‘FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT’ isn’t always a good idea

‘FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT’ isn’t always a good idea

Posted on July 24, 2018

My refreshingly candid, no BS yoga instructor once told our class an honest story about herself when she first started practicing yoga. She said for months she faked her dancer’s pose because getting into the proper pose was too painful. Instead, she tried to fake it ‘til she made it.

Earlier this week, I met with an intelligent, consistently curious, not-afraid-to-say-what’s-on-her-mind former colleague who described her inspiring career journey. At the heart of her story was – and continues to be – remaining true to herself, never wavering, never pretending to be someone she’s not. In fact, she attributes many of her successes to her commitment to being authentic.

As I spoke to many others throughout the week, I realized the common theme in my interactions was authenticity and the importance of revealing your true and genuine self in everything you do. In yoga, and in any physical activity/sport for that matter, it’s counterintuitive to fake it. What’s the point of doing any physical activity without being honest with yourself and giving it all you’ve got – heart, soul, everything? Understanding, of course, there are some days when we just don’t have the energy or we’re getting over a hump, most times, we do these things because we love them. It makes us feel good; brings us back to who we really are and we enjoy it.

So why do our attitudes change when it comes to work? When I graduated from business school, fresh-faced, excited and ready to face the corporate world with gumption, my peers and I found ourselves going head-to-head for the limited entry-level roles available to us at the time. Every person I knew had their own tactic or strategy on how to best get noticed, get their foot in the door and land that glamorous new desk job. I was surprised to see how many peers changed during this process. They became people I no longer recognized; on paper they were different, their appearance was different and their personalities changed. I’m sure you’re thinking, “What did you expect? It’s a competitive world.” You’re right, it is competitive but I’m a firm believer of being genuine regardless of the circumstance.

I like how Steve Tobak put it in his article on Entrepreneur.com:

“If nothing else, life is mostly about taking chances. It’s about stepping into the unknown. None of us have any real control over the outcome. But if you focus on what you’re good at – what you really love to do – and work hard to develop a marketable expertise, you won’t have to fake anything to make it. You simply will.”

And like my yoga instructor says, “It’s only a matter of time until someone calls your bluff.”

That being said, Amy Cuddy suggests to “fake it ‘til you become it.” The premise behind this is not so much be something you’re not; it’s really about taking your desires and energy and using it to be the best you can be. It’s about having conversations with and empowering yourself to achieve your goals. Amy says your body language, combined with your vision and drive will make a difference:

“Our bodies change our minds.

…And our minds change our behaviours

…And our behaviour changes our outcomes.”

There’s definitely something to be said for feeling our best to boost confidence. Looking our best, feeling energized and inspired, and even giving off a vibe of openness through body language all contribute to a more positive outlook. Just remember what Lisa Quast says, “here’s the thing, faking it will never get you the career success as quickly as hard work and a career development plan. Because faking it leaves out the most critical part of the equation: Effort.” She explains that expending the effort on faking it leaves us at a disadvantage, we’re no longer focusing our effort on what truly matters: developing ourselves. It is when we shift our focus to our development that we begin to gain confidence so that we no longer feel like we have to fake it to belong. Confidence is what enables us to feel know we are exactly where we are supposed to be. As my former colleague said to me earlier this week, ‘being authentic and finding a place that embraced my authenticity made me feel like I was home.’

Patricia Whitney, VP Recruitment Services

Photo credit: Antonika Chanel 

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