Have you ever tried the “fake it ’till you make it” strategy? While I don’t think it is a good policy to pretend you have skills you don’t actually possess (it can lead to uncomfortable situations) I do believe in faking certain things. The most important of which is confidence.
I know I’m not the only one who has walked into a situation and thought “Ack! I’m out of my league.” Or had the little voice in your head whisper (scream) “No you can’t!” In those situations I am a firm believer in faking it. I push those thoughts down and cover them with a big smile and a truck load of…well something warm and natural.
Why am I such a believer? Because negative self talk is so darn effective. If you tell yourself you will fail, you will fail. If you listen to a voice telling you to be afraid, you will be shaking in your boots. So I figure that if I can talk myself into a negative space then I should be able to talk myself into a positive space.
Faking it is building my confidence every day. When I’m afraid of an event: public speaking; an uncomfortable meeting with the boss; or, leaping off a cliff for fun a big smile is my ally. I pummel messages into my head as hard as I can “you can do this”. I push a big smile out and tell myself “you will enjoy this”. I look in the face of someone intimidating and think “you impress them”.
Over time I’ve learned that with a little mental effort most people won’t even know I’m insecure. I’m not saying it always works. Some days I am just afraid, sad or out of sorts. But more often than not, I come out of these intimidating situations feeling better about myself for the effort.
What situations frighten you? Are you afraid of spiders, speed, asking for a raise, or being reprimanded for something? Each of us faces difficult situations, and often these awful things can be a place of inspiration for our writing. This exercise is about seeing through someone else’s eyes.
Choose a situation that frightens or intimidates you. Leaping off a 30 foot cliff at a resort in Mexico for example. (Yes I did it. Yes I am proud. No I will never do it again.)
Then think of a person who would not find this situation frightening. It could be a professional diver in my case. Or, if your fear is creepy crawly creatures it could be Steve Irwin. The point is to find someone who does not share your fear.
Think about how that person would look at your frightening situation. Would they analyze the technical aspects of the challenge? Would they be fascinated by some scientific principle of it? Or would it satisfy something in their character…a need for speed? This doesn’t have to be logical or the real reason, just something that comes to you.
This person and how they enjoy the situation is your big smile; your warm pile of something natural; your tool for faking it. Now tell the story of a character who shares your fear, but overcomes it by emulating someone else. They succeed by pretending to have a need for speed or a daring love of things that crawl… Aim to write 500 words.