Act As If

The secret of accomplishment at any level is to act as if you are already accomplished in what you are doing.

My mother used to say, “Son, act as if you’ve got some sense.” That’s not the message I’m passing on to you here. However, she was right about the acting. What she wanted me to do was to act beyond my years. She wanted me to act like I had been there before and knew what I was doing. She was wise that way, my mother.

“If you want to be someone special, act as if you are already someone special.”

That was a lesson that a teacher attempted to instill in me despite my objections. That teacher was trying to get me to realize that by acting a certain way I might be able to transform myself into what I desired. Of course, he also wanted me to act like I had some sense. But, if my mother couldn’t get that commitment, he certainly would not either.

“If you want to be wealthy, act as if you’re already wealthy” was said to me directly by none other than W. Clement Stone who, by the time he was in his forties, amassed a 300-million-dollar fortune selling pre-issue accident insurance door-to-door. I was a salesperson for Combined Insurance Company, which he owned. He understood how to transform himself from a struggling teenager to an extremely wealthy man. He understood the secret of “act as if”, and I heard him loud and clear.

So, what am I trying to tell you?

The secret of accomplishment at any level is to act as if you are already accomplished in what you are doing.

You cannot become successful by acting as if you are not successful. You cannot become smart by acting as if you are stupid. You cannot become wealthy by acting as if you are poor. The only way to transform yourself is to act as if you’re already transformed. Now, how do you apply this bit of wisdom? Let me list some possibilities:

1. Act as if you’re an expert in your field. Are you an expert in your field? If you’re not, you should work like crazy to become one. But, along the way, you must act like you’re already there. You will only be taken seriously by others if they believe that you are an expert. You’ll only be taken seriously if they believe you have something to offer that they cannot do for themselves. Do you really believe that all those people out there who appear to be experts are really experts? I’ve heard it said that mastery in anything requires at least 10,000 hours of experience. I guarantee many of them are not. They have learned to act as if they are.

2. Act as if you’re successful. This is essential if you are to become successful. No one wants to do business with someone who is not successful. However, all of us start out with no success and must build it from the bottom up. The only way to do that is to act as if you’re already there. By acting as if you’re already successful you inspire confidence in others, and they will give you their attention and their confidence.

3. Act as if you care. Now, I’m sure you really do care. But make sure you act as if you do. It’s easy to care without acting like it. Others can only discern your intention through your actions. So, act as if you care. Go the extra mile. Make the extra call. Assure them that you will take care of them and then act to make sure you do.

4. Act as if you belong. When you are at a conference or at the offices of clients and prospects, act as if you belong there. Don’t think that you’re just an invited guest who is looking in from the outside. Act as if you are one of them. Act the same there as you would with your co-workers. (At a formal company event, of course.) Don’t wait for them to accept you into their inner circle. Assume your position there. Act as if you are a member of their team.

5. Act as if your time is extremely valuable. You shouldn’t find yourself wasting your time or the time of others. Your time is extremely valuable if you use it wisely. Your time translates into dollars. Time is your currency. It translates into dollars saved by your clients and dollars earned by you and your company. Or, hours you can invest into your future. Your time is not trivial. You should realize that you are providing something of significant value when you spend time with someone. They should realize that because you act as if your time is valuable.

6. Act as if you’re running your own business. You meet regularly with the leaders of organizations. You must meet with them on equal footing. You must be at their level. The best way I know to do this is to fully understand that in the most important ways, we all run our own businesses. Unlike other employees who work a structured day for a structured wage, you set your own hours; make your own plan, and earn money based upon what you achieve. You run your own business. You have a right to be on equal footing with everyone you call upon because they don’t do anything that you don’t do as well.

7. Act as if they’re waiting on your call. You can’t call on other people with the attitude that you hope they will do you a favor by taking your call or giving you some of their time. You must approach every client and prospect by knowing that they are waiting on your contact. They want to work with you. If you believe in what you are selling, you must also believe that it helps your clients. If you believe it helps your clients, you must believe that it is in their best interest. Act as if they want to do business with you. If you do your job well, they do.

8. Act as if your ideas are worthy. Whether you’re with a client or prospect or engaged in a conversation with co-workers or management, act as if your ideas are worthy. Don’t hesitate to present your ideas and don’t hesitate to defend them. No one puts their clothes on any different than you do. No one is intrinsically better than you. Stand on equal footing. Fight for what you believe in. You do not succeed by waiting for success. You succeed by insisting upon it.

9. Act. Finally, this is the fundamental issue of “act as if.” Action is the key. You must not simply read and forget. You must act. The difference between those who make great things happen and those who do not, is not a difference in an idea. Their ideas are no better than anyone else’s. The difference is that they act on their ideas. Why merely dream? Be an actor, not part of the audience. Act as if your dreams depend upon it. They do!



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