‘Act as if’ to Conquer the ‘What ifs’
Tony DiCicco writes “attitude is a choice that can color any situation …and it’s contagious. …get your players to talk the talk and walk the walk…encourage them to act as if they are the players they want to be.”
I’ve heard this expressed in other ‘environments.’ “Fake it til you make it’ or ‘do the right thing til you feel the right thing.’ Is it hypocritical to behave this way? I don’t think so. I think it’s helpful. It helps squelch the ‘what ifs.’
This is harder than it sounds. When my new, little team squares off against a strong team with a winning record, doubts begin to creep in. They stand immobilized before the kick off watching their opponents stretch and loosen their muscles. Their eyes widen and their jaws drop open as they gawk at their opponents confident roaring team cheer. It ends in…stomp ‘em, mash ‘em, teach ‘em who’s boss.
Instead of acting as if…they are champions, they start asking the “what ifs.” What if they are better? What if they are faster? What if they score first? What if, when I try my new move, they strip the ball from me? Acting as if has been replaced by “what if.” And this is defeating. We can’t know the final score of a game yet un-played and we can’t control the play of the other players. But we can act as if we are winners. And, in my experience, this is the best way to bring out our best.
I always marveled at Abram, the father of the three major Biblical religions, who was just such a competitor. God told him “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” (Gen 12:1) Even without a destination, without a strategy, without a game plan, he took his family and all that he had and went. He trusted completely in God’s promise to show him. God called this faithful. I call it acting as if. No what ifs about it.
God doesn’t promise us the win. But God assures us that He knows where He’s sending us and the outcome is His. Acting as if we believe this is not hypocritical, but trusting. It gives us confidence in the ‘now.’ It causes us to look expectantly to see just how God and I will get this done. The fearful “what ifs” are replaced by acting as if whatever I do, I do with Him. That makes me into the player I want to be. I’m not acting.