :) Hope you had a great time out there.

  32. THANK YOU for setting many people straight. This couldn’t be more true. We are in charge of our own lives and shape them the best we can. It’s not luck. It’s hard work. Job well done by you, by the way :)

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