SuperTalk Mississippi

Next Up: Saying Yes…Scared

On December 1, 2021, I posted on LinkedIn that after 18 years, I was leaving the credit union where I worked, to walk boldly towards opportunities that I had prayed for. I pressed “post”, put my phone in my purse, and reflected.

I’d spent the past 18 years being an award-winning top performer, and suddenly I was walking into the unknown. I was starting new.

I glanced out of the window of my almost empty office and swiped away the tears that seemed to be a constant since I turned in my resignation.

Up to that point, every decision in my work life benefitted my team, my organization, and my community. This decision, after much prayer and counsel, was not made lightly.

My heart was assured that just as I’d trusted Christ with my eternal salvation, I could trust Him with this new path… He would go before me and would be with me.

This decision was solely for me…and armed with nothing but my faith, I was saying “yes”… and I was scared.

Saying yes ‘scared’ seems to be a hallmark of my ongoing story, and whether I’m speaking with young professionals or seasoned leaders, we suddenly connect…. ‘I’ve been scared, too.’

There is a struggle as a young professional to know it all and to ‘have it all together.’ We see on social media carefully curated aesthetics, with influencers and leaders posting who seem to know it all and have it all.

So we want to skip to the good part and bypass the struggle of being a beginner, starting or learning something new. But the struggle is necessary, and discomfort often is the catalyst for growth.

It is hard to be vulnerable and admit that we need help, that we struggle with self-doubt and imposter syndrome, and that we’re terrified of making a mistake that goes viral and follows us for the rest of our lives.

Yet with our ambitious work ethic, we chase promotions, recognition, and our big dreams, seemingly unaware that in each next step is another opportunity to say a bigger ‘yes.’

Yes, to the roller coaster in our stomach. Yes to the imposter-syndrome thoughts of ‘What if I can’t do it?’ or worse, ‘What if I fail?’

I invite you to realize the impact of your “yes.”

Say “yes” to developing those of us who are “next up.”

The main thing that attracted me to Cadence Bank was their intentional leadership development plan for aspiring leaders like me.

Cadence Bank demonstrated their “yes” in a big, bold way by developing an Emerging Leaders program throughout the bank’s nine-state footprint. The entire C-suite committed to the value of ‘creating a great place to work’ by intentionally setting forth an effort to develop a strong bench of leaders who are ‘next up.’

Christian E. Hartley, Next Up

So whether you’re a fifty-billion dollar financial institution or the quiet kid from College Park with big dreams, know that your “yes” will impact future generations.

Your step of faith will encourage someone who needs your voice, your story, and your bravery. So will you say yes?

“Yes” to mentor a young person in your community…

“Yes” to take a bold stand on issues that affect our coast and our state landscape…

I want you to know that your “yes” matters.

See, your “yes” really isn’t about you. And it truly doesn’t matter if you say “yes” and your voice trembles, or if you’re terrified on the inside.

Your “yes” is for those who are watching you, who are inspired by your actions and example, and for those of us who are ‘next up.’

The secret is: we don’t know that you’re terrified. We just believe you’re awfully brave and bold.

We are inspired and thoughtfully imagine how we could change the world too, scared or not, if we just said


The “Next Up” column series is a partnership between the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Coast Young Professionals, and SuperTalk Mississippi. The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of SuperTalk Mississippi Media. 

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