A is for Acting as if...

This month I am doing another writing challenge - because they are the best!! I am currently in the final stages of self-publishing my book, but I miss the creative process of writing, and so this month I am doing the A to Z blog challenge. I haven’t signed up for it officially, but you can read about it here. I am planning to write 5 blog posts per week based around a different letter of the alphabet. And today - its the Letter A!

A is for Adventure, and for 2019, adventure is my word for the year. This year, I have had an amazing time embodying adventure on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. My adventures have ranged from walking a part of the Great Train Hike here in Barbados, to a 10 hour round trip to visit the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile and eat lunch there. And April will be no exception. However, this month will be a different type of adventure. I recently have been learning about the concept “Acting as if”. This is a way to suspend disbelief - the disbelief we may have in ourselves and our own ability to be the people we aspire to be. In addition, It is a way to suspend the fears and/or procrastination that hold us back from taking action. So at that time when there is something I want to do, and I am faced with a fear, I can act as if I am the type of person who would act in spite of the fear. On those mornings when I don’t want to get out of bed and write, I act as if I am an author who prioritizes writing more than my bed. When I want to use social media to promote the pre-sale of my book, or reach out and ask for support around the launch, and I worry about being rejected or questioned - I can act as if I am someone who is afraid and does the thing anyway.

It is a concept that I heard about before, and something that always seemed out of reach. What is it about pretending to be someone else that gives us the courage or the will to act? Can we change who we are in an instant? And if we could - why haven’t we done so before? One resource that I found helpful on the subject was an episode of the Good life project podcast, and an interview with Todd Herman who wrote a book called “The Alter Ego Effect”. This book is about tapping into the power of secret identities to improve our performance, and also act even when we feel fear. One of the points he made, is that we already use alter egos in life. We are different people when we are at work, and when we are with our families, and when we are with our friends. This process is a way of acting more intentionally through our alter egos, by deciding who we need to be in that moment, and stepping into that person. He gives the example of doing that in his twenties, when he thought he was too young to be taken seriously, and one of his strategies was to get a pair of glasses which he wore when he was stepping into his particular alter ego. This idea resonated with me - I am definitely a different person when I am at work - more assertive and confident. A few years ago, I was the president of our optimist club - a service organization here in Barbados. It required me to do all sorts of things that were outside of my comfort zone - including asking for help, public speaking, making tough decisions - and whenever I went to do any of these things, I had to tap into President Safiya - because actual Safiya would shy away from a lot of these things.

Understanding the concept of the alter ego made it easier for me to wrap my head around the idea of “acting as if” and so I have decided that this will be my adventure for April. For me here is how I am going to tap into this ability. If I feel a fear around an action that I want to take, or I feel myself dragging my feet, my first step will be to name it and identify it. What am I fearful of? Is it judgement? Rejection? Fear of failure? Once I have named and identify it, I will ask myself what I would do if I wasn’t afraid. And then… I act as if I am a person who isn’t afraid and do the thing!! Sounds easy? I’ll let you know this time last month. And if you fancy it - jump in and join me and let me know - what were you afraid to do and how did you act as if - to put your beautiful self out there - to take a risk - to do the thing! I want to hear it all! As for me - my thing today is to ask you to pre-order my book!! Click here! To ask you to share this post if you know someone you think will enjoy reading it! And look out for me on a few Facebook lives. Apparently I am going to act as if I am a person who can jump onto social media spontaneously and string a sentence together.

As always I send you big love from a small island!!

PS - I took the above photo at the Pioneer Woman’s Merc in Pawhuska. Good times!! And this blog post is for the great friend who drove me there!!!