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.”




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.




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.




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.” 





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.




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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