Over time, our opinions change on specific topics. I’ve recently begun to question the idea of Fake It Till You Make It.
What is Fake It Till You Make It? This is the idea that you can do things you’re not qualified, skilled, or talented enough in by telling yourself you can. Whether that’s through artificial confidence or unknown competence.
I’ve used this technique multiple times. But I’ve begun to see the downside of faking it until I (or you) make it.
How Fake It Till You Make It Can Go Bad
I’ve faked my way through a lot of things in life. Whether it was giving myself an unwarranted bump in my handyman skills or how well I write, faking my way through has eventually made me progress further than I would have without trying.
Laura Huang, a professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School, shared how faking it until making it hurt her. During her college years, Huang felt that pang of self-doubt. So, she figured she’d pretend she knew what she was doing. What happened? Huang says she found herself with more self-doubt than when she started.
I’ve found myself nervous around those I don’t feel like I measure up to. So, I fake it. Sometimes, this works. I am able to interact with and get to know these people. Other times, I find myself, like Huang, more defeated than when I started.
Elmer Smitham also feels Fake It Till You Make It can be terrible advice. He wrote about it in an article on his website. Smitham shared how faking it until you make it breeds distrust. He’s right. When people find out you oversold yourself, lied about your talents, and more, you will have trouble winning their trust back.
What To Do Instead Of Faking It Until You Make It
Is there something else you can do instead of faking it? There sure is.
Here’s what you need to do instead:
Practice your skills:
There are so many safe places to practice and build your skills it’s ridiculous. Find a place to practice.
You might find an organization that’s looking for an apprentice. Apply, take on the apprenticeship, and grow. You’ll gain the skills you were going to fake.
There are things you’re not going to know. Every day you’re going to be placed into new situations. These new situations will require you to do something you’re unfamiliar with.
Don’t lie or fake it. Instead, own that you don’t know what you’re doing. Be open and honest. Communicate to others that you’re learning, just like them.
Honesty breeds more honesty. You’re also able to hear from others who do know what they’re doing.
People will trust you more, and you will get to learn from experienced people.
Practice positive thinking:
Positive thinking goes a long way. As Zig Ziglar used to say,
Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.
You may not be the best at what you’re about to attempt. However, by using positive thinking, you can do it better than you would’ve if you had negative thinking.
Practice positive thinking the next time you head into a new situation. You won’t know all of the answers, but you will be able to handle the situation better.
Positive thinking will help you get through those challenging times.
Is It Time To Get Rid Of Fake It Till You Make It?
This depends on you. How have you been using Fake It Till You Make It? Has it been hurting you or those you lead?
If so, get rid of these actions. Change your course. Find your authentic leadership self.
You’ll soon find yourself enjoying what you’re doing more than when you were faking it.
Let’s stop being fake.