I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Fake it until you make it,” but do you know how to do it?

When I first came into recovery and was told to, “Fake it until you make it,” I thought that meant to dress the part. Then I learned you had to act the part as well. That meant looking and behaving in the way that I wanted to be no matter how I was feeling about myself at the time. As time has gone on, I realized that there’s more to it than that. Learning to fake it until you make it also means thinking the part. Let me explain. If you look it up, which I did, the exact definition is:

Fake it till you make it” (or “Fake it until you make it“) is an English aphorism which suggests that by imitating confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset, a person can realize those qualities in their real life and achieve the results they seek.

OK, so the goal is to create a positive mindset, feel good about your skills, and appear confident. These are clear directions. Let’s start by choosing exactly what we’re trying to emulate, then we’ll talk about how to get there.

Study your character

Who do you want to be in life? I wanted to be mentally healthy, have a healthy partnership, raise dogs, be nice, make some money, and master my crafts. But, I had self-esteem problems, under-earning problems, mood issues, anxiety, and general paralyzing fear. Becoming who I wanted to be was going to take a lot of work. To even begin that kind of work, I had to start believing in myself and taking action quickly. I almost had to trick myself into believing I was capable before I felt capable but there were things that helped enormously. And break up with that negative self talk.

This is how you fake it until you make it

Confidence Build

I like affirmations. I said affirmations for years and I swear, it worked. It changed the tapes in my head and helped me focus on what I want and how to get there, instead of obsessing about the past or things I’d done wrong. I also made vision boards so I could see what I wanted. Stop being vague. Choose the house you want to live in, choose your mate, manifest that stuff. It’s possible to get what you want, but you have to be clear and consistent.

Get out of your head and into your body

If you’re insecure, it shows. The way you carry yourself, the way you speak, it will reveal all. Getting into shape and being mindful of the way I present myself made all the difference for me. When I’m in a room of people, I have to remind myself to take up space not shrink into the corner. Stand up straight, look people in the eye, be polite but firm. Learn to project when you speak. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re giving people instructions on how to treat you as you travel through your day. Make sure you’re giving people the correct guidelines and overcome your self doubts.

Get clear on what makes you special

Everyone is good at something. Write down your best skills. Guess what, people who grow up in alcoholism or other types of dysfunction often have fabulous skills that just need the right focus. Even if you’re not sure what to do with the skill like you can help stop family fights, write it down. You might make a great mediator or family counselor. Have you lived on your own a lot and you’re super organized? You might be the perfect executive assistant or executive yourself. Or maybe you have a big degree but addiction or mental health problems slowed your roll. That’s OK. Start planning how to get back on track. It’s not as hard as you think it will be.

Look the part

Turns out, dressing the part isn’t the total solution but it helps. If you want to move up in the world, get yourself some clothes that will help your cause. If cost is an issue, there are so many ways to get discounted clothes these days. From second hand stores to online stores to asking friends if they have clothes they’re done with–get yourself cleaned up. It will make you feel better.

Meditate on it

This tip will be in everything I do and write for the rest of my life. Got anxiety? Meditate. Got sobriety or anxiety issues? Meditate. Obsessed with someone? Meditate. Worried about money or your future? Meditate. See where I’m going with this? If you are insecure, sad, anxious, like to compare, have self-harmed or struggled with addiction (like I did) learn to meditate. It will change your brain. Science proves it and you will get better.

Click here to read: How To Get Rid Of Self Doubt

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Lindsey Glass

Lindsey Glass is the co-founder of Reach Out Recovery. Her 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World Of Recovery, has helped to lift the stigma from addiction and recovery and is used in recovery programs nationwide to show what life is like on the other side of addiction. Lindsey's teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, was distributed to PBS stations nationwide by American Public Television in 2014-15. Lindsey has written dozens of popular articles on recovery. She is a recovery advocate and frequent keynote speaker. Lindsey is the author of 100 Tips for Growing Up, My 20 Years of Recovery, 2019. Before focusing on recovery, Lindsey was a TV and screenwriter. She has worked in publishing, web development, and marketing.

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