‘Fake It Until You Make It’ never works because FAKING IS FAKING, let me explain:
How you talk to yourself is directly reflected in your nonverbal communication. You can’t stop it; how you feel – such as feeling fake – comes through loud and clear…. You tell yourself to fake it and your mind does just that, IT FAKES IT.
Did you know that 90 to 95% of what we do comes from habit or the unconscious mind? That’s HUGE! It’s necessary too. Imagine having to tell yourself having to breathe in – breathe out….
However, operating from the unconscious mind does become a problem when we are not getting the results we want and still keep doing the same thing! To paraphrase Einstein: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So doing the math, that leaves us using no more than 10% of our brainpower to consciously choose what we do. It’s sad, can you imagine how much more we could do and be successful at just by being even 1% more strategic? As a pilot, I know from flight training school that being 1% off on my flight path will cause me to end up in a whole different place – hopefully near an airport! In flying, a 1% difference is not good, in striving for success it could make all the difference in the world!
You Can Use Body Language To Express Yourself But Faking An Emotion is Difficult
Body language that mirrors our thoughts and feelings has a spontaneous quality, that isn’t easily faked. When you ‘act as if’ your thoughts and feelings are aligned, your intention is clear and your actions and behaviors flow with a spontaneous quality.
You can’t fake being happy or playful with your body language even though you show up with a smile. Being sad or unhappy will appear first in your inability to maintain sincere eye contact. Eye contact is an important aspect of social interaction, and it is something that many emotional or anxious people have difficulty with. It is the most consciously immediate non-verbal that people notice.
Your eyes give away your emotions such as pain, sadness, happiness or anger quickly. Often people with apprehension or emotional difficulty describe direct eye contact as anxiety-provoking or uncomfortable. The eyes really are the ‘window to the soul’ and your unconscious mind.
Be Careful What You Say To Yourself, You WILL Believe It…
A bit of background: Your thoughts, feelings and behaviors / actions are all combined in the unconscious mind and they flow from your beliefs. The unconscious mind is literal. It takes every word you say to yourself as fact. If we say, “fake it,” then that’s what it does! IT FAKES IT! Imagine me saying, “Don’t think of a pink elephant.” What is in your mind right now even though I told you not to think about it?
If I can’t fake it and make it, how do I think and behave in a strategic way? ACT AS IF….
So if you’ve been told “fake it until you make it,” it will never work because it will look fake! Your unconscious mind will do everything it can to make it look FAKE. So how do I make my actions and behaviors – my nonverbal communication – not look fake? Since your actions and behaviors are tied to your thoughts and emotions, strategically chose the actions and behaviors you would like to use to get the result you want.
A simple way to Act As If is to choose someone you admire for a specific skill you would like to learn or adopt – then ACT AS IF you are them, doing that skill. Be that character, it works every time.
Example: My partner is an extrovert. As such, he has no problem walking up to complete strangers that ‘look interesting’ and starting a conversation. So, when I’m not getting the results I want or I am talking myself out of meeting someone at a networking event I ask myself, “What would he do?” I then step into his shoes and act as if I’m him. I know it might sound silly, but Act As If works….
Stepping into the ‘as if I am him’ mindset and using the skills I see him use has shown me how easy it is to use the tools that are needed in that situation. My unconscious mind, thoughts, and feelings can no longer tell me I can’t do something since I’ve already had the experience through Act As If.
In my coaching events, people are often amazed at how quickly their nonverbals including their voice patterns change, some even adopting accents without even working at it. When we set an intention to Act As If our unconscious adopts the movements / patterns / thoughts / emotions necessary to make it work.
Again, “Act As If” is not “fake it until you make it”. Telling yourself to fake it is faking it. The brain knows the meaning of the word “fake” and it will make it look fake… so trash that model and always Act As If….
I’ll leave you today with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Anais Nin:
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Enjoy the Adventure.
To Success! To Life!