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Protecting Bright Futures
Bright Futures Bulletin
SteppingOutside MyComfort Zone Looking Back at a Fateful Day
T his summer, I did something way outside my comfort zone. It turned out great, so I wanted to share my story and hopefully encourage you to do the same. I never thought I would do TV, but here I am — guest commentator for CourtTV. CourtTV relaunched in May of this year in Atlanta. I was contacted by one of the producers in June and had my first appearance that same month. The day of the first appearance, I put the studio address in myWaze app and headed south to Buckhead. As I entered the parking lot, I realized it was the same building I worked at in 1999. I had graduated from Georgia Tech two years prior and was working for a financial planner, trying to decide what career path to take. Seeing that building brought back so many memories for me. The first and most jarring memory was the horror that took place there on July 29, 1999, almost 20 years prior. I will never forget sitting at my desk that morning and receiving the call from my coworker, who had stepped out to grab some food on the first floor. She called to say, “Lock the door and hide. We have an active shooter in the building.”
I was in shock. I do remember that I hid under my desk and called my mom to tell
I gave God thanks and praise for protecting me on that fateful day of July 29, 1999 and for all the blessings in my life since that point. I also thanked God for helping me face my fears, like taking the LSAT, applying to law school, going to law school, taking the BAR exam, trying my first jury trial, starting my own law firm, and many other fears along the way. I realized that life is full of fears and that, if we are going to live our best life, we must recognize that fear and do it anyway. I decided that being on TV wasn’t so scary after all, so I did it again soon after. I am appearing weekly on the show now and enjoying every minute of it. I encourage each of you to take chances in life, to do things outside your comfort zone. You never knowwhat you are capable of until you try. We teach our kids this but, as we grow older and set in our ways, we tend to forget to apply it to our own lives. May we all embrace our fears as we grow into our highest versions of ourselves.
her not to worry, that I was okay. I have no idea how long I was under that desk. It could have been five minutes; it could have been five hours. But, eventually, the SWAT team entered and escorted us out of the building, and no one from my company was hurt. Sadly, nine people in that building lost their lives that day. I was so lost in the memory when I arrived at the studio that I forgot all about my nerves of going on TV for the first time. I was on the air for three hours, but it seemed much faster than that. I felt a huge level of accomplishment when it was over, and I had gotten through without any serious blunders. I couldn’t help but think God had me focus on that memory to help me put things in perspective. As I was driving home, I had more time to reflect about what happened in that building and what my life was like at that time. I was a 25-year-old starving college grad, working in a job way below my skill level, struggling to find my confidence. My boss wasn’t particularly supportive, and when I finally quit to go to law school, she laughed and replied, “You don’t have what it takes to be a lawyer.” I couldn’t help but think, I wish she could see me now .
–Phyllis Gingrey Collins
I have no recollection of how I felt physically or emotionally during the time we were hiding.
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