Many years ago, when I first started working in the space of identifying and moving beyond the imposter syndrome, I was part of a business support group. We came from different backgrounds and often gave each other a perspective we hadn’t thought of. Highly intelligent and creative people. I respected them enormously.
Purpose and motivation have been part of my life for more than 20 years. It has always been important for me to get the big WHY of what I’m doing so I could get beyond the paralysis that can accompany serious self-doubt.
From that perspective, I wrote down why I was working in this space because – to be honest – it was tough going. I was frustrated that I wasn’t getting traction inside businesses or even with individuals at that time. I wanted to remind myself why I was taking this difficult path.
I shared my dream with my buddies in the business support group and received an underwhelming response. At the time, I took it as indicating I was totally off base and felt rejected. I pulled back, put my dream aside. While I continued to work in the space of helping others through the imposter syndrome, I did so from my head, wary of rejection, and not from my heart.
Guess what! My business shrivelled.
I put it down to being ahead of the curve. In my communication, I built a bridge from where they were to where I thought they could flourish. Instead of standing up and expressing myself honestly, I was being logical and a tad cowardly for not being true to myself. My presentations and workshops were solid though less inspiring than they could have been had I allowed my own Purpose to come through to create a bigger shift.
I forgot about my dream.
Until today when I found it in a pile of papers I had tucked away.
I’m now ready to own it.
“I have a dream …
All my life, I have seen people – including me – settling for less, giving away our power, feeling shame that we aren’t good enough, hiding who we truly are from ourselves and others and living in emotional poverty.
We keep ourselves separate so we don’t reveal our hollowness. We push away honest and supportive feedback that might provide us with the key to move forward. We judge and criticise others to keep them from doing that to us. We carefully craft masks to present a more acceptable and lovable version of ourselves to the world. We hide in the hope that no-one will notice us, yet paradoxically, we crave that someone will see and care for us as we really are, We have lost sight of our own truth. We feel hollow and unfulfilled.
So, in the immortal words of Martin Luther King … and standing on the shoulders of that inspiring giant … I have a dream.
I have a dream that each one of us will find the courage to peel back the masks and reveal what is beneath.
I have a dream that we will accept ourselves in all our glory and imperfection.
I have a dream that we will understand our own power to create the world we choose to experience ourselves in.
I have a dream that we will reach out to each other with love, respect and support, recognising that we are one.
I have a dream that we can create workplaces with heart and soul, which allow and encourage us to flourish as human beings. In doing so, we can create sustainable businesses.
I have a dream that we will reach down and help others up to where we stand, knowing that we can’t do it alone.
I have a dream that we can create relationships of true intimacy, love and trust and that we will bring our children up with respect, teaching them to treat others the same way.
I have a dream that we will live from love, not fear.
Each one of us has a value beyond our reckoning. And I believe it is time for us to claim it in order to make our contribution and to experience the joy of truly being of service to ourselves, to our community, to humanity.”
I walked away from my dream because others – my support group and the market – didn’t validate it. Really, though, it was because I wasn’t ready to own it.
While there are commercial realities involved in running a sustainable business – such as making a profit – it is not the reason to be in business. Rather, higher levels of profit come when we focus on the service we can provide to others; from Purpose.
Purpose provides us with a way to grow, to learn, to give, to love, to live and to make the difference unique to each of us.
Paraphrasing the words of that very wise woman, Eleanor Roosevelt, When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.
I don’t know about you. I believe life is too short to resign before the adventure is over.