The other day I was watching a video on YouTube, and I were hooked on the topic and watched it until the end. This guy was talking about how we fear what people think about us, how terrified we are that our opinions and beliefs will be wrongly judged. He said that most of us prefer to keep quiet when we have a message that may change people’s lives or even our own life.
Sometimes we see something wrong, something that needs to be changed but because we fear the reactions of others, we keep the secret and life goes on and we just maintain status quo. We tell ourselves that complaining is futile and that all truths are not meant to be spoken.
The video made me thinking for hours, and it opened my eyes in regards to what needs to be communicated, how it needs to be communicated and the power of deciding what needs to be kept secret.
Being born in the 1990s in Burundi, and growing up in a war-torn country, one of the main pillars of education I got from my parents is: “pay attention to what you say, keep quiet as much as you can. People are dangerous they can twist your words and put you in trouble”. It wasn’t hard to understand because our parents spent their youth in a political environment where Freedom of Speech was muzzled. Among the chosen few who could defy this fatality by stating their views on political matters, the line between them being courageous or suicidal was very dim.
As children, I recall hearing our parents and their friends lowering the tone of their voices and whispering when discussing politics and other sensitive issues of the time. Even though we couldn’t fully grasp how lowering voices was the path to take to avoid danger, one thing was clear to us even at our tender age: “always keep quiet”
My childhood fears knocked at my door.
Matters related to politics and the media always fascinated me. It is not surprising that I ended up doing a communication and media major in college. When I made a decision a few years ago to start my very first business, I knew deep in my heart that the path to success would be to venture where my passion and interests lie.
While in the process of deciding an editorial line for my business adventure, my childhood fears knocked at my door. I grew up believing that one of the fastest ways one can put himself in danger is to share openly his opinion on political affairs. My fear pushed me far away from my initial passion and I ended up writing about business since this was a field with minimal risks and controversies.
In the light of this fearful reality I was living, I created my first news website called: BusinessLife.bi. As I interviewed entrepreneurs I kept seeing how business was tied in one way or another to politics and I started timidly covering political matters as well. However, with an unstable political climate in my country, I found myself writing stories that I was afraid to publish under my name and for some stories I was not strong enough to even allow myself to think about publishing them.
For some reason, fear had wrapped herself around me. Questions like: “what if I am wrong” “what if I put myself in a problematic situation” “what if I am misunderstood and unjustly judged or labeled as unprofessional”? These questions kept pounding in like a migraine headache. The fear of the unknown pushed me behind the camera and even then I still struggled with the fear of not being accepted, not fitting in. I was scared that I was not on top of my game with my two main tools of communication: English and French and this brought in some level of self-insecurity.
After viewing the video I have mentioned at the outset, I understood how I have always been afraid of being judged by my audience, and I came to a realization that this fear was toxic for the business I was trying to build. I kept so much Information that could have helped my audience to improve their lives, I kept way too many secrets about what I was doing, my fear starved my creativity, and It hit me so hard that I was ruining my personal branding and putting my business on the map.
Nevertheless, I know that some prefer operating behind the scene, it’s a choice that I respect; after all, I have been doing the same for so many years. But since a few weeks ago I decided to take a new different approach on how I share my opinion, knowledge, discoveries and all I experience in my daily life. I am not perfect, I might be often wrong, but I have decided to let my voice be heard, to allow my face to be seen.
Take the pain. Take the bitter pill, ’cause you know what, that bitter pill will end up being sweet. – Jordan Belfort
— Fabrice Iranzi (@iranzifabrice) October 24, 2018
I stopped beating around the bush. And though my language skills may not be perfect I shall not be shaken or allow fear again to stop me from expressing myself. It matters less whether I sound professional or not. All I know without a shadow of a doubt is that I have stories that deserve to be told.
If you can relate to this reality and want to help me improve, I welcome you wholeheartedly. If your goal is to spit hate and discouragement, I am sorry it is too late. My ship has already set sail. I will not be brought down by negative opinions that have nothing to do with the real me.
I am Fabrice Iranzi, 28 years old, I own RegionWeek this amazing news website for young professionals in Africa. I created the Digital Marketing Agency “ VISAFRICA”, my amazing team and I are serving many clients across Africa and working on other interesting projects too.
I believe in God and the Bible, less in ceremonial religious practices. I consider myself a Quaker, a true salt shaker. I also believe that there is a Godly light in every human being and that my role is to participate in helping people discover it.
In matters pertaining to politics, I believe that my country can do better and that it has all it takes to shine and be a great nation that will bring pride to all its wonderful citizens wherever they are. Much can be said but from a glance, this is who I am and I am proud of what and who God made me to be.