Lesson from a shy girl

I was shy. Not just your run-of-the-mill shy, but the I-can-barely-talk-to-people-because-its-debilitating shy. Part of it is genetics (ask my dad), the other part is the effects of being spat on by random folks with their mean jokes and insults about everything from my coffee-brown complexion to my kinky, short hair. It created in me an ultra self-consciousness. I thought everyone was looking...and pointing...and laughing.

Ironically, I also had this diametrically opposite side: a yearning to be out front. I dreamed of perhaps being a TV anchor or a newspaper editor or an actress. (Makes no sense, I know.) Those aspirations were so far-fetched, so pie in the sky, that I did not dare even utter them.

Then, while a freshman at Stillman College, I heard Bill Cosby (I know, right...it was the pre-pill days) share this statement: “Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” He went on to say that if you don’t try, you won’t accomplish your dream; which is worse than trying and not accomplishing it because of fear. At least you won’t have the regret of having never attempted.

I don’t, for the life of me, remember where I was or how I heard his words. All I know is that they quickened something inside of me. I had to ask myself, “Are you going to try, or are you going to be held captive by your fear? If your fear wins, you will regret it for the rest of your life. (Cue the echo machine) ...THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, LIFE, LIFE....”

I decided to try, and even though I was scared, I had to do it afraid. So, I changed my major from education to COMMUNICATIONS, got an internship at a TV station and in the years since, have worked as a reporter, hosted a radio show, wrote a book, gave countless speeches, directed a student media organization and now lead a marketing and communications department for a university division.

Crazy, I know.

Deep down, I am still an introvert and somewhat shy (a little of that “debilitating" part fell away). Even after doing it hundreds of times, when I have to get up to talk in front of a group, my knees shake and I find it hard to catch my breath. That shy girl didn’t die, but oh boy have I taken her on some crazy, scary rides.....and she has loved every minute of it.

The point is: Got a dream? Do it afraid. If you don’t, you will regret it.



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