You Are an Imposter Only if You Refuse to Follow Your Dreams

I woke up at 3:45 am on Thursday to attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women. Was it worth it? You bet it was!

Though I can safely say I am not a fan of taking the 5:20 am train into Boston or arriving back in Worcester at 7:40 pm the same evening, I can tell you I would do it again.

I took away several insights into making transitions into higher levels of leadership, being objective, honoring that life is good and so much more.

One of my favorite sound bytes: Start with intuition, proceed with a business plan.

Sharing your journey will inspire others

What has been playing in my brain since the final word she uttered is Lupita Nyong’o’s keynote speech.

Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan woman who won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at this year’s Academy Awards for her role as Patsey in the move 12 Years a Slave.

She is well-spoken, transparent, filled with gratitude, and I am now forever her fan.

In her speech she tells the story of how she fell in love with acting and playing pretend as a small child but because the society she grew up in did not recognize acting as a suitable profession she denied her inner calling to tell stories through acting.

She studied, volunteered and played at many positions in theater and film but denied in her heart that what she really wanted was to be in front of the camera.

Until finally, one day, the pain was too great and she couldn’t deny it anymore – that what she really wanted was to “make believe” as a career.

Once the destination was set the path became clear and she was on her way.

Wow.

There were moments my eyes filled with tears because I can relate to wanting something so badly but not feeling able to have it. It would have meant admitting to a dream bigger than myself. It would have meant opening my dream (and me!) up to public inspection. I was at war with the voice in my head that whispers, “You’re not good enough.”

My heart wept for her, for myself, and every other young girl who had a big dream but kept it hidden for fear of what might happen.

What's your dream

Strategies for making your dreams a reality

In her compassion and wisdom Lupita shared several strategies for overcoming the imposter syndrome and finding the path to that big dream:

  1. Always ask questions, seek learning and take book recommendations from those you respect
  2. Take time to breath, to meditate and to pray
  3. Write down your goals and dreams.  “A dream is a portal to your purpose.” ~ Lupita Nyang’o Click to Tweet
  4. Have four people who will unconditionally and inconveniently support you when you feel paralyzed with fear and doubt
  5. Consistently slay the dragons of self-doubt, self-hate and self-denial
  6. Always allow failure to be an option. “Without the possibility of being bad, you will never be great.” ~ Lupita Nyang’o Click to Tweet!
  7. Step and repeat, step and repeat and repeat again

Lastly, she assured us it will never get comfortable but it does get familiar.

What I have always known is that there is greatness in all of us but it is up to us alone to discover and decide how that greatness will manifest itself in the world.

This experience left me curious to ask, what dragons are you slaying on your journey to live your dreams? Leave a comment below and know you are in good company!