Fake It Until You Make It

Many of you will know that much of my work is helping people manage their weight better. This article was prompted by that work.

muhammedaliI remember working with a group of clients and we were talking about self-confidence and how being able to be more confident in refusing unwanted food often appeared to be difficult. One member of the group I was working with, we’ll call him Dave, said it was almost like he had trained the people around him, his friends and family, to feed him and bring him presents of food and drink. He found it incredibly difficult to even imagine changing this and saying No to what he perceived were acts of kindness.

I then asked him if he had come across a situation in his life before where he lacked confidence to act in the way he wanted to be and if he had managed to overcome it. He sat quietly for a short while and then a beaming smile broke out across his face and he began to explain exactly how he had accomplished something.

As a teenager he had always been shy with girls so the whole dating “thing” was a nightmare at first. His best friend, Phil, always seemed to have the right lines and was never short of girls to go out with. Dave grinned and described to the other men there what he did. “I just pretended to be Phil,” he said. “Not to the girls, but just in my head. I used to think of the stuff he would say. I watched what he did when he chatted girls up and I copied it. It was really hard at first and sometimes I messed it up but I soon got the hang of it.” And before long Dave was being Dave, doing it his own way and not pretending to be Phil.

And the moral of the story is that sometimes you really do need to fake it to make it. It’s not about deceit or telling lies but copying the successful tactics of people you know and admire so that you too can be successful in what you set out to do. It’s a way of learning that you do have the skills and the knowledge inside you to be the person you want to be and faking it for a short while lets you practice and find a way of doing what is important.

As you read this, think of a friend who manages difficult situations well that you struggle with. What sort of things do they say and do in these situations that you find difficult? How do they do what you find almost impossible. How can you pretend to be more like them and fake being better at what you want to achieve for a while until you really can do it for yourself? Jot down your thoughts in a notepad. You may be surprised what you discover.

Practice some of this “fakery” over next week and come back to your notepad to record the results.

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