Is ‘fake it til you make it’ in your recent or frequently used phrase book?
Oh man, this was my mantra throughout my time at Google. It was 100% how I felt like I made it through product design reviews, accounting meetings, annual planning sessions, and endless interactions.
However, today I realize how self deprecating that phrase really is and that it truly comes from an undercurrent of feeling not-enoughness and a strong case of imposter syndrome.
Fake it til I make it drips of self doubt.
It is fueled by the energy of ‘I have to pretend that I know what I’m doing and must protect myself to ensure that no one calls me on it’. A constant message of ‘I’m not good enough’. This carries an incredible weight, and for me only got heavier as I moved up. More responsibility, more doubt, more fear of being found out, more feeling that I was constantly faking it.
There’s always an amount of learning on the fly and being adaptable. That comes up in all different areas of life and there’s an aspect of it that’s thrilling and creates a rush. It’s sometimes fun to be thrown into the deep end and have to learn to swim and find your way back to the edge. This is an aspect of growth. Yet, what’s important is the energy behind everything.
For me now, the phrase in my book is ‘Acting as if it’s good and done’.
This is a knowing, trust, and belief that you’re stepping into the role as your future self, the one who has all the learnings and information, and you believe that you are indeed that gal or guy. It’s acting from a place that you have everything you need to be successful. And that may even mean reaching out and asking for help. There’s no glory in trying to go at this all alone. And if you need a refresher, check out this article. Asking for help is by no means a sign of weakness, rather one of strength and positioning yourself to be even more powerful in your future self.
There is an energetic nuance between ‘I’m going to fake it until I make it’ and ‘I’m acting as if it’s good and done.’
When you show up as your future ideal self, he or she becomes your current reality and you begin to shift. You’re no longer faking it, it’s not about hiding and feeling all the self doubt; no, it’s about believing that you are indeed capable of that role, that responsibility, that new season of life. When you begin to do, be, and have him or her right now you’re open, expansive, and opportunities fall into your lap.
Back when I was in Online Sales at Google in the early 2000s Sheryl Sandberg used to say, ‘dress for the position that you want’. At the time she was truly talking about clothing, yet there was a deeper message in there. It was this idea of act, show up, be the role you want to be. If you want to lead, act like a leader. Step up, pull it together, put that ‘outfit’ on. Believe that you are that person.
So take a moment to think about how you’re showing up. Especially in places that you might feel vulnerable, that you’re still somewhere on the learning curve, that you haven’t mastered yet.
The intention and energy of believing, knowing, and trust that your future self is indeed a bad-ass and is not in fact an imposter is so much more powerful than hiding self doubt under the guise of faking it. Show up as that future version of yourself today, tomorrow, the next day, and beyond. You’ll soon start to really be that person and wonder why you ever hid under all the doubt.
Try the outfit of your future self on, see how it feels. Act as if it’s good and done. It already is.