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Acting As If — Destination: You
Who says you have to be famous to be interviewed?
By Chris Dunmire
Maybe you've heard about act as if at a motivational seminar, on a success tape, or in a popular book. Acting as if means you take on the mindset of what you wish to become and allow (or encourage) your behaviors to follow. You bypass the what ifs and go straight to the what fors. If you practice long enough, your acting as if is no longer acting when you realize you've rightly grown into a new role.
A related cliche is "Fake it until you make it." I think the essence of that is similar to act as if, but it may hold a level of dishonesty (with self or others) that authentically acting as if doesn't share.
For example, when I wanted to become a graphic designer after leaving my corporate job, I earnestly aligned my behaviors to that intention. I enrolled myself in college and worked through a design program and sought out work at companies needing my skills. I began acting as if as soon as I had a few decent design pieces in my portfolio and was already growing into the role of a graphic designer.
On the other hand, an example of a "fake it until you make it" attitude would have come several years earlier when I was fooling around with a copy of Microsoft Publisher. The templates were easy enough to figure out, but I didn't have a clue about layout design, typography, color theory, printing, and other important things that define trained designers from desktop publishing amateurs.
At that time it didn't matter and I had no intention of going off to school to learn. After answering a Help Wanted ad for a design job at a print house, I quickly realized during my phone interview that there was no way to fake being a real graphic designer, and if that was the path I wanted to take I had to learn the skill set required for the job.
Acting as if is a tool to help you to become. It's one way to give yourself permission to try on a new role to see if it fits. At the very least, it allows you time and space to experiment with your creativity, management skills, or other life passion.
So what does any of this have to do with Heather Blakey's interview with me? Well ... everything. The landscape of my life has changed a lot in a year's time due to acting as if. Small roles have grown into bigger ones. New people and possibilities have entered the scene. Some of my acting as if has rightly grown into new work and responsibilities.
When you contemplate putting new things into motion in your life, consider using the acting as if tool. Success will come as you work in harmony with your intentions and follow through with effort to become equipped for your new role. •
© 2005 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.
Created by Chris Dunmire, www.chrisdunmire.com.