HOW MUCH IS YOUR “TWO CENTS” WORTH?

August 24, 2018

About two weeks ago, I received a residual check in the mail for a TV show I did in 2007. 

 

This time, I just laughed with the amount and decided to post it on Facebook with the quip, “There’s nothing like getting a check in the mail.”

 

 

 

I received some funny responses; but there was one that stood out and got me thinking.

 

            “Hmmmm.  I take it as an affirmation that your “two cents” are worthwhile.”

 

THE FORMATIVE YEARS

 

I always thought it strange growing up that, whenever an opinion was asked for, the question was, “What’s your two cents?”

 

Looking back, I find that question funny because I grew up in an Italian-American family that was very opinionated.  Ten completely different dysfunctional people all with very strong opinions on everything.  What I remember is a lot of yelling and very little civil discussion.

 

 

 

Personally, I couldn’t stand the yelling.  I became very reclusive and often didn’t share what I thought.

 

By the time I was 16, the family physician recognized that I was extremely nervous and quiet for a teenager.  He suggested to my parents that I should see a psychiatrist.

 

WHAT!?!

 

How humiliating!

 

They finally gave in; and it was a painful experience.

 

Every week they would take me to the doctor’s office. I didn’t talk in our sessions.  I barely talked to my parents, why would I talk to this stranger?

 

He had to bring in other family members to find out about me.

 

After a year, enough was enough.  I did start coming out of my shell; but I was still a bit of a cracked egg.

 

 

I was an introvert; and I often kept my opinions to myself.

 

I carried this personality trait into my adulthood only it morphed into my needing to assess things before I formulated an opinion.

 

To this day, I like to observe and get the facts.  I believe this gives more weight to what I have to say when I decide to say it.

 

THE CHOICES WE MAKE

 

Figuring out what I was to do in life was a struggle. 

 

I loved TV and the movies; and even though I voiced my opinion to my parents that I wanted to pursue acting, that was not even a topic open for discussion.

 

I wasn’t ready for college; so, I worked as a secretary.  I started out in the beauty industry; and then had a brief stint working at a major advertising agency in New York City.

 

It was there I decided I wanted to go into marketing.  Except, I wanted to be the client.

 

After years of going to college and getting an M.B.A., I finally moved into marketing; and the reality of this career choice hit me hard.

 

 

I discovered marketers like to be seen and heard.

 

Oftentimes, I would be in meetings and people would be so quick to offer up their opinions without the facts.  I learned early that my needing to observe and get the facts was a problem.

 

I had to learn to navigate this world without getting eaten up.  It took quite a while to learn this lesson.

 

When I was an Assistant Marketing Manager, I struggled to be seen and heard.  The other assistants were assigned to businesses with more visibility.

 

It was here that I learned that all that bravado was meaningless.  I realized that a house built on sand will fall. 

 

I was so bothered by the lack of substance I coined the phrase All Fluff and No Stuff.

 

I became the clean up crew.  I needed to develop plans to offload all the excess merchandise from other businesses.

 

I felt like I was in the doghouse and became known as “the queen of distressed merchandising.” 

 

 

UGH!

 

Yet, it was during this time that my substantive approach to business was reinforced and took hold.  I had first-hand experience witnessing and dealing with the results of pie in the sky planning.

 

My “two cents” was being formed.

 

FINDING MY VOICE

 

We often think of a penny as spare change.

 

I often find myself scrounging through my wallet to find a penny or two to round out paying a bill with cash.

 

As I’ve given thought to the comment on my Facebook page about my “two cents” being worthwhile, I’ve taken a hard look at two cents.

 

 

Each cent holds the image of one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

 

He may have been quiet and reserved; but his opinions and his words had and still hold so much value to this day.

 

His words are thought provoking and powerful. 

 

I remember standing in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. during the bicentennial anniversary of our country and crying, along with others, as I read the words of The Gettysburg Address engraved on the wall of the memorial.  I felt so dwarfed as the words loomed large and carried so much weight.

 

I no longer look at a penny as small change.  It has great value.

 

Observing the penny and the image it holds has given new meaning to me of giving “my two cents”.

 

I have grown and changed so much over the years.  I’m no longer that introvert. I have come into my own and am grateful that I have found my own voice.

 

Trusting each step I have taken, I am amazed that I am writing articles to share my life experiences in the hopes of encouraging and inspiring others to go after their dreams.

 

I am encouraged when people contact me and share that I have inspired them in some way to never give up believing in themselves, their hopes and their dreams.

 

The penny has shown me that the opinions that I have formed during my lifetime have value.  I like to think their worth is priceless.

 

 Your “two cents” is priceless and so are your dreams. Remember…it’s never too late to go after your dreams!

 

                                                                 Claudia DiMartino

 

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Claudia DiMartino is a successful business woman turned actress and playwright. She took a risk and left corporate America.  She now shares her life's journey which helped her realize - it's never too late to go after your dreams.

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