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No more standing on the sidelines

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As I watched my nieces – one who wanted the spotlight and the other who didn’t – I was reminded how staying out of the spotlight can define you and how others see you.

My oldest niece – 9 – says she’s shy. However, by being shy, you don’t get selected to lead a dance routine, you aren’t chosen to sing in the class play, you aren’t called on in class because you don’t raise your hand.

I can relate. I have worn it as a badge of honor that I like to be behind the scenes out of the spotlight. Note my career: I’m an editor, not a reporter. I used to consider myself shy, but now, I’m just quiet. Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid to speak up, but speaking up on my own behalf is completely different.

I’m reminded every day that when you don’t speak up for yourself, others can label you. When that happens, you lose the ability to define yourself and quite possibly advance in your career. You can try to change that perception, but it sticks – like it or not.

The danger of being shy and standing on the sidelines is that opportunities can pass you by. You wonder how you’ve been in the same place with no growth.

There’s nothing worse than looking back at your life wishing you had done things a little differently. Regret? Maybe. But if you don’t speak up for yourself, no one else will.

It’s essential to be your own PR person. Make sure others know what you’re capable of. Don’t sit passively by while others decide your fate. Have courage. Set your own course. There’s no more standing on the sidelines.

Nicole L. Gill, Digital Content Editor, Councilmag.com

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