How many times have you heard people say to you “Fake it till you make it!”? And how many times have you said to yourself “but I can’t”? More times than you’d care to share I’m guessing.
The thing is we know we should be faking it till we make it, we know this is the way forward. But knowing it and doing it are two very different games.
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And you know what? It’s often a gender thing.
It is said that men will apply for a job when they meet just 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100%.
How many times have you looked at a job ad and said to yourself “I can do all but one of the tasks listed, so I’m not going to apply”?
I have seen this time and time again:
- when I taught English to job-seekers in France
- when I went to business networking meetings for women and
- over the last 5 years of blogging in the messages I have received from my female readership
In general we, as women, don’t feel confident pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. We often don’t feel we can cope in a world where we aren’t in perfect control of everything.
But it’s time to stop. As it means you are missing out on so much.
It really comes down to a fear of failure.
If you don’t push yourself, if you don’t test yourself, if you don’t go beyond your comfort zone, then you will never have to suffer the humiliation, the shame or the pain of failure.
Which reminds me of this beautiful line in a poem by Australian poet Erin Hanson:
“What if I fall?
Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”
I am lucky enough to be one of those people who can “fake it till you make it”. And I use the term ‘lucky enough’ because it’s down to my mum and the things she repeated to me over the years as I was growing up.
Whenever I would say things like “imagine being a…” or “imagine doing xyz” she would always reply to me “go on then! What’s stopping you?”
So I grew up with the idea that I could be or do whatever inspired me.
Don’t get me wrong, I have fallen, crashed and burned more times than I care to remember. But the times that I have flown and soared across the sky more than make up for it.
So why are you struggling to fake it till you make it?
Because most of us – women in particular – are told “you can’t do that” or “play it safe, play it small” or “what if it doesn’t work out?”.
In my final year of school my teacher wanted me to drop History A level. I’d failed miserably at it in my mock exams, and he predicted I would fail come the final exams. (It was graded A-E and I didn’t even manage an E.)
He told me “you can’t do it” and “you will fail”. I told my parents what he’d said, but that I felt I could do it and that I wouldn’t fail. They told me to go ahead and take the exam.
Well guess what?
I got a B grade in my final exam – better than friends who were going off to study History at university.
I might have waved it in front of that teacher’s face on results’ day….!!
The thing is you will hear, your entire life, people saying to you “you can’t” and “you’ll fail” and “it won’t work”. And they will be right a lot of the time, but what of the few times when they’re wrong? That will more than make up for the failures, the broken and bruised body you pick up off the ground when you fall.
In 2006 a whole load of things happened for Ben and me:
- we moved into our forever home that we had watched being built for the past 2 years
- we both turned 30
- I got pregnant and carried this baby to term and
- we decided to give up our safe, secure, well-paid jobs to start our own business together
You can imagine all the “you can’ts” and the “it won’t works” that we heard.
And we weren’t idiots. We knew that most new businesses fail. We knew that we were going to be exhausted with a newborn baby. We knew that we were taking a big risk and it would cost us a lot of time and money. But we also knew the time had come to see if our wings would be enough for us to fly.
We spent a long time playing the fake it till you make it role. Because everyone was waiting for us to come crashing down.
And we did fly and soar for quite a while, before our wings failed us, thanks to the global recession.
I’m not going to lie to you, when you pick yourself up off the ground you won’t be ready to fake it till you make it again. Not at first anyway.
It takes a while for those wounds to heal, for those broken bones to mend. But when they do, you can get back out there, stronger than the first time 🙂
How can YOU fake it till you make it?
If you have spent your whole life hearing “you can’t do it” or “it won’t work” then it’s going to be hard for you to fake it till you make it first of all. Of course it is. You can’t unlearn years of playing it small overnight. But there are ways around this.
- Read autobiographies of people who have won and achieved things against all the odds
- Draw up a list of your dreams, of what you would do in an ideal world with zero restrictions
- Now take each dream and make a new list of what you need to do or achieve to make each one come true
- Finally what is the absolute worst case scenario if you fall instead of flying? And would it really be the end of the world?
I have played the fake it till you make it game more times than I can remember. And I have also lived out my worst case scenario more times than I would have liked. But I have also had some incredible life experiences along the way and I wouldn’t change that for the world. Not to mention that living life this way has brought me to the beautiful island of Mauritius 🙂
I was listening to a great interview with writer Caitlin Moran last week, in which she reminds us that life is so short and fragile. That we should be living it to the full, not just surviving it. I couldn’t agree more Caitlin.
If you would love to fly and soar but don’t know how to make the right decision. Or maybe you are tied up in knots with fear, then grab my FREE video guide on decision-making, facing fears and knowing which risks to take.
When you’re struggling to fake it till you make it remember you’re not alone. You can do it, and it will turn your world around when you do.
P.S. if you liked this then I’d love you to share it 🙂
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