Saying Yes: Finding My Voice & Platform

Image credit: Mark Kober

by Anna Packard

People sometimes make fun of me for how much I loved EFY (Especially for Youth) growing up. I went every summer, including the summer before I started college. I loved everything about EFY but especially the firesides given on Thursday evenings. These firesides literally changed my life. As I listened to the powerful messages, I realized what I wanted to do in my life! I wanted to be like those EFY directors. I wanted to share a meaningful message to masses of people, in hopes that what I said might influence them for good, or even, in my grandiose dreams, change their lives. From EFY, I decided I wanted to become a motivational speaker.

When I started college, I took a motivational speaking class but quickly learned I couldn’t major in it. So I chose another path. Now I am a licensed psychologist, specializing in eating disorders, and I find the work very fulfilling. But I never completely lost sight of my passion for public speaking. I geek out in front of TED talks on a regular basis, admiring the skill with which the presenters convey their messages. But one thing has become very clear to me: effective speakers not only master the art of presentation, but more importantly, they have a message. I don’t know what my message is. I feel too young and inexperienced to have anything worthwhile to offer others. This reality makes me feel discouraged and incredibly insecure.

But a while ago, I made the resolution that if I really want to be a motivational speaker, then I need to speak! I can’t wait until I’ve found my message and wrapped it up into an eloquent package. No, I will speak on whatever people ask me to speak on. In other words, no matter what, I will say yes. Whenever anyone asks me if I can talk to a particular group of people on a particular subject, I agree to do it! I believe through this resolve, I will probably botch a few talks, be less than inspiring in others, but I will also find my voice. I will learn to articulate myself well and motivate others. I will also find my passion and my platform.

So I say yes. So far this resolve has given me opportunities to speak at small venues, like a local Young Women in Excellence program, to also speaking at a large venue: Women’s Conference. As I pursue this, I am learning that people value my insights on eating disorders and body image. And I’m finding I have some important things to say on these topics. Is this my passion and platform? I’m not sure. It is something I’m passionate about and perhaps self-acceptance and love may be one of the messages I’d like to carry to the world. But I’m ok not knowing for sure right now. I trust the journey will lead me to find and refine my message. And I know that saying YES is the way I am going to get there. Saying YES now, in all my imperfections, inadequacies, and insecurities is empowering. I’m learning that even though I’m young and inexperienced, I have something to say. And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll give an EFY fireside or a TED talk!

Is there something you need to say yes to?

You can learn more about Anna and her career as a clinical psychologist by reading her Career Day Interview.

3 Comments on “Saying Yes: Finding My Voice & Platform

  1. I really loved this post. I have a long list of things I’d like to accomplish and skills I would like to develop, but I often don’t seek out opportunities that would help me to develop those skills or prepare me to tackle other goals and dreams. Sometimes this is because of fear, laziness, or procrastination. Thanks for the reminder to say yes to those opportunities!

  2. Oh yes! Not doing something because you know you aren’t an expert yet. But we all have to make many mistakes before becoming accomplished at anything. Good reminder. And good luck on reaching your goal.

  3. Pingback: Live courageously and make a difference | My Charlie angel

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