Follow Friday + Nicki’s Personal Updates: 5 Truths I’ve Learned in the Past 5 Years

Follow Friday Nicki

Welcome to 2018, FutureDerm readers! We have a lot of exciting things in store for you this year, and I’m super stoked to kick it off. From new product launches to a revamped media services brand, we are excited for what 2018 will bring!

That said, I’m now #33weekspregnant, as they would say on Instagram, with the hashtag and all. With the pregnancy has brought an increased need to slow down (hence why I took a holiday hiatus from the site), and also some more time to sit and reflect on my life, and what has been working, and what has not been working. Now that I’m 33 years old and have a baby on the way, here are the things I wish someone would have told me five years ago, much of which I had to learn the hard way:

1.) Many things are not what they seem to be at first. Time reveals truth.

From career paths to boyfriends, cars to employees, most things are not what they seem to be at first. Many people are good at selling themselves and selling their wares. But eventually, somewhere between seven minutes and seven months of knowing someone (or owning something), you know the true nature of the beast.

The lesson here: Take your time. Don’t rush into anything — not an iron-clad career path, not a seven-year car lease, and certainly not a lifelong romantic commitment. Most things worth having develop slowly and are refined over time.

2.) You are not what you do once in a while. You are what you do most consistently.

When I first started my business, I would pull all-nighters occasionally, and work every Sunday. I thought that I was destined to be the next Mark Cuban, with that kind of work ethic.

That said, I also didn’t account for the times that round-the-clock work strategy left me physically sick (which was quite frequent, looking back on it). It does no good to work 24 hours over the course of two days, only to need to take the rest of the week off because you have mono, strep throat, pneumonia, or need surgery for an erupting organ (all of which, by the way, I managed to get with that crazy lifestyle).

It was actually a combination of running half-marathons and the advice of my husband (a two-time marathoner) that turned me around: You have to pace. You have to do a certain minima of things daily to get to where you want to go — some days you can push more, some days a lot more, but never less than the minima.

You have to run the first part of your day with your head, and the second part of your day with your heart. I get it. And although I did get mono again in early 2017, I have overall been a lot healthier for the past two years or so than the years preceding it.

3.) Wealth only magnifies who you already are. Real change requires inner work.

I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. It was somehow always on my mind, from needing to have enough to dress a certain way, to working hard enough to get a full scholarship to college.

Like many people who don’t grow up with a lot, I thought that doing well financially would change my life. And, after many years of working very hard and taking substantial risks, while I do feel that I am doing quite well and am proud of myself, I also can tell you that money makes things easier and buys you more beautiful things, but it doesn’t change the nature of your life. If you have a tendency to hoard items and get behind on bills when you’re making $50,000 per year, you’ll have a tendency to hoard items and get behind on bills when you’re making $500,000 per year. If you don’t enjoy going to parties with a $15 admission charge, you’re not going to enjoy going to parties with a $1,500 admission charge. Trust me on this.

If you want for your life to change, you have to change. Not your house, not your car, not your bank account, but you. Your thoughts, your philosophies, your habits. You.

4.) People will find every reason under the sun to feel a sense of importance. They’re all right, and they’re all wrong.

I used to be a huge people-pleaser. I used to also try to “fix” my friends and acquaintances. But then I stopped, because I realized that people are often dichotomous in what they want and expect from others, and the only right answers to living I have are the ones for me.

Ironically enough, in the past five years, I’ve made an effort to try to fit in with different types of groups. And then I realized, first of all, people will try to feel important for every reason under the sun. There’s no point in getting angry or frustrated or trying to change any of them. They’re just people, doing their best, based on their genetics and life experiences.

Second of all, there’s no point in trying to change myself at this point in my life to be just like any one of them. (Believe me, like a desperate overgrown middle school kid, I’ve tried). I’ve come to understand I am a bit of all of them: I’m a big dreamer and risk-taker, but I won’t finance my company like a Silicon Valley hotshot, nor will I overspend at work or at home. And while I’m pretty positive in general, I do enjoy celebrity gossip and a good complain-fest once in a while.

That said, I started to think I was all cool and individualistic and different and couldn’t be boxed into a group, but then I realized I was in a group of my own naturally, “entrepreneurial,” where you tend to find people who are equal parts idealistic and critical, hardworking and rebellious, individualistic and team player, and humble and narcissistic. (But we’re all “always right,” *wink*).

But there you have it. My point here is, don’t waste time finding fault with others. They’re all right, and they’re all wrong, both at the same time.

5.) Life is the journey, not the destination.

It sounds so cliche, but it’s true. Your life isn’t comprised chiefly of your wedding day, your honeymoon, or the day your first child is born. Your life is actually made of your average day, waking up, doing your life’s work, spending time with others, doing hobbies, etc. If you don’t feel happy about it now, you’re not going to feel happy about it “when” you reach some magical destination in the distant future.

So I make time now to enjoy everyday. Whether it’s exercise, or a good dinner, or spending time with my husband, I make sure that I enjoy every single day. I get it now.

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