You remained a student and never stopped learning! That's how you got here. It reminds me of a story. I think this connects with what you're saying. At least in my mind it does.
John Wooden used to tell this story...
"Ben Franklin made this observation about a fellow he had known in Philadelphia: 'The man died at 25, but wasn't buried until 75.' Mr. Franklin was describing a man who stopped learning.
In my field of work, the leader is called a coach. To excel as a coach and leader, you must be a good teacher; to excel as a teacher, leader, and coach, you must remain a student who keeps learning. You must not die at 25."