Generally, the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” has a positive connotation, meaning that while you may not have the job or position you want, you should always maintain the type of confidence a person who has grasped his goals would have. This sounds great, but how do we exact this rule without losing ourselves? Doesn’t faking rebut the wisdom imparted on us as kids to always tell the truth? Does faking it until we make it include living a lie?
How do we exact this rule without losing ourselves?
I whole-heartedly subscribe to Oprah Winfrey’s philosophy that “there is no such thing as luck. Luck is being in the right place at the right time, prepared.” I also believe you have to create your opportunities, and here is where faking it comes into play. If I called executive Sheila Johnson, I would have to convince her assistant to put me through to Ms. Johnson. I might have a better chance of actually speaking with her if I claimed I was McGhee Enterprises rather than Shun McGhee.
A second scenario might be if I needed the executives to help finance one of my projects, and I know that they traditionally meet at a particular golf course on Saturday mornings, I could fake an interest in golf to create an opportunity to speak with them. I would read up on the game, invest in or rent some golf clubs, and get a tee time just before or after their game starts. In this way, I might be able to begin a conversation leading to a discussion about my business and then parlay that discussion into a meeting concerning the funding I’m seeking.
Neither scenario required me to exhaust all of my resources or amend my character to a point where I was unrecognizable; this is the key to exercising this philosophy in a healthy way.
Doesn’t faking rebut the wisdom imparted on us as kids to always tell the truth?
No. I am not in any way encouraging you to misrepresent yourself. If we revisit my earlier example where I suggested saying that I was calling from McGhee Enterprises, I did not lie. An enterprise can be an activity, exercise, or venture. If you look at it that way, I am Shun “McGhee” calling to discussing a venture or enterprise. Faking it does not necessarily require lying, but it may include putting a creative spin on your presentation.
Does faking it until we make it include living a lie?
Not if you are doing it correctly. The singer and guitarist Prince is about 5 feet 2 inches tall. To compensate for his small stature, he does not tell people that he is taller than he is, but he wears heeled shoes. These shoes make him appear taller, which makes him feel more confident. Faking it ‘til you make it is not about living a lie but about creating a larger appearance that grants you an opportunity to present who you really are or what you can really do.
Today’s job market is quite competitive. As such, there is a tremendous opportunity to employ creative approaches to garner attention from potential employers and, hopefully, help you move in a positive professional direction. Think outside the box. Use your creativity to prop open the professional door and your talent and integrity to keep you inside.