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the story you tell yourself is true


I’ve always struggled with the “fake it til you make it” concept.  Probably because it starts with the word fake.  And it suggests that pretending to be something you’re not is a positive thing.

As a general rule, I’m not into FAKE or PRETENDING.

Lately, a few people have said this phrase to me in different contexts.  Each time, I had the visceral reaction I always do.  A “NO, not THAT” reaction…

Having a strong reaction a few times in a row has led me think about it more.

I realize now, it’s not that I disagree with “fake it til you make it” in theory.  It’s that I don’t think it is an accurate phrase.  It feels off, awkward and not quite right to me.

I realize what troubles me about it is that I believe when you do it, you’re not actually faking it at all.

Because when it comes to dreams, there is no faking it.

There is just the truth.

Dreams are timeless.  They are not linear.  If something will be in the future, it already is.

When you walk with that truth in you, that’s not faking it.  That is simply living your future truth.  The truth you know somewhere in you, and the universe knows, but others may not know it yet.

As an artist manager, I have the great privilege being told people’s DREAMS.  Almost every day, talented, creative, courageous music creators tell me about their plans, hopes, wishes, fears, updates, obstacles, challenges, serendipitous happenings, fortuitous meetings, ideas, notions, next steps, wonderings, wanderings, fates, muses, gremlins, angels, beliefs and theories.

I am a witness.

Every creator has their own world.  Their landscape, language, network, team, their methods of relating, coping, ways of communicating.  To make a life creating art requires faith in unrealistic possibilities.  Stubborn belief in one’s ability to overcome odds.  Relentless commitment to the “mad mission.”  The creator must live in the real world, but believe in the world that could be.

Which brings me to the story we tell ourselves…

Contemporary psychologists and anthropologists are researching a concept called “narrative identity” – studying the power of the story we tell ourselves.  We have known for a long time that meditation and self-talk can inform self-esteem, and self-confidence is a great asset in pursuit of ambitious endeavors.  So it follows that positive self-talk can lead to success.  But this concept of narrative identity goes further than that.  It suggests that the story one tells about one’s life makes it true.

I believe this.  I watch it unfold every day.

If you tell yourself you are good, you are.
If you tell yourself you are a creator, you are.
If you tell yourself what you are doing won’t work, it won’t.
If you tell yourself it’s not worth it, it’s not.
If you tell yourself you trust the path, it will lead you there.
If you tell yourself good things don’t happen to you, they won’t.

Think about how you describe your life – to yourself and to others.  Are those two stories the same?  Are you telling the story that will lead to the story you want to be able to tell in the future?

How do you describe what you do?  What you intend to do?  What you are doing?

When you see colleagues, your clients, your friends, your family – how do you tell them it is going?  How do you describe your work, your career, your life?

In your quietest moment, what do you believe about yourself?

It is already true.