Category Archives: Goal Setting

The Fake it ‘Til you Make It principal (and it’s application to leadership)

As I type this I’m admiring the treetops from an apartment in Santiago, Chile. My being here is a personal experiment intended to expand mine, my clients and future clients thinking around the portability of Executive Coaching.  My post See you in Santiago shares some insight into how I came to be here, but the bit I’ve not yet shared is my process – the classic Fake it ‘Til you Make it principal.  I often invite clients to use this principal when embarking on something new, scary and unfamiliar and for me, it really does work a charm.

When I decided to embark on this journey, it was daunting to me.  I was going to leave the familiar and step-out into the unfamiliar in a new way.  Some have called it courageous, and although I’m flattered by that, it hasn’t felt that way to me.  And that’s because I’ve been faking living in foreign surroundings for many months before I even got here.  About six months ago, despite living in Cape Town where everything is priced in Rand, I started converting the prices of everything into US Dollars.  My grocery bill, my lunches, my gym membership. Everything.  I was faking living in a whole new currency.  Part of my Fake It process also included visualisation and imagining.  When I went for my daily walk, I imagined the scenery around me to be different to that which I actually saw.  When I admired the moon from my balcony in the evenings, I imagined I was looking at the moon from another corner of the world.  Google Earth helped me to get right down to street level so that I could familiarise myself with what things looked like on the ‘other side’.  And ah, the joy of Facebook, where I joined several groups populated by people already in my new destination so that I could learn what they were doing, saying and asking for.   And so, this was not so much a leap of faith as it was a familiar entry into a world that I had sort of already created in my head.

Fake It ‘Til you Make it for Coaching and Leadership

As their Executive Coaching partner, I use the same principal with clients who are transiting from the corporate world of work into their own entrepreneurial enterprises. They’re overwhelmed by the unfamiliar of what lies ahead.  I invite them to start thinking of themselves as already self-employed.  This new perspective allows them to think differently about how they budget, spend, make choices and make decisions.  For several months, while they are existing the old, they are already living the new.

Similarly, my clients who are aiming for promotion and higher leadership responsibilities:  they Fake it ‘Til you Make It.  If the new position calls for a set of buzz words – they start learning them now.  If it calls for a different degree of confidence – they start displaying it (or pretending, if they must) right now.  Imagine yourself in that corner office.  Take on a strategic perspective.  Network at a different level.

It was Picasso who told us that  ‘Everything you can imagine is real’, and this extends well beyond art.  If you want to be someone different, and see something different in your world, start it now.  Consider the nuances that will change in your new future, and bring them into your present.  Keep walking, and one day you’ll notice that the scenery has indeed changed.


MC Final-4

Michelle Clarke is an Executive Coach.  She works with Leaders, Executives and Executive Coaches, helping them to  develop strong, influential personal brands and to elegantly navigate the complexity of 21st century leadership . To learn more about her work please visit her website, and be sure also to subscribe to this blog for future updates. If you enjoy Facebook, please join Michelle’s Business Page

Do you know someone who might benefit from this information? Please share this email in the spirit of coaching abundance. Thank You!


See you in Santiago

This article is a replica of a recent interview published in the COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa) Newsletter. And it’s all about Moi!  I’m embarking on an exciting work/life adventure and I invite you, excite you, urge you to come along….

“Michelle Clarke is seldom still… always pushing the boundaries, always exploring new approaches.
Her latest move follows her intention to move into the Global Executive Coaching space. This February Michelle will be moving to Santiago, Chile, from where she will be coaching clients around the globe using Skype and other available technologies.  This forms part of her intention to demonstrate that effective, powerful and quality coaching conversations can continue no matter where in the world she or a client might find themselves.

That Michelle is motivated by travel and exploration is a given. An outcome of this has been that she has developed a coaching practice with clients around the world. She likes to develop a deep knowledge of the cultures and worlds of her clients – so moving around the globe to gain that experience and insight is an obvious conclusion.  Continue reading

Preoccupation, be gone!

“How whole is your ‘whole life?'” is the name of the 8th Chapter of Susan Jeffers’ book Feel the Fear and do it anyway. The chapter serves as a reminder to us about perspective – about giving more attention to select areas of our lives, and far less to others. The areas that we focus on can become so significant that we base out identity there. We say ‘My work is my whole life’ or ‘My relationship is my whole life’. The risk we run is that, if we lose the thing upon which our whole life is based, our whole life might feel like it is falling apart. Along side this, even on a smaller scale, we can be absorbed, preoccupied and lose ourselves in select dramas of life that serve to distract us from other important areas. Continue reading

Just because it’s January, should we all be setting goals?

Have you ever had the intuitive niggle that although it is January and everyone is shouting goals, goals, goals, you are simply not ready to set yours yet?  Perhaps you feel like you are still getting a handle on previously set goals or that you are just not inspired for goal-setting at this time?  And it is frustrating because we all know that the annual year runs from January to December and the financial year runs more or less the same, and your HR Department wants your annual objectives pronto.  So what is up for you?  Continue reading

Keep Walking! and other techniques for moving beyond the limitations in our heads

Although I’m not a whisky drinker, for some years I have adopted for my own inspiration the slogan from the Johnnie Walker Advertising campaign that encourages me to just Keep Walking! It’s my habit to look for quotes and personal motivating slogans to use as personal prompts to help me to stay focused on implementing my ideas. Thanks to Nike— I ‘Just Do It’! Thanks to the Olympic high-jump coach, I ’Throw my heart over the bar and the rest will follow’. Thanks to my yoga teacher, I ‘Go there and make that effort’. Continue reading

Life is a Cycle – where are you?

This morning I received an email from a potential new client.  She details the past few years of her life and compares them to her present life.  She expresses concerns about how differently she is feeling about her life and herself and wonders how to ‘go back’ to what was.   Can we ‘go back’ on this naturally forward journey of life?  Her email prompted me to find a post I wrote a few years ago about the natural cycles of life.  Take a read.  Where are you?

Continue reading

Why we keep doing the same things – over and over again

Consider this : A friend of yours is made redundant.  Although she was in a career that she did not enjoy, she was financially secure and knew the ins and outs of her job well.  Instead of wandering what opportunities might open to her by this redundancy, or considering learning new skills or pursuing a new career, she immediately rushes into looking for jobs which are almost identical to the one she has just left.   It isn’t that she loved the job and doesn’t want to do anything else, she explains, but this just seems the most obvious route to follow.  She just wants her life to get back ‘to normal’ as quickly as possible.  Sound familiar? Continue reading