“Excuse me Miss,” the barista at the coffee counter at Whole Foods paused from making a cappuccino to ask my mother a question: “Is that your daughter in that magazine?”
My mother wasn’t sure if she wanted to confirm that yes, I was officially a cover girl…
“He had a lot of piercings. And those earrings that just make huge holes in your ear lobes. I mean, he’s a skinny white kid, not a tribe leader. What is he is doing? I didn’t want him to ask you out…”
But being the proud mother that she is, the urge to say “Yes! My daughter has a full page spread in a glossy!” won.
“In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.”
– Andy Warhol (maybe… allegedly… potentially… most likely)
Well, you know you’re living your 15 minutes when everyone working at the grocery store recognizes you as the girl from the magazine or the girl on the news.
Back in February, I found out I had been selected as a 914INC Wunderkind. 914INC is a regional business-focused quarterly magazine. And a wunderkind, (insert condescending tone here) for those not familiar with German, is a person who receives success at a relatively young age. In this case, the magazine highlights a handful of young professionals under the age of 30 who are making waves within their respective industries.
I was honored to make the cut (and lucky… the cut-off for eligibility was one month before I change decades. Wootwoot!)
When you’re young, you’re full of big ideas, but are not often presented with avenues to set those ideas in motion. It’s a rare opportunity when you find yourself in a job where you can make a difference, either within your company or within the community… and even rarer when you get recognized for it in such a public forum. I’m pretty lucky.
But I was also nonplussed.
Growing up in a circle of regular overachievers had tinted my view on my own success. When you’re competitive, you always want to win, but when everyone around you is also competitive, no good result is ever really good enough.
When I met a goal, it was great, but I always knew there was someone next to me who had done just that much better. It didn’t make me jealous or envious, it just meant that I never saw an achievement as something to get overly excited about. For example, I qualified for NCAA Championships 3 out of 4 years as a Division 1 college athlete. I was pissed because I only qualified 3 times. And when I made All-American, I shrugged it off because it wasn’t First Team. When you’re training with Olympians, with aspirations that match theirs regardless of your results, you play down your own personal successes, because they don’t really feel like success. Years later, I realize what a big deal my 3 trips to NCAAs was. Some kids never get a chance to compete in college, let alone qualify once in their 4 years.
The Wunderkind recognition came with a cocktail party, a crystal plaque, a proclamation from a State Senator, and a magazine spread. I got a lot of face time in the issue — a little Missoni dress goes a long way — and I’m overly grateful for finally having a few photos of myself that make me feel beautiful, and not chubby or slubby.
When I shared the news on social media, the photo and online profile got tons of likes. My inbox was flooded with congratulatory notes and kind words. Someone sent me flowers. Someone else, a bottle of wine. Hell, even my ex-boyfriend, who I haven’t seen in a year, called to say congrats, so well-deserved and he wished he could come to the party, but he was going to be in Bogota…
All that loving and genuine praise felt good.
I have a better view on personal success than I did when I was in college. When you’re getting recognized for doing a good job, enjoy it. Reveal in it. There aren’t many times in your life when someone is going to give you a plaque for doing your thing. I’m rolling on the crest of a good wave right now, and I know that can’t last forever. So I’m going to ride it… as humbly as possible.
Now that everyone in my family has a copy of the magazine, the feature has been shared on all my social media platforms (this one is the last!), and the recognition party has happened, my 15 minutes is quietly ending. Perhaps, though, since 914INC is a quarterly, maybe my 15 minutes will be more like 15.5.
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