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  • Writer's pictureSusan Howell

Celebrating 1 Year!

Today is the one year anniversary of the release of my first book, Buried Talents. I hear from readers that this book describes what they have known intuitively for years but hadn't been able to put into words. I've heard of aha! moments and tears shed as readers see glimpses of their own story in its pages. I'm pleased beyond words that readers are learning more about themselves from this book.

The truth is, I've also learned a lot from Buried Talents. I've learned that writing a book is much more time consuming than I ever would have imagined. I've learned more about the publishing business, the work of editors, and the value of feedback in making a manuscript a better version of itself. All of this has made me a better writer, not only for this book but for future ones as well.

Perhaps most important, however: I learned that I had a message to offer that others needed to hear. For years I had studied how gendered socialization - from an early age and from a variety of sources - often results in women unnecessarily restricting their options. I also knew that the college women I mentor often display a hesitancy I don't see in young men. I had taught it in the classroom, had spoken about it at conferences, and had written more than a few articles that addressed the problem in bits and pieces. Yet when asked by students and conference attendees if I had ever written a book on the topic, I always dismissed the idea as something for someone else to tackle.

I was too quick to assume that what I had to offer wouldn't be unique enough to have much of an impact. After all, if I had put the bits and pieces of research together to see the bigger picture wouldn't others do the same? If I had made the connection between implicit socialization and the hesitancy of women to pursue leadership, wouldn't others make that same connection? Evidently not. I had, in fact, searched for a book like that to use in my gender studies course and had found nothing. I was frustrated that no one had written the book I wanted my students to read.

Actually, that I failed to see my own ability to step into this task wasn't unusual. Most of us tend to see the world from our own vantage point and are surprised when others don't know what we know. What I see clearly is often missed by others; and what they see, I miss. In fact, one value of living in community is that we offer each other our own perspective so that we all have a broader, clearer view of the world.

I'm happy to say that one day when a conference attendee asked if I had written a book, I didn't dismiss the idea. Instead, I sat down and began outlining chapters. And the result? Readers of Buried Talents have gained another way to interpret their own experience and hopefully a clarity in how to move forward in their own call. For me, Buried Talents has been a reminder to not dismiss so easily what I have to offer.

I'm thrilled that Buried Talents has resonated with so many. If it resonates with you, I hope you will commit to uncovering your own buried talents and work toward changing things for the better in your own sphere of influence. And if we each do our part - using our buried talents to make a difference - we can create a better, more equitable world for everyone.

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