“Fake it until you make it”, or as Aristotle suggested; to be virtuous one must act as a virtuous person would act.
This notion of “acting as if” – something said to be inspired by the work of Sigmund Freud – is as old as the hills and great advice in any walk of life.
If you want to achieve something – you have your eyes on a specific job or promotion at work, want to be good at any sport or excel in a field of learning – starting to behave in a way that says you have already done it is a good starting point.
Setting goals is a useful tool for those with ambitions but as a colleague once said to me; “if I want to be promoted at work I need to start acting like someone would in that role”. He believed that to include dressing the part, attending meetings that person would attend and reading books and articles someone in that role would be expected to read. He took on the role, the persona, of that promoted person until it became a reality – and it worked.
It is in essence about the power of positive thinking and the sense that you can achieve anything you want if you commit yourself to it fully. It is about optimism. Hope. Desire. It is about convincing yourself you can do something before others will believe in you.
For me, this is about being a writer. Outside of health and happiness for me and my family, that is my biggest goal now – to write for a living. To fill my days writing words on a page for others to read. To be a man of letters. An author. A scribe. A wordsmith.
In my daydreams, I see a future where I spend my time on a combination of writing books for a mass market (fiction and memoirs about the people and values that have been around me all my life, inspired by the history and culture of these islands) and for academic audiences (books and articles linked to my passion for strategic communication). I am not there yet – not by some way – although I’m taking some steps to help me. You are reading a manifestation of one of these literary footsteps right now. But in truth, I took my biggest step last year when a dear friend gave me some advice; “start calling yourself a writer.”
He reinforced the message by sending me a book (photo above); ‘You are a writer (so start acting like one)’. He subscribed to the view that if you starting acting like a writer and taking on that label it will help. He was right. The first thing I did was to change my social media profile on Twitter.
Taking that first step (and reading the book!) has given me the confidence to kick on with my writing and consider myself to be a writer. Yes, I do other things – I run a communications consulting business for one – something I enjoy hugely – but at heart I am a writer. I am writer. I am a writer. The best parts of my job now are when I am writing. I am, a writer.
My journey to be the writer I aspire to be is a long way from complete but I am on the journey and it feels great. As Confucius said: “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”