People Skills Loser: Ways the Word Lucky Insults Others | #PeopleSkills

As The People Skills Coach™, I often hear words that hurt human interaction. I have written several posts on just such words and each word is a people skills loser. Today’s losing word is lucky. Surprised?

People Skills Loser Word: Image is electrical wave over a bridge.

People Skills Loser Word: Lucky. It insults others. Image by Liam Matthews.

Image by Liam Matthews via Flickr Creative Commons License.

I’m not speaking about congratulating a lottery winner by saying they are lucky. I’m not alluding to telling people who narrowly escapes disaster that they are lucky. In most cases these folks would agree with you.

I am referring to the many times people reduce other’s accomplishments to luck. This use of the word lucky is a true people skills loser. For example,

  • Telling parents they were lucky that their children didn’t get into trouble and went on to live a productive life. What an insult! In one word you deny all the care, the toil, the struggles, and the sacrifices parents made for their children’s development.

  • Saying to someone who succeeds at starting and running their own business that they were lucky. With this single people skills loser word — lucky — you erase the value that their guts, initiative, smarts, and endless hard work had in creating the success.

  • Crediting luck for a colleague’s promotion. Not only is it an insult to their ability, this one word — lucky — paints you as a jealous resentful person that they cannot trust going forward.

  • Telling your children they are lucky they got you as parents; that everything they are they owe to you. This minimizes who they are and their own efforts in learning and growing. It also creates a threatening dynamic instead of a loving relationship.

What brings people to use this people skills loser word — lucky?

  1. Believing that good luck is real and hoping that it will come to you one day. Your intentions may be good in calling someone lucky, but the outcome harms the relationships. This makes it a real people skills loser.

  2. Lack of self-confidence that makes you consciously or unconsciously envious of other’s success. This brings you to label it as pure luck.

  3. Unstated feelings of unfairness that turn into passive aggressive jabs about someone’s else’s accomplishments and success.

How to avoid the trap of this people skills loser word — lucky:

  • Don’t speak in generalities about other’s success. You are more likely to give true kudos when you are thinking of what they did to accomplish success. For example, instead of using the word lucky, tell them that their sales skills really took them to the top of success in business. Think specifics not generalities.

  • If you think you are being treated unfairly, write down the specifics of how. Is it implicit bias — racial, gender, or age related? Note as well how you want to be treated? What do you want to achieve? Then have a discussion with your leader/manager about how to get there This is far more productive than labeling other’s success as lucky.

Have a true conversation with others as opposed to labeling them lucky. Ask questions of the people you see as lucky: How did you do it? What one piece of advice would you give me?

Over the years many people have asked me about starting and running my business and I have been pleased to share with them all that I have learned. This is infinitely better than falling into the trap of using the people skills loser word — lucky.

How do you feel when someone calls your accomplishments lucky?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Other Helpful One Word Posts from Kate Nasser:
The Perfect Apology and the One Word That Destroys It
Change One Unfortunate Word for Better People Skills
Leadership: Two Simple Letters for Leaders to Unite Everyone

©2017 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


OFFER: Learn to quickly spot & adapt!

Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience.

2 Responses to “People Skills Loser: Ways the Word Lucky Insults Others | #PeopleSkills”

  1. Alli Polin says:

    I have a speaking engagement coming up in the USA. Several people have referred to my luck that the client is willing to bring me from Australia to work with their group. Yes, I’m grateful but I’m also qualified. They didn’t throw a dart at a board and happen to hit my picture. This is an interesting insight because people think it’s a compliment. We all have opportunities to create “luck” – no need to wait for some magic moment when it strikes.


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Alli,
      I am still laughing from your statement “they didn’t throw a dart at a board and happen to hit my picture.” Your qualifications and experience brought you this upcoming engagement! BTW: Congrats 🙂


KateNasser on Facebook KateNasser Blog KateNasser on Twitter KateNasser on LinkedIn KateNasser on Pinterest