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Fake It Till You Make It: The Truth About Your Authentic Self


Many people have heard the age-old adage “fake it till you make it”. It tells us to portray confidence even when we feel like imposters and to act the part before we get the job. But is bravado the key to success, or is there a better way to accomplish our goals?

Read more: Fake It Till You Make It: The Truth About Your Authentic Self

Fake It Till You Make It Meaning

The phrase “fake it till you make it” means to act confident and competent even if you don’t necessarily feel that way inside. The hope is that by projecting this outward appearance, you’ll eventually develop the real confidence and skills you’re mimicking.

Here’s a breakdown of the meaning:
  • Fake it: This refers to putting on an act, pretending to have the confidence or knowledge you might lack.
  • Till you make it: This implies that by acting confident, you’ll eventually achieve your goals and become truly confident in the process.

It’s a strategy that can be tempting, especially when facing new challenges or stepping outside your comfort zone.

Fake It Until You Make It Psychology

The psychology behind “fake it till you make it” is fascinating, and it revolves around the premise that our external behavior can influence our internal mood. Here’s a deeper dive.

  • The Mind-Body Connection: Our brains constantly watch our behaviors and interpret them as signs to comprehend our emotions. For example, smiling (even if forced) can cause the production of feel-good neurotransmitters, which make you feel better. This principle also applies to confidence. Acting confident can deceive your brain into believing you are, which boosts your self-confidence.
  • Cognitive Dissonance: This theory suggests we experience discomfort when our beliefs and actions clash. So, if you act confident while doubting yourself, your brain tries to resolve this dissonance. It might do this by actually increasing your confidence over time to match your outward behavior.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: By acting a certain way, you can influence how others perceive you. Projecting confidence can lead to opportunities and positive feedback, further solidifying your confidence.
However, it’s important to consider the downsides:
  • Imposter Syndrome: Constantly feeling like a fake can fuel feelings of inadequacy and anxiety, worsening imposter syndrome.
  • Lack of Growth: Concentrating on the act can keep you from developing the skills and information required for actual success.
  • What’s the takeaway? “Fake it till you make it” is a useful technique in certain situations, but it should not be your entire strategy. This is a more balanced approach.
  • Focus on Growth: Combine outward confidence with a real desire to learn and improve your abilities.
  • Celebrate Your Strengths: Identify your unique talents and use them authentically.
  • Be Vulnerable: Sharing your true self, including your insecurities, builds trust and genuine connections.

You will gain genuine confidence and accomplish success on your terms by embracing your abilities and always learning.

Fake It Till You Make It Examples

Here are some examples of “fake it till you make it” in action, both positive and negative:

Positive Examples:
  • The Public Speaking Newbie: Imagine someone terrified of public speaking but lands a presentation opportunity. They might practice projecting their voice and making eye contact (faking confidence) to deliver a successful presentation (making it). This initial success can boost their confidence for future presentations.
  • The Networking Novice: A person new to a field might attend industry events and strike up conversations, even if they feel intimidated (faking it). This can lead to valuable connections and potential job opportunities (making it).
Negative Examples:
  • The Clueless Consultant: Someone lands a consulting gig despite lacking in-depth knowledge of the client’s industry. They might bluff their way through meetings (faking it) but ultimately struggle to deliver results, damaging their reputation (not making it).
  • The Overly Confident Leader: A leader might project an air of unwavering confidence but lack the skills to guide their team effectively. This facade can erode trust and hinder the team’s success (not making it).
Key Points to Remember:
  • “Fake it till you make it” can work best when combined with a genuine effort to develop the skills you need.
    It’s important to be honest about your limitations while projecting confidence in your ability to learn and grow.
  • True success comes from authenticity and a foundation of real skills and knowledge.

How to Fake It Until You Make It—The Right Way

The phrase “fake it till you make it” has a terrible reputation at times. It evokes ideas of insincerity and false swagger. However, there is a way to use this method for good, moving yourself forward without sacrificing your actual self. Here’s how to “fake it till you make it” the proper way:

Focus on “Act As If,” not “Pretend to Be.”

The main distinction here is intention. Pretending is about constructing an illusion, whereas acting involves embodying the potential you perceive in yourself. Consider your most confident self in a given situation. How would they carry themselves? How would they approach the challenge? Act like you’re that person, utilizing their skills.

