Fake It 'Til You Make It, No Thanks. Visualization, Yes Please.
If you have never heard about the phrase "fake it 'til you make it" then imagine the following scenario - you're having a 9 to 5 job, a family with a toddler and after you're finishing up your working hours you have to spend another three hours being a trainer and teaching a group of people a certain skill. Not every day, of course, two days a week.
You keep thinking that your day will end up around 9pm, you're gonna be so tired and your body will be drained of energy so the only thing you would want to do is jump into your pajamas and get to bed. It's so easy to suddenly feel demotivated, unhappy that you cannot spend your evening as you would want, and so on. After some days, you're ending up in the same situation, eight working hours plus three hours of training. Your morale gets miserable.
One thing that you can do is to employ the “fake it till you make it” strategy to feel more motivated and full of energy. In the best-case scenario, you’ll get the desired results and develop the tools necessary to succeed. At least for a while. But it becomes quite tiring to fake a behavior that is not built from within. At least for me. Or you just give up doing any extra effort and that's that.
Some people might find the "fake it 'til you make it" useful as they are working on building a new behavior or habit and they are practicing it until they make it perfect, knowing that the whole process of getting there is not the most pleasant one.
But what if you think the "fake it 'til you make it" is just not your cup of tea?
For me, visualization works way better.
What is visualization?
Visualization, also known as visual imagery, is creating mental pictures in your mind of an outcome that you want to achieve.
Australian psychologist Alan Richardson discovered that a group of basketball players who were instructed to visualize themselves making free throws every day but who did not physically practice it did almost as well as a group who practiced shooting the free throws for twenty minutes a day. Insane, right?
Going back to my example. What I do know is that I cannot change the fact that I have to attend a training session after my working hours, I took the responsibility of being these people's trainer so be it. But I can change how I feel with regard to this.
How do I want the session to be conducted?
How do I want to feel being there and teaching those people new skills?
So I am starting to visualize.
I am working on doing all the preparations and planning, knowing exactly what I plan to teach them in that session, having all the tools at hand, and having the speech prepared, so I'm going further. I imagine myself being happy to be there with the students, I imagine myself leading them on the way of learning new skills, I imagine that our three hours spent together are cheerful, everyone is feeling respected and I am delighted to answer their questions. I imagine myself having a positive impact on their professional trajectory. I imagine my course going smoothly, with no impediments, I imagine myself being able to explain in the best way possible all the things I have planned. I imagine myself being able to quickly adapt if some unpredictable situation might appear.
Does this work? For me, it works. It helps me picture a positive outcome whenever I'm facing a situation when I'm tempted to give it all up just because it gets me out of my comfort zone.
What I observed is that using this strategy my mood gets improved, also my resilience and anxiety, and stress gets decreased.
“Anything you can imagine, you can create.” - Oprah Winfrey
Can you think of any life situation when visualization can help you achieve a more positive outcome?