Mixonian Institute exists to more fully develop your innate awesomeness. Turns out there are times when in growing this awesomeness, it helps to pretend something. We used to call that “playing make believe.”
Consider how powerful it can be to make believe something.
* Pretending is actually the mother of creation and innovation.
* Pretending and being authentic are not mutually exclusive.
* Pretending is a tool to get around the anxiety in your head.
Think about this. If stress, which only exists in your mind, can kill you, just how powerful is your imagination? What is stress really, other than your imagination masquerading as an outside force of darkness? Is stress not the vivid imagination of negative outcomes?
Coaching some awesome sales reps the other day, I got reminded of how powerful it is to change the way you see a situation. And yet it’s almost impossible for most people to do. It’s like asking a fish what the water is like.
Pretending allows anxiety to vanish instantly, replacing it with a more accurate perspective on the situation. To see through a new perspective when you can’t even, playing pretend is the antidote.
Of course pretending isn’t always the answer. It’s never cool to pretend something doesn’t matter just because you’re uncomfortable talking about it.
3 Favorite Scenarios for Playing Pretend
: Scenario #1 Someone annoys you deeply.
Color me jaded but it’s perfectly normal to be annoyed by the one-uppers, the chip-on-the-shoulder carriers, the back stabbers and credit stealers. But getting annoyed hurts you (not them) and doesn’t help the situation at all. So here’s the deal.
Pretend that person suffered some childhood trauma that has made him insufferable today.
Perhaps he was publicly humiliated by the love of his life in 3rd grade. And he never got over it.
Maybe she had such a traumatic childhood that she ended up narcissistic to survive.
: Scenario #2 You experience setback X.
X can equal not getting a job, not getting the budget, not getting the raise, not getting invited or anything that happens that you really wish had not. And you’re disappointed, sad, mad, irritated, etc. Yes, you are, just admit it.
Now, pretend you wanted X to happen (the bad thing) because you want to learn something of great value.
It’s asking a lot, but you know that good things always come from bad things. Even from terrible things. So to pretend get over your mad, embrace X and the good will come to you all the faster.
I got to use this on myself a few weeks ago while feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed. As soon as I stepped out of the victim-feeling default by pretending I was right where I should be, I felt better. And magically, there was time to rest.
: Scenario #3 Your Big Meeting/Interview is this afternoon.
Your Big Meeting can be for a pitch, an interview, or simply you have to meet with a Highly Annoying Person (HAP). Pretend it’s pre-ordained to come out in your favor. You’re just going through the motions of the meeting but it’s already been decided in your favor.
You already won. There is no pressure to perform. You can relax now.
It’s a beastly truth that detaching from the outcomes makes you the more confident player in any scenario. So pretending you’ve already got it helps you to do precisely that.
Now. Here’s the other side: why people reject the idea of playing pretend:
- They’re too caught up with “being realistic” (whatever that is.)
- They confuse “doing the work” with “pretending to do the work.”
- They haven’t taken a class or experienced coaching with Mixonian Institute. So sad.
If you want to see how to use your imagination for a better presentation, here’s a Checklist for Rock star Impact at the Meeting.
You may like this article on self-talk, Your Most Important Conversation of this Day.
You may be thinking, how the heck does this improve communication?
Thank you for asking. By merely questioning a negative assumption, you instantly see the situation more clearly, you interpret more accurately and respond more effectively.
Here’s an experiment. Pretend you really appreciate some Highly Annoying Person at work. See how your feelings about this person change.
To read 8 examples of changing what you say to change what you see, click here.
The photo was taken by my son, who’s with the Peace Corps in Lesotho Africa. He was able to share this photo because of all the imagining that took place to make up phones that take photos (for heaven’s sake!) and data transmission through the interwebs.