• Mariama Suwaneh

Under Siege: Convincing My Mind of What My Heart Always Knew

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

"Maybe: (insert Boss' name here)."

My heart stopped; and at the same time, it was beating out of my chest. My potential new boss was already calling me and it was only three hours after my interview. Did they really come up with a decision that fast? Perhaps she was just calling me to ask me some additional questions. My breathe quickened, so before I answered the phone I took one long deep breath.

"Hiiiiii." I said with a nervous excitement. My potential new boss started the conversation asking me how I was doing and thanking me again for my time that afternoon. We had a bit of small talk then she jumped right to it.

"Well, I just called to ask you a few follow up questions..." She asked, I answered... There was a brief moment of pause and then she continued. "Thanks for answering my questions. One thing you should know about me," she said, "is I am not very good at keeping things close to my chest. I'll let you know you are our final candidate. Assuming reference checks go well, the job is yours."

I was SPEECHLESS! And I know it's cliche to say, but that really is SO unlike me. After my inital shock and celebration, we closed out our conversation. I walked up the steps of to my apartment, sat on my couch, and immediately the fear sunk in.

Am I qualified for this position?

But, but it's so big? What if I fail?

I have no idea what I'm doing.

The negative thoughts were SO loud! It was dizzying. Somehow my organization thought I - a young, twenty-four year old, Afro-latina was ready for an inaugural role as Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at one of the largest non-profits in the state.

This was my dream job. I thought I would have it at thirty-five and now here it was falling in my lap at twenty-four years old and I was afraid of it. I felt unqualified, under resourced, and incapable. My heart yearned for the moment my mind would catch up to my heart and feel excited. But all I could imagine were the thousands of different ways I might fail taking this leap in my career.

So, I did what any confused child does... I called my godparents. I told them the news and they were so excited for me. Like the incredible, in-touch godparents that they are, they immediately knew I was nervous. I shared with them my reservations for taking on this position. This certainly wasn't the first time I felt under qualified for something, and I'm sure it won't be the last. They listened so well, as they always do. Once I was done and had taken all the time I needed, I took one huge deep breath and sighed in relief.

There was a small pause on the other end of the phone and then my godparents did exactly what I needed them to do. They didn't tell me my fears were irrational or that I needed to just be excited. They spoke LIFE into me. They reminded me of my preparation, my execution, and God's ability to intervene. They told me that my focus on all the negative must be met with the reality of all that I had done to prepare me for the roll.

In the days following our conversation, I made it a point to combat each negative thought with a conviction of preparation. In moments where I didn't feel like I could do so, I relied on friends and my boyfriend to do it for me. I've come to learn that it can be easier to take the truth from others while you are still learning to believe it.

Don't get me wrong. This job will require me to stretch and grow; and at times, growth can be hard and even painful. But when you begin to acknowledge and take pride in the reality of your greatness and the things you do really well, you can begin to make a game plan for filling in your knowledge gaps.

Today was my last day at my alma mater. When I wake up to begin a new work week, I will be stepping into my booties as the Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. There will moments where I struggle, and there will be moments where I feel well-equipped to kick ass. At this moment, I can't wait to experience both those feelings.

To be in a position where I'm not being challenged is hindering me from experiencing my true potential. The best is yet to come, and I can't to continue this journey with you all. Comment below about how you tackle challenging new opportunities. Let's share wisdom!

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by Mariama Suwaneh

 © 2020 Own Your Audacious by Mariama Suwaneh.