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How to ‘act as if’

How to ‘act as if’

Last week’s blog post ‘Dare to Dream‘ was all about taking those long-lost dreams back off the shelf, dusting them off and believing that they can actually come true.  In a world where we are always being told to be ‘realistic’ and keep our heads out of the clouds and our feet firmly on the ground, we end up being too afraid to dream of the life we really want to live in case we get disappointed – and so we settle for whatever life throws our way.

We become passive recipients in life instead of creators of our own destinies.

I firmly believe that we have the power to create our circumstances!  But how do we get past the dreaming phase and into the ‘making it happen’ phase?  After all, we can dream all we want but if it never gets out there into reality, it will always just remain a dream and nothing else.

 

Taking action on your dreams

 

You have to take action on your dreams.  After all, they’re not going to make themselves happen!

Here at BLOOM we use the DREAM DO LEARN system® – it’s a system I created to help me stop going round in circles and instead helped me to clearly define my dream and then move into action – DOING – to allow that dream to start taking shape.

But I did personally find there was a missing ‘something’ between defining my dream and taking action on it to make it happen.  I had created countless vision boards and could say my affirmations in my sleep!  But when it came to taking action, it just felt as though I was driving with the handbrake on.  It was just a real struggle for me to breathe life into those dreams!

Eventually I stumbled across the missing ingredient – as usual it was something really simple – kind of like a missing bolt from a car engine – seemingly small and insignificant but crucial to keep the engine parts together and working perfectly!

The missing ingredient?

 

Acting as if.

 

You’ve probably heard this or some variation of it before.

‘You’ve got to act as if!’ 

or

‘You’ve gotta fake it ‘til you make it!’

which I didn’t particularly like if I’m honest because whenever I attempted to ‘fake it ‘til I made it’ I just ended up feeling like a complete fraud!

However, after understanding the real meaning behind ‘acting as if’, I realised that this really was the missing link for me – the link between defining my dream and actually making it happen.

 

So, how do you act as if?

 

It’s not about putting your best acting hat on as you walk into a networking event and spew out your practiced lines.  The only person I ever felt like when trying this way of ‘acting as if’ was Pinocchio!  It’s about becoming the part.  And incidentally, this is what all the great actors do!  They become the role they are going to play in the movie rather than just memorise the lines and look the part.  That way, they’re not acting out the role, they are being the role.

And this is what helped me to take the leap from DREAMING to DOING.  And released the handbrake!

I asked myself ‘if I were living this dream today, who would I be?  How would I act?’

And if I got stuck for ideas (which I often did!), I started with what they wouldn’t do.

They wouldn’t moan and complain about their current circumstances, for example.  After all, what you focus on expands – by focusing on all the circumstances you’re unhappy with, those circumstances are just going to expand!  Instead, I would focus on all the circumstances that I wanted to attract in my life.  As well as the circumstances I was happy with but hardly noticed or took for granted in my life.  That’s what I wanted to expand!

They wouldn’t start the day with no plan – they would know exactly how they’re going to spend their precious time and not just react to whatever the day threw at them.  So I started scheduling out my days in advance, prioritising the activities that aligned with making my dream happen.

And so the list went on.  I slowly curated a small list of ways I could ‘act as if’ I was living my dream life already.  And these were ways that didn’t take any money or an inhuman amount of effort to achieve.

In most cases, it simply involved thinking differently and making a few minor tweaks here and there.

I would start my day with gratitude for the amazing life I was living.  Sure, I wasn’t living the life of my dreams at all just yet but there were still a lot of amazing things in my life I could be grateful for.

Your life right now is someone else’s wildest dreams.

 

So, if you haven’t defined your dream yet, go back to my post Dare to Dream and start dreaming again!  I have another blog post on ‘How to create your personal vision’ and this comes with a free worksheet for you to download and write down your vision which is really powerful and this way you can look at your vision every day and ask yourself ‘how can I act as if’ I am living this vision now?

For me, the secret was in thinking from where I want to be, as though I was living it now, instead of always thinking of my dream or vision as something in the distant future that I would live and be ‘some day’ – if I kept thinking this way, my dream would just always stay in the future and never make it into the present!

 

What are some ways you can ‘act as if’?

 

How can you close the gap between your dream and where you are today?  What small changes can you make to start being that person you see in your dreams today?  If you’re building an audience online and dream of having 1000,000 followers or email subscribers, how would you show up?  Inconsistently and whenever you felt like it?  Or would you be committed to putting out valuable content regularly to your 100,000 followers?  If you think in terms of ‘I’ll do it when I have the 100k followers’, then that’s not likely to ever happen – you have to act as if you have the 100k followers now and they will then come because you’re consistently showing up!

If your dream is to be a healthy weight and filled with energy, how can you act as if you were this person today?  What sort of decisions would that person be making right now, this minute?  Would they go for the sugary donut or the fruit?  Would they have a glass of water on their desk?  Would they take the bus home or walk?

If you dream of one day helping your favourite charity ‘when I have enough time / money’ etc, how can you ‘act as if’ today?  There are some charities here in the UK that you can give £2 a month to in support.  Seems like nothing but £2 in some countries is enough to feed a homeless child.  Instead of saying ‘nah I’ll wait until I have a successful business and then give real money’, give what you can today.  Get in the habit of giving, even if it is only £2.  The important thing is that you’re starting to live your dream now, in the ways that you can, instead of waiting for Some Day.

 

Closing the gap between where you are now and your dream

 

By acting as if today, you are slowly but surely closing that gap between you and your dreams – your dreams will not always be a ‘one day dream’ sometime in the distant future – it will soon merge with your present because you’re acting as if – you’re thinking and acting like a successful entrepreneur; a healthy, energetic person; giving to your favourite charity or whatever your dream is, today.

