Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fake it 'til You Become Her

I woke up with itchy eyes and a stuffy nose, feeling sluggish from the antihistamine I took the night before.  This is what I get for living in the allergy capital of the world. We don’t have seasonal allergies in Austin we have allergies in every season.

I’ve learned to apply certain countermeasures.  When I don’t feel well, I try harder. I put together a new outfit, spend more time on hair and makeup and put my best self forward. I do this because I know how I present myself affects how people perceive me. On one such day, I had a conversation with my boss which went something like this:

“You look great today, Lynn.”
“Thank you. I’m actually not feeling the best.  I’m compensating. “
“It works.”

Interestingly enough, it not only works for the people I may encounter, it works for me too.

We’ve all heard that how we look affects how other people feel about us. It is also true that how we look affects how we feel about ourselves.  My experiment in faking it proved positive.  I did the best I could with what I had and it helped me feel better about me. There is more at play here than just the reflection we see in the mirror. Clothes and make up are tools for boosting an attitude but we have an even better tool at hand. Actually it is our hand, our arms - our bodies!

In her fascinating TED talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy presents the results of her research on the mind body connection.  Our minds change our bodies; we’ve known that for years. Cuddy’s research shows that our bodies have the power to change our minds.

In her study, participants put their body into what she referred to as either a high power pose or a low power pose for two minutes.  Tests showed that after a high power pose, power hormone (testosterone) levels increase and stress hormone (cortisol) levels decrease.  The mind responds to the body’s posture.

In a subsequent study, high power and low power posers were placed in a job interview scenario. Inevitably the high power posers were the ones who seemed more desirable.

What does all of this mean for you and me?

As part of the Created Woman Foundation, I am helping women become who they were created to be from the inside out. We believe real life transformation happens in that direction. Change begins in the heart, with the attitude and outlook. Gradually that change is reflected on the outside and experienced in the outcomes of our lives.

 So don’t neglect the inside! Passionately pursue personal growth:
·         Read books and magazines
·         Go to church
·         Build life-giving relationships
·         Take time for reflection
·         See a counselor
·         Attend a workshop

But while you are waiting for the change to be expressed in your life, fake it.
Yes, you read right, FAKE IT!

·         Stand up tall
·         Put your shoulders back
·         Hold your head up
·         Smile
·         Shake hands with confidence
·         Dress for the job you want to have

I am reminded of a woman I met years ago. She was hired as an administrative assistant at a local hospital but dreamed of being an executive. She purchased a briefcase and started carrying it to work every day. No one knew all she had inside it was her lunch. She faked it and packed a sandwich in her briefcase for years until she became what she envisioned.

That’s what faith does!

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; 

it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Who are you becoming? Can you see it? Could you use your body to help your mind believe it? In an interview with Jennie Allen, Kristin Armstrong shared how she uses her body to change her mind. She said “I can act my way into a feeling better than I can feel my way into an action.”

Take some action today. Use your body to help your mind see the beautiful, whole woman you are becoming. This is not motivational mumbo jumbo, fake it ‘til you make it. This is faith at work, creating a vision for the woman you can’t quite see yet on the outside. 

Fake it ‘til you become her.

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