INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
There are enough things in the world around us, and in our day to day, that strip away our confidence and stoke our self-doubt. Overbearing bosses. Unrealistic standards deceivingly showcased in unrelenting social media. Corrupt systems favoring the few. Hidden agendas wielded by the many. Low self-confidence fueled by a tsunami of circumstances.
In the face of all this, I urge you to ignore this all-too-common, oh-so-terrible advice:
“Fake it ‘til you make it.”
Please don’t. Let me offer an alternative.
“Act as if. Believe you are.”
Act as if you 100% deserve that promotion. Believe you are fully qualified to crush that new role, instead of wondering if you’ll be found out a fraud.
Act as if you’re an author now, simply because you started writing. Believe you are, while not caving in to the thousands of self-skeptical thoughts that keep laying on your path to completing that book.
Act as if you’re going to nail that interview and get that job. Believe you are the one they’ve been looking for, rather than letting doubt weaken the impression you make.
These examples highlight the problem with “fake it ‘til you make it.” It requires pretending. You’ll fake being enough, until you hopefully figure out how to be enough.
Sorry, doesn’t really work that way.
But when you “act as if – believe you are”, there’s no pretense. The “act” isn’t derived from the word “actor,” but from “action.” You’re simply taking action in a way that says you already are what you’re trying to become. You’re invoking the Law of Attraction, catching its attention with presumptive behavior, collecting an advance on what’s coming anyway, speaking it into existence ahead of schedule, but then making it a self-fulfilling prophecy with your unswerving self-belief. Without one ounce of faking anything.
It’s not “fake it ‘til you make it.” It’s assuming you’ve already made it, based on things you know to be true about yourself, and taking action accordingly – thus accelerating the timeline to when the rest of the world sees it, too. Said another way:
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
In a world where we have access to a stunning amount of data, what could possibly go wrong with using all that data to make an informed decision, right?
You can sense my sarcasm. It’s equally important to sense when you/your organization are spiraling into the all-too-common analysis paralysis – when you’re unable to move forward because you’re overwhelmed by all the (often conflicting) data and what to do with it. To avoid analysis paralysis, follow the advice of the Chief Decision Scientist at Google, Cassie Kozzerkov (which I share in my brand-new Linked-In Learning course, “10 Habits of Great Decision Makers.”) Kozzerkov says this of critical analysis:
Commit to your default decision up front.
Meaning, pick a decision among your emerging options, up front, using your best judgement of the pros and cons of the options. Ask yourself, “If I see no additional data, or more influential data, beyond what I’ve already seen, what will I do?” “Which decision would I make if I had to choose right now?” Then, have the discipline to stick to your default choice if the data doesn’t clearly tell you otherwise. This keeps you from swimming in the data for too long or relying on it too much.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
Here’s a simple strategy to increase your resilience in the face of repeated setbacks, in those moments when you’re feeling that it might be time to call it quits. Ask yourself:
“Is the universe telling me to move on, or to figure out a different way to fight back?”
I’ve been in those moments, where, at first, I was certain the world was saying, “No more.” But it’s not what was really going on. I believe it’s time to move on only when you’re certain you’ve run out of ways to move forward. Not when the sweet relief of no longer trying is crooning its siren song. It’s worth the resistance, because when we move on too early, it’s the cruelest of miscues. Why? Because quite often, it’s that one more attempt you could have put in, that one more angle to try, that would have meant a breakthrough at last.