I had the opportunity to attend the Ivy League of all Ivy Leagues. Imaginably, I was thrilled to be moving across the country, starting my first semester and excited about all the opportunities that lay ahead. When friends would ask why I was moving to Boston, I curtly replied, “for school” without further detail.
I felt the weight of Harvard before I ever stepped foot onto campus.Who was I to get accepted into Harvard? Are people secretly judging my worth to see if I’m Harvard material? Do I measure up? Have I just set myself up to an unobtainable bar that can never be reached? Am I still allowed to be my imperfect self?These mind-numbing questions continued during my time at Harvard.
I remember Orientation Day 1, I kept waiting to see if they would realize they made a mistake and had erroneously put me on the acceptance list. The imposter had taken residence, like a little gremlin on my shoulder, whispering self-deprecating thoughts and outright lies. I felt the pressure of perfection, pressure to sound scholastic, erudite, articulate and academic all the time, pressure to have it together. I crumbled underneath this pressure initially and it paralyzed me.
But then something incredible began to happen…. I started to obsess about failure and vulnerability.Was there a place to talk about failure? Don’t we learn more from failure than we do success?I went on to start a campus-based organization focused on failure, vulnerability and resilience.
We told stories that encouraged each other to be human and fallible. Entrepreneurs talked about start-up disasters, health care professionals talked about making medical errors, others opened up about deep-seated hurt or betrayal, collectively confronting the imposters in our lives.
Of this, I am most proud.
*Faith is a convert and champion of vulnerability who is committed to seeing people live courageously and wholeheartedly.
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