A few years ago while conducting research around starting my own business, I ran across a book I really enjoyed called “Birthing the Elephant” by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman. From it, came a favorite quote of mine: “Act as if.”
Presented in the context of being an entrepreneur, the short phrase expresses the concept of viewing yourself in a new way and aligning your actions and the way you communicate to reflect this new ‘brand’ and self image. “Actions change attitudes, motions change emotions, and movements change moods. You might not be able to change your thoughts and your feelings, but you can change your actions. Your actions can change your feelings; your actions can change your thoughts. You can act differently than you feel.”
The day I read page 121 and the words “act as if” is the day I decided to begin my business. For several months, I had conducted research around launching a new venture, secured necessary resources, and written a business plan. On paper, it looked great, and when I read the words “act as if,” I thought “what am I waiting for?” It’s interesting when you’re starting something from scratch. There’s a moment when you literally must flip the switch. So I did.
The quote “act as if” hit home for me. In that moment, I took on the mantle of entrepreneur and business owner – I walked as if, ate as if, slept as if…I went about my day as if this is completely who I am, even though early on there were many days where it felt more like a story than reality. I lived this new brand as if everything in my life up to this moment had prepared me for this.
It’s three years later and – through much hard work and many challenges, along with steady progress and great wins – my business is flourishing.
Today, in my coaching and consulting practice, I encourage individuals, teams, and organizations to “act as if” with their vision, mission, and plan. I encourage people and organizations to dream and imagine their most vibrant future. And with that, I challenge them to act as if they’re already there. After all, our thoughts and actions create our reality. We manifest what we most desire and focus on.
My hope is that this mantra will inspire my clients and those I serve as much as it has me. And that they will overcome the one thing that holds most of us back: the belief that we must wait until we know who we are or until we craft the perfect plan before we even get started. Just remember, you’re more ready than you think you are. Get started now.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
~ William James