Are you preparing for your opportunity?

American poet Amanda Gorman reads a poem during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 20, 2021. Patrick Semansky/Pool via REUTERS

Over the last two weeks, we have witnessed some major events in history.  We witnessed; the first female being sworn in as the Vice President of the United States.  Congratulations Vice President, Kamala Harris.  As I was celebrating the Vice President, those of us watching the inauguration, were introduced to a new star, a female poet by the name of Amanda Gorman.   Amanda Gorman, 22, performed an original poem, entitled, “The Hill We Climb”.   In her poem, she called for healing and unity, and celebrated the diversity of our Nation.  She also challenged us to rise to the occasion and live up to our highest ideals.

Amanda’s performance, and the depth of her words, has led to new opportunities.  She has recently signed a modeling contract with IMG Models, and she is scheduled to recite a poem at the upcoming Superbowl.  Her outstanding performance has caused the presale of her recent book to rise to #1 on Amazon, and now her other books have gained attention.

Amanda was ready for her opportunity, which has led to future opportunities.  If you heard Amanda share her story, it was not without struggle and obstacles.   She however did not let that stop her. 

For myself, last week, I had the opportunity to present my research on animated videos and storytelling at the Association of American Colleges and Universities annual conference.  Over the years, I have given many speeches and presentations.  However, this was a new one for me, sharing the stage with my Academic peers.  Since I have given the presentation, I have now been asked to share my research in Academic Journals, and to other educational institutions.  This has opened a new door for me.   

As I thought about Amanda Gorman, and myself, I was reminded that we must be ready for our opportunities.  We never know when a new opportunity will present itself.  Therefore, I want to ask you a few questions. “What are you doing to prefect your gift?”  “Are you allowing the negativity of others to block you?”  And finally, “Are you making sure that when opportunity knocks, you are ready?”

As individuals we will all have to settle these questions, as we pursue the achievement of our dreams.   The path is not always easy, and the work is hard, but it is our commitment, and being ready for our opportunity, that prepares us for that open door.

Dr. Regina Banks-Hall

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