There are many times in my life that I’ve faked it until I made it, but those were all long-term accomplishments. Becoming a professional writer involved me faking many things, and still does. Not faking it to others, though (my credentials are verifiable)…faking it to myself.
We are our greatest barriers. There is no shortage of motivational speakers (myself included) who all, basically, spout the same stuff due to this. We all have inner conflicts to overcome on a daily basis, and it is nice to find someone else who can lay out their similar experience in a way that mirrors ours. It gives us hope we can repeat an action someone else used and get that result. Fortunately, it does work.
Faking it for a moment was a trick I picked up after applying that “Smile through a phone call; the other person can hear it” to a task I had been putting off. It didn’t make me enjoy the project, but it made starting it easier…which made finishing it easier. It’s always the starting of things that I had the biggest problems with, which made it only necessary to fake myself out for that starting moment.
It turns out that I am so not alone that there are entire presentations on this concept. It’s been determined once most tasks are started, they are not as bad as feared. Getting started can be the only step that keeps a goal from completion. There are even programs promoting that if a task takes less than two minutes, do it now just to get it over with the second you think of it and you’ll never have to think about it again. How often have you put off a two-minute chore with things that take significantly longer?
That procrastination has cost young me several opportunities. I kept putting off doing better in high school until college wasn’t an option. I put off taking free college classes, in the service, until I was about to get out. I didn’t enroll in college while I lived in a state that would have fully waived tuition due to my veteran status. I didn’t share my writing with the Nashville writing community until I was a decade in to knowing them. I went from unknown to paid, published, and sought in less than two years.
Making jokes about my childhood led to a career in helping others with words
I can not tell you how many different ways I’ve seen people push some version of execution. “Just Do It” comes to mind. Mel Robbins built an empire on her “5 Second Rule” (of which I am personally a fan, BTW), which pushes the idea that whenever you catch yourself putting off a task that you need to start immediately, take a breath, count down from five, then just start whatever it is. It sounds silly — even she acknowledges this as she explains the science that supports how the trick actually works in getting the brain on board — but it has helped me get many things started. I’ve never had a problem with completion, but have always struggled with getting going. As Newton puts it, I need outside force.
By taking a moment to focus my thoughts on my end result goal, I can psych myself into a state of movement. Knowing that it is only beginning that sucks, I declare a start time, and do all of the tricks that are suggested that sound corny. I listen to my favorite uplifting music, I play with my dogs, think of how lucky I am to actually get to write for a living…all kinds of things that lift my mood enough to get my ass in front of my desk and write (as instructed by a dear friend, and mentor).
“NETH!!!! That is so so good. I love it. I didn’t know you could write like that. Get your ass in front of the computer and write more…NOW!!!” – Kathleen Cosgrove, author of Engulfed series, after reading that first submission I shared.
Just doing it is the ultimate key to getting things started. It’s why all of the high-achievers are always quoting Nike. Find a way to make yourself feel up for it, and if you can’t, still just go do it. Accomplishing goals is an incredible feeling, and a terrific motivator. Fake yourself out to get started, if you have to, and you would be surprised how much you wind up getting done. This makes you actually feel great.
You deserve to feel accomplished. You can achieve this feeling by becoming so. Do yourself the favor of starting towards your goals so that you can finish them, and feel that way as often as you can.