Several years ago, while sitting in a meeting, I found myself questioning the speed at which a major decision was being made at an organization I worked for. In the name of trying to get something accomplished and after many hours of being stagnant, I noticed that my colleagues were rushing through the process. I was not one to voice an opinion in groups of people. I actually dropped a class in college because I did not want to give a presentation. In general, in group settings, I am typically an observer and not as inclined to voice my opinion.Part of my reasoning was that I was not confident in what I had to say and the other was the fear that I would not be taken seriously. In that moment, something clicked for me and I slowly raised my hand, heart racing, body temperature rising, and I made a comment that the process was moving too fast for me. To my shock and surprise, others chimed in and mentioned that very same thing.
After the meeting, a colleague came to me and thanked me for saying something because she was unable to speak out even though she felt the same way. For whatever reason, that was the reassurance I needed to hear. What I had to say did matter and was important. Not only that, but maybe I would be speaking up for the others out there who hesitate to speak in groups. I found my voice in that meeting and I have tried to make sure it does not hold me back since then.
I am not sure how or when I decided that my voice was not as important as others. For whatever reason, it was a part of me. Maybe not even something that I was really conscious of. I still do not like to be in the spot light, but at the same time I remind myself that my thoughts and ideas have as much value as anyone else. Since that day, I have worked really hard to make sure that I remind myself to share my voice. It really is work for me to remember to add my input into meetings and sometimes conversations. It continues to take a lot of courage for me. My heart still races, I still get flustered, but I persevere. Finding the extent of my voice remains my growing edge.