I’ve been shy my entire life. I tend to avoid situations where I have to talk to people I don’t know. Being anything but quiet and reserved is a struggle. This also affected my desire to show things I create to the world. My discomfort with talking to people manifested in a fear of not just me, but also my art, from being seen.

In this industry, I’ve quickly learned that will not be and option. Shyness is not coddled in advertising.

Landing an internship at Skai Blue Media was a dream come true. There is no bigger self esteem boost to a creative than to hear someone likes your work, and wants to use your skills. But all of the skills and talent in the world won’t matter if you can’t express them.

The president, founder, and CEO of Skai Blue Media, Rakia Reynolds, said this at my orientation: “Closed mouths do not get fed.” What she meant was that blending into the background and never expressing your ideas will never get you anywhere in the advertising industry. People don’t come to you if they can’t see you.

I internalized this and decided to stop hiding. I’m chipping away at the walls I’ve built around myself. If I hadn’t reached out, this opportunity never would have presented itself. Fear can be an important driver but only if you conquer it. Letting it take over will leave you weeping into your degree.

I know there are other shy, scared people like me out there. And I want them to know you CAN overcome it. It will be hard and terrifying but it’s ultimately very rewarding. I’m learning new things and creating content that I’d be proud to see out in the world. Don’t be afraid. Ultimately, you’re the only one holding yourself back. A quiet voice is still a voice, you just have to learn how to make it louder.