Wayne Dyer said, “Acting as if you are what you want to become and know you can become is the way to remove self-doubt and enter your real magic kingdom.” So, let’s dive into today’s episode, which is all about acting out your script.
Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.
Hello, my beautiful, amazing, and extraordinary friends. How’s it going? It has been quite the month over here. Lots going on. I am moving. More to come on that later. But I’m in the process right now of packing up and getting rid of a lot of stuff. It feels really good.
And I’m also super excited about the School of Self-Image membership for the month of August, where I’m going to be teaching abut my favorite topic. I believe this is my favorite. And it’s all around embodying the new you.
And I wanted to give you a little of what you can expect next month if you’re in the membership. And if you’re not, what in the world? You should come and join us. It is extraordinary. Nothing out there like it. You can head to schoolofselfimage.com/join to learn more about it.
But today, I want to talk about acting out your script. That’s what this is about. And we’re going to be going a lot deeper within the membership next month. But one of the things that I often hear from women is that when they go to change, they often feel awkward.
Some will tell me that they feel like they’re faking it. And no one likes to be a fake, right? And then other people around them will start saying things like, “Who do you think you are? You’re trying to be someone you’re not.”
I know you all know what I’m talking about, because I’ve certainly heard all of that. And you know what? I don’t care. This is my life. I get to decide who I want to be. And because I’m always expanding, it’s hard sometimes for people to keep up. And that’s okay. Not my problem.
But it can make people around you super uncomfortable. And so, I wanted to talk about this concept of acting out your script and I want to offer you permission for it to be awkward, for it to feel weird, for it to not feel like who you are for a while.
So, what do I mean by acting out a script? Well, we are all doing it. The question is, are you doing it consciously? Are you doing it deliberately?
When I talk about acting out a script, here’s what I mean. Many of us were handed scripts when we were children that told us how to behave, told us what to think, told us how to dress, old us where we should work, told us the kind of partner we should marry, told us the kind of house we should live in, and even told us how much money we should probably make. And a lot of us took that script and we began reciting it and practicing it, to the point that we believe it’s who we truly are.
But y’all know that sneaky feeling underneath when you’re not living in alignment with who you really are. I think it’s why so many women feel frustrated. I feel like it’s why so many of us feel stuck because we’re being someone we didn’t really intend to be. And what I want to offer you is, at any point in your journey, I don’t care how old or young you are, I don’t care what race you are, I don’t care what gender you are, I don’t care what religion you are, at any point, you can rewrite your script.
Now, I want you to really think about this because some of the characters that you have been playing are feeling heavy, maybe you’re even feeling depressed, you’re feeling not good enough. You’re feeling frustrated. And oftentimes, we’ve been practicing these scripts for so long, we just believe it is who we are.
I read a really interesting article recently about Meryl Streep. She practiced a different type of acting when she starred in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. And basically, it’s the type of acting where you don’t break out of character the entire time you are filming the movie.
So, she stayed in character, I don’t know for how many months, but she said the result of that is she became extremely depressed because if you’ve ever watched The Devil Wears Prada, her character is a sort of dark character.
And I was thinking about that in relationship to how we are acting in our everyday lives. We have been certain characters for so long that we have adopted a set point of emotions. We’ve adopted a set of beliefs. We’ve adopted a set way of showing up. And what I want you to know is you can break out of that character at any moment.
You know, I think about my life and where I started from, growing up in a trailer in the Deep South with a deep Southern accent, which every now and then still comes out. I heard it just a few days ago, actually.
But I decided for myself that I wanted a different life, that I wanted to be someone different. And I have no shame in that. I own that choice 100% because that choice has led to a very, very different life.
I decided to rewrite my script of the kind of woman that I wanted to be, how I wanted to think, how I wanted to feel in my everyday life, how I even wanted to dress and show up. And all of this started when I was working as a nurse in a critical care unit. Some of you may have heard this story, but for those who haven’t, I will just give you a really brief synopsis.
So, I was working in critical care one night and this doctor turned to me and he said to me, “Tonya, who do you want to be?” And I didn’t know how to answer him. It was such an odd question. So, I said to him, I’m like, “I want to be a good mom, a good wife, and a good nurse.” And he said, “I’m not talking about the roles you play. Like, who do you want to be as a woman?” And I couldn’t answer him. I didn’t know.
I had been being who I thought I was supposed to be for so long I had gotten out of touch with my deepest desires of who I wanted to be. But when I was driving home the next morning at 7AM, the word came to mind. And I was like, “This is it. This is who I’ve always wanted to be, but I just never game myself permission.” And the word was worldly.
