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Apr 6, 2016
“Feel the Fear, and do it Anyway” Zambian 2014 AWARD Fellow Chapwa Kasoma finds fresh motivation, post-MOW

Like other AWARD laureates and mentors, I left the Mentoring Orientation Workshop (MOW) as a very motivated young scientist, enlightened with the understanding that it is up to me to create my future, based on my daily decisions.

Arriving home from the workshop, I was asked to give an introductory session on biotechnology at a maize technician training course organized by the International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT). At this regional training, agricultural technicians are equipped with skills and knowledge pertaining to crop research and production.

Motivated and confident following the MOW, I agreed to speak at a session on Thursday, March 27, which gave me a few days to prepare. However, on Monday evening I was informed that my session was now scheduled for the next day. This shift in schedule made me somewhat nervous and apprehensive, as I doubted my ability to prepare in such a short time.

I sat through the night and prepared my slides while worrying about the quality of my session the next morning. I had asked CIMMYT for a previous presentation on biotechnology to use as a guide, but was told that this was a new, never-before-given training topic. This only made me more uncertain.

As I worked, a replay of the video about overcoming fear that I had seen at the MOW drifted vividly into my mind. I recalled its message so well, “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.”  From that moment on, I was energized, unstoppable. I claimed the subject of biotechnology as my own and prepared what I could in the time left.

By morning, my slides were all ready. I reported for work, collected some field data from two maize trials, and went straight to the training venue where I delivered a brilliant presentation. 

From this experience, I learned how entertaining fear limits our potential a great deal. We will never know how much we can do unless we overcome it. One good way to do that is not to ignore the fear, but to acknowledge it as real, and yet still go ahead and do what we must.

This lesson symbolizes my very first meaningful experience as an AWARD Fellow that came exactly five days after the launch of my purpose road map at the MOW. It makes me look forward to all that I will tap from AWARD on my holistic journey of career development. Thank you, AWARD.

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