Good Advice Was Offered On Oscar Night

By Kitty J. Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCt

Teacher Leader & Coach to Teacher Leaders, Teachers in Distress, and Teachers in Transition

I don' t know if you watched the Oscars earlier this month or not. I did, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I thought Ellen DeGeneres was awesome as usual, and her manner and tone along with the way she engaged the audience (especially with the hilarious selfie and the pizza distribution) gave a sense that she was making sure that everyone had a good time. If you didn't see it, you missed a fun show.

Beyond the good time that was being had by all, however, there were also the nuggets of wisdom that came through several of the acceptance speeches. Two in particular made an indelible impression on me, and they are the subject of today's newsletter.

The first speech that has not only impressed me but many others was made by the beautiful and graceful young new star who won Best Supporting Actress for her stunning portrayal of the young slave, Patsey in the film, 12 Years a Slave. Lupita Nyong'o made a speech that touched each and every listener with its simple sincerity. They were words spoken with humility, authenticity and true graciousness as well as her own consciousness of history. To see the entire speech, watch here.

The entire speech was beautiful, but my favorite line was the very last sentence:  "When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you are from your dreams are valid."

What this says to me is that we owe it to ourselves not to give up on our dreams. Sometimes we do. We think we aren't smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, just "not enough" to accomplish what our heart urges us to pursue. And so we don't. We stop ourselves, often before we have even gotten started. As I heard someone say recently, "We do the job of editing our own book before we have even gotten it written." 

So that was my first favorite moment from Oscar Night...Miss Nyong'o's beautiful acceptance speech which was a reminder about the importance of having dreams and then acting on them fearlessly because they are, indeed, valid.

My second favorite speech of the night came from Matthew McConaughey. I am thinking that if his acting career ever goes on the skids, that man has got a career waiting for him behind a pulpit somewhere. The speech he gave was a cross between an acceptance speech and a sermon.

He spoke of needing three things in his life:  someone to look up to, something to look forward to, and something to chase. For the whole speech, watch here.

I especially liked that he mentioned the importance of gratitude..."It's a scientific fact [emphasis added] that gratitude reciprocates." 

I also liked that he indicated the importance of his family to him...and finally with regard to "something to chase" he shared that he is chasing his best self as a "hero" in the future--10 years out. He recognizes that he is always pursuing his best self. He also recognizes that he will never "get there." He will continue the chase because as long as he is living, there will be more to want, more to do, and more potential for being. That is what we are all doing, after all. 

Those two speeches were my favorite. There were other nice moments throughout the night, but I believe the message of these two very gracious and clearly heartfelt speeches carried with them the nuggets of wisdom that we should always remember:  Our dreams are valid; we need to be grateful; we need to remember to look up to our higher power; we need to have something to look forward to everyday; and we need to be chasing our better selves recognizing that life is a journey, not a destination.

Kitty Boitnott
Boitnott Coaching, LLC

Glen Allen, VA 23060
United States of America