Thirteen is a great number. Why?
First of all, my birthday is on the 13th, April 13th. Every once in a while it lands on a Friday, as it does this year, and I feel just as lucky as when it falls on a Tuesday. The gifts are just as much fun to open, the good wishes just as lovely to receive.
I also like Friday the 13th because 13 is the number of a coven. Covens are powerful. Every women needs her coven, no matter what her religion is or what she thinks about witches. We need our circle of women friends, our old or new girls network. Our sister courage. Our girl gangs. One of us alone can accomplish a lot, but 13 of us together make a movement. Remember, thirteen colonies started a revolution and formed a new nation in 1776.
Third, according to some traditions, twelve is considered “complete” but 13 is deemed “irregular” because it disrupts the “even dozen.” The thirteenth witch was considered the devil in ancient Rome, where apparently witches normally traveled in 12’s.
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Then there were 12 apostles, 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 months of the year, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 gods of the Olympus. Never 13. That makes me like 13 even better because in my experience disruption, or chaos, is opportunity. In a time of chaos, people are open to new ideas they wouldn’t have considered when things were normal. Chaos breeds innovation because innovation always comes from the margins, from the abnormal, from the boundary breakers who don’t quite fit. That can only be a good thing.
I have never understood why anyone thinks he or she is avoiding the number 13 just by renaming the floor in a building or the row of seats on an airplane “14” instead of “13.” A rose by any other name, and all that. And so far the fact that those rows and floors are really 13 has made no difference at all in how the world turns.
Yes, I like 13 just fine.
PS. I like black cats too.
GLORIA FELDT is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, a sought-after speaker and frequent contributor to major news outlets, and the Co-Founder and President of Take The Lead. People has called her “the voice of experience,” and among the many honors she has been given, Vanity Fair called her one of America’s “Top 200 Women Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers,” and Glamour chose her as a “Woman of the Year.”
As co-founder and president of Take The Lead, a leading women’s leadership nonprofit, her mission is to achieve gender parity by 2025 through innovative training programs, workshops, a groundbreaking 50 Women Can Change The World immersive, online courses, a free weekly newsletter, and events including a monthly Virtual Happy Hour program and a Take The Lead Day symposium that reached over 400,000 women globally in 2017.