Fake It Till You Make It?

How many times have you heard this saying? It sounds kind of backwards and even a little shady. In some ways this can get you into big trouble. In other ways this can move you to the next level of success.

Like many things in life it all depends on just how you use this idea. No one wants to go to a doctor that is just “faking” it. In other areas “faking” it is not really being dishonest. It is simply doing something you “can” do before you have the confidence in your abilities.

I will tell a personal story that I feel demonstrates this point pretty well. My first job after college was working in a small law office. My job was as a Paralegal working in the bankruptcy dept. The process was actually pretty simple. I filled in forms, then filed those forms at the Federal Court.

I still remember my very first case. I will not give names for privacy reasons but I can still after over 26 years remember the clients name. The Attorney I was working for gave me three things to study.

He gave me a do it yourself bankruptcy book that anyone could get at a book store, A full set of blank bankruptcy forms and a completed set of bankruptcy forms. He gave me these on the first Monday I worked for Him. He gave me all that and at the same time He told me, “study these because you have an appointment on Wednesday at 2:00”.

As he was leaving the office He said if I had any questions I could talk to him tomorrow as He would be in court all day today. Needless to say I had about zero confidence in my ability to do all of this after only two days of reading.

Well after two days of frantic reading and going through the forms. A half day of practicing vocabulary so I didn’t sound like an idiot. 1:00 pm Wednesday came and I was one hour away from my appointment and scared to death.

Finally at 1:45 I just decided, as I had no other options, to “fake” it. I thought to myself “if I can fake it well enough that no one can tell the difference I can make it”. Well the appointment came and went. 30 minutes after 2:00 the client left my office. Before the end of the day I had all the paperwork filled out and ready to go.

So after that first appointment I always told myself “just fake it through this one and things will work out”. After a little while I was no longer “faking it” but actually doing it. Well I congratulated myself on “faking it” so well and moved on with my job.

I would have stopped there without learning the most important thing. Except, about a year later I had a reason to go back and review my very first case. It just so happened that as I had that first file on my desk I also had a current file open on my desk as well.

For some reason I don’t know I decided to compare my first “faked” case to my current one in which I “knew” what I was doing. What I found surprised me because it wasn’t what I expected. I don’t know why but I expected the first one to be a mess. Full of errors I just did not know I had committed.

After reading through the entire file I could not find one mistake. I could not even find one place where I would have done anything different. That first file was exactly the same as the one I was working on currently.

That’s when I came up with a little motto.

” If you can fake it as well as everyone else that is doing it what’s the difference? “

I learned at that time a simple yet powerful fact.:

It does not matter if you “think” you can do it. It matters whether you do it or not.
If you don’t “think” you can do it, then “fake it” and get it done anyway.

Now this is not about pretending to be something you are not. For example you don’t want to go around faking being a Doctor giving medical advice. You could kill someone and get into a lot of trouble.

This IS about getting past that negative mental state and doing whatever it is that you need to do. Even if you don’t believe it at the time, You can “fake it till you make it”.

Eventually, you will find as I did. You are no longer faking anything but have actually become that person.

It is natural to have some questions when you first try something. It is deadly to your success and happiness if you let those doubts and questions stop you from doing what you want or must do.

A great talk about this idea.It’s not only about body language.