Boldness Isn't Betraying Who You Are - It's Becoming Who You Are Meant to Be
“You know, when I first met you I thought you were too shy to make it in PR.”
These are the words my friend confessed to me the other day, reminiscing on my sophomore self. I nodded along with her sentiment aggressively, because I knew all too well that her first impression was accurate.
When I made the dramatic switch from Biology to Public Relations during my second year of college, I was shaking in my boots (literally). My heart would race during 2 minute speeches in public speaking class, I kept my head down in the comm building, and I hated, hated making phone calls.
I told myself I was an introvert and that’s why I was so shy. I owned it, embraced it, and didn’t let myself overcome it as a result.
But moving from quiet science labs to the loud, bustling communication arts building forces you to grow and change. All of a sudden I was doing group projects every other week. Every professor expected me to give presentations. And the people in my classes genuinely wanted to talk to me all the time.
Then in the summer of 2016 I spent two months traveling around the world with a group of friends. At the beginning of that trip, we each had to pick one thing that we really wanted to gain from the trip. My contribution was simple:
For the first time in my life, I wanted to be more than my shyness. Amazingly when I wanted to be bold badly enough, it began to grow within me.
So the other day when my friend confessed her first impression of me, it wasn’t hurtful. It wasn’t even that true anymore. And she used past tense.
I’m not saying I’m not still shy, the opposite actually. I still have to practice my phone conversations before I hit that dial button, and I still have to take a few deep breaths before I speak to a crowd. It’s just that I used to think my shyness defined me, and now I know it’s just something I have to work with.
Being bold doesn’t make me any less of an introvert, and it doesn’t make me any less me. It just makes me more myself than I ever dreamed I could be.