I recently received an email from a student from Dartmouth College who I had never met, but her words touched my heart. She stated:
Dear Ms. McCall,
I'll be brief.
You don't know me, but you've inspired me in a big way. I've been following your work since I read about you last year in Essence Festival's pitch contest. Because of your work with BOLD Guidance, I decided to begin working with a startup that works with black students, but in the college realm, connecting them to employment & graduate school opportunities.
You may not realize that you're inspiring fellow Black women from the Cleveland area to enter the entrepreneurial world, but you are.
No response required if you're having a busy month (and I'm guessing you are!).
I just wanted to say, with all my heart:
As I read this email first thing in the morning, it brought tears to my eyes. I think sometimes we forget how much we affect and have an impact on others merely by our presence and not just directly through the work we do. As I reflected on this email, it made me think about how the work I do is so much bigger than me. It’s bigger than BOLD Guidance. You never know who is watching or who is dreaming about doing great things. You never know who suddenly gathers the courage to step out and be phenomenal because they saw someone who looked like them or someone they can relate to do the same thing. We can’t keep being small. We can’t be afraid to let our light shine. We can’t keep our natural God-given talents to ourselves. It is our duty to let our light shine. It is our responsibility to be our best and not be afraid to be seen, acknowledged, or recognized. It is necessary to share our message of encouragement and empowerment to others. You never know whose light will be dimmed because you were afraid to shine bright.
As I was writing this blog, Marianne Willamson quote came to me. I used to read it as a little girl, but never quite understood it beyond the first two lines. I ask you as you read her quote below that you go beyond reading and comprehending, but you feel the words and become inspired to take action.
“Our deepest challenge is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Stop hiding! Stop minimizing yourself and working in the shadows. You have to share yourself, your gift, and your message with the world. Not in a boastful and prideful way, but in a way that inspires, encourages, and empowers others to take action and go after their dreams. So I urge everyone to keep working hard and keep moving forward. Those days when nothing seems to be going right and you are on the verge of quitting…don’t. You never know who is watching. You don’t know who is waiting to let their potential blossom. Never forget that what you and I do is bigger than me and it’s bigger than you.