Have You Become A Fake To Make It?

fake it till you make it

“Fake it till you make it” is a common piece of advice people receive in business. They often hear it if they did not get a job they interviewed for or a promotion they so desperately wanted. The reason they are told so is because they are struggling with self-confidence or lack a strong executive presence. Part of the thought behind “fake it till you make it” is if you act with confidence, you trick your body to feel confident, and you will eventually become confident.

The best example of this theory is Amy Cuddy’s idea of “power posing.” Through her research, Cuddy found that if you hold an expansive posture – stand like Wonder Woman with your hands on your hips – you will feel more powerful and confident. You are physiologically tricking your body into feeling confident. Another example is by holding a pencil between your teeth, you can make yourself feel happy. I always tell my son not to put a pencil in his mouth, but maybe it is not a bad idea after all.

While tricking your body physiologically to feel a certain way might make sense at the moment, adopting a “fake it till you make it” mindset is a dangerous and short-sighted proposition.

When a person hears “fake it till you make it,” what he really hears is, “You are not good enough. You need to be different. You need to be like someone else or an image of someone who has ideal qualities and characteristics.” No wonder there are so many insecure people in business, especially at top-level positions. So often, these feelings of insecurity result in leaders acting out at moments of desperation. This kind of behavior can also lead to an unbearably toxic work environment that lacks meaningfulness.

The “fake it till you make it” approach sets up everyone for failure. It is unsustainable. You might be able to trick your body and mind to appear confident. However, if deep down you are not, then you will continue to feel inadequate at best, and miserable and hopeless at worst.

Another danger of this approach is you might become so good at “fake it till you make it” that you might actually make it – you will achieve your goals, such as getting a big promotion. Then, what? Yes, you got what you wanted, but you had to fight against your nature to get there. Do you even know who you are now? Are you happy with the person you have become? You may not be, which is why “fake it till you make it” is short-sighted advice.

It is more effective to spend time understanding your natural tendencies and talents and working with them, not against them, to achieve your goals. Everyone is different, and there is no one best way to work. In her book Presence, Amy Cuddy said, “Focus less on the impression you’re making on others and more on the impression you’re making on yourself.”

You can reach your goals by knowing yourself, understanding how you learn, think, and operate and by pursuing your aspirations in an authentic and real way. Personal power comes from the ability to act based on your beliefs, values, and attitudes. Be yourself.

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