Has anyone ever told you:
“Ahh, just fake it until you make it”?
It’s terrible, terrible advice and research showed that it can, in fact, do a lot of damage.
In this article I will explain why faking something doesn’t work, and offer you a much better alternative.
Why “Fake it until you make it” doesn’t work.
So let’s think about this. When do you usually feel like you need to fake something?
It’s in front of other people, right? So fake it until you make it is really just about looking a certain way in front of someone, about their opinions, approval and admiration of you.
You would not be faking something sitting at home on your own.
Because you know it’s fake and not true so who are you trying to fool?
Faking (anything really) usually stems from some insecurity or feeling of not being good, likeable, loveable, valuable enough.
From my coaching experience, this is usually because of a distorted and undervaluing perception people have of themselves.
Now think about this; when you start pretending that you’re better ( wealthier, etc) than you really are, and others buy into it, you create this illusion of yourself that others may like but you know you’re not.
How do you think that would make you feel?
Even worse about yourself!
Because not the difference between who you are and who you think you should be is even bigger.
A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that when people tried to prove their worth to others, it actually made them focus and dwell on their shortcomings.
Faking something is deception and deceiving someone increases stress, anxiety, and has a negative impact on self-worth and confidence because now you have to worry about whether people find out.
You may be able to fool other people but you cannot fool yourself.
The biggest problem with faking something is that it’s focused on what others think, their validation and approval of you. That’s a dangerous game to play.
Anything you haven’t truly earned won’t make you feel better about yourself.
Ok, so what now?
Fake it until you make it alternative
Rather than focusing on increasing your value on the outside (opinions of others) focus on increasing your value on the inside – your opinion of you.
Because it’s the low opinion of you you’re trying to cover up by faking something.
If there are things you want to change about yourself, skills, behaviour, fitness, etc., rather than faking it, I’d suggest to you…
Practice it until you become it.
When you decide to practice something you’re acknowledging where you’re at with it and that you’re on a journey to improving it.
Just that fact alone is a reason to feel better about yourself because you’re taking responsibility and ownership of the situation.
It gives you the opportunity to truly earn it and when you do, you’ll feel incredible.
It’s not what you have that makes you feel good about yourself, but rather how you’ve earned it.
Sometimes people ask me why I push myself so much or why I work so hard. My answer is simple:
Because then no one can say shit, especially my inner critic.
When I was coaching for about a year (I was coaching part-time and had a part-time job) a friend of mine offered to give me an interest-free loan (pay when you can he said) just so I can coach full-time.
Although the loan had virtually no downside (apart from paying it back), I declined it because I wanted to truly earn being a full-time coach.
I knew it would bother me if that was part of my “this is how I made it” story.
So next time when you feel tempted to fake something, ask yourself:
Do you really want to be fake?
Why is their opinion so important to you?
Is them liking your fakeness worth you feeling horrible about yourself?
What can you do about this so that you could actually feel better about yourself?
The more you genuinely value and appreciate yourself the less you depend on others value and admire you.
If you’d like to explore what life coaching could do for you, contact me and let’s schedule the initial discovery session and find out if we’d be the right match.
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