Faking it

If you know me, you know that I have a somewhat reserved, quiet, and laid-back disposition. I am not particularly perky, certainly not the life of the party, and do not like being the center of attention.

Yet the career that I find myself in is a very high profile, front & center type of role. I have traveled across the country for meetings, training, conferences…some of which I was the host, presenter, or speaker. I have had to attend career fairs, plan and run events, conduct interviews, etc.… And I actually love what I do. Yet, there are times when personally the idea of venturing out, entering a room where I know absolutely no one, introducing myself and making small talk is makes me want to run for the hills!

And more than that, I am so nervous before some of these things that I can hear my heart pounding, get all sweaty and a lump in my throat.Then, when it is all over I get so many compliments from people who come up to me and say that I look like “a natural” and that I “seem to be in {my} element…” how can this be, you may wonder.

Well, I like to call it good acting.  Others may call it, faking it.

I prefer the term “acting,”- not in a pretend to me someone else sort of way. Rather a forget about myself, let’s get in there and get this done. It is like I step out of myself-out of my comfort zone (see last post) and it is so fulfilling.

So just how helpful is faking it?

Well, we have all heard of the saying “fake it until you make it.”

Psychologist, William James, stated, “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” What he was saying is act as if you are what you want to be, then it’s only a matter of time until you become that. There is a connection between our mind and bodies, so a change in our physiology can quickly lead to a change in our emotional state.Faking it and positive thinking can be effective for changing your situation and even regulating your emotions.

I know the word fake has a negative connotation because its apparent opposite is REAL and we all know how REAL we all are and how much we like REAL. We’ve got the talk show “The Real,” “Real Housewives of whocareswhatcity now,” and everyone boasts about how much they keep it real. (yawn) More on that later.

Anyway- faking it, is about becoming real. It is about making what you want become reality. Some Christians may want to think of it as “calling things that be not, as though they were.”  (Romans 4:7)Or simply, it’s just faith in action. When you are faking it until you make it, you are carrying on AS IF and UNTIL

-You get that confidence;

-You land that gig;

-You win those clients over;

Whatever it is you need to fake… psyching yourself up to do well can actually help you do well.

Even therapists recommend this with patients that may suffer from depression. These patients are asked to go through the routines of their daily life as if they are enjoying them. Many patients report that despite initially feeling forced, it eventually becomes natural and the happiness becomes real. They become happier and healthier. Faking it improves their quality of life.

Further, Ann Cuddy, who is a social psychologist, talks about this faking it concept and brings up a notion about power poses. The idea is that how you stand says a lot about how you perceive yourself or want others to perceive you. By practicing a power pose before an interview or presentation you are more likely to approach that meeting with a confidence and that you did not have/feel before. It’s really interesting and true! I’ve done it many times and tell candidates coming in for interviews to do the same. At first, it feels silly yet it makes such a difference. Still skeptical? Well, don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Then, let me know how that worked for you.

In the meantime, I will continue to hone my acting skills.

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