I wanted to be a worldly woman. And the thing is, it was so outside of my norm. It was something that felt so unlike who I was. And at the time, it was. But I started to play around with what would it be like to be that woman? And I started to act out my script. I thought about what that woman would eat, what she would read, how she would dress, how she would think, where she would go.
And over time, practicing that script, I consider myself to be a very worldly woman. And you have the same opportunity, my friend. Who do you want to be? So, while I can’t go into great depth in this episode, I do want to give you some things to think about. And if this is some work that you’re really being called to do, I would love to support you within the School of Self-Image membership.
This is going to be our entire focus for the month of August and we’re going to be going way deeper. I’m going to be sharing some of my own personal exercises around this topic and guiding you through the steps to embodying the new you. And what I can tell you is this is the process I use for everything.
It’s how I finally lost weight. I started embodying a naturally slim woman. It’s how I’ve grown my business. I started to embody a successful CEO many, many years ago. Whenever I want to create something, this is the work that I do to create it. I’m telling you, this month is going to be one of the favorites. It already is a favorite of mine. So, head over to schoolofselfimage.com/join and let’s do this work in August.
But for now, I just want to give you some things to think about. So, what does it mean to act out your script? Well, you first have to write your script. And while within the membership we focus on yearly extraordinary goals and those guide us, they sort of inform who we need to be, I just want you to practice for a day. Just practice showing up as the woman you want to be for the day.
Imagine that you are auditioning for a part in your dream life and you have the script in your hand. Now it’s up to you to practice it. Now, what a lot of you want to do, you want everything outside of you to be different first. You know what I’m talking about. You’re like, “Well, Tonya, when this happens then I’ll do it. When the kids are older, when I have more money, when I’m feeling better, when this, when that…” and we just keep delaying our lives.
Now is the time to start doing this work if you want to transform your life. So, just for the day, I want you to think about some questions. The first question is, how do I want to feel today? Because how you’re feeling is the most important part. It’s why Meryl Streep was depressed during the filming of The Devil Wears Prada. Every day, she was practicing this dark, heavy energy.
She stayed in character. And as a result, she started to embody that dark feeling. And let me tell you why feelings are so important, you all. Your feelings are driving what you do and what you don’t do. Think about it. Think about the days you wake up excited and how that day turns out, what you’re inspired to do, who you’re inspired to call, how you’re inspired to show up. Versus the days where you wake up just feeling sad and heavy.
And yes, you have to process all of these emotions, but just play around with me here. What if just for one day you said, “You know what? I’m going to practice something new. I’m going to practice feeling confident. I’m going to practice feeling determined. I’m going to practice feeling alive and excited and passionate.”
Decide how you want to feel for one day. We’re going to start there. And not only do feelings inform what you do and what you don’t do. On an energetic level, feelings attract things in your life and repel things in your life.
If you walk into a room full of depressed people and you are feeling on top of the world and happy, guess what they do. They want to get away from you. You’re not a match for them. Equally, if you walk into a room and you’re the one feeling depressed, the people who are feeling happy, they’re like, “That’s just not a match for where I am right now.” It’s just the way the world works. It’s how energy works. So, we have to pay attention to how we are feeling.
So, part of your script-writing process is, “What is the predominant emotion of my character for today? Maybe you choose joy. Maybe you choose gratitude. It doesn’t matter. I just want you to practice cultivating your feelings on purpose versus just letting them be there by default. I have to do this work all the time, you all. I don’t wake up happy all the time.
Sometimes I wake up feeling anxious. That’s usually my go-to darker emotion, is anxiety. And I have to do the work on transforming that into an emotion that’s going to serve me way better.
So, how do you want to feel today? That’s the first thing I want you to think about. Then, we’re going to reverse-engineer this. And I want you to ask yourself, what do I need to think in order to feel this way? Because your thoughts create how you feel. It’s never anything outside of you.
So, what do I need to think today to create this feeling? Grab your journal and just start downloading possible thoughts that you can begin to practice thinking to cultivate this feeling that you’re after.
But then, I also love utilizing the external world to help me cultivate my feelings. And I do this within the membership. We focus on not only mindset, but style and surroundings. So, I want you to think about style.
It’s very important, ladies, that we dress the part. So, when you think about the woman you want to be and how you want to feel today, I want you to think about, what does she wear? Is she wearing baggy sweats? She hasn’t showered in a few days? I’m guessing not.
