Recently, one of the lawyers I know from a Volunteer Bar Association I am apart of reached out to the entire Group Chat of Lawyers we were in together and said, "Does anyone know of a Constitutional Lawyer who can speak on a Spanish Radio Program tomorrow morning?"
To put things into context, while I am Cuban American and fluent in Spanish, I would not by any means describe myself as a Constitutional Lawyer nor an expert in that area of the law.
This message was also sent at about 7:15pm (and the radio program was scheduled for 8am the following morning).
Still, I had enough of a 30 second break between getting the kids out of the bathtub and putting their PJs on to respond as quickly as I could and I speed-typed, "ME!".
The idea of being on the radio both excited and thrilled me, and I've always had an interest in all things communications, media, and journalism. So it was my instinct to respond with a resounding YES to what sounded like an awesome opportunity. The substantive part of it (i.e. the Con Law knowledge) was scary, sure, but I knew I had the World Wide Web and a solid 2-3 hours after the kids' bedtime to prepare everything I needed so I wouldn't sound like I was anything but an expert.
When I replied to the Group Chat, I noticed another female lawyer and friend of mine typing (the elusive "..." showed up on the phone's screen but she never hit "Send"). I reached out to her separately and asked, "Did you want to handle this radio interview yourself? I noticed you were typing."
She responded with, "Yes I was interested but I really don't know anything about Constitutional Law so I opted not to volunteer."
My thoughts were "You and me BOTH girl, but I still replied as fast as I could because I saw the opportunity for what it was - a chance to do something fun, scary, and completely in line with my professional goals!"
Well, sure enough, my radio interview the next morning went really well, and led to my being invited back for a second and third radio interview, and then eventually, I was invited as a Guest Legal Analyst on the TV Show version of this same Radio Host's local program.
All because I said "YES" to a chance, an opportunity, and an opening that I thought was right for me, my career, and my goals.
I had no idea HOW I would make it work, and I didn't even really know IF I could make it work at first, but I took a chance on myself by saying "YES". Oftentimes, we as women are so hesitant to try something new because we're unsure if we'll do it properly, perfectly, or as well as someone else we know.
However the reality is that men do this all the time, and they don't even give it a second thought. They volunteer and commit to offers of employment, opportunities to advance in their careers, and new tasks or responsibilities which they have zero to very little knowledge about beforehand. But they dive in anyways, figure it out along the way, and in the meantime are leaving women behind, who are probably still wondering whether they could have done a better job.
The answer is "YES", of course they could have. But they have to start by putting themselves out there, setting aside the fear of failure, and jumping at these opportunities bravely, just as a man would have.
So the next time you hear of an opportunity to make a difference, take a different path in your career, or just try something new that peaks your interest and will progress your goals, say YES.
Melissa Caballero Alton
I'm a working lawyer mom in South Florida, and these are some of my stories and tips to help you be productive as a lawyer, and happy as a mom.