When I first applied for the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Class 24, we were asked why we wanted to be part of the program. I essentially said that farmers have a story that needs to be told, and if no one else is going to stand up for what we do, then I want to be the one to do it.

It’s kind of funny, because almost everything I’ve worked for personally and professionally has set me up to be that person. And for as much as I want to be the one out there shouting from the rooftops about how important it is to preserve our farming heritage, it terrifies me to be the one in the spotlight.

Over the past few years, it seems that I had been so focused on doing what felt right in my career and developing my leadership skills that I had slowly broken into that storyteller role and didn’t even realize it. And for as much as I’ve unknowingly embraced it, I’ve consciously been fighting it.

I’m not sure who first said that if your dreams don’t scare you, then they’re not big enough. Well, I have dreams, and they freak me the F out.

I know what I need to do to achieve those dreams, but it’s that first step that has been the hardest. And this is that step. It’s exposing my insecurities in order to face my fears and no longer hiding the things that bring me joy.

So, here’s to taking the leap of faith. Please be kind, my armor is down.