Neuroscience of Faking It

One of the hottest catchphrases these days is the term, “fake it until you make it.” Despite its popularity, some people believe the saying is all about being an imposter. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Faking it until you make it,” is not about trying to bluff your way through a situation for which you are not prepared. There is a scientific, biological basis showing “faking it” can help give you the confidence that you need to keep pushing forward and achieve your goals.

The Importance of Neurotransmitters in Affecting Mood and Resolve

In the brain, serotonin and other hormones act as neurotransmitters of the electrical impulses that are behind our thoughts and feelings. Our moods and our will to act are influenced by how high the levels of these various neurotransmitters happen to be at the time

While it seems unreal that something so small can have such a big impact on our lives, the truth is that much of our behaviour, including how we react and are perceived by others in social situations, is influenced by these same chemicals. Even something as seemingly unrelated as our sleep, our appetites or even the level of physical attraction and arousal that we feel towards other is directly influenced by these compounds.

Scientific research has shown that we can actually influence the number of hormones that are produced and released into our bloodstream simply by altering and changing the position of our bodies!

Therefore “faking it,” until you feel it is useful. If you feel depressed, upset, or even afraid, the first step to changing how you feel is to change the posture of your body. Even the simple act of smiling can be enough to turn your feelings around and help you to feel happier than you did just moments before.

How Confidence Greases the Wheels of Success

So, what does changing your posture and putting a smile on your face have to do with your ability to achieve your goals? Absolutely everything!

Of all the character traits that exceptional leaders share, one of the most important is confidence. Those who can overcome obstacles and achieve peak performance for themselves and their organisations are known for being confident and upbeat. It is what fuels their resolve and determination.

Exceptional leaders can keep going and achieve their goals despite the odds stacked against them because they have such a high level of self-belief. They know that the only thing that can stop them from achieving their goals is their own self-doubt.

“Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become.”

Amy Cuddy

While a great leader may seem to overflow with confidence, the truth is that few of us are born that way. Therefore I truly embrace the concept of “faking it,” until you “become” it – it works! If you want to succeed you must first believe that you can and will succeed!

If you are feeling nervous, the simple act of standing up, and pretending to feel more confident is actually a great way to tap into the power of your subconscious mind. You’ll release the serotonin and other hormones that will stimulate positive feelings and give you the confidence that you lack!

As you practice using your face and posture to help you feel more relaxed and in control, you will begin to feel more upbeat and positive. You will then start to project a higher level of confidence and sureness that others will mirror back to you as you interact with them. This creates what is known as a positive feedback loop; a perpetual positive energy engine that continues to increase production of the very neurotransmitters that are behind the feelings of positive self-worth and well-being!

Are you ready to be an awesome leader? Are you prepared to reach a new level of excellence in your leadership? It’s okay if you feel nervous as you face your goal. Just stare down the obstacles that stand in your way – you will succeed in your quest if you believe that you can!

Fake it till you make it? Go on. Rock that leadership role!

Author – Sonia McDonald, Keynote Speaker, Executive Coach and CEO of LeadershipHQ

Sonia McDonald is one of Globe’s leading leadership executive coaches and keynote speakers, as well as an advisor, thought leader, and author. She’s also CEO and founder of LeadershipHQ, and through this, she empowers people to discover their own innate talent and strengths.

Named as one of the Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs and Top 250 Influential Women in the world, Sonia is shaking up the traditional view of leadership, and along the way she has uncovered some outstanding leadership talent which had previously gone unnoticed.

Sonia is internationally recognised as an expert in leadership and strategy, organisational development, workplace diversity and the neuroscience of leadership.

Sonia has also coached people around the world, encouraging them to succeed by reaching their full potential. She has helped hundreds of people build their brands, grow their leadership and business strategies, increase their confidence, build awareness, increase their business revenue, connect to the right people, build exceptional skills and achieve brilliant businesses and careers.

Sonia has written several books on leadership: Leadership Attitude, Just Rock IT! and Neuroscience of Leadership, and she writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. She has been published in BBC Capital, The Australian, HRD Magazine, Business Insider and Richtopia

Her academic achievements include:

  • Bachelor of Business (HRM)
  • Diploma of Neuroscience of Leadership
  • Certified in Prism Brain Mapping Assessment
  • Certified Leadership Architect
  • Certified in The Extraordinary Coach program.
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