In the land of my ancestors, I impatiently stood at the top of a majestic castle, anxiously awaiting the moment my life would change.
Three people ahead of me. Two people. One person left. My turn.
Slowly, gingerly, I leaned backward, precariously dangling over a grate that lent a frightening overhead view of the Irish streets far below me. I carefully pressed my lips against the slab of stone, immortalizing a trace of pale pink lip gloss on the massive rock.
Legend has it that my near kiss-of-death was supposed to reward me with the “Gift of Gab,” an extraordinary way with words, for the rest of my life. As an aspiring published writer, I believed my kiss on the gargantuan Blarney Stone was necessary for making my writing dreams a reality.
Three months later, I was published for the first two times, twice in a span of 48 hours.
As I stared incredulously at my name above my words, laid out where anyone could read my message, I reveled in the magic of the moment. I felt so lucky to see my dreams finally become a reality. My successful attempt at getting my writing published almost felt too good to be true. I silently gave thanks for my trip to Ireland and my harrowing climb up to the Blarney Stone. I had proof right in front of me that my monumental kiss had worked its magic, showering me with the gift of eternal eloquence.
I completely denied the truth behind the magic: the sheer amount of time I had spent researching possible publications, the arduous hours I had spent editing my work until I hated it, then editing the edits in a vicious cycle of all-consuming perfectionism, the daily consultations with friends asking them for brutally honest feedback on my work, and most importantly, the undeniable talent I possessed for making my voice heard, loudly and clearly, through the written word.
In the months that followed, I continued to negate my raw talent as I began to rack up bylines, social media shares, and re-publications. My success in the writing world was little more than a stroke of luck, a streak of good fortune that would soon fade away. I was caught in a perpetual state of anxiety, awaiting rejection after rejection, expecting my future to crumble.
It never did. I continued writing.
Nearly a year after I had trekked up to the top of a castle to kiss the Blarney Stone, I finally recognized the truth. Legend hadn’t brought me success. Luck hadn’t brought me success. Pure, raw talent had led me to my greatest accomplishment. In honing my writing talent, I had led myself to a successful future.
You may feel tempted to attribute your successes to factors outside of you: luck, superstition, or fate. But, in relegating your accomplishments to external factors, you are undercutting your talent and your potential. Success stems from the capability residing within you. Don’t ever be afraid to recognize the gifts and talents that led you to achieve your dreams. Maybe, you’re not just “lucky.”Maybe, you’re just plain talented.