I’ve let fear win so many times in my life.

When I was 16 I wanted to write my junior speech (a 7 minute speech we had to give in front of the whole high school) about fear.

I was sure this was the topic that spoke to me the most. There is nothing to fear but fear itself was going to be the central point.

But when I told friends that, they laughed. They told me it was a dumb idea for a speech.

I felt small. I felt like an idiot for thinking that the topic would help anyone.

So I let the fear of judgment from others stop me from speaking what was on my heart.

Fear won. And the irony was not lost.

And I would continue to let fear win.

I wouldn’t speak up on things when I knew I should out of fear.

I tailored my personality to what I thought others wanted to fit in. I was called meek, and I felt it.

But it felt safer to play small than to take up space.

And maybe it was. But I’ve done a lot of work to know that that isn’t true now.

To know that no one wins when I let fear win.

To know that my voice has value and I can help others by sharing my knowledge.

To know that I’m done playing small and it’s now safe to dream big.

So if you ever have feelings like this that make you feel like you need to dim your light, know you’re not alone.

And also know the world needs your brilliance and it is safe to let it shine through.