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Our real estate agent Phil Bolin sends out a newsletter with timely financial and personal advice, the most recent of which was about giving thanks. The enclosed tip sheet “Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude” listed 9 Ways to Count Your Blessings, the last of which stated, “If you must, fake it.” Fake it? Aren’t I supposed to be myself and cultivate the lovely qualities about which my high school classmates wrote in my yearbook? Carole – You’re so sweet, charming, nice and lots of fun. Don’t change!

But change I did. I wasn’t always sweet, charming, nice and fun. In fact, I never had been. And life after high school required more of me, especially as a wife, parent and teacher.

When Shaun Underhill became the newly appointed principal of Ursuline Academy of Dallas in the mid-nineties and addressed the faculty, she noted that learning a job was like putting on a new hat and playing the role. In some ways, she told us, it was like faking it until everything from appearance to words and actions helped us become what the job required. It took time to grow into each role, to develop from fake to authentic, to cultivate a positive attitude as a student, a teacher, an administrator or even a parent.

Overcoming negativity is my biggest stumbling block when I don my hats and happy face every morning. Perhaps I still want to be sweet, charming, nice and lots of fun! But according to the tip sheet, we should be grateful for challenges and difficult experiences, the tough times, frustration and failure because of the “…valuable lessons in patience, understanding, humility and strength.”

Patience, understanding, humility and strength – qualities that I would like to cultivate and share in every role I play. I guess sometimes I’ll have to fake it.

What are you faking?

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