My name is Julia Mavrodin. I’m 31 now, living with my fiancé who I adore. We are planning a wedding in August and then a family one day. I have a rescue dog, Lulu, that I like to dress up. (I know it's ridiculous, but it makes me laugh). I work for L'Oreal in Digital Marketing, and live in the West Village of New York City. Tourists take buses through my neighborhood and take pictures. I'm grateful every single day for the life that I'm living, and sometimes don't know how I've gotten here.
I look at you in the mirror and I see a confident, self-assured woman. I always have. But most of the time this confidence that comes across so sure to others is so unsure to you. Sometimes you don't like who you see, but you still own it. That's you. That's always been you. You're learning from it though. Learning that the words you say sometimes hurt people. Learning that the actions you take have powerful effects on others. Learning that the thoughts that you have may not always have a positive outcome. You may not know how to do the right thing all the time, but you're learning how to get there.
You're 24. You're an adult now. You're working as a District Manager for Toyota driving 1,500 miles a week all across the state of New York. You love it -- you have your own car, expense account, business that you manage. Wow. You ARE an adult. You work hard...really hard. Your coworkers are mostly male, and maybe that's why you do it. Deep down, you feel like you have something to prove because you don't do "guy talk". Your bosses recognize your ambition, and you get promoted faster than your coworkers. You're always surprised.
You are SO focused. In between cities, you take a few hours out of each day to train...for an Ironman. You fell into triathlons after college -- your first goal was to finish your first sprint race. Then, an Olympic distance. Then, after that, a Half Ironman. You didn't expect to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in your first half, but you did. And now you're here -- pulling over at a highway rest stop to do a run workout before it gets too dark on your way home. You didn't know how or when you would get "here". It must have been somewhere in between those thousands of laps you swam, those books you read, food you ate, miles you drove, tears you cried. You take mental snapshots of each of these moments. "You will want to remember this one day, Jules" - and you do.
You've gotten some great advice over the years -- mostly from friends, coaches, your sister.
"Sometimes you just need to slow down, Oss" - your sister says this to you all the time. She knows you best of anyone, and she still calls you by your childhood nickname. That makes you smile. The advice is simple, but sound. Sometimes you run too fast and too hard. She's right.
"Stay small and they'll never see you coming" - your coworker mentioned to you over the phone one afternoon, and you've never forgotten it. Maybe it's because that's what you do. You work hard, you don't expect recognition, and you get results. They continue to surprise you. You don't expect to qualify for that Ironman, and later on, you don't expect to finish in the top 10 in your age group there. You don't expect to get engaged to a man that makes you a better person. You don't expect to get a job that you're happy with working with people you respect and admire.
Maybe the uncertainty that you have is actually a good thing. Maybe not. But it's working for you so far.
Keep your head high. Own it. This is life. Learn from it. It's all part of the journey.
Stay small, Jules.
Julia is the most diligent person I've known in my career. I've never met anyone so determined, organized, and agile, ever. She's the engine that runs our e-Comm site and she's always reaching higher, eager to learn the next best practice. She's also an incredible teacher - one of my favorite terms (that she taught me) that I like to kick around with her is "what's on the carousel?" (My next post this week is dedicated to her).