The “Act as if” Theory in your Business

What business advice have you gotten in the past that has stuck with you over the years? Maybe it was a pearl of wisdom from a mentor or a teacher. Or a passage you read in an inspirational book that’s still your “go to” guidance on a difficult day at work. While I have a repertoire of guidance I return to repeatedly, this recent piece in Business Adviser made me realize its time to make room for another piece of advice:

Harvard graduate and former Goldman Sachs employee, Becca Brown founded Solemates, a line of women’s shoe-care products with former Goldman colleague Monica Ferguson. Their products are carried in over 3,000 stores and in 2014, the company sold several hundred thousand pairs of heel guards, their signature product.

She attributes much of her success to a very important piece of advice she received in college: “Act as if.”

“It’s a mentality, a state of mind, a perspective,” Brown explains. “Things are not always going to go your way in business, in your career, and in life. There will be setbacks and disappointments, and you may be tempted to get down on yourself, but you have to act as if — as if it didn’t happen. As if it didn’t faze you. As if things had gone your way.”

Wow…what a simple but powerful adage. It’s true; many of us fold when business setbacks come our way. We personalize: what did we do wrong? Why do we keep making them same mistakes? Why aren’t we as far along as we’d like? That downward spiral has a powerful effect on our business, keeping us in a scarcity mindset (where’s there’s not enough to go around and you are a hapless victim of circumstance).

Unfortunately, playing the victim doesn’t “show me the money.” We have to shake off that sensitivity and use our imagination to “dream out” of a bad situation.

Think of a recent setback of yours at work. Maybe a client didn’t like your work. Or you were rejected for a much-needed business grant. Or heck, you simply didn’t make enough money last quarter. Using Brown’s advice, how would your professional life feel if you did make enough money last quarter…more than you ever thought possible. You did receive that fat grant and your client absolutely loves your work.

Chances are, your confidence would soar. Your future decisions would be based from a place of power, not defeat. Acting “as if” can have seriously strong implications on the way we conduct business so try it on for size the next time you get hit with a professional defeat…because how you handle them defines who you are!

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