Celebrate Your Strengths (and Flaws!)

“Faking it” doesn’t mean pretending you’re perfect. It’s about showcasing your unique talents and experiences with confidence. Nobody is perfect, and acknowledging your areas for growth can be refreshing and disarming. It shows you’re willing to learn.

Embrace the Learning Mindset

Confidence isn’t about knowing everything. It’s about believing in your ability to learn and adapt. Ask questions, seek feedback, and actively seek opportunities to grow. This genuine desire to learn will shine through and make you more relatable.

Project Confidence Through Body Language.

Even if you don’t feel confident, your body language might influence how you feel inside. Stand tall, make eye contact, and smile. These nonverbal gestures can convey confidence and help you feel more powerful in the situation.

Find your voice (even if it trembles somewhat)

Don’t be scared to speak out and express your thoughts, even if your voice shakes somewhat. The main thing is to participate and contribute. The more you practice utilizing your voice, the more powerful and confident you will become.

“Faking it till you make it” is a temporary technique for closing the gap between where you are and where you want to go. True magic occurs when you mix outward confidence with a genuine desire to learn and progress. That is the way to meaningful and long-term success, founded on your authentic self.

When Not to Fake It Until You Make It.

While “fake it till you make it” might be a beneficial strategy, it can also backfire in some instances. Here are some red flags to look out for.

  • Essential talents are Missing: If the work requires certain technical talents that you do not have, feigning confidence can lead to disaster. Focus on gaining the essential knowledge.
  • Safety is at Stake: Never fake competence when safety is on the line. If you’re unqualified to handle machinery or medical procedures, be honest and prioritize safety.
  • Building Trust is Crucial: In situations where trust is paramount, like leadership roles or client relationships, a facade of confidence can erode trust if your skills don’t follow suit. Focus on building genuine trust through competence and transparency.
  • The Role Requires Authenticity: Some professions, like therapists or counselors, thrive on genuineness. Here, faking confidence can create a barrier between you and those seeking help. Be your authentic self to build rapport and trust.
  • You’re Masking Deeper Issues: If your need to “fake it” stems from insecurity or low self-esteem, address those issues directly. Building genuine confidence is a more sustainable approach than constantly projecting a facade.

There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know” or “I’m still learning.” Honesty and a willingness to learn are often more respected than a put-on show of confidence.

Here are some alternative strategies when “faking it” isn’t the answer:
  • Be Upfront and Communicate: Express your eagerness to learn and your commitment to growth.
  • Focus on Your Strengths: Highlight the skills and experience you bring to the table.
  • Ask Questions: Do not be afraid to seek clarification or guidance.

You’ll gain real confidence and success on your terms if you face obstacles honestly and with a growth mentality.

Fake It Until You Make It Implications

“Fake it till you make it” is a common adage that can have both positive and bad connotations.

Positive Implications:
  • Boost Confidence: Projecting confidence, even if you don’t fully believe it, can help you face new difficulties and chances. This has the potential to result in significant progress and achievement.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: By acting competently, you can persuade yourself and others of your skills. This can start a positive loop that helps you achieve.
Negative Implications:
  • Impostor Syndrome: Constantly feeling like you’re faking it might develop into impostor syndrome, which is the belief that you don’t deserve your success and will eventually be discovered.
  • Learning is hampered: If you are scared to confess you don’t know something, you may miss out on opportunities to improve your skills.
  • Damaged Relationships: Faking knowledge or experience can damage trust among coworkers and clients.

Overall, “fake it till you make it” can be a useful tool, but it’s important to use it strategically. Here are some tips:

  • Focus on projecting confidence, not pretending to know everything.
  • Pair “faking it” with active learning.
  • Be honest about your limitations when appropriate.

There are also alternative approaches to consider, like embracing the idea of “winging it” which emphasizes resourcefulness and improvisation over pretense.


Faking it might get you through the door, but authenticity keeps it open. When you embrace your true self, you’ll attract the right opportunities and build meaningful connections along the way.

Confidence grows from within. Focus on self-acceptance and continuous learning, and you’ll find your authentic brand of success.

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