I was talking to a friend of mine and he was telling me about how frustrated he gets when people tell him “I see you doing big things” because, while he is doing big things, to him it's an insult to everything he did to get to this point.
I can completely relate to that sentiment because it happens to me all the time. I just recently graduated with my PhD and got lots of pats on the back, but graduating was probably the easiest part of the whole process. From my perspective, I was doing much “bigger things” when I was struggling through classes, coming against multiple road blocks related to my prelim exams, changing committee members a week before my prospectus defense and then defending it the day I moved from Florida to Indiana. Maybe I could have used a pat on the back the day I learned that my dissertation defense would be a week and a half earlier than expected… 12 days before the new date.
Beyond the “I see you doing big things” comment, the statement that really rubs me the wrong way is “I want to be just like you.” Granted, I'm absolutely fabulous :-), but there is a WHOLE LOT more that goes into being me than just being fabulous.
You don't get to be this driven and motivated without having gone through a lot in your life. Do you want my tragedies too, or just the success? I have great friends and family, but do you have any idea how many times I've been stabbed in the back or simply discarded by friends and family… only to have them try to come back later when it seems like I'm doing well or they need something.
Do you want the enemies disguised as friends? Those who stay close to you because they want a front row seat when you finally fail. Maybe you want my depression that comes and goes, or the look of horror on people's faces when I tell them I have a therapist?
I'm guessing you only want to be like me when I'm happy and achieving my “big things” but the truth is, it all makes me who I am. I am completely honored that anyone would see me as a role model, and I believe that I am, but all I am trying to model for you is authenticity. Be the best YOU that you possibly can be and don't waste your whole life trying to have mine or anyone else's.
Above all, have fun and praise God always. Deal with the tough times gracefully, get help if/when you need it, and post pics of the good times on facebook in case you ever need reminders of how great YOUR life is ;-).