You’re going to have to cultivate your feeling with how you’re showing up. So, dress on purpose. Dress in character. But style isn’t just about what you wear. It’s also in how you carry yourself, how you communicate. Notice your body language. How do you want to walk into a room? Notice how you talk with others in your script.
Maybe you talk less. Maybe you talk more. Maybe you’re more direct. Maybe you’re a little less aggressive. It just depends. Maybe you want to be softer. Maybe you want to be harder. It just depends on where you are in your journey. But pay attention to how you show up.
And this is all the work you need to be doing first thing in the morning, really visualizing who you want to be for the day, how she’s feeling, how she’s thinking, how she’s showing up, and begin to visualize it in your brain.
Because here’s the thing. The brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined. And as you begin to imagine yourself, you’re rehearsing in your brain how you’re going to show up in your life.
But I don’t stop there. I also like to think about my surroundings. What are some little things you can do in your surroundings to help cultivate this feeling? Maybe it’s listening to a different type of music. Maybe it’s not turning on the news first thing in the morning. Maybe it’s reading a certain type of book. Maybe it’s taking a bubble bath first thing in the morning. But how can you use your surroundings to help you live in character?
And then, I want you to think about how you are showing up with your world. And here’s the really important part. You have to imagine that the world outside of you is going to be the same, for now. Your husband’s still going to be your husband. Your children are still going to behave the way they normally behave, as will your coworkers. Let’s just go ahead and imagine that because a lot of times we want the world to change first, right, before we get into character.
But if we want to change the world, we have to be the ones that change first. So, imagine maybe sticky points in your day and how you normally respond. Now, how does your ideal self, your new you self, your embodied character self respond to that exact same situation? Practice it ahead of time.
I used to do this with food. I would imagine a big plate of spaghetti in front of me, one that I would usually eat the whole plate and go back for the second serving. And I would imagine the version of me who didn’t do that. And I would just practice being her. And was it uncomfortable? Yes. Why? Because it was a new character.
It was awkward. It wasn’t the way my brain usually defaulted. But over time, practicing being a woman who eats until I’m elegantly satisfied, it’s just now what I do. It’s who I am. But I had to practice that script for many, many years, until I got it.
The same goes with creating wealth. I used to imagine, what does a wealthy woman think? How does she show up in her life? How does she dress? How does she feel about money? And I started to do that work way before my banking account gave me permission to, if you know what I’m saying.
I had no reason to believe that I was wealthy other than I get to choose to believe that. I get to choose to feel it. But as a result. I’ve been growing my net worth for years now. And again, this is the process I use to create everything. It is so powerful when you really get it. But here’s the part where a lot of you don’t get it and you give up on yourself.
The moment it feels awkward, the moment you’re not seeing immediate results, the moment it feels hard, you go out of character and you slip back into the familiar character that’s super easy for you. And the reason why I’ve been able to create results in my life is that I practice and I fail and I practice and I fail again.
I have to read the script. I haven’t memorized it yet. And it’s awkward. But over time of failing and practicing, failing and practicing, all of a sudden, one day, I don’t need the script anymore. I’m like, “Oh, this is just who I am now.” I’ve practiced it for so long. I am now that character in my own movie of my own life.
Some of you may think of this as faking it until you make it. And I have no problem with that statement. But the reality for me has been you practice it until you become it. Because we’re all practicing something. But are you practicing something you want more of? Are you practicing who you really want to be? Or are you practicing over and over the same script that you no longer want to play out in your life?
And again, you’ve practiced it for so long you just think it’s who you are. Well, I am here to tell you, you can rip that script up, my friend, and you can rewrite a new one. And starting today, you can begin to practice that new character. And as you do – because this is the way the world works, y’all – the world is going to start reflecting it back to you.
So, what script do you want to act out? You get to write it. You get to produce it. and you get to be it. But you have to be willing to put in the practice. It’s not an overnight transformation. It is a commitment and a dedication to being the best version of yourself.
So, write out that script, the one that you really, really want to live out, and get busy practicing it. Because over time, before too long, you’ll notice you don’t need the script anymore. It’s just who you are.
Have a gorgeous week, my friends. And hey, listen, I hope to see you within the membership. Again, go to schoolofselfimage.com/join. The doors are going to be open for a few more days and I can’t wait to see you inside. Cheers.
Hey, have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self-Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Head over to schoolofselfimage.com/manifesto and get a copy that teaches you how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.