Talking is not my strong suit, and I am probably considered shy.
I remember when I was young, my friend asked me to go to our neighborhood church that had recently opened. At first, I said no, but then she seduced me with "free snacks." My mother was always saving money, and snacks were rarely a treat in the house. I immediately regretted this decision as the church members handed a piece of paper to each of us with a prayer on it. The price for the free snack was to memorize the prayer and recite it. One by one, they had each kid try and repeat the prayer from memory. We all watched in anticipation. Secretly we all wondered who would be the kid would remember the whole prayer. Unfortunately, I remembered the entire prayer and was chosen to recite the prayer in front of all church members.
My name was called, and I walked onto the large stage and just stood there frozen.
People were staring at me, but I couldn't open my mouth. I am not sure how long I stood there, but after what felt like an eternity, someone came and quietly walked me off the stage. I was deeply embarrassed and never went back to that church again. That experience still haunts me today but in different ways.
I grew up in South Korea, as most people know Korean girls my age were not raised to be vocal.
Living in the bay area, I find myself surrounded by women who have strong voices, opinions, or leaders of companies. I have never felt I was one of them. Sometimes, I challenged myself to try and speak up or make a bold move. Results? It always goes wrong or doesn't come out the way I thought it would.
I have met a lot of amazing women in my life who have inspired me, and ironically, Elon Musk recently motivated me to care less about what others think.
One day I was watching Elon Musk's video about a big reveal of some new electronic sports car. The people were excited and cheering as he was announcing his latest innovations. As he started talking, I quickly realized that this man is terrible at public speaking. I chuckled. Sure he is passionate and genius, but seriously not a good a speaker. This inspired me to just be me.
I have learned that if you put words with honesty and enthusiasm, your narrative can be significant. I have to be comfortable with who I am. I don't have to be somebody I am not.