Should you ‘fake it until you make it’?

One of the many pieces of advice you will hear about creating your brand and reputation is to ‘fake it until you make it’. This advice is from the school of thought that suggests if you say you are something, then this is the necessary first step to you, and others believing that you are the real deal.

My own personal take on this, is actually ‘don’t fake it until you make it’. I’ll explain why… Most professionals suffer from impostor syndrome where they are always expecting someone to tap them on the shoulder and say, “leave please, you’ve been found out.” By adopting the ‘fake it until you make it’ approach, you only intensify this fear of being found out. Which means that, even when you have made it, you may always have this heightened sense of anxiety that you are not qualified to do the piece of client work, write the article, deserve to make partner, or take the stage at a conference.

In addition to the imposter syndrome, whilst you are concentrating on ‘faking it until you make it’, you will struggle to be your authentic self. It’s your authentic self that makes you appear genuine, likeable and probably most importantly credible. I’ve won many pieces of work, that I actually didn’t deserve to win, by being honest and expressing my doubts about whether I am the right person for the client to work with.

Your credibility and reputation are too important to you to risk by ‘faking it until you make it’. My suggestion is to adopt a different approach, and borrowing a quote from a dear friend of mine, Dinah Liversidge:

“earn it, whilst you learn it”

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