Pssst. Don’t tell anyone… but I just realized I am all grown up.

I was just writing in my diary and I thought I would share about the most interesting breakthrough that I never even realized I needed to have. 


You see, I just had the realization that I have arrived. That I have become the person I set out to be and more interestingly that somewhere along the way, I became a grown up.


Let me explain.  At every phase of my life, I have been one of the youngest people in the room.  When I became a manager at Manpower, I was one of the youngest, when I sat on boards, same thing.  When I became a coach I actually needed coaching on how to feel comparable to 50 and 60 year old peers that had been consultants since I was in diapers. 


Through mental mastery techniques I was able to gather up my courage and take on the world from a position of strength, convincing myself and those around me  that I was capable, competent and an expert in my own right.


And so I lived in a mindset where age and experience were never going to be an issue, and they weren’t.


But then,  a funny thing happened the other day.


I was out for lunch with one of my corporate buying influences, a strong and powerful woman who’s company I enjoyed.  On some level, I saw us as peers and partners but on the other, some part of me put her in a position of authority because of her role, her title and the level of responsibility she had in her organization.  


As we were dining she made some reference to her birth year being 1973, and it caught my attention. 


Suddenly I interjected:  “So, that means that you are younger than me?” I asked/affirmed with a look of curiosity on my face.


 I didn’t realize it at the time, but something started to shift in me.


Another client I had just started with in Calgary, Canada made a similar age reference the following week, and once again I was struck with the realization that she also was my junior by several years.


Flash back to December.  I was having lunch with a woman who just moved to Cleveland and had recently left a senior position at the international organization I used to work for in my 20’s.  I had invited her for lunch to make an introduction, welcome her to the city and connect. 


Near the end of the conversation she said that I represented myself very well and that she would not hesitate to take action on my behalf with people in her new company. 


And what did I do in response to this wonderful vote of confidence?


I giggled.


Seriously, I giggled!


And then I explained myself, saying that some part of me clearly had not fully owned my own power but that I really appreciated her acknowledgment.


And so, here I am at 37, having this realization that somewhere along the way I had become the expert, the mentor, the leader IN REALITY, in society and not just in my own mind. 


I am left with the crystal clarity that to make the contribution I am here to make, It is time I stepped into who I am.  No longer some idealistic youth but a grounded and authentic woman, coach and leader who is here to leave a mark on the world.


Realizing I am a grownup doesn’t make me feel any less youthful, playful or in awe of life.  It does however demand that I own the unique opportunity I have been given to make the difference that I am here to make, and it has placed a new sense of stability and self respect at the core of my being.


Life’s phases, breakthroughs and epiphanies come in the most interesting packages. Who ever thought I would be coming of age at 37.


To your power – whatever age you are.


With love,


The very grown up,



Coach Joelle


  1. Great realization, Joelle! I have struggled with this same issue my entire life. But, not only do I not give myself credit because of my age, but also my height. (No one will ever listen to someone who's only 5' tall.)
    In the last two months, I have made a similar breakthrough. I have watched other "grown ups" live the lives that I want and decided that it's time to step up to the plate. Being a grown up is what will get me where I want to go. And it only took me to the age of 41 to figure this out!

  2. Joelle – another great piece!  So happy your voice is a part of this world!

  3. Thank You Anne, I am excited for your new life adventure and I cannot wait to watch the unfolding!!! XOXO

  4. Yay Deanna!
    41 is waaay better than never! 😉  Congratulations! It is so interesting how life works – I would never think twice about someone's credibility or "adultness" because of height.  Our self image is such an interesting thing. The whole conversation reminds me of how years ago I had people at work tell me I was "intimidating".  Moi? I was just little old me, no way was I intimidating!!  What a wonderful journey.  It is awesome to watch and record our moments of breakthrough as steps on our ever unfolding path.  XOXO  Joelle

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