February has been a great month for me thus far. Work is transitioning well as I have settled into my new role and have an assigned market (hello Philadelphia), and my friends and family are doing great! Although it seems like I have it together on paper, I have been praying to God for the courage to step into my destiny. I have seen signs, had dreams, spoke to people who all affirm the peculiarity of my voice. It’s been perfunctory for me to spark meaningful conversation with strangers or friends, but whenever I get in front of a crowd, I freeze up, get a hoarse voice, and lose my confidence. I got fed up and put it on my prayer list, and boy did God hand deliver me an answer.
Step 1: Do Not Be Afraid, Just Believe.
I began to read more and expand my vocabulary. I realized I was set off in trepidation when speaking due to a fear of ridicule; as a kid, I was teased due to my Nigerian upbringing (I spent about 8 years of my childhood in Ikeja, Lagos). Strengthening my vocabulary would help my confidence as I still felt like the 11-year-old kid in Pikesville Middle School Baltimore, MD. I also started taking chances in public. If I had a question, I made it a must to ask it regardless of how queasy I felt. Co-workers sometimes would ask me if I was ok when I spoke in large conferences because my voice would play hooky on me!
Step 2: Pray & Have Faith
I scaled up the intensity of my prayers. They went from “Thank you God for today” to “Dear Lord, use me in more ways than my brain can imagine.” I never realized how mundane my prayer life was until I had the luxury of hearing a father figure pray with me (thanks Doc). God was moving mountains for me, but I was hiding behind routine prayers. I still will recite Our Father’s Prayer or the Creed, don’t get me wrong; it’s just that we should ask God for favors as meticulously as we would when asking our boss for a raise. You don’t run to your boss and say “Thanks for being my boss, can I get a $5k raise?” You think of what you can do to bargain your worth and you make promises to persuade him. A boss is not equivalent to God, but I took the same approach: “Dear God, if you give me a better job, I’ll give more to the needy; if you bless me with better speech, I’ll use my voice in your name etc.”
Step 3: Bulk Up Son
I started lifting lol. It’s soothing to know you are the biggest person in the room when speaking. I now will look into my audience before I talk and say to myself “I’ll beat everyone’s ass in here if they push me.” It’s a mental thing….. I don’t actually beat people up lol.
Step 4: Allow God to work.
I put myself in position by doing the preliminary work and God literally carried me to the execution phase. I was approached by the good folks of UIU DMV to be a panel member on their Valentine’s day event “Love Nwantinti.” I will be fielding questions on relationships even though I am not in one. Just another testimony to how God works.
I also am in talks to mentor a small group of middle schoolers. The seed was planted with a volunteer presentation to a group of 4th graders where the class teacher thought I was so poised. I woke up one day and a meeting was set to get me started with influencing the sample group.