This is what Forty Under 40 looks like.

About a month ago, the Ottawa Business Journal called and told me I was named one of 2017's Forty Under 40. I was pretty chuffed, I admit. It's been an arduous past year with a lot of intense work and getting recognized in such a distinguished way briefly made me feel like I had finally "arrived", whatever that means. I say briefly, because within the next few days, these were just a few of my less than dignified moments:

  • Half asleep after one of my usual bouts of insomina, I was hurrying to assemble something resembling a lunch when I yanked the fridge door open way too fast and ended up braining myself with the door, leaving a notable red mark for the rest of the day.
  • Running late to a meeting, I was frantically running out to my car when I realized I could not find my keys. I dug around blindly in my purse, but time was ticking away and in my rising panic, I opted for the easiest solution: unceremoniously dumping my purse all over the asphalt, then digging through the resulting jumble of cosmetics and receipts like a Roman soothsayer sifting through the entrails of a sacrificial sheep...all while in a skirt and heels, and all while my coworker stared blankly.
  • Received a piece of mail from my beloved former employer of 8 years...and found they'd addressed me as "Mr Jordon Kent".
  • Had a loud and childish argument with a cashier who ID'd me because he insisted my age must be inaccurate and I insisted I would never have willingly labeled myself over 30 if I didn't have to.
  • Spent the day with a Value Village tag hanging out of my new jacket.
  • Caught a glimpse of my face in my rear-view mirror on the way to a meeting and realized I'd forgotten to make a certain waxing appointment. Ended up pulling into a gas station, buying a disposable razor, and shaving myself in broad daylight.

I'm sharing these stories with you because as I reflected back on these totally commonplace, ridiculous, normal human moments, I remembered all the times I saw award winners and other Forty Under 40-type people, and I'd think, "Man, one day I hope to be a freakin' superhuman like that." But believing that high achievers are somehow a breed apart makes our own visions of success seem unattainable. Instead of pretending that I'm some sort of streamlined success machine, I want to be candid with all the aspiring weirdos and klutzes out there: we're no different, you and I. The only thing that got me to this (very humbling and appreciated) moment of receiving an award is that I persistently and consistently brought my weirdo self to the battlefield. And sometimes that's all it takes to appear superhuman.