Most people have heard the phrase “fake it til you make it.” After all, the statement has been around since the 1970s, and it’s common to share it when you’re encouraging others to pretend to be a certain way until they develop the information or leadership skills that embody it. However, there’s very little wiggle room between faking it and lying. Here are the dos and don’ts of faking it until you make it.
The Dos of Faking it Til You Make It
When you fake something for the right purpose, it’s likely to make you a better person, but if you’re not, then you’ll be making it challenging for others to trust you. How do you know that you’re faking something for the right reason? Faking behavior is usually on the up-and-up, but when you pretend that you have a competency that you don’t, it’s not a good idea.
Many folks have some part of their personality or basic character that they would like to change. For instance, it’s common to want to be more confident or organized. When you pinpoint your character’s past that you would like to change, you can start making it a reality. As you focus on it and work toward it, the character element you want will become a natural part of who you are.
Confidence is something that you may be able to legitimately fake until you build it. If you’re starting as an entrepreneur or working toward a job promotion, you’ll likely have to embrace public speaking at some time. You might have to deliver a presentation to a large group, share an idea during a work meeting or ask a donor for funding.
Even if you’re comfortable with the information that you’re sharing, you might struggle with the idea of being the center of attention. To reach your end goal, you’ll need to push yourself to do the task that requires confidence. Do your best to ignore your fears, stand tall and share your message. Most likely, no one will have the slightest idea that you were nervous because you pretended that you weren’t.
To fake being organized, make a lot of reminders for yourself. Write things out to see the best way to put something together like a presentation. Also, work to complete every task that you start, including small everyday ones at home.
A common coping technique of entrepreneurs is to pretend “as if.” The technique is based on the theory that if you act like someone you want to be, then you can make it a real thing. For instance, if you’re going to feel happier, then practice what happy people do, smile. If you want to accomplish more at work, then act like you’re a diligent worker. You’ll likely increase your productivity.
The Don’ts of Faking It
When should you avoid faking it? Don’t fake a core ability or skill. People cannot pretend that they are competent at something in the same way that they can fake confidence. The bad news is that you can’t just want to be better at a skill or ability. When it comes to abilities and skills, you can either do them or you can’t. If you tell others that you can do something that you can’t do, you have crossed the line and are lying to them.
For instance, you can’t fake fluency in a foreign language if you only know a few phrases. If you tell a financial investor that you understand the stock market when you don’t, then you’re putting his or her money at risk. It’s also lying to tell a client that a product will do something that it can’t accomplish.
The don’ts of faking it until you make it include not lying about your company or what your products do. If you fake it, then someone will catch you eventually, and you’ll lose credibility and overall trust. You’ll also damage your reputation, which is hard to rebuild.
When you’re faking a characteristic that isn’t natural, it could come off badly. For instance, when you’re trying to act confident, you may come across as being a braggart or that you’re better than others so be careful when faking it.
When to Fake It Til You Make It
Managing people well means establishing an atmosphere of inclusivity. Work to make every person in your business feel important. Also, as you become more comfortable, take steps to decrease what you’re faking. There is a right and wrong time to fake it. I can help you learn how to focus and establish feelings that may not come to you naturally. Contact me today to learn more.