I want to elaborate more on my last post. I spoke a lot about speaking up and making your voice heard but I used to be the opposite of that. For a while I was the person who never had ideas. It was part laziness and part being afraid of having my ideas shot down. I worked with my teams, executed their ideas, and didn’t think anyone noticed my complacent behavior. I was never like this until I took a trip to my professor’s office.
I went into my professor’s office for some professional advice one day and left on the brink of tears. I got a very loud wake up call, similar to a fog horn. He told me he didn’t think I would make it in the industry I so wanted to be a part of. He said that I wasn’t as good as some other students because I never contributed to my teams. Needless to say, I was upset. Actually I was pretty pissed off. Here was this man, who I went to for advice and he gave me the worst advice I’d ever heard. I’m all for constructive criticism, but there wasn’t anything constructive about it. There wasn’t a “you could work on this” or “maybe gain some more experience here”. He completely shot me down. So for a while I never really wanted to speak up in class or in my groups. I became extremely nervous and stressed over my ability to succeed. It was restricting to want to say something, but holding it in.
It took me a while to shake that feeling, but I did. I would love to say that the professor taught me a great lesson, but the truth is, he didn’t. I don’t look on that moment very fondly and don’t like to think about it too often. Not because of what he said, but how I allowed it to make me feel. I’ve talked about disassociating how you feel from how you act and I wasn’t able to do that for a while. I now consider it a lesson learned. Never allow someone to make you feel less than you are.
Photo credit: http://bit.ly/hVYlST