image by john scardino (that's me)

when i really think about it, it’s difficult for me to believe that i’m only 25 (coming up on 26).

i’m http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhUYSGHTHiA. always have been.

that makes putting my career into perspective all the more difficult. in the grand scheme of everything, i’m only just starting out. i’ve got miles of road ahead of me.

i’ve had more than a handful of colleagues say that i’m “on the fast track to principal.” for someone in my position, that’s some high praise. but i, being young, still know a bit about the way the world works: there is no fast track.

i have to pay my dues just like everyone else (and by “pay my dues” i mean “deal with organizational politics”). i have to work hard just like everyone else. i’m young, so i’ll go on making mistakes that young people make. i don’t fear mistakes because i know that’s how people learn. i do fear, however, that people will hold my mistakes against me. i fear that people may use those mistakes to define who i am.

it may take me 10 years to get where i’d like to be going, or maybe more; that’s the hardest thing for me to internalize at the moment. i really feel like i can have an impact right now. the trick is going to be in finding a way to make an impact on my world as it is today. if i can’t affect change at the higher levels, then i need to work on making change happen around me; start with the world i know first.

for me, my hope is that my leadership will give me the opportunity to make my mistakes, and provide me the necessary support when i do find myself in those situations — rather than holding them against me. i hope that, while the journey may be long and hard, as time goes by i won’t forget about who i am and what makes me the person i look at in the mirror every day (and it’s not just about cool shades and a fierce mustache). i hope to keep the same passion for doing what i do.

i need to put faith in myself and believe that as long as i do what i have been doing, i’ll reach the end of my road with a few hours of daylight left to spare.