don't fake it. just make it.
I bet you've heard this advice once or twice:
"Fake it til you make it."
Eh. I've never been a fan of that idea. Faking It - in a conversation, in a new job, in the sack - NEVER has felt empowering to me.
I think our stellar First Lady (I LOVE YOU, MICHELLE) has a better approach.
From reading the First Lady's interview in last month's Vogue, here's what I think is Michelle Obama's alternative to Fake It Til You Make It:
Honor Yourself and Evolve.
In this interview, I learned that when Michelle was headed into the White House and people asked her what kind of FLOTUS she'd be, she would always say, "I won't know until I get there."
Now that she's headed out of the White House (*sob*), and people are asking her what kind of Former FLOTUS she'll be, she says, "I won't know until I'm there," adding that what she DOES know for sure is this:
"I've always felt very alive using my gifts and talents to help other people."
Now THIS approach I can get behind. Not Fake It Til You Make It, but Keep Becoming Who You Are.
Be Generous with Your Gifts. Do What Makes You Feel Alive.
This means allowing for uncertainty. It means that rather than pretending we've already got all the answers, we insist that we have the right to learn and grow as we go along.
This means being willing to be vulnerable, which takes SO MUCH MORE STRENGTH AND INTEGRITY than pretending you're totally certain.
This means being TRUE to how you feel - committed to your integrity - rather than acting like it's all good when you're not so sure that it is.
Here's what Michelle told Vogue's Jonathan Van Meter about her renowned sense of style and fashion choices:
"It all boils down to comfort level: If I'm going to make you comfortable, then I have to be comfortable first. . . . There are definitely designers that I love, people I love to work with. And who they are as people matters. Are they good people? Do they treat their staff well? Do they treat my staff well? Are they young? Can I give them a boost?"
I believe that Michelle looks fabulous because she FEELS fabulous. We find her powerful because she FEELS powerful. Her garden is iconic because she truly loves it, not because it focus-grouped well.
Michelle is comfortable in her clothes. Confident in her choices. Committed to the bigger picture: to the people whose work she's supporting, and to the people who support her.
"If I'm going to make you comfortable, then I have to be comfortable first."
No faking here.
Conscious choosing. Checking in, choice by choice, little and big pictures, with what FEELS right to HER.
Evolving consciously - her role, her projects, her appearance - choice by choice, knowing that when she feels good, she does good, and when she does good, she feels good.
Let's join her, shall we?
Let's learn to trust that we are generous when we do what makes us feel alive.
That in order to empower others, we have to begin by empowering ourselves.
That we don't have to have all the answers or a foolproof plan.
That evolving openly - with integrity, vulnerability, and authenticity - is so much more inspiring than pretending we're someone and somewhere we're not.
Let's become more of who we are - choice by choice - being generous with our gifts and talents, committed to growing, and willing to be present and honest.
Honor yourself, and evolve.
Why waste any energy faking it, when there's so much to make?