“Fake it ’til you make it.”
ARRGGGGHHHH! I H-A-T-E that advice. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Here’s why:
Nobody ever faked their way to sustainable success.
Oh, sure, you can fake it for awhile. You might even fool some people into thinking you’re better, more skilled, or more confident than you really are. But somebody somewhere will see through your faux front, usually sooner than later. Because, you see, it is IMPOSSIBLE to fake it ’til you make it. To “make it” you need skill, competence, connections, confidence. All things you really can’t fake. All things that require impeccable authenticity. You have to actually own these things. There is no pretending.
I know some people mean well when they say fake it ’til you make it. What they really mean don’t get paralyzed by the fact that you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t be too afraid to get started, even if you don’t know how to start. It’s ok to jump in with both feet, even if you don’t know how to swim. That last one is a metaphor. You’d never tell someone who can’t swim, “Just jump in the deep end and fake it ’til you make it.” Personally, I don’t think you should ever tell that to someone in any circumstance.
Sadly, when some people say it they really are encouraging you to fake it, pretend, or give the illusion that you don’t have your head up your backside. These people scare me, because they don’t understand one of the fundamental keys to success:
Authentic beats fake every time.
Authentic doesn’t mean that you have all the answers, or that you know how to do everything. Authentic is admitting you don’t have all the answers. Authentic is admitting that you don’t know how to do everything.
Which person would you rather hire?
A. Someone who pretends to know everything, but doesn’t.
B. Someone who doesn’t know everything and admits it.
They both might succeed. They both might fail. I prefer the authentic one either way. I’m guessing you do, too.
So let me ask you this:
Which one would you rather BE?
By all means, if you don’t know how to do something, or you’re unsure, or you’re even a bit afraid, don’t let that stop you from giving it a try and figuring it out as you go. It’s ok to not know everything and it’s ok to make mistakes, as long as you’re up front about it. If you fake it and you fail, you lose my trust. If you’re authentic and you fail, I’ll pick you up, dust you off, and help you back up on that horse.
The best news of all is that if you don’t fake it, and you keep trying, someday you WILL have all of the answers and you WILL know how to do everything because you’ll have REAL learning and REAL experience, not a pretend resume of lucky circumstance.
In my opinion, fake it ’til you make it is the worst advice ever given.
Be authentic ’til you make it might just be the best.