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.
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.”
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!