Towards the end of last year, Hillsborough Community College where I’m a business instructor, recognized me as a finalist for their Champion of Diversity Award. I was and am still honored. I promote diversity and inclusion in a variety of ways: sharing my unique life stories as an at-risk youth with my students, conducting research on diverse populations, writing on topics that promote a deeper understanding of the human experience, inviting a range of talented and diverse speakers into my classroom, creating programs and opportunities for those in need, volunteering at nonprofits that support underprivileged groups. The list proudly goes on and on.
Given everything I do to further diversity and inclusion, I wasn’t shocked to receive the recognition but there’s also another reason I wasn’t shocked: I asked my boss to nominate me.
That’s right. This amazing award didn’t just fall into my lap like many people like to believe (or tell you). Not only did I do the hard work to have the credentials to be considered, I also advocated for myself to be nominated. I knew I deserved to be considered for the award; I knew the value I brought to the college and the community, and I also knew that my peers and my boss may not know about all my efforts.
I drafted out the reasons why I should be nominated and sent my boss a note asking him to consider nominating me if he felt I was deserving. Within minutes, he wrote back excitedly that he’d be delighted to nominate me. Over the next few days, I worked on my nomination form with a friend, and sent it to my boss for feedback.
The point here is simple: If you want something, go get it. Yes, I absolutely believe in the magic of luck and good things happening to good people (thank you Law of Attraction), but I also believe we need to own our journeys and not wait for others or the universe to hand us what we want. I believe we need to be active co-creators in accomplishing our goals. To do that, we need to stand up tall and forge our paths, unafraid to shine our lights and show others what we are truly capable of achieving.
I want you to leave with this: There’s no reason to be shy or embarrassed for wanting to promote yourself and share your accomplishments with the world. Yes, there are times you will get rejected. Yes, there are times people will judge you for putting yourself out there, but you know what? These things don’t matter. What matters is that you show up for yourself. What matters is that the world needs more role models like YOU and every time you get yourself noticed, you inspire others.
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PS – Here’s an affirmation to help give you confidence to advocate for yourself: “The world is a better place when my light shines brightly. I courageously promote myself when it benefits me and others.”
PPS – To get comfortable advocating for yourself, grab your journal. Here’s a writing prompt: What could you do this week to get your hard work recognized? Brainstorm a list of at least 10 ideas and then choose one and make it happen.