“Fake it till you make it”… What about “Own it till you make it”…?

Advice I have been given time and time again, and advice I have given.. “Fake it till you make it”, or “don’t let them see you sweat”. Good advice. You want to exude confidence. Please are drawn to those who are confident. Confidence is associated with success. This is problematic for me; my nature is not terribly confident (although I guessing putting myself out there with this blog would not support that observation). I am also an introvert. Confidence and self assurance are key competencies of Emotional Intelligence. All true. All well studied, but ‘times they are a changin…’ What I want to consider is how do we still let people be vulnerable, show genuine humility. The balance between hubris and humble is where it’s at. Yes we want to highlight our successes, not shirk away from shining, or be deferential to our wonderful strengths and strides. Women, this especially means you… don’t be sheepish of showcasing what you have done. But what if you haven’t done that? What if you aren’t sure how that goes? Do we fake that too? Or can we just say “I don’t know”, “I am uncertain”. Newsflash leaders, you don’t have to know the answer. That is why you hired the people around you. And emerging leaders, you cannot know. We hear a lot these days about a growth mindset. YES! YES! YES! We are moving forwarding, we are learning from our mistakes. We aren’t faking that the mistake didn’t happen. We aren’t faking that we know. We aren’t faking that every move we make was a strategic step. We are kind, we apologize, to ourselves, to others. We are learning. Nothing to fake. Own what you know and own what you don’t. Own where you stepped in it. Own the growth. Anyone who had a failure (this means you) I think you would agree that it (many) was one of your greatest learnings. Why wouldn’t you want to own that!!! To be vulnerable and share your learnings. To let people see that moving forward toward the goal is about having blow ups (unless of course you work with dynamite, then hopefully your blow ups are in simulations).

As leaders leaving space for others to say, “I don’t know”, role modeling this and sharing failure is a powerful approach. We talk so much these days about building a ‘Psychologically Safe’ environment – my quick definition is a place that let’s all voices feel/know that is it ok to speak their mind – but what about psychological bravery? How do we as individuals know it is ok to be brave to ask questions, to share ideas, to be uncertain, when the advice we have been given is “fake it till you make it”??? So let’s change the mantra. Don’t fake it. Don’t ever fake it (ahem)! Be brave and role model to signal to others that is okay. It will be contagious. Authenticity is contagious.

“Fake it” for some may be more about that positive self talk. And to that I say, yup keep it up! We know that having hope and optimism about our goal and ramping up that positive self talk helps us get to where we want to be, getting to wherever “make it” means to you. I am not convinced that is faking it, that is just giving yourself the boost and confidence to realize what you want.

Leaders and team members all have a common goal. Meet the vision of the organization. If you joined the organization, I hope you feel connected to the vision. If you don’t, you may want to examine that, but that is for another ramble… Leaders and team members both have a responsibility to ensure an inclusive, diverse in thought team. Leaders need to create the space and role model for team members to be brave. We don’t need to pretend to know. So let’s stop faking and start growing.

Happy Friday Eve!

Published by rachaelsarahgass

Working mom, wife, friend, sister, organizational psychologist, learner, coach. Kindness Counts. People First. Integrity Always.

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