Fake It Till You Make: Overcoming your fear of the new

The Joys of ReadingWe often hear someone tell a newbie at something to fake it till you make it. Wikipedia, the lazy man’s encyclopedia (I love it.), states that this saying “suggests by imitating confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset, a person can realize those qualities in their real life.”

Now, here we are talking about behaviors, not competences. It’s never okay to say you can speak Spanish or write code when you’ve never done it before. And it isn’t okay to misrepresent yourself. But it is okay, and often wise, to put a smile on even when you aren’t feeling it.

Too often, we wait until we think we’re ready, until we’re feeling it. Unfortunately, our feelings often work against us. Two things feelings are good for, to protect us from threats or from falling on our faces. These are the very risks that we have to face when we attempt something new.

We see this in sports.  You are a rookie receiver and you know before the game that you can’t catch the ball because you’re about to throw up. Yet you dress out, put your helmet on when the coach calls you, and pray that you don’t trip over the sideline when you run onto the field.

Same thing in performances. When you walk onto the stage, you lift your shoulders, and carry those butterflies in your stomach with you as you walk into the spotlight. The butterflies will calm down once you lose yourself in your performance.

Same thing as a parent. You will get through the first week even if you don’t call your parents. But go ahead, call your parents. In parenthood, you need all the help you can get.

Over on The Write Conversation, (you can read it here), I wrote about writing even when you feel like you can’t. (Notice that ‘feel’ again.) I hope you find it encouraging and would love to hear your thoughts below.

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