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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

I recently read something fascinating from the wonderful influencer, Haley Hoffman Smith. Smith informed her viewers that deep down, we know exactly what we want. Smith goes on to explain how our gut feelings never lead us the wrong way. So why aren’t we acting on our dreams to achieve our goals and become our best selves? Smith leads into the following conversation: It turns out that our subconscious is so afraid of being seen and we are actually afraid of success. The first time I watched one of Smith’s videos on this topic, I scrolled past it and thought: “That’s not me. I know what I want.” But then this burst of embarrassment hit me because Smith is right. Maybe I do know what I want, but I’m scared of having it.

The idea of success is appealing to everyone, but we are often afraid to take up space. Think about the following situation: Let’s say you love to sing and would love to perform somewhere. The idea of performing at a restaurant has always been in the back of your mind. A few years later, your friend who opens up a restaurant offers you a gig to sing for a few hours on a Saturday night. It’s funny because you want to assume that immediately you would say yes and be excited to perform. But usually, this is not the case. So many people immediately begin to doubt themselves. They ask the following questions: 

“Well am I really good enough?” 

“What if people laugh at me?” 

“What if the people eating think I’m obnoxious and don’t want to hear singing at dinner?”

“What if I forget the words?” 

This is so common, yet I didn’t realize that I, myself, often do this. I’m afraid to take up space and be successful some of the time. So on my list of actions for the new year, I wrote down that I want to take up space. 

By this, I mean taking part in everything that I am offered. This is how we grow. I want to say yes more often. And in January alone, I have already said yes to more things than I did over the course of January, February, and March of last year combined. 

What happens when we say yes? We keep receiving more opportunities. We cannot become better by rejecting everything that comes our way. When we say no to opportunities, we stay stagnant. I think being stuck in the same spot is so much worse than failing and getting back up again. 

So this year, regardless of what your list of goals looks like, add this one to it. Take up so much space. Tons of space. Be seen. Be heard. Make your mark even if it’s not as big as you’d like. Keep growing and moving. Say yes to opportunity! 

Michelle Sylvester

Northeastern '25

Michelle Sylvester is a third year communications and media studies major minoring in psychology. She loves to do her work in coffee shops around Boston, create social media content, journal, watch sunsets, work out, and sing.