Fake it Until You Make It
When I stepped into the doors at college I was in for a little surprise—no one, and I do mean no one, knew who I was. Since elementary school I had been known as “Mrs. Williams’ daughter,” in high school I was the “theater girl,” then I was “Miss Kaysville.” There were so many different variations of how people knew me and for what or if they knew my family. Starting college was having my slate cleared. I realized this when I introduced myself the very first day (an activity that can get old fast). In one class I mentioned that I drove a motorcycle, in another that I’d done theater, or that I loved to write. All of these little facts led people to different perceptions of who I was.
It wasn’t until I was finally settled into my new college schedule that I realized the information I’d shared on the first day of class largely dictated the topics people would talk to me about. It dawned on me (probably thanks to my recent reading) that I could have told them anything. No one would have known differently and honestly, it wouldn’t have mattered a lot. I could have told them I was an avid hiker and that I spent my evening climbing mountains. As long as I knew enough about the local trains to carry a conversation, no one would have known I’d only been rock climbing once.
**Now let me be very clear**Lying is wrong. I know that. I have been taught that my whole life. But I believe it is never a bad thing to position yourself, your personality, style, traits, and talents in the best light possible. Some people would say that is “faking it.” All “faking it” was meant to be was the period of time you are working on developing those skills you desire. I did this with my first job.
Getting a job outside of college is exhausting. No one wants to hire someone with no experience and you won’t have any experience until you have a job (it is a weird dilemma indeed). I knew this, and so I made sure that when I had job interviews I positioned myself as a trained professional who was highly qualified for the position. How did I do this? I wore the right clothes, researched the company, polished my resume, and went in with all the confidence I could muster while my knees were shaking. Did it work? Well I graduated on a Friday and started my full-time, professional job the following Monday.
What was the difference between me and the swarm of college students looking for their first job? I had confidence in the person I wanted to be. While I never lied about my abilities, I tried my best to act like a professional. We are what we think. And I went with the vision I had for myself.
Once in the job, I did this even more. Starting any job is tough, you feel like you have no idea what is going on. I thought a lot of my co-workers were speaking a different language with all the office acronyms and advertising jargon. Though it was a fact that I was new, our clients weren’t supposed to doubt my abilities in anyway. So I was told to act like I’d been working with the company for years, and that I was just as competent as anyone else. Was that hard? YES! I would keep my mouth shut just to prevent myself from giving away my novice. With a little practice though and hard work, suddenly I wasn’t faking it anymore. I had become the employee I always pretended to be.
So while I would never suggest that we lie about our abilities or pretend to be something we are not. I am suggesting that we never sell ourselves short. Why wouldn’t you be just as capable as your competitor? Who would be better at this than you? With a little practice why couldn’t you do it? I’m pretending to be a great blog writer, and who knows? With a little time I might not need to fake that one as much.