What blends in gets forgotten. What stands out gets remembered.
A few days ago, after doing some observations in a staff meeting, a teacher pulled me to the side and asked me for my opinion on an idea she had to increase student engagement in her department. I thought her idea was brilliant and I asked her when she was planning to present it to her team. Her eyes immediately dropped and I began to see the excuses formulating in her mind. I immediately stopped her and began to tell her my story…
I used to struggle in the Ed Tech space because my first and strongest concern was how others would judge me based on what I said. I wouldn’t participate in most discussions or group chats, thinking that people wouldn’t value my two cents. I would hesitate to say something only to hear someone else say the very same thing I was thinking 10 minutes later in the conversation.
In my own space, you couldn’t tell I had any introvert tendencies. I was bold, confident and in control of the learning space quite naturally. The audiences were those who already knew me and had great respect for my opinion. I was comfortable there. The problem was I was not growing…I was already the expert in the room. Hence the fear of leaving the comfort zone and testing the waters of unfamiliar learning networks.
I’m beginning to get over that now…I’ve changed job, started presenting and began to realize that I wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t add value to the group. So, looking for opportunities to just say it already has been my new passion. I may look foolish to the so-called sage on the stage, but that is only because I may have said exactly what he wanted to say before he had the chance. That was a difficult transition for me. Now, I look to influence others to make that step as well.
Going back to the teacher, I explained to her if she doesn’t say it, someone else will. I implored her to not squander her opportunities by waiting on others to take the risks. She needs to stop blending in and make some noise instead. Just say it already! you’ll feel better when you do. This is the advice that I still give to myself everyday so that I can continue to meet each learner where they.