Growing Up Isn't Always a Bad Thing / by Nicole Paulus

Growing Up Isn't Always a Bad Thing

I think I might be growing up. 

I know what you are thinking, “NICOLE! DON’T DO IT! IT’S A TRAP!”

Don’t worry, I am still the biggest kid you will ever meet. I don’t think I’ll ever stop making immature jokes, playing hide and go seek with my roommates, or having mid-afternoon dance parties complete with wigs and costumes. I am a giant kid and I don’t intend on losing my idiocy any time soon (no matter many times I shimmy around the sun.)

I say I am “growing up” because recently my best friend shared an article, featuring one of our former high school classmates, Jodie Wu. The article documented Wu's incredible entrepreneurial journey. Not only was she named a TEDGlobal Fellow she was also recognized as one of Bloomberg Business Week’s America’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs. Did I mention she also made Forbes’ list of 30 under 30?

For the longest time I compared myself to others. I used to think:

  • “What about me?”
  • “Why can’t I make things happen like that?” 
  • “When will good things happen to me?”

Perhaps it was my competitive nature, or perhaps it was a result of not feeling comfortable with the path I was on. Regardless of my past transgressions, after I read this article, I didn’t feel jealous, bitter, competitive, enraged, sad, or depressed.

 You know what I did feel? Happy for her for finding her passion. Proud that she had the gumption to carve out a path for herself. Impressed that she had the tenacity to follow her dreams. 

Just because I will probably never invent a machine that will deliver fresh squeezed orange juice to astronauts on Mars, or sail around the world on a yacht given to me by a patient whose head I saved from being amputated, or headline a sold out ambient noise music festival in New Zealand doesn’t mean my journey is any less amazing. Everyone has a different path and the only person you should be competing with is YOURSELF. If you aren’t happy with the way things are going in your life or if you find yourself feeling jealous of others’ success then maybe you need to do some self-reflecting and re-directing.

I am finally living a life I am proud of. I am traveling the world, learning a new culture, growing my business through referrals, becoming a better friend, opening my heart to new possibilities, shedding self-doubt, living life selflessly, taking time to appreciate those I care about, challenging myself, allowing myself to really feel my feelings (whether it be joy, sadness, anger, or elation), making to do lists and celebrating when things get crossed out, treating others with compassion and empathy, giving compliments freely, fueling my body with (mostly) healthy food (but not feeling guilty if I want to eat a damn french fry), working out to get stronger (not thinner), dancing with my hands high above my head, and waking up each morning with a huge smile on my face (ok that doesn't really happen, but none of us is perfect.)

Don’t compare yourself to others. No one has the same exact magic swirling inside of you. Have confidence that you are on the right path (and if you aren’t on the right path, pay attention to that gut of yours, it will never lead you astray.) Let's practice lifting each other up, focusing on the positive, giving each other praise and being kind to each other and ourselves. Way to go Jodie!