Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bring Your Dreams Into Reality By Acting As If

"I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until finally I became that person. Or he became me."

--Cary Grant

Recently a prospective client told me a little story. He had attended a party in his industry, that is, the industry, he wants to be successful in. As he drove there, he began feeling jitters and a general sense that he didn't belong. There were going to be several influential people in the field, and he started out telling himself he was a nobody.

We've all had these thoughts and emotions, especially when it's about something important. Simple insecurity in any situation is certainly no fun, but when it's in the face of something we really want, it can be debilitating. As he pulled up to the party, he reflected on the fact that he was driving his snazzy, albeit old sports car, and was dressed with a bit of flash, so he decided he'd act as if he was already a success, since he had the trappings anyway.

While he shook the hands of these "high-powered" people, something shifted in him, that he never expected. A tactic to make himself feel better about being afraid, turned around his whole perspective on the possibility of his success in his business. Just acting the part, made him realize he had what it takes to make it.

Of course, this all goes back to that bit of wisdom that has become clich? in recent years: that whatever you believe, you can achieve.

The difference here is that you don't need to sit and think great thoughts in order to change your beliefs. You simply need to open yourself to a different way of acting, even if it's only for a few hours, and then see what happens.

Think of it this way: you've heard the idea that what you're capable of is only limited to your imagination. You probably believe it's true. So why don't we always act as if it's true?

It's because we're deluded; we look around and decide that what we see is true. "I live in an apartment I can barely pay for." "I don't have that special person in my life." "I'm in a dead-end job."

Blah, blah, blah.

Your conscious mind is focused on those things, and we have all agreed to call them reality. They will be your reality if you allow them to be.

The problem there is that those thoughts are boring, and you're boring yourself by thinking them. If you don't believe me, go out and tell someone all the details of your "reality," and see how quickly their eyes glaze over.

What if we allowed our dreams and desires, the things our hearts long for, to be just as valid? What if we decided those things that live in our imagination were just as much a part of our reality as the things we take in empirically?

In fact, your unconscious mind makes no distinction between them. For that part of you, your memories, your current experience in this moment, and what you imagine about the future, all hold equal weight, all expressions of the same thing.

This is why our beliefs are so powerful. It's why people who have opened their minds to what is-and what can be-make such huge progress.

And it's what I believe the Buddha meant when he said, "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world."

So take some time to pay attention to your imagination. Just as importantly, act as if the things you find there are already true.

Robin is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and author of "Success, The Ezine" (offering a free worksheet each month). He is dedicated to helping others discover new ways of doing things so they move powerfully forward in their career and life. To schedule a free introductory session, contact robin at robin@robinjones.biz or visit his website www.robinjones.biz #TITLE#Great Service Requires Great Acting#/TITLE#

I came across a passage in a book today that I want to share with you, especially if you?re in customer service.

The writer was speaking about the power of concentration, that when we concentrate we become one with the object of thought and lose ourselves in it. He offered this example:

?The greatness of an actor lies in the fact that he forgets himself in the portrayal of his character, becoming so identified with it, that the audience is swayed by the realism of the performance.?

Instantly, I knew this observation was accurate. What actors strive for is verisimilitude, what the Zen folks would call the ?is-ness? and the ?such-ness? of everyday life. Actors need to seem natural in their roles.

A natural performance isn?t one that is spontaneous; it is contrived to seem spontaneous.

It isn?t ?sincere.? It is the opposite. It is a lie, a deception. A person is pretending to be something he isn?t.

A lot of effort is put into making the role seem genuine. It?s art, because the art doesn?t show.

If you ask many service reps about their success, they?ll say their customers like them, that they have close, personal relationships with them.

This is a very agreeable illusion.

They SEEM to like each other, and this fiction enables relationships to be efficient.

But customers and the reps that serve them are locked into their roles. They?re acting out a business script that has at its basis the exchanging of money, of tangible and measurable rewards.

If they were truly friends, they would be acting out a different script, still about reciprocity, but this time it might be exchanging news, jokes, affection, appreciation, and attention. The goal of a friendship generally isn?t money, but ?value? is still exchanged.

"Love" might be that state of mind or heart or communion where roles are allowed to drop, or stop, to relax, be challenged, or to be flexible. Ideally, in love we find a place where we can ?be ourselves.?

But in business, we aren?t paid to be ourselves.

We?re paid to be that always bright and cheerful helper who seems as if the most important thing in the world is the customer, that one customer with whom we?re interacting at a given moment.

Once that person leaves the line or the store, our full attention is given to the next customer, and to the next.

We can never tire or show our true fatigue, because, as actors say: ?The show must go on!?

When we?re offstage, it's a different matter. Our true feelings can show.

What I?m saying is obvious to mature businesspeople, but it must be taught to each new generation of customer service folks.

Perhaps when we hire we should ?cast? them, as the Disney people are fond of calling recruitment.

When they ask an associate to don the costume of ?Goofy? or ?Mickey? or ?Snow White,? they say your ?role is to play? one of these characters.

It?s considered ?show business? from start to finish, no matter how humble your task seems to be. And if you?re in costume you don?t let anyone peek beneath your mask to see who you ?really? are.

You?re not the star; Snow White is.

So, how would a REAL actor approach the role of playing the best customer service rep in the world?

What would he or she say, sound like, and act like, performance after performance?

It is this ideal that customers will applaud, and it?s also a performance they?ll rave about and want to experience time and again.

Moreover, they?ll be happy to keep buying tickets, and this enables us all to pay for wonderfully spontaneous, sincere, loving lives when we?re offstage.

There's nothing Goofy about that!

Best-selling author of 12 books and more than 900 articles, Dr. Gary S. Goodman is considered "The Gold Standard"--the foremost expert in sales development, customer service, and telephone effectiveness. Top-rated as a speaker, seminar leader, and consultant, his clients extend across the globe and the organizational spectrum, from the Fortune 1000 to small businesses. He can be reached at: gary@customersatisfaction.com.

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