We’ve all heard the term "fake it ‘til you make it". But what does it mean, and why does it work? 

"Fake it ‘til you make it" refers to acting as if something is true until, with time and practice, it become a reality. To be clear, no one is suggesting acting like Frank Abagnale, the real-life fraudster who inspired the movie "Catch me if you can". Frank pretended to be a pilot, a surgeon and a lawyer in order to commit cheque fraud. Don’t be Frank. "Fake it ‘til you make it" works best for qualities you wish you had, not for skills you currently lack. 

When it comes to qualities such as confidence and bravery, or attitudes such as not caring what people think, loving your body, or being willing to try new things, faking it works wonders. Here’s how: 

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1. Think of the quality or attitude you wish you had. For example, let’s assume you want to build self-acceptance.

2. Imagine what you would do if you had that quality. Be specific. For example: 

a. If I had self-acceptance, I would wear shorts when it’s hot, even though I don’t love my legs.

b. If I had self-acceptance, I wouldn’t feel bad when my mom praises my sister’s career but not mine. 

c. If I had self-acceptance, I’d start learning Spanish, instead of beating myself up for failing Spanish class in high school.

3. Take one of your examples from step two and act like it’s true. This step may feel uncomfortable, scary, or hard. That’s ok; those feelings are part of the process. Just keep "faking it". 

4. Here’s the hard part: keep practicing. The more you act as if your desired quality is true, the faster it will be. If you want to stop being afraid of speaking in public, join Toastmasters or one of my Maxwell Speaking, Workshops or Seminars. If you want to be good at networking, attend conferences, and introduce yourself to everyone in the room. And so on.

With practice, you will gain the skills and confidence to become whatever it is you want to be. 

In our next article, we're going to look at the many benefits of volunteering - not just benefits to the people being helped, but also to the person doing the volunteering.