#ChroniclesOfAWriter – Do not be afraid to shine

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

About a year and a half ago, I was called to manage a research project for a big client. I had to go for an interview to get the job. The person who called felt it was something I could do because she knew I had good research skills.

I didn’t really think much of the call except for the fact that the lady kept emphasizing how confidential and big the project was.

My meeting with the boss was the next day but I didn’t really prepare. How does one prepare for a project they know little or nothing about?

I arrived at the venue on time and after waiting for over an hour, I was invited into the boss’ office.

The man was not smiling.

The first thing he asked for was my experience. “Have you ever handled a big research project before?”

“No,” I replied, “but in my previous role as the Assistant Editor of Y! Magazine, I did a lot of research and in my three years as a Law student and the one year spent in Law School, research was something I did frequently.”

He gave me this funny look from the top of his glasses. Then he asked some more questions. I answered, still wondering how big this research project could really be.

Some minutes later, he dropped the bombshell.

“This project is for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the findings of your research will form the basis of their activities in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Are you sure you can handle a project of that magnitude?”

My heart stopped. Bill and Melinda what??

Immediately, several fearful thoughts flooded my mind.

“Better just tell the man that you can’t do it.” “Is it the small research you did at YNaija that you think you will do here?”

The thoughts didn’t stop.

But there was another voice. That voice said, “You can do it.” “You have great research skills. You are just applying that little skill that you have to something bigger.”

I chose to listen to the second voice and I told the boss that I could deliver.

He was sceptical but he agreed.

Knowing that a lot was at stake for me, beyond the money I was being paid (it would be the first time that I would earn money in foreign currency), I gave this project everything I had.

I went over and beyond in my research. I just had to deliver.

At the end of the day, I surpassed expectations to the point that the report I handed in became a template that other African countries used for their own report.

And the icing on the cake, I was called back to handle more projects for them.

That episode got me thinking, what if I walked away from that opportunity because I was afraid; because I had never done research and writing of that magnitude?

I would have missed out big time.

Let’s come to you for a minute; what opportunities are you denying yourself of simply because you are afraid that your writing is not good enough? What opportunities have you lost because you doubted your ability?

You cannot be successful if you always give in to fear. Most times, what you are afraid of never actually happens.

It always amazes me that the people who start off saying, “Adedoyin I’m not a great writer like you so manage what I have written,” end up writing amazing stuff. Really, I’m always amazed.

Your skill might not be where you want it to be yet but it will never get there if you don’t take the risk and put yourself forward.

If you don’t write, you will never get better.

If you don’t pursue opportunities to make your work more visible, you will keep writing for yourself only.

Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid of the skill you possess.

You are a great writer. I believe it. Do you?

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