You’ve probably heard the phrase “Act as if” or “Fake it ‘til you make it.” I didn’t really understand this concept at first. Or rather, I thought I understood it. I thought it meant that you had to compromise yourself and become sort of a phony to advance yourself in the world. Like wearing a mask until you lose yourself in the mask; becoming someone who you aren’t.
Of course I was wrong.
I was a shy kid growing up. I mean incredibly shy. I hated it when teachers called on me. If I was in a group of people, I wanted to disappear into the woodwork. I thought that the less sound I made, the less noticeable I’d become. So if you would have told me then that I’d be giving talks (in public!) in support of a book I wrote I would’ve called you crazy (though in a very quiet voice).
So fast forward a couple dozen years. I wrote a historical fiction novel, it won an award, and a historical society asked if I’d be interested in giving a talk about it. At first I thought no way! But luckily I had recently heard Jack Canfield talking about acting as if and so after a lot of hemming and hawing I figured I’d give it a try.
I knew that I was a naturally quiet person, so I had to act as if I could talk loud and clear enough so that an entire room could hear and understand me. I wasn’t comfortable with people’s attention on me, so I knew I had to act as if that didn’t bother me. I also had seen presentations in the past during which I was bored to tears, so I knew I needed to act as if I was entertaining. Act as if I was not boring!
And you know what? It worked! What’s even better, I found out that I actually enjoyed it. Acting as if not only gave me a new sense of confidence, it opened up new avenues for me.
What I finally realized is that acting as if or faking it ‘til you make it means simply that you venture out and try something that you may not be comfortable with. It means widening your boundaries. Not necessarily putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, but rather putting yourself in your own future shoes. Does that make sense? Acting as if is a way to discover a potential you that you didn’t know you had.
Give it a try. Give yourself a chance to uncover a hidden ability or talent that has been within you all along.
-Joel Arnold (Bookkeeper)