Column: Take it to the hoop


Commentary by Lorene Burkhart 

It could be described as an intentional life. When the president of Purdue University, Mitch Daniels, recently addressed the graduates at their commencement ceremonies, he spoke of their uniqueness. He challenged them to not let anyone put a label on them and lump them into a group but to maintain their individuality. He emphasized their “you-ness” and that they should not become one dimensional, because there is not another you anywhere on the planet. What an exciting challenge for these young people to realize that they are beginning their adult lives with purpose as well as opportunity.

In another speech I heard Allison Barber, the president and CEO of the Indiana Fever basketball team, challenge the audience to “take it to the hoop,” meaning that as individuals we have the wherewithal to guide our own lives. It was a clever analogy but with the same intent as the Purdue speech.

In contrast to these inspiring messages I received an invitation to attend a panel presentation where the speakers will discuss imposter syndrome. It is described as an internal experience of self-doubt and believing you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. It is characterized by chronic feelings of fraudulence, incompetence and inadequacy. How do we fall into that trap?

I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never felt these feelings, but how sad that there are those who feel like frauds. It’s one thing to know what you don’t know (I’ve had plenty of those), but faking it certainly isn’t going to help your self confidence.

What is your purpose in life? Maybe now is a good time to bring it forward? Discussing this concept with young people might help them develop their self confidence as they make decisions that seem scary to them. Celebrate your individuality and know that you are unique. Take it to the hoop!