Rep. Merika Coleman-Evans signed a declaration
of her support of Birmingham libraries.
(Photo Credit: Chanda Temple)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Do you remember what answer you gave to that question when you were a child? I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. Alabama legislator Rep. Merika Coleman-Evans had this same dream as a girl and shared this with me and the dozens of other female entrepreneurs who gathered for the Power in Heels business workshop on March 28. The free event, hosted by Operation HOPE Birmingham, was held in the Arrington Auditorium of the central branch of the Birmingham Public Library

Coleman-Evans was the keynote speaker at Friday’s event and she talked to us about being fearless and fierce. Like many of us, Coleman-Evans had plenty of fierceness and fearlessness as a girl dreaming presidential dreams. 

But she not only talked the talked, but she also started making strides toward achieving her lofty aspirations. In 2002 Coleman-Evans was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives when she was only 28 years old. 

But that’s only part of the story, Coleman-Evans told us. Along her road to success, she faced a speed bump: fearfulness. She began to to doubt herself. 

Perhaps you’re dealing with doubt too. Perhaps you’re dealing with a significant other, a family member, a co-worker, or a friend who is discouraging you from pursuing your writing or business goals. Perhaps you’re doubting yourself because you’ve faced rejection. 

But Coleman-Evans gave us a simple charge: Don’t let anyone else dim your light.

She urged us to remember that boldness we had as girls and to reconnect with our fearless selves. Coleman-Evans closed her talk with a song many of us knew from childhood: “This Little Light of Mine.”

She invited us all to stand to our feet, clap and sing along. She wanted us to declare, in song, that we will let our lights shine everywhere we go. 

When you were a child what did you dream of becoming? Why did you let that dream go? 

Sometimes we let go of dreams because our goals and interests change. I realized I wasn’t interested in politics enough to run for any office. I realized writing was my true passion. But sometimes we let go of dreams because we start to doubt ourselves as we grow older and face failure, rejection and fear.  But what would happen if we chose to believe in ourselves anyway? 

Dare to have childlike faith in yourself.