Every time I speak about building confidence I’m asked, “Can I fake it ‘til I figure out how to make it?” I usually ask the crowd their opinion. Vigorous discussion ensues, making my job really easy.
Many have experienced the hollow feelings of inauthenticity that faking it brings, and they argue that choosing to fake it simply traps you on a road you’ll hate walking until any success you find in the end will feel just as hollow and you’ll regret your time wasted on the fake path.
Others have had a different experience on the fake it path, one that opens new possibilities to them.
How “Faking It” Can Guide You To Authentic Success
You can absolutely choose to “fake it” briefly with the intent of giving yourself an experience of what success feels like at the next level. You can use faking it to trick your mind into believing momentarily that you have achieved something—or that you ARE something—which you aspire to be, but have yet to experience.
The “fake it” people walk for a day or a week in the shoes of a “new them” and learn what success feels like so they can find it and BE it more easily. And guess what? The feeling of this new kind of success becomes something they can authentically connect with.
“Fake it” to feel success, then “make it” part of your authentic identity
One of the most valuable insights to gain from the “fake it” strategy is to learn how powerful your own countenance is to those around you. If you fake it with the intent to see how others respond you may well learn that other people are willing to give you more credibility than you typically give yourself.
Walking the authentic path after that first fake step
How long can you walk the fake path? This depends on whether you keep feeling fake after your first taste of success. When you start integrating that success into your authentic identity you’re authentically making it your own and sloughing off the fake mask. When this results in a deeper belief about who you are and what you’re capable of, it’s no longer fake. You’ve become real.
The people who fail the “fake it til you make it” strategy never integrate the success they experience into their real identity. They say “I only got here because I faked it. I’m not good enough to do this without faking it so I am a fraud.” The self-definition “I am a fraud” comes through to others in everything they do. This is how they start down the hollow path.
Fake It Or Make It: Bottom Line
It’s all about your intent. Is your intention to use the fake it strategy to taste success and integrate that into your authentic self-definition? Then go for it. Is it to hide who you are so you can fool others into “knowing” what a fraud you are? Don’t go there.