We’ve all heard that if you want to make a dream a reality, you should “act as if.”
I think there is a lot of truth in this adage.
If you want to be a leader, act like someone who people would want to follow.
If you want to be loved, act like someone who deserves to be loved.
If you want a great body, act like how a fit person would act.
I don’t mean that you should be deceitful. The whole point is that, by acting like the person you want to be, you actually become that person, through and through.
Pick an area of your life where you want something better, and let’s figure out how to “act as if," with the following three steps.
For fun, I will share the results of a similar exercise I did in my early 20s, when one of my biggest dreams was to be a "stellar" scientist.
Are you thinking how someone with that dream life would think?
In my early 20s, I noticed that whenever I gave a presentation, I thought things like “did I sound stupid?" or “I hope no one finds an error in what I did!”
Does that sound like a stellar scientist? Nope. This sounds like someone who is self-conscious and doubts their work.
I decided that a stellar scientist would be excited to share results and dream about the next frontier. That scientist thinks things like “I want to share my new data,” and “let’s see what new ideas this meeting will dig up.”
And so I started adding those thoughts to my repertoire. It turns out that it actually felt pretty good to think them.
What would the person in your dream life think? What do you currently think? How are they different?
Are you talking how that person talks?
In my early 20s, when I would ask a question during a seminar, I would preface my questions with “I am no expert, but…”. The truth is, I was scared to sound like I didn't know what I was talking about, so made sure that everyone knew I didn't claim to!
I decided that that, again, was not a stellar scientist. A stellar scientist is confident in her abilities and knowledge. She prefaces questions with “I found it interesting that…" and "Wouldn't it be neat if...".
So, I practiced speaking more boldly. It was scary at frist, but once I saw that the roof didn't cave in, I grew confident in it.
How does the person in your dream life talk?
3. Posture and Physicality
Do you hold yourself like that person does?
In my early 20s, I would sometimes tense up my face and shoulders, as if preparing for a conflict... which rarely came. But that body language spoke clearly to everyone that I was uneasy.
I decided that a stellar scientist stands straight and is relaxed and having fun. I started working out in ways that would improve my posture, and began meditating to become more relaxed and present.
How did you do on your inventory? Which of these three are you doing the best at? The worst?
My challenge to you: pick one item, and start “acting as if” with it.
Maybe you stand up straighter at work.
Or talk with more positivity when you are out on dates.
Or think about how much better an apple would taste instead of a brownie.
Write me a note and share what you will take on!
I promise, if you start practicing your dream thoughts, words, and postures, even though they may feel strange at first, they will soon become yours. And you will BE that stellar scientist, passionate lover, or toned athlete that you want to be.
That is what happened with me and science. I started acting like a stellar scientist, and ended up truly being one. It felt amazing, and I want that for you, too.
A blog by Samantha Sutton, Ph.D., life coach, career coach, executive coach.
Image courtesy of Justin Hall