Act As If You Belong
I’m sure you’ve heard the concept “Fake it till you make it” before, and you might have a mixed opinion on it’s efficacy. I see both sides of the argument. On one hand, you need to step into the energy of having what you want if you want to manifest it. But on the other hand, that energy isn’t pure or authentic because you know that you’re crafting it to appear a certain way.
A less extreme way of sharing the same thought is to “Act as if you belong”. What this does is it helps you step into that energy without projecting any kind of intentional deceit. When you find the right balance some really incredible things start to happen for you.
First, when you act like you belong, people will start to treat you like you belong. It’s unfair to say but the truth is, everyone holds judgments about each other. In fact our ability to quickly evaluate others is fundamental to our survival as we constantly identify threats in our environment. When you put yourself in certain spaces, and other people are responding to those spaces, you generate associations that cause people to create certain judgements.
For example if you’re an aspiring venture capitalist, people will find you more credible if you meet them at a conference for venture capitalists rather than on the street where they have no meaningful reference points. This means that they’re much more likely to connect you to opportunities, take you seriously, and play a role in advancing that goal.
But beyond the way it changes the ways other people treat you, it affects the way you start to view yourself. By putting yourself in the environments you hope to be in, and becoming more fluent in the language of whatever that is, your identity will start to change. This is because your identity is made up about the beliefs you hold true about yourself, and there’s not stronger evidence to validate those beliefs than your behavior. By showing up and doing the things that make you fit in, your beliefs will actually start to shift so that this act that you’re putting on starts to feel more authentic.
If you want a promotion, start taking on responsibility and treating others as if you already have it. If you want to make friends in a new social group and hobby you’re not familiar with, show up and give yourself the reps you need to learn and develop.
Half of the battle is overcoming your fears to get the exposure you need that will transform you, and acting as if you belong will accelerate that process on all of these levels.
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