Actress Sarah Paulson loves her career.


The first years she spent in the Entertainment business? Not so much. She would book a job and then the phone would stop ringing. For years at a time.

Still, she wouldn’t change a thing. She says, “If any of what I’m having happen now – the successes – would have happened to me when I was younger, I would have been ruined. Because when you’re young, and things come super easily to you, and you have success right out of the gate, you’re liable to think that’s how it actually works. You start to think you don’t need to be fully prepared or committed to have these things meet you.”

The September series, Welcome to Adulting, has looked at ways to practice maturity. Paulson’s statement highlights a big difference between kids and adults. Kids want to jump to the end, but that means missing all the fun. Self-confidence comes from knowing what you’re doing. Sometimes you’ve just got to equip yourself.

Yvette’s star was on the rise when we met. When a District Sales Manager job opened up, I was sure she had it locked down.

I thought things hadn’t gone her way when she stayed in place. We finally had a heart-to-heart at her good-bye party. Two years later.

She explained, “I thought that interview loop would be so easy, but I wasn’t ready for the questions. Business modeling? That was new to me. Managing people? Uh, I hadn’t even led a group project. And I was totally stumped when they asked me about opposition research for some of my biggest customers. My self-esteem was in good shape. My actual qualifications? Not so much!”

“That was a big day for me. OK – my meetings were a wreck, but it was the day I quit waffling and decided to get the MBA I had thought about for years. Looking back, I would have washed out of my new job in a year if I had been able to talk my way into it. Now I’m ready!”

That kind of discernment has run through this series:

  • In “Time To Get Serious”, we learned that adults have the long view. Chris Rock’s mother warned him about his new set of high school friends. Five years later, he was packing concert halls; they were still on the front stoop.
  • In “I Saw What I Valued,” Caleb Smith showed that excellence and success are built on thousands of small, smart decisions. Kids get bored; adults know how to follow through.
  • We saw how grown-ups maintain a delicate, sophisticated balance in “All About Collaboration.” Teenagers dig in to their belief systems. Adults know that practical solutions combine head and heart.

If you think adulting is a drag, make it fun. Think of it as the destination where you can be the most committed, wise and insightful. When you do those things, you’re an incredible boss of you.

Published by Michelle Mains