Fake it til’ you make it

Last month I spoke to a small auditorium of college students, sharing my personal story that involved faking it til I made it. It was one of my top 5 takeaways and suggestions to improving thought life via cognitive therapy exercises we did together.

We focused on an exercise I call Control Circles, where you break a situation or event happening around you or to you into categories (circles), writing out what you have control over, what you can influence, and what you don’t have control over.

Writing it out helps you to: 

  • solidify your thought process
  • acknowledge that there is in fact aspects you have control over and aspects you don’t
  • figure out what you will do next
  • feel empowered and confident to move forward

The “fake it til’ you make it” phrase was one I used to look down on as disingenuous.  I mean, that’s literally what you’re saying: fake it. 

But now I think this phrase holds great value in helping you become unstuck.

Here’s an example. I attended the Avanti Entrepreneur Show last month. My business cards were not done yet, and I knew I would be surrounded by successful Rochester businessmen and women who have started several businesses in Rochester.

I made the last minute decision to BE CONFIDENT in my creative capabilities. I often muddy down my creativity in order to fit in a specific mold of what I believe others want from me.

So, I pulled out an old box that was filled with old post cards and pictures that my grandparents gave me when they moved out of their house.  It just came so quickly into my brain: “Thanks for capturing a moment in time with me.” Wow! I like that!

Even though I woke up feeling stupid for not having beautiful crisp business cards to hand out and network with, I faked my confidence to push against my self-condemning thoughts. Because truth is: I like who I am when I’m confident, and I have a lot to offer people. 

I am freaking amazing. I am so talented. I am so creative, and now I can give people a one of a kind “business card.” I am not going to apologize when I give this to them. When they ask to trade business cards, instead of hesitantly reaching into my notebook for one and having to explain that I didn’t have time to make business cards, I’m going to respond with “I have something BETTER for you.” And then whip this bad boy out:

So what was the result of me faking my confidence until it felt like I was actually confident? (This was within a 7 hour time span)! 

  • I got a job interview with an amazing businessman that presented at the event who I walked up to and asked if he was hiring. We exchanged information, and set up an interview.
  • I connected with a woman who moved to Rochester from London who started a business driving the creative process for local businesses via storytelling.
  • I met a few other coaches, who helped me to re-evaluate WHO needed me as their coach: I can’t be all things to all people. So who needs me in their corner? From there, I created a video for one small group of women who live in California based off of a connection and idea, and have several other phone conversations set up to reach people I haven’t met yet that need my coaching.
  • I networked so that I could make forward movement happen with Jericho House. I have already met with four additional people in the Rochester area who are like-minded, passionate, and more knowledgeable than I am in how to start a nonprofit.

People are attracted to your confidence. So practice it. 

They might not know that is what attracts them to you, but you are an expert in something. Are there people out there that are doing something similar but better? Sure. Are there people that look like they have it together, but are actually just as unsure as you are? Yes. Have you ever thought about practicing confidence as a way to gain it? Well…now you have. 😉

Questions for you: 

  • Think about where you spend most of your time…is it at home, is it at your job, is it traveling? Now think about who you are with: your family, your coworkers, your clients? What do you bring to the table to these people with the amount of time you spend with them? List all the positive things you contribute. (Those are your “expert contributions”). 
  • Where have you neglected to be confident in your various roles? Have you gained anything from doing so?
  • How can you fake it til’ you make it by choosing confidence, and not acting the way you think but acting the way you want to be treated?

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