The power of acting as if.
Uncomfortable situations are a fact of life. Whether in the professional or personal arena, events will occur which require a response from you, and many times the most effective and appropriate response will not be comfortable. So what do you do?
I recently had an experience in which a brand-new acquaintance asked me to pay for her dinner when it turned out her pre-paid debit card did not have enough on it to cover the bill.
Several thoughts immediately flashed through my mind.
- I didn’t want to pay her tab.
- I wouldn’t pay her tab.
- With this particular person, a very strong “no” was vital.
- To avoid getting sucked into her manipulation, the “no” would need to be unadorned: no justification, no explanation, just “no.”
- I wouldn’t find it especially comfortable to set this boundary.
So I applied one of my favorite tools: Act as if.
I simply acted as if I were clear, confident, and comfortable with my decision, and this enabled me to reply with a short, sweet, inarguable response: “I’m not going to do that.”
“Acting as if” is a powerful success habit.
Intentional, conscious acting as if is a great way to stop the self-sabotage that often occurs when we’re overly concerned with appearing kind/helpful/generous/whatever. This self-sabotage can a variety of forms:
- an old tape telling you that you “should” behave a certain way
- an unwillingness to deal
- with potentially unpleasant reactions to your decision
- a (typically false) belief that we “can’t” do more to respect ourselves and our own boundaries
Such self-sabotaging thoughts and beliefs have, for many of us, become such a habit that we view them as “just the way things are,” and we act as if there’s nothing we can do about it.
(Did I mention that acting as if can work for OR against you?)
There are some great lessons to be learned about self-sabotage in the movie Facing the Giants. It’s about a high-school football team that is often its own worst enemy when it comes to winning games. It’s not their physical ability that’s the problem; it’s their mental state. Watch this clip and see what I mean. (I predict it will be the best five minutes you spend all day.)
Here are just some of the points this clip powerfully makes:
- The coach acted as if Brock had the ability to perform better than he had been: “You’ve got more in you than that.”
- He acknowledged Brock’s physical discomfort and he held Brock accountable for pushing through it: “He’s heavy.” “I know he’s heavy, but don’t you give up on me.”
- Sometimes you need someone else to challenge you when you’re not willing to challenge yourself: “I’m about out of strength.” “Then you need to negotiate with your body to find more strength…..It’s all heart from here.”
- Sometimes you also need someone who will believe in you until you can believe in yourself: “Am I at the 20 yet?” “Forget the 20! You give me your best.”
- Sometimes the only way to dismantle limiting beliefs is to be ruthless: “It burns!” “Let it burn.”
Brock needed help to act as if he were truly a champion, and he was fortunate enough to have that help. What will you do to more consistently act as if you’re confident, valuable, and powerful?
If you’re not sure, here’s a possible answer: work with a compassionately ruthless butt-kicker who will challenge you to move beyond some of your self-sabotaging, limiting beliefs. By an amazing coincidence, I can help with that.
Having spent much of my life tripping myself up with habits of small thinking, I’ve learned a variety of means to get out of my own way, and I can share them with you. But, since what I do is not for everybody, it would be smart to explore that possibility with a no-risk, nobody’s-committed-to-nothin’ get-acquainted call.
If that sounds intriguing, just grab a spot in my calendar. We’ll spend some time talking and see what shakes out. If we’re not a fit for each other, we’ll exchange wishes for future success and part ways. And if we both decide we are a fit, we’ll commence kicking butt.
Will you act as if you have the curiosity and courage to explore the possibility?This entry was posted in achievement, habits and tagged courage. Bookmark the permalink.