 

Whatever your dream is – what are just 5 things you can start ‘acting as if’ to start making your dream a reality?

Dare to Dream

Dare to Dream

Do you have dreams?

I always used to feel silly if I got caught ‘daydreaming’ – staring into the oblivion, living in another wonderful, imaginary world.

I’d quickly shake it off and ‘get back to reality’, which was usually something rather mundane and uninspiring!

And yet, those are important moments when our dreams come and gently nudge us, reminding us that they exist.

And instead of listening to those dreams whispering to us to take hold of them and turn them into reality, we brush them off … tell them to go away because we have more important things to do, like going through the motions of our daily, monotonous lives.

Some of us were always told growing up to ‘get our head out of the clouds’ and into the ‘real world’ – a world where you just had to do what you had to do to keep your head above water and keep silly, fanciful ideas at bay.

Or else, we’re afraid to raise our hopes because what we secretly dream about seems so far fetched and ridiculous.  We’d rather live mediocre, uninspiring lives because we’re afraid that if we give our dreams a go, we’ll be disappointed.

But what do you have to lose by giving your dreams a chance?

I think the saddest thing is to reach the end of your life and die with your dreams still inside of you, never having seen the light of day.

Isn’t it better to try and fail rather than not try at all?

So, what is your dream?

Maybe you have to spend some time getting back into dream mode.  There’s always reminders around you, if you open your eyes to see them – reminding you of that seed of potential you have deep inside you, just waiting to germinate and flourish, if you give it enough attention.

There’s a quote I love by James Allen:

“Dreams are the seedlings of reality.”

And instead of starving that little seedling and letting it wither away and die, you want to nourish it and let it grow!

So get dreaming again!

In my Born to Flourish® planner-journal, there is a whole section dedicated to Dreaming – crafting your vision for your life and setting goals that align with that vision.

Dreams give us hope, a vision for the future – something to aim for and work towards achieving.

Dreams enable us to live with passion and purpose because we’re not aimlessly going through the motions each day – existing instead of truly living.

How to define your dream

If you don’t know where to start, I find this method the very best way to get back in touch with my dreams and what I want to achieve.  It’s simply asking yourself the following three questions:

1  |  Who do you want to BE?

Of course, this doesn’t mean being someone else!  Rather, it means what sort of traits or characteristics do you want to have?  You are perfect as you are right now, but we humans are geared towards expansion and improvement, towards growth, we can always improve on who we were yesterday.

If you close your eyes and picture yourself in 5 or 10 years’ time – your ideal self – what do you see?  What traits do you have?  Commitment?  Compassion?  Discipline?  Integrity?  Courage?  The list goes on.  If you make a conscious choice to be these things, you are more likely to ask yourself each day how you can demonstrate being committed, compassionate etc.

2  |  What do you want to DO?

Do you have a bucket list of all the things you’d love to do during your stay on this planet?  If you don’t, make one today!  As I write, I am creating my own ‘summer bucket list’.  I’ve discovered that over the years, when summer rolls round, I announce all these things I ‘really want to do this summer’, and then, of course, summer comes and goes and I haven’t done any of the things!  That’s because they are thoughts floating around in my head and I never get round to actually making them happen.  You probably have ideas floating around in your head for all the things you would like to do but until you get them down on paper and then make plans to make them happen, they will always just be thoughts!

Have you always wanted to speak a language fluently?

Learn how to make perfect macarons?

Volunteer for a couple of hours each week for a charity close to your heart?

Take 6 months off to travel the world?

Start that side hustle?

Instead of telling yourself you’ll get to it ‘some day’, write those things down TODAY and start thinking of ways to begin taking action on them!

3  |  What do you want to HAVE?

These are all the ‘things’ – both tangible and intangible.  Write ‘em all down – whether that’s your dream house, car, relationship, qualification, job, business … or the intangible things, which are often of far more value – time freedom, peace of mind, joy, for example.

Once you’ve written down all the things you want to BE, DO and HAVE, that’s a pretty good blueprint for you to start working on!  When I first asked myself what my dream was, it was a little difficult to describe in words and using this method was a great help in putting the puzzle pieces together.

Work backwards

Once you have your list of all the things you’d like to be, do and have, another great thing to do is to then work backwards.

If you look at all the things you would like to have, what would you need to do to get those things?  For example, if you want to take 6 months off to travel the world, what are some things you would need to do to make that happen?  Take a sabbatical from your job?  Save money to enable you to travel for 6 months without having to work?  Start planning your travel itinerary?

Once you have a list of the things you would need to do, you can move onto who you would need to be to make your dream of travelling for 6 months happen.  You would probably need to be financially savvy to save money, you would need to be disciplined too.  To start planning your travel itinerary, you would probably need to be organised, perhaps also creative or resourceful?

By keeping this list of all the things you want to be, do and have, you can then keep this as a live working document and keep changing it as you need to.  By seeing this written down, you no longer just have vague dreams floating around in your head but definite dreams that you are going to make happen!

Of course, dreaming is one thing.  Taking action on those dreams is another.

If you’d like a system to use to keep you taking daily, consistent action towards achieving your dreams and goals, whatever those are, then take a look at my Born to Flourish® planner-journal.  I created it for myself to get all those dreams out of my head and onto paper and formulate a plan to make them a reality.

So, the next time your dreams come nudging you, don’t chase them away … listen to them.  Grab hold of that dream seedling and nurture it.

Life is too short to live an unfulfilled, dreary life – you were born to FLOURISH and be all you were destined to be!