To know me is to know that I love to write - for me it's both effortless and essential. I embody the true characteristics of a writer, as I would much rather express myself and my ideas with the pen than with my mouth. Articulating my thoughts on the spot has always been difficult for me. I often, and by often I mean almost daily, walk away from a situation thinking, "I wish I had said...." and then I sigh. With age and experience I have learned to create a template or bullet point list in my mind to guide conversations of significance, and every now and again, I can execute without a hitch. But, for the most part, especially when the stakes are high, my words get lodged in the imaginary funnel in my mind. I find that this most often occurs when I either have to talk about myself or about a topic that I feel very strongly about. I don't often struggle with presenting content at a conference or at a meeting about a student. In fact, I am asked to present at many professional development sessions, and I attend countless meetings about students. I can talk in front of groups by the hundreds and feel perfectly capable, comfortable and successful. But the moment any of those opportunities shifts to questions about me- I stammer and I struggle. I pray to God this is somehow a blessing, because most often it feels like a curse.
I'm choosing a path of proclaimed leadership, and that's going to come with more and more expectation about speaking about myself, especially as it pertains to my passions, visions, plans and ideas. I need to start now letting go of the fears that prohibit me from speaking with ease, and I need to take charge of the confidence that has led me here in the first place.
As I move with direction and purpose toward leadership, I am actively reflecting and focusing on the parts of me that will need the most work to be truly successful. And what I know to be true is I need to work on my courage, my ability to speak candidly, and my calling to speak honestly, directly, with purpose and intention. To do so, I look to others to learn ways and ideas on how to exercise my weaknesses, and then I work to practice.
With an action plan for addressing my inadequacies, I cannot help but recall one of the most powerful quotes I have ever come across. I'm going to scribble these words onto a post-it and carry it with me everywhere I go as a reminder (ok, maybe I'll use many post-its so as to stick it all along my path.....each note holding the same words so that I can say them so much they simply become a part of me):
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson