What do you really want to be? What do you really want to do? What do you really want to have?

Act as if
Whatever you want to be, act as if you already are that person. (Tweet That)

Those are three powerful questions that you probably rarely ask yourself. More likely you say things like:

“If only I ____.”

“If I could just ____.”

“I’d settle for ____.”

And you sell yourself short. You aim for mediocrity…and that is exactly what you get. But there is always a gnawing deep in your soul to be more, to do more, to have more.

The problem with big visions

Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

The problem with thinking big, though, is that the first step is often invisible. You can’t even imagine a starting point. All you need to do is find the first step and you are on your way to a life of influence, purpose, excellence, and abundance.

The first step

The first step to being what you are called to be, doing what you see yourself doing, and living the life you dream of living is simple, but requires focus:

Act as if

That is it.

Whatever you want to be, act as if you already are that person.

If you want to be a business owner but don’t have the money yet, act like successful business owners act. Learn to think big, learn about hiring, leading, and budgeting. And most importantly, own your job. Become an owner at whatever your job is. If you are the leader of a department, treat that department like your business. If you are a bus driver, treat your route like a business. That means being personally invested in every detail. Every success is a high and every failure is devastating. The daily ups and downs of being a business owner often feel like life and death. Learn to think that way before you ever start your own business.

If you dream of being a CEO, act like it now. Learn to talk like a CEO (hint: it’s usually in bullets, very on-topic, and slower than you think…CEOs think things through). Walk like a CEO, write like a CEO, and go to the same functions and seminars that CEOs you know are going to.

Warning: Acting like a CEO doesn’t mean taking his or her parking spot. While that might be funny and I would love to see his or her reaction on video, don’t do it.

Like a child

Essentially, I am telling you to remember what it was like when you were a child. Indeed, I am telling you to make believe.

The dictionary defines “make believe” as:

a pretending that what is not real is real

That doesn’t just apply to when we wore superhero capes and flew through our neighborhoods at breakneck speeds. It’s more than that. Even now, as an adult you can see what is not real. You can imagine it. And you can act as if it’s true.

An exercise

  1. See it. Right now or later today when you have twenty minutes or more, pick one thing that you want to be, do, or have. To be a best-selling author, to be a veterinarian, to adopt children, to _____.
  2. Feel it. Now live that out in your mind. Don’t skimp on the details. Take your time. What actions do you take each day? How do you walk, talk, and carry yourself? Who do you hang out with? What is your schedule like?
  3. Be it. Do it. Go live out what you just saw to the best of your ability. Act as if it’s reality. Make believe.
  4. Own it. I’m not one who falls into the “Name it and claim it” crowd, but I do know that it is almost impossible to be, do or have anything that we don’t believe we can be, do or have. Belief is always the first and most critical ingredient (followed oh so closely by training). Every action starts with belief. Belief in the possibilities. Belief in our abilities. Belief in others.
  5. Repeat.

That is how you act as if.

How can you act as if with one of your dreams?

11 thoughts on “Act as If | Act Like Who You Want to Be

  1. Bob Winchester says:

    Great work Matt! So much more powerful to listen to this, by the way! I can really hear your passion on this topic. I just pinned the audio link. I hope lot’s of people get lifted up by this today!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That’s great to hear Bob…especially considering my throat was hurting and I was exhausted when I recorded it 🙂

  2. Paige Gordon says:

    good post matt! thanks for the encouragement! Definitely what I needed to get back into the swing of doing the things I should be doing to become what I want. Keep up the good work!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Go kick some butt Paige!

  3. Aaron Nelson says:

    Thank you for this encouraging article. I needed to read it today. I remember a comment you made on the CLO site as response to something I had posted about focus and looking at the ball vs looking and striving towards the future. (I’m going to hunt that down too, cus it sure made a big impact for me.)

    Things are really rough for my business these days. We’ve lost half our clients due to abrupt budget cuts to their employee training programs. It’s been like a huge punch in the face. I feel disoriented, unsure, and quite hopeless sometimes.

    I am working hard on a few things, but one in particular has been recasting my company’s vision.

    Without a vision the people, and your business die.

    That’s happened to me. I’ve felt no direction, no vision – like I couldn’t see past the ball again.

    As I’ve been working on it…and praying like mad, I’ve felt that vision returning. I sorta feel like I’m rambling here, but all I really want to say is that I totally agree with you. You have to act like who you want to be. This post fits well for me today. Thanks!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Aaron, I have that comment. Shoot me an email at matt -at- mattmcwilliams.com and I will send it to you.

  4. Katherine Leicester says:

    One of the best posts I’ve read, Matt, thank you for taking the time to write and record it.

    It’s true. It works. It’s real. And I have to remind myself of this every single morning when I wake up and remind myself that it’s my business now, my time, my passion.

    “I yam what I yam.” Popeye.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Thanks Katherine!

      I love the Popeye quote 🙂

  5. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    My mission president used to refer to this as the “As If principle”. Act as if you’re happy. Act as if you’re excited. Act as if you’re confident.

    I love it. Thanks for sharing. I think it’s such a great exercise. It’s not being fake or disengenuous. It’s just putting yourself in the mindset of where you want to be and the working backwards to what you need to get there.

    Thanks for a great post!

    1. Aaron Nelson says:

      That’s great Mark – putting yourself in the mindset of where you want to be, and working backwards to what you need to get there. Good one!

  6. Tom Dixon says:

    Thinking like this has moved me forward more than anything else. It is hard to take that first step, but after that – watch out!

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