Integrity or Fakery: The Problem with Fake it till You Make it
I think every person has at least once been advised to, “Fake it till You Make it.” If you want to be successful (in business, in the interview, in the friend group, or at school), project confidence in who you are, what you know, and what you can do. While this phrase certainly means different things to different people, usually it means play the part, stretch the truth, tell a few white lies, and omit key information. After all, It’s all for the dream. It’s just doing business. This is what it takes to make it.
Faking it till you make it may seem like a way to rewire our thinking and grow self-confidence but often it leads to more doubt and imposter syndrome. Not only that but faking often requires us to operate against our moral compass or values. Integrity and fakery simply aren't a harmonious blend. Yet, it's a phrase turned over and circulated and offered up as effortlessly as pancakes.
Here's why: it's not always bad advice. Some people use “fake it till you make it” to stretch themselves into uncomfortable places or overcome momentary lapses of confidence. They may use it as a tool to push through mental or emotional blocks to stay focused on their goals. For example, faking that you’re enjoying yard work on a Saturday by smiling, and talking positively about the task can help you change your perspective. Or, faking confidence in the meeting because you really are prepared and have no logical reason to feel jittery can help you re-focus your energy. It's not always bad advice, but I believe there is a much better way to phrase it, because in these situations, there isn't any true faking till you make it going on (read on).
However you define “Fake it till you Make it”, one can’t get around that big word – Fake. Faking can go too far. Have you ever been on the receiving end of a faker who is just trying to make it? I have, too.
There's the married couple who racked up credit card debt with expensive jewelry, clothes, and a luxury car as part of their "Fake it till You Make it" so they could build their MLM downline (while losing friendships). A rug cleaner took my rugs into his truck and then returned them three weeks later, faking that he did the job (even with the unmoved food crust). And just today, I (hopefully) stopped someone from giving money to a person on Facebook, faking that he was a local family man with a start-up business. It only took thirty seconds to discover he was a guy in Pakistan. And the copywriter who stretched (fibbed) her work experience and training to get clients.
Fake it till you make it reminds me of the scene in Joe Vs the Volcano where Joe’s boss, Mr. Waturi repeatedly asks, “I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?” Sometimes faking it till you make it gets you into a place where you cannot deliver what you promise (or alluded to), and no matter what business or social circles you are in, that will indeed catch up to you.
So, what then? Fake it till you make it is not great advice, and it’s often unethical. It leads to more self-doubt and imposter syndrome, and honestly, it just feels yucky to go against your own values. Instead of faking it, face it and focus till you make it. Learn it till you earn it. Be real, be authentic, have integrity, and keep growing forward. Success is more than what you do in life; true success also comes from how you BE in life – how you treat yourself and others. Nobody likes a fake, and I dare to say that most don’t enjoy being a fake, either.
What's better than faking it? Why, being YOU, of course!
If you’ve been suckered into the “Fake it till you make it” mentality, or if you’re struggling with true confidence or imposter syndrome, I have an exceptional tool that helps you identify your God-given wiring, strengths, motivators, and communication style. The better you know who you are, the more equipped you’ll be to make a positive impact in your world, and the more lighter and joyful living will be. Get in touch with me and ask about "Personality Insights Consulting"! It's a powerful game-changer in focus, setting goals, communication, motivation, self-awareness, and finding your purpose!