Should You “Fake It Til You Make It”?

I posed this question on the Veranda Lane Facebook page and got a few insightful responses:

“If that’s the beginning of a shift in perspective, it’s a good idea.”Fake it til you make it

“I believe in being yourself because if you’re acting otherwise…you aren’t being fair to yourself. Being yourself = happiness!”

“Truth helps and will always show up.”

“… “faking it” is not implying that one is or should be “phony”, per se, but rather one’s mindset and accompanying actions are there (at the point of success) even if the other attributes are not quite there yet.”

They are all right. There are situations when “faking it”, can feel like your best option, but there more situations when this will lead you to betray yourself and as the Facebook Fan puts it above “The truth will always show up”.

Faking Knowledge and Skills

Has your boss ever assigned you a project that’s completely over your head, then turned to you and said “You know how to do that, right?” Ohh, the horror! If you say no, boss lady may think you’re incompetent. If you say yes, you’ve got to figure it out. And you still have that fear of incompetence hanging over your head, but now it’s coupled with a fear of being found out. If you take that route, you’d better be a fast learner. Here are a few alternative answers:

“You know, I haven’t done that before, but I’ve done something similar and am sure I can figure it out.”

“Can you tell me more about what that requires?”

“I’m willing to learn, if you have the time to teach me.”

I’ve seen this go wildly awry and it doesn’t just affect the “Faker”. I recently worked with a contractor tasked with managing a huge marketing campaign. She was passionate about helping our mutual client, but I suspect, had bitten off more than she could chew. Three weeks into the campaign, the contractor had done absolutely nothing. That left me and the client working double overtime to make the project a success. It also left that contractor with one less job and some super bad mojo. No bueno.

If you’re pretending to know things you don’t, consider the ultimate impact. Can you figure it out quickly or is there a chance you’ll completely drop the ball?

Faking Success

If you’re building a business or simply building a successful life, it can help to picture yourself at the end of the road. When others ask you what you do, you may be of the Name and Claim It variety and say, “I’m a ____,” In actuality, that’s what you WANT to be, but you’re not quite there. If that increases your confidence and leads you to take more substantive steps towards that career…shine on you crazy diamond. However, that same answer becomes a fairy tale if you a) suck at that thing and will never actually make it or b) tell that story for years without taking a step.

It’s okay to inspire yourself to success by speaking your goals into existence. Notice, I said goals, not dreams, there’s a ginormous difference.

Faking Happiness

Faking happiness can be detrimental to your health. It’s like wearing a fake gold chain. Not only will it turn your neck green, but no one will buy you a real one, because they think you’ve already got it covered. We sometimes smile and laugh when faced with tough issues when we really should be standing up for something we believe in or going after something we deserve.

Picture this: You’re single. You tell all of your friends how much FUN it is to be independent and free. You go to a friend’s party and spot a hottie that you’d like to know better. Does your friend hook you up? NOPE.  She invited him there to meet Sally because Sally’s super open about the fact that she loves her life and wants to share it with someone. Sally and Hottie get married, you’re still single.

Let’s review:

Fake Knowledge = Stressed, dishonest and setting others back

Fake Success = If you’re dreaming, wake up.

Fake Happiness = Lonely, sad, blocking your blessing.

My advice, don’t Fake it til you make it. Set goals, change your attitude, shift your perspective and actually MAKE IT. In the meantime, keep it real.

What do you think, have you ever faked it? How’d that work out?

Leave a comment


  1. Great distinctions here! As a business coach I coach people every day to be completely authentic so the word “fake” rarely enters the conversation and when it does, it is ejected quickly. The “review” beautifully sums up the concept of fake !

    • Thanks for stopping by Kim! I’m surprised when many new small business owners or budding corporate rockstars embrace this mantra without really considering the affect of the word “fake”. I myself developed an even stronger opinion on the topic as I wrote this post.

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