Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 18: Fake it, until you make it

I had a mentor in college. I didn't meet him till my senior year, when I stumbled upon his "yoga" class, trying to get rid of the pesky 1-credit gym class in a manageable manner. He is a sports psychologist and motivational speaker, running a hotline with daily 3 minute messages to motivate and aid your path to success, whatever path that may be for you. It always amazed me how he could commit to leaving these messages every morning, 6742 mornings in a row so far (as of today).  This man has tenacity and a commitment that I look up to. He has always motivated me towards my goals.

When I was in my last semester of college, I really wanted to speak at graduation. Not because I am in anyway a great public speaker, I don't yearn for spotlights and fanfare-- I had a message to deliver. We graduated the May after 9/11, and I mark this as important because I lost one of my best college friends in the attack. She was an English major, like me, a part-time night class taker, like me, chunky and full of fun, like me. We had a lot in common. Even if we were in different classes, we would always meet up at night and discuss school, life, whatever. When I didn't see her in September, I shrugged it off as just missing one another.  When my English adviser told me Shari was in one of the towers, at Cantor (a job she only took recently), I was a mess. She should have graduated with me, she should have had her place at graduation too.  So, this in mind, I applied, wrote an essay, and was mentored the whole way through by this "yoga" teacher when I took up his offer of being a class project.

His classes were 80% about motivation and personal development, 20% actual yoga. I don't think we did any actual moves for the first 1/2 of the semester. Yet he coached me in public speaking, made me give my interviews in front of the class, give the many drafts of my speech to my audience of yoga students, urged me to give my essay out to them for feedback. I was a project for that class.  It worked. By telling everyone my story, her story, by talking about it all the time and listening for feedback, both encouraging and constructive, I made it to the finals. In my last interview with the faculty board, I lost composure after I was asked to relate Shari's story to the panel, and then asked some questions that really shook me, but I survived. Even though I was not chosen in the end, I still made it to the final 3.

I learned a lot from this man back then, and now that I am writing this, it seems his teaching is affecting my journey today, though he doesn't know it.  So I repeat what works: I am telling everyone about this fast.  I am more open and expressive about my feelings and experiences than I usually am, and it is working for me, it seems, again.  I guess this blog is my public speaking experiment. My self-project.  It is funny, because it has been a while since I have intentionally thought back to the things I learned from that man. I tell myself "Fake it till you make it; be it till you become it," (something he said so many times it is hard to count), when I find it hard to drink the sickly colored juice, or when toss a veggie that is better left unjuiced, into the machine.  If I keep drinking it like I like it, eventually I will.  In the meantime, I know it is doing my body and mind well.  In many aspects of my life I repeat his mantra, and soon enough, it manifests.  If you act it, you can become it.  I have progressed in my job from talking about my work like I know what I am doing, to actually knowing what I am doing, because I talk about it so much. It is a recipe for success.

So this post is dedicated to Dr. Rob Gilbert, who gave me many tools to use on my journey, and whose words often playback in my head when I am faced with a challenge.  Call his hotline, put it in your cell phone now, you won't regret it.
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Success Hotline: 973-743-4690

Career: Be a tree - grow in place

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