Research found that in a game of scissors, paper, rock, people are more likely to try to ‘draw’ rather than win the game when they can see their opponent’s next move. They still prefer to imitate, even if they get penalised for drawing. Mother’s imitate their babies’ facial expressions. We pick up mannerisms from our parents and those we look up to and spend time with. Even monkeys prefer the company of those who imitate them. So time to capitalise on this!
Monkey see, monkey do
The desire to imitate is so innate in people. Imitation is a subconscious sign of flattery, and something we are far more likely to do in our late teens when developing our identity. But what about after that? Or when we want to change our persona to be more confident?
Imitation can make the transition from ‘fake’ confidence to genuine confidence much simpler.
So how do we safely imitate people, without feeling like a total copycat? Well, you will never be exactly like someone else, but in different contexts, you can put on your character hat to give you more confidence and the consequent success of feeling good.
Choose a person who does similar work to you who you really admire for their apparent confidence. Imagine stepping into their body and visualise yourself moving and speaking like them. Tell me now, who do you look up to in terms of their confidence? Who would you imitate to give you a confident ‘edge’ at work? Or, perhaps you have noticed that you are imitating someone right now. Why do you think you have picked up some of their traits. Is it working for you?
Confidence can be about how you carry yourself. Your posture or the way you make yourself occupy more space with your stance and gestures. Men and women put their hands on their hips to have more of a presence. We puff our chests out or drape ourselves across furniture. We use bigger and more dynamic hand movements to validate ourselves as 'alpha-worthy'.
Who do you know who carries themselves well, be it in a professional space, a sporting activity or when with a person they find attractive. Notice the nuances of their communication and make it a game to become that person in your next significant or insignificant interaction. How do people react to you? How do you feel about yourself?
Rehearse putting on the various imitation caps. As part of your meditation or daydreaming, watch yourself in a montage becoming different people and enjoying their (perceived) level of confidence. Then replay that montage seeing the world from your own eyes.
Experiment with this new way to 'fake it til you make it' (see last week's post) and comment with your biggest insights after playing with this.
And as with all games of imitation, it is ok to take a part of a person you admire and make their mannerisms/demeanor your own. Chances are, they picked up their behaviour from someone they previous deemed worthy of imitation.
By the way, how do you feel when people imitate you? Share!
Now, let’s recap our current strategies for building confidence:
1) List your daily wins.
2) Dip your toe into it. Act out your dream role and notice how you are not as far away as you think from living that dream.
3) Imitate the great.
Let me know how this is working for you and which tip seems most effective in your own life.