In my workshops, we sometimes discuss what I like to call the ‘fake it till you make it’ principle. This is the idea that you can always act the part, whatever it is that may be required, and that, if you do this well enough, the act can appear to be indistinguishable from the genuine article. It is a success technique that many people have used to great effect. In fact, it works so well that we ought to ask ourselves the question: what really is the difference?
What is the difference between, say, a general and someone who is dressed like a general, who talks like a general and who acts like a general? Personally, I believe that there really is no difference because a general is someone who does exactly that. Whoever it is that you wish to become, you must first be that person. Remember the old Zig Ziglar saying that you must first ‘be’ before you can ‘do’ and you must ‘do’ before you can ‘have’ (see Getting Your Priorities Right)?
The ‘fake it till you make it principle’ involves the being part and it is the essence of what NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) refers to as ‘modelling’. The great thing about modelling is that you really don’t have to understand how or why the tactics of your model work. You simply need to choose your model, analyse its characteristics and then work on acquiring them and, by the law of cause and effect, which states that like causes always produce like effects, you can then enjoy the same levels of success.
Now you can model different things. For example, you can use the same basic idea to create a successful website or blog. You don’t really need to know how to do it, you just need to find a successful site and then replicate the approach. Let me see if I can illustrate: there is a guy named Steve Pavlina, who writes a blog within my chosen niche, which is of course, personal development. He started his blog after I had started my own site and I noticed his site rising in the Google rankings until he eventually reached the number one spot for that search term.
Although I had, and still have, very good rankings for some very competitive terms, Steve’s site has consistently managed to stay ahead of my site in the rankings. Of course, this means he gets more traffic and, hence, enjoys more success at the moment. It was easy for me to conclude that, whatever this guy was doing, he was doing something different to me and that the methods he was using were producing results.
With modelling, you don’t need to understand why something works. It is simply cause and effect in operation. You simply commit to reproducing the same causes and the rest takes care of itself. Now, the Steve Pavlina blog has become a model for my own blogging activity. All I needed to do, I figured, was to find out what he was doing and then reproduce the same effort. That is the essence of modelling. Some of my most recent changes, at this site, have been as a result of analysing how Steve is blogging.
To give you some specific examples, I looked at the following: how often does he blog, what’s his average word count for a post, what plug-ins does he have installed etc? I have been doing this for the past two months now; and what do you suppose is the result of that activity? Well, on some days, Google has been ranking my site above his and on other days, she likes to put me back where my site usually ranks. But, gradually, I have noticed a slow and steady climbing of the serps (search engine results pages), so I know that these changes are having a definite and positive effect.
Now, I have not yet finished analysing Steve’s blogging habits so I confidently expect that, in the future, I will have implemented further changes that will result in further improvements to my overall rankings and that is part of the joy of modelling. So, if you want to achieve something – anything – first, find someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve. Then analyse what they are doing, specifically to produce those results. Finally, commit to taking action. Replicate the causes of success and the product will not evade you.
Returning to the ‘fake it till you make it’ principle I mentioned, you can learn how to talk and behave and dress like anyone you wish. These are all causes of success. Don’t stop there either. Find out everything you can about your model. The more you know, the more grist there will be for the mill. You will be able to test specific things for yourself and you will begin to understand what specific causes are responsible for the success of your chosen model. If ever there was one, modelling really is as close as it gets to the short-cut to success.