Can You Really Fake It Until You Make It?

Photo Postolatieva

Do you know what most successful people have in common? Their ability to fake it. We’ve talked to tons of important people in business and blogging and they all have a chuckle when they think of how they started up because a large portion of it was just pretending they were well-established when they were actually living with their parents.

We’re quite lucky that because of social media we can portray ourselves in any way we want to, and it’s highly unlikely that anyone will be able to tell. It’s all in the way you do it, I don’t really condone outright lying, but a few white lies are kind of essential to getting to where you need to be.

1. Faking it can make you seem more professional 

As Rosie Davies, the founder of the London Fashion Agency told us a few weeks ago, it’s all in the execution. It is more professional to say that you have a small shared office when you’re actually working in your bedroom and to have a media kit and website that looks super professional but you actually designed yourself. Rosie said that she would meet clients instead of bringing them back to her ‘office’ so they didn’t know it was just her and an intern in her bedroom.

Sometimes telling the truth can put people off, but as long as you have the drive to get an office and the execution to pull off a credible business, a white lie like that won’t hurt.

2. You can fake your feelings too

If you’ve seen the TED talk by Amy Cuddy, she talks about how a lot of the time when we put ourselves in scary or intimidating situations we automatically feel like an impostor. A lot of us can relate to this feeling, whether you’re attending a networking event or have been invited to a dinner, your body language gives away the fact that you are feeling intimidated. Taking some time to ‘fake’ confidence and ease will actually work at making you a confident person.

For example, I used to be so intimidated by the thought of meeting people one-to-one or attending a networking event on my own, but I barely give it a second thought these days, because we’ve had to do it so often. Faking it for a few months actually made me more confident at approaching people. Read more about communicating confidence when you’re nervous here.

3. The only way to get to where you want to be is to act like you’re already there 

The more you act like you’ve made it, the more you reassure yourself that you’re on your way to success and there’s nothing to worry about – the more you will feel comfortable and confident with your progress. Meeting new people and pitching ideas is terrifying if you feel like a small fish in a big pond, but if you tell yourself that you’re already up there, you will feel more assured.

You often hear people saying “I just knew she was going to be successful,” about celebrities or career girls, and this is because they usually ‘knew’ it too. Those people from the success stories knew the power of acting like the leader they wanted to be. Look at early Kanye West if you don’t believe me, he has acted the part throughout his whole career!

What do you think about faking it? Has it helped you get to where you want to be?

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  1. From our experience, learning to fake it is essential to getting a start-up off the ground. Like you said, you have to sell yourself, and people won’t buy something/someone that lacks confidence. Let’s be honest, when you first start, you have no idea the things you don’t know, you are so naive, probably works in your favor though. We laugh now when we look back at some “confident” conversation we had before we knew what we were talking about.. seriously.. embarrassing to remember. But they all played a part in where we are now. (Also, love the power pose article link!)

  2. Welll… There are some times when fake it ’til you make it is appropriate, and other times when it is not. If you need to project confidence, absolutely. But if you are selling a skill or service that requires real experience in order to be able to do well, that might not be such a good idea. My day job involves working with websites, and have come across many people who tried to pass themselves off as web designers or video producers and really just didn’t have the skills. If you try to fake it and take on work you can’t do, then you are jeopardizing the success of other people, like small business owners, which I couldn’t do in good conscience.

    Likely By Sea

  3. My thoughts exactly. Fake the polish and the confidence, for sure, but don’t take it too far into dishonesty territory.

    Hillary |

  4. faking it when it comes to confidence definitely helps =o) it gives you more courage

  5. Love this post! And I think it is so true what you are saying. You need to fake it till you make it, because that will already give you the right attitude and mindset that you need by the time you make it. Loving it! And unless you are lying, why not fake it a little? :)
    xx Ronja

  6. I agree with all of this. I am currently trying to get my skin care business, Rodan and Fields up and robustly running. I was wishy-washy in the beginning, a lot of negative thoughts, I can’t do this, etc. I broke my leg last July, several months of intense recovery and pain meds. Now, I have a vision. It is not about other peoples success, and the why am I not there yet? It is about knowing it’s not “if, but when”. So yes, yes, yes! Fake it it till you make it for sure! Who wants to join a losing team?? Peace, hope and joy in the journey all! xo

  7. Love this post and I agree. You must fake your confidence but you have to have some knowledge and experience about your business. I used to think I don’t know enough. Well no one knows everything and I often find I know more in areas that others do not. Good luck to us all and show confidence!

  8. Completely agree. There are times when faking it does creep into dishonest territory, and those times when someone could be hurt by a lie it’s definitely not the right thing to do, but I think sometimes it’s necessary to fake it, I always think it’s better to ‘white lie’ about something that will happen soon but hasn’t quite happened yet, or fake that your business behind the scenes is running much smoother than it actually is (just because nobody wants to see that chaos!) :). X

  9. Ooh good luck Yvonne! Sorry to hear about your leg, but glad that it gave you some time to re-evaluate your goals and decide what you want. If you go for it 100% it will happen! x

  10. Thanks Pippi! :) Exactly, I felt like an impostor about 100% of the time but I realized you learn by doing and trying! X

  11. Amazing! We have the same experience, looking back on our first few months we have to laugh. But all that made us what we are now – and we’re always learning! Ahh, glad you love the power pose talk – it’s a good one for sure! :) X

  12. I generally agree with this post, because as with anything else there are exceptions. In my case, I can’t fake the skills required in stock investments. I can only go into a room full of successful people and feel I can handle it knowing I’m doing great with the skills I have. But for others, faking a bit of confidence knowing you’re on the right patch and are doing fine sounds great to me.
    YouTube “Travel with Alexis”

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