So this is a topic that I’ve talked about before. But previously I’ve talked about this one via live video so I wanted to revisit it in black and white. I was out running (ish – more walking to be fair!) and it came up in conversation sparking all those thoughts to the forefront. The great thing about taking the time to write is it often throws up thoughts you never even realised you had! So should you fake it til you make it?
I do think the principle of this strategy is a good one, to a point. But on the whole it’s one that I hear a little too often for my liking, and it’s one that’s often taken out of the context that it was intended – taken just a little bit too far. I genuinely feel it’s been lost in translation somewhere along the line and some have lost themselves along the way 😦 But before I elaborate on why I think that, why is it a good principle when used in the right way?
Well fundamentally, we all have to start right at the beginning. The starting block is the same and it’s how we push at the sound of the gun that determines how the rest of the race will go*. Now it would hardly be a good strategy to start the race saying to yourself this is my first race, I’m not very good yet, I’ll just see how it goes. That’s not a winners mindset, and to be successful in business you have to go out to everyday with the absolute belief that you can and will race your best race. So the fake it til you make it strategy comes into its own here. Hey, it might be the first race, I may not have the experience yet, I may have a lot to learn. But I can still leave the blocks pushing like I’m a winner 💪🏼 I think to give yourself a good talking to and fake a little bit of self confidence is absolutely a good thing.
Another thing I think it works for is giving you that little kick up the behind to push out of your comfort zone. When you start out most things will be new to you and if you wait until you’re an expert at everything, well, you’ll never do anything. Most of us learn best and fastest by the doing. I’m not sure if practice makes perfect, (there’s another one to explore right there 😉) but practice definitely teaches you the lessons you need to learn to improve your skills. But I will add a caveat here that leads me nicely to my next point…
I believe faking it can be taken too far. Don’t just jump in blind. In a traditional job you will almost always start with an induction and some basic training. No, it’s not going to teach you everything you need to know, but it will teach you the basics to ensure that you won’t end up getting sacked as a result of silly mistakes. So why would running your own business be any different? Learn the basics, the theory, induct yourself and do the training. There is a fine line between faking it and coming across as untrained and unprofessional. People will forgive small mistakes, probably even forget them. But BIG mistakes… it’s a long way back from there.
What about using the fakery too often? What do I mean by that? Well for me, it’s all about honesty and realism. And in the real world, things just aren’t perfect ALL of the time. See life is life. Night will always follow day. Winter will follow Autumn. Monday morning will always be Monday morning. And every single one of us will have fabulous days and not so fabulous days. And all that stuff is perfectly normal and ok and actually, for me anyway, a reassurance that everything is as it should be. So seeing those seemingly perfect, no bad days, wonderfully fluffy worlds full of unicorns 🦄 (ok, I’m exaggerating a tad, but you get my point) is actually a bit unnerving. Not to mention suspicious and showing the hallmarks of fakery. Of course you’ll share successes, that’s the fun part of running your business. Celebrate achievements. But keep it real as well.
One more thing I want to explore is something a little controversial. Not controversial because I think you won’t agree. More because it feels a bit uncomfortable calling out an issue that exists in an industry I love. Thankfully it’s only the minority but it’s frustrating nonetheless as it does reflect on all of us. Its the extreme of fake. It’s taking it way beyond what it was ever meant to be and it’s outright making stuff up. Yep, I said it. Don’t make stuff up. Remember I am talking extremes here… but if you’ve just bought a new car using the money from your day job, don’t tell everyone the business paid for it. There is no shame in building it up slowly. You’re building something great that doesn’t need to be undermined by making stuff up along the way. And I’m going to go out on limb here… the day you do buy that brand spanking new car, because of your business, I bet you don’t even feel the need to tell everyone how you bought it.
So let’s end it here, on some final thoughts. A summary if you will. I think fake it til you make it absolutely has its place in a good business strategy when it comes to mindset and building your skill set. But not at the expensive of effort, integrity, truth and professionalism. You’re in this for the long haul and if you lose trust you have an uphill struggle to get it back. So I say just be you, use all the strategies available to you to help you along the way, but everything in moderation, and always authentically you.
Laters lovelies 😘
*I say ‘race’ in the loosest sense possible! There’s no competition. You’re only competing with yourself, striving to be just a little bit better and stronger each time.