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Why You Shouldn't Worry About "Peaking" in High School

I turned 45 this week. It has made me reflect on who I am and how far I have come.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would fall in love 26 years ago and marry that same guy, have three beautiful children, own my own business, and be in the midst of writing my first book. I think back to all those doubters—some very close to me and others who were mere acquaintances commenting on my weaknesses. 

I clearly didn't "peak" in high school. Most are in the same boat. It takes time to realize our fullest potential. Yet, my entire professional career is focused on working with high school students who want to peak right at that moment.
 
They want to be the most popular, best looking, smartest, or most accomplished. They want to get admitted to the best college out there believing that will bring them fulfillment. They don't want to wait; they want to peak right now.


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I often tell my oldest child not to worry about peaking in high school. Maybe some of my advice comes from trying to come to terms with my own awkward teen years. But it's more than that. I understand now that our lives are enriched over time, after tremendous struggle, and with experiences, both triumphant and disappointing. 
Once you peak, that's it. You have reached the highest point and you can only go down from there. If your best years were during high school, what's left to do? 
 
So for all those high school students feeling awkward and unremarkable, I can relate. While it can feel absolutely lonely at times, high school should simply be training ground for what is to come. You will peak at the right time. I hope it is many years away for you, though. The long journey to the peak keeps us humble and hungry for more. 
 
I hope I haven't peaked yet. I never want to coast down the mountain. The climb is so much more fulfilling.