As someone who was born painfully shy, with little self-esteem, I made friends with the “act as if” method (also known as “fake it ‘till you make it”) in high school. I went from a quiet sophomore to a confident, wildly-dressed junior, all thanks to my drama club and one very empowering exercise.
See, my drama teacher didn’t call it “acting as if.” But for a variety of circumstances, we had to write our own play that year, and it was based on characters that we all created one day. She had simply said, “Choose a character that’s a complete stretch for you — someone so far removed from yourself that you’ll have a tough time playing it.”
What she didn’t tell us was that we would be playing that character in the school play, not just for that day’s club meeting.
I chose a punk rocker, and they brought in a real punker to make sure my makeup and hair was authentic. She put me in extensive black eye makeup, black lip liner around bright red lips, and a pink faux-hawk. When I saw the girl in the mirror — the one that looked nothing like me — I was almost instantly transformed.
While in costume I met a guy who would become a good friend, and he showed me that I could access that confidence anytime. Suddenly I was spiking and bleaching my hair, wearing tight jeans and spiked belts. I wasn’t dressing like a punk anymore, but I was a full-out new waver (this was in the ‘80s, as you might be able to tell).
So I acted as if I was a confident, trendy chick instead of a shy, awkward mouse, and became that…
Since then I’ve acted as if to become a professional model and actor, then a TV show host, then a freelance writer, and then a radio reporter and news anchor (here I am interviewing movie actress Natasha Henstridge).
“Don’t see the problem. Just visualize and act as if you had the solution, and you will conquer any problem. And you’ll be able to recreate yourself in the lifestyle that up until now you may have thought was impossible; but very quickly you’ll see that it is very possible, and it will come falling right on your lap,” says Dr. Gary Brodsky, creator of the Act As If Way.
The key is that if your subconscious mind believes you’re already a certain type of person, you’ll start to become it for real.
If you’d like to try the method for yourself, here’s my simple three-step process:
1. Look the part. I like to start with a visual transformation, because if you just try to “act as if” without changing how you look, you’ll catch sight of yourself in a mirror and realize that you’re not who you’re pretending to be. You’ll feel like a fraud instead of someone on the cusp of an amazing change for the better.
So ask yourself how the person you want to be dresses. Does he wear a business suit, or a track suit? Does she wear a cocktail dress and stiletto heels, or shorts and sneakers?
If you don’t have access to a hair and makeup artist as I did the first time, a favorite trick of mine is to buy a wig. I have several that have allowed me to be a sultry brunette or a bubbly blonde any time I like.
The picture shown is me on Halloween several years ago, dressed as Marilyn Monroe, and hanging out with Moe Berg, lead singer of The Pursuit of Happiness. Despite the American-inspired name, I’m not sure how popular they were in the U.S., but they were superstars in Canada with a huge hit, “I’m an Adult Now.”
Once you’ve tried going all out with wigs a few times, you can settle into your own hair… just cut it or dye it if it makes you feel more like the new you. The idea is to stretch at first, and then make it all about you.
2. Talk the part. There’s no point looking different than you are now if you’re just going to talk the same way, or not talk at all. When I began looking trendy, I learned who the hot bands were, and I talked to other students enthusiastically about them, their music, concerts I wanted to attend, and more. If you’re going for a new career, learn the vernacular and trends, and study up on what others in the field talk about. This allows you to connect with the people you want to associate with, and actually be on their level.
3. Feel the part. Feelings are the key to manifestation, but I find it’s often best to ease into them by starting with the above two steps. Now that you look and sound like the person you want to be, it’s much easier to feel as if you are them. Keep it up for a few weeks, or a few months, and suddenly you’ll find that you no longer have to act as if… because you already are that new and improved you.
Keep Unwrapping Your Success!