Should You Fake It Until You Make It?

Should You Fake It Until You Make It?

Vulnerability meets Power: Demystifying the Art of Genuine Self-Confidence


Why is 'fake it til you make it' such a prevalent cliché? Because what's the alternative? 'Whine and be clueless until you make it'? The first is more empowering. And there's a degree of truth to it. If you pretend that you've already 'made it', you'll project confidence. And confidence is key in influence and sales. 

But, doesn't the 'fake it' part give you the ick?

If you like people to be authentic, and you want to be authentic yourself, then you won't want to fake a thing. Also, you will intuitively feel that anyone faking anything is 'off'. 

So, what's to be done if you find yourself in a highly competitive environment, where confidence is important, and where competence is important, and you've got neither?


The Competence-Confidence Loop

What's interesting about confidence is how closely related true confidence is to true competence. If you possess competency at something, the chances are that you'll be confident about it. However, if you don't have that competence, it's difficult to feel confidence. There are some exceptions, which we'll get to in a second, but generally competence and confidence form a loop. 

While you're building competence, and you lack confidence, you may need to put something where the confidence will eventually go. In the example of faking it before you make it, that something is false confidence. But what if you didn't have to use that? What else could be used? Faith is a good thing. You could have faith that if you take certain steps, and you follow the path of someone who's walked up the mountain before, you will reach the top of that mountain eventually too. That would be a kind of self-belief based on social proof. There's a map, a blueprint. Others have done it before. You can too. 

The other kind of faith is the capital F Faith. Do you feel fully aligned with your purpose? Do you have a sense of Faith in something greater than you? OK, then hand over your fears to that Divine Power, and walk in Faith. 

Matthew 7 (ASV)

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Whichever works for you, you're no longer 'faking it'. You're purposefully taking steps in faith rather than fear. This is called 'Acting As If'.


Act As If. Go As Though.

Let's say that you want to make $10,000 per month with your work from home side hustle, so that you can quit your job and become a full-time work from home indiepreneur. Here's how you could use 'Act As If' to do that. 

  1. Think of where you will be when you make $10,000 per month.

    What will your home look like? Will you still live in the same place, or will you live somewhere different? What does it feel like there? What sounds are there? What scents?

    - Can you smell the sea from your window, or is it the coffee brewing at the coffee shop over the way, as you look out at the Eiffel Tower?

    - How do your sheets feel as you wake? What thread count are those sheets?

    - Can you hear bird song or is the sound of a busker on the street, or is it the sound of a light breeze through the trees of a forest, or is it completely quiet?

  2. Think of who you will be when you make $10,000 per month. 

    - Now you no longer have financial pressure, how much calmer do you feel?

    - Are you kinder and less reactive?

    - Are you more assertive with your views, without being mean?

    - Do you notice that you feel more competent, and more confident?

    - Do people treat you differently? With more respect, perhaps? How does that feel?

  3. Now, act as if you are that person already. Go as though you are that future you. 

    - Must you move house to smell the sea, or coffee?

    No. You could take a bath in Dead Sea Salts or brew your own coffee. As you do either, picture what these scents represent in your future. This is a way to activate The Law of Attraction. It also trains your Reticular Activating System in your brain to look out for more signs that you're heading for your dream. 

    - Must you be a millionaire to have better sheets?

    No. You can upgrade your sheets now, or buy some decent conditioner. They may not be the perfect sheets you're dreaming of, but you're going in the right direction. 

    - Must you live in a particular location for birdsong or buskers or trees?

    No. Find a street or a park and you're good. Experience those things now. 

    - Must you have a particular amount of money to feel calm?

    No. Meditate. Repeat: "I am safe, and God/The Universe/Divinity pays my bills". I've seen such evidence of this that I bought

    - Must you argue with strangers on the internet?

    Probably not. You could ignore them, or pick your battles. Think of what your $10,000/month self would do. Do that. 

    - Must you be 'positive vibes only' and never defend yourself?

    No. You can speak your truth right now, being assertive without being mean. 

    - Must you be more competent to feel more confident?

    No. You can just decide to be confident. When you do, you may notice that people treat you differently 

Now, let's get to those exceptions I mentioned earlier. 


Dunning–Kruger Effect

This is a cognitive bias that you might also think of as the arrogance of ignorance. We've all seen newbies online getting high on their own supply after early wins, right? That's what this is.

People start their learning journey not knowing what they don't know. They're unconsciously incompetent. In that state, people can believe their geniuses, with zero evidence to back that up. But those around them you are in a similar state of arrogant ignorance will believe them. This is the 'fake it until you make it' effect in action. 

The problem with it is that you eventually segue from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence.

In other words, you know that you don't know everything. In that state, you can feel imposter syndrome and shame due to your previous over-confidence.

This is why you need to remain humble on some level. Maintain the energy of the eternal student, while also acknowledging your own greatness. It's a tough path, and one that's best walked with a coach or - at least - a supportive community around you.  



Narcissists are great at faking things until they make them. Heck, they can fake entire relationships, or even lives. But don't take your lead from them. Even if you have a few narcissistic traits yourself, or just a splash of egotism, dial it down before it gets too much, because that path doesn't benefit you in the long run. 


Because narcissism is based on having an extrinsic locus of power and identity.

In short, you chase shiny things and never catch them. You become a cat chasing laser beams you never vanquish. When I coach people with narcissistic traits, which is often because I coach celebrities, their big problem when success arrives is that it never feels like success. This is because the core is empty and the accumulation of stuff on the surface merely increases the inner void. 

Look above at all the things that are not 'out there' but are already available to you right where you are today. Doing those exercises moves you away from narcissism and into gratitude, because you become aware that what you need is already within you, or at hand.

The 'out there' stuff is what happens after the 'in here' stuff gets resolved. When the 'in here' and 'out there' match, you get true confidence, grounded in gratitude and authenticity. 


So, should you fake it until you make it? What do you think?

Grab your free 3 courses and 3 ebooks here, and you'll get free access to Indiepreneur Academy Membership's Coffee Shop: Clockerfly Nation. Come in and let us all know your thoughts. And, just so you know, we don't fake it in Indiepreneur Academy. In our coffee shop, we have a rule about imperfection practice. It's better to take imperfect action than perfect inaction. So grab your gifts, then check your library for access to Clockerfly Nation, and we'll chat with you in there. No trolls. No spam. Just decent people walking their talk and supporting each other. 


 Rebecca Bardess


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