They say fake it till you make it but what happens when you fail to meet up to the standards you’ve portrayed ?
When struggling with confidence, a lot of times we are advised to “just go for it,” or “fake it till you make it,” in hopes that by faking it we would eventually become confident enough to carry out the activity we were initially scared of doing.
The art of ‘faking it till you make it’ simply means to pretend to be something or someone that you know you are not in the hope of becoming that person.
Before I get critical, I myself, in the past have put on a different persona (I channelled my inner Tyra Banks) in nerve wrecking situations. The first time I hosted an event with a large group of people, before walking on stage, I said to myself “as long as you appear confident the audience will love you.“ I went on stage and began to act how I perceived a good host would be and by the end of the night my nerves had disappeared. I became what my idea of great host was (confident, stylish and engaging).
Whist this post highlights the dangers of “faking it till you make it,” I do believe to some extent that faking it can be useful in certain situations. I have read of studies where psychologist have encouraged patients struggling with depression and anxiety to adopt this method to help them deal with daily activities they struggle with. The patients are encouraged to act brave, ignore the negative thoughts, and do an activity they would normally struggle with, by doing this they can slowly gain a sense of confidence and control over their life. Although this works for some people living with anxiety disorders, others have reported that “Fake it ’til you make it” can feel just that — fake.” Healtyplace
When does faking it become a problem?
In circumstances where you do not have enough time to develop the desired personality or credentials, faking it can become detrimental to your success.
You applied for a job knowing you lack the fundamental skills for the role and believed that through portraying a false confidence in the interview you will eventually be able to develop the skills required whilst doing the job. You successfully got given the job because you were able to convince the interviewers that you are capable of carrying out the tasks required. Upon starting the role you realise that you are way in over your head but you feel you cannot ask for help because you want to keep up the appearance of being confident/competent
“In faking it you risk suffering in silence.” TillyJoanAdams
In the situation above faking it till you make it does not work to your advantage. If you had been truthful about your strengths and weaknesses from the beginning, your chances of getting the job may have reduced significantly, however, if by some miracle you got offered the job you would’ve been able to freely ask for help as you would have no false image to live up to.
The reason why faking it does not work in the scenario above is simply because the person that you wish to become through faking it is required instantly. Unfortunately, you simply do not have the time to practice those skills as you are required to have them readily at the present time. The employer bought into a polished version of yourself and not a ‘work in progress’.
Time is necessary to benefit from the art of faking it till you make it. The reason why it is encouraged is because, it is believed that by slowly acting the way you wish to be you would eventually grow confident and become who you want to be, however, such outcome cannot be attained over-night. It requires practice, hence it is crucial to measure whether the situation in which you want to apply this strategy is time sensitive.
If you do not have the luxury of time to practice to be the desired version of yourself, you may benefit from acknowledging your weaknesses instead of portraying a false persona.
“The current version of you might just be enough,” TillyJoanAdams