We have all heard the phrase, “ fake it till you make it ” a million times – if not at least a handful of times. I am a firm believer in the idea. But, sometimes practicing the idea can lead to feelings of inauthenticity or fear of being found out, basically feeling like a fraud. I know the title of this post says “without feeling like a fraud,” but truthfully I would be more worried about you if you didn’t feel this way. Let me explain.
The practice of ” fake it until you make it ” can be both productive and detrimental, depending on your level of self-awareness and belief in yourself. I would argue that if you are in fact faking it till you make it, and have zero feelings of being a fraud you most likely lack self-awareness and suffer from a huge lack of belief in yourself. I could be wrong, but I believe this to be true based on personal experience.
I’ll be honest, there was a time where I felt I was most definitely “the sh**.” I believed I had life figured out and had cracked the code to ultimate success. I didn’t have any sort of track record to prove it, so I started just faking it. I dressed the part, talked the part, walked the part and spent all of my energy trying to convince other people I had it all figured out. While unknowingly, underneath it all, I was terribly insecure. In other words, lack of self-awareness.
Thankfully, I was in the process of doing a lot of personal growth and began to feel suffocated by the energy I was putting into faking it. I realized I was faking it because I needed to convince others of my worth, so that I could feel I was worth something. I needed other people to believe in me so that I could believe in me. Or in other words, major lack of belief in myself.
In that state, faking it was detrimental. But, when you come from a place of belief, when you don’t feel the need to convince others to believe in you, when you are self-aware enough to know you aren’t “the sh**,” but you do it anyway – that is called being courageous enough to go for something, before you’re sure you’re ready.
That is called stretching yourself, betting on yourself, knowing that you might not have everything figured out but trusting that you will figure things out as you go along. Faking it till you make it takes a lot of guts. You might surprise yourself, people may start to look to you as a leader, or consult you for advice. Meanwhile you are thinking to yourself, if these people only knew that I literally have no idea what I’m doing… I’m just doing and figuring it out. It is natural to have insecure moments of feeling like a fraud; it’s ok, and normal to feel that way.
What makes you worthy of admiration in the eyes of the observer is not that you have it all figured out; it is that you DON’T have it all figured out, but you do it anyway!