Fake It Until You Make It

Having once survived a divorce, I picked up a little mantra we divorcing people repeated to deal with the onslaught of divorce-related depression: Fake it until you make it. Fake like you’re okay until that day when you wake up and don’t want to stay in bed. Paste that smile on your face until the day when it comes naturally again. Drag yourself through your routine until you regain the strength to pick it up again willingly. I guess the same could apply to the career, couldn’t it?

I’ve seen people with impossible ideas turn those ideas into profit. I’ve talked with enthusiastic people who had a better chance of getting run over by a train AND struck by lightning simultaneously. Yet there they are a short time later, leading the way. Years ago I talked with a guy at a trade show who was telling me all about this new gadget designed to streamline your life. I looked at it, the size of a calculator, and thought “Right. I don’t get it.” I didn’t get it, but I wanted one. They had cool marketing stuff and the sales guy was just infectious in his enthusiasm. Years later, even President Obama carries a BlackBerry.

It’s attitude, isn’t it? It’s painting on that face, screwing up the courage, and diving in headfirst. Mind you, there’s a fair bit of preparation involved, but for the most part, it’s what Eddie Izzard contends – only part of it is what you’re saying. The rest is in the delivery.

And in reality, you do have to be confident in what you do. Otherwise, how can you possibly convince clients you know what you’re doing? If you’re new to it, sure. Faking it is an option. If you’re up against a tough market or you’ve got life issues interfering with your work, why not fake it? Why not pretend your life is in perfect order just long enough to get through your day and score those jobs? It’s envisioning taken to the action phase. Imagine yourself being successful, then go out and do it.

Have you had to fake it lately? I’ll admit to a few bouts of “poor me” recently, but I’ll be damned if I’ll let this market win. You?

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  • devonellington June 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Nothing’s been as bad as February, and now, with the Mac, my productivity has doubled in the past month, so that reflects in the income.

    “Faking it until you make it” is another way of visualization, in a way. You’re living the life you want in the future as though it’s in the present moment, so you’re more open to the opportunities that make it a reality.

  • Carrie Wilson Link June 2, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Thank you for this – timely!

  • janineduff June 2, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks for this post, it really is all about attitude. Confidence is so vital to success. If you believe you can do it, you can. Envisioning success is often the first step to achieving it.

  • Amie June 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I used that phrase just the other day . . . glad to see I’m not the only one who employs this technique!

  • Amanda Nicole June 2, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Yet another reason to charge accordingly! I’ve found that by charging professional rates, clients treat me as a professional. Suddenly, I’m all professional-like 😉

  • Jesaka Long June 2, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    You said it, Lori! I really relate to this post. Several times, I’ve landed projects for work I’ve never done before and found myself scrambling to research pricing or current trends My mantra was “fake it till I make it” because I really wanted to gain the experience. It was worth it!

  • Kimberly Ben June 3, 2009 at 3:26 am

    Sometimes self-doubt starts creeping in and I quickly switch to "fake-it-till-you-make-it" mode. I also do this when working on a project I've never done before. I rely on this technique to keep me in the game.

  • L.L. June 6, 2009 at 2:18 am

    An EXCELLENT post, Lori! One I needed to read.