I spoke at my high school today for their annual Career Fair. I gave my presentation on the process of becoming an author, working in the entertainment industry and general interviewing/networking suggestions. When it came time to answer questions, all hands but one stayed down.
I could see it in their faces. Sure, they had questions, but their hand stayed seal-shut glued to the table. I remember being one of those students until a motivational speaker shared how important it is to raise your hand. Staying silent is fear personified; we let the power of judgment, embarrassment, defeat or confusion consume us.
Afterward, we’re left with a dull ache, wishing we had just asked that question or shared our idea. For the times we HAVE overcome our fear and raised our hands, the feeling of bravery and courage is freeing.
I know it’s not easy to make ourselves vulnerable; to offer a potential perception of ignorance when we humble ourselves to ask a question or divulge an opinion. But it is with speaking that connections are formed, interest is expressed and knowledge is gained. There is no harm that can come from it. Often times, the best questions lead to further comments which lead to great discussions which lead to fundamental and perhaps pivotal shifts in thinking.
Raise your hand proudly. Whether you’re asking a question, praising or dancing, don’t let anyone hold you back. This is one of our essential freedoms. Life is too good to not gain as much knowledge and create as many connections as we possibly can.
Next time you’ve got that nagging feeling of a question or thought coming on (oh, no!), just go ahead, and speak. You won’t regret that you did—in fact you’ll be glad. People want to hear what you have to say and chances are, some of them are thinking the same thing but are too afraid to speak up.
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook