Why you should stop faking it until you make it (and what to do instead)

Young entrepreneurs are constantly being told to ‘fake it until you make it’.

I feel for you – and all young game changers and entrepreneurs – being hammered by this message from all sides.

And, because you listen to what the seven-figure-turnover business owner and multimillion dollar dude tells you, you fall into the trap. And then, all too often, you hit a downward spiral. Your few prospects lose trust in you, and there go your chances of closing a deal. The bitter taste of failure and defeat haunts you, souring your relationship with business and spoiling your dreams of entrepreneurship.

Definitely not a cool feeling to have, and even worse to carry it forward with you. When you are at the beginning of your journey, you are already terrified of failure and worried that you are not  good enough.

Instead of feeling defeated, you want to maximise your chances of winning. You want to lead with drive, precision, passion and strategy. You will make it.

But what if I were to tell you that ‘fake it until you make it’ doesn't mean what you think it does?

There are two sides to the ‘fake it until you make it’ coin.

Side one is the un-resourceful side. It says pretend to be someone you’re not, and sell lies. Use smoke and mirrors on your prospects. By the time they find out they were conned, you’ll have made a few thousand dollars  – maybe even a million.

The other side is the resourceful one, meaning good for you, good for others and good for the greater good. Model the excellence of the people you admire. Be like those who are building and nurturing strong, long-term relationships, and remember that this is what took them where they are now. Look at their body language when they’re in conversation. How do they engage? How do they greet the person? Notice how they are interested rather than focusing on being interesting. Watch them show humility and caring.  Listen to both what they say and how they say it, as well as noticing what they don’t say. Think about why they chose not to say it.

And model that behaviour. That’s the ‘fake it’ part.

‘Faking it’ really means trying on all the traits of excellence that you have not yet had the opportunity to practise at this early stage of your entrepreneurship journey. It’s like trying on a bespoke tailored jacket after wearing a shop-bought one. You might take a while to feel comfortable in it. You haven’t been able to try on the behaviours you admire for long enough to see the results of consistently modelling the conduct of your mentors and gurus until they fit.

Stick at it. Wear your new jacket with pride. Before you know it, your insecurities will fade. The gaps that were making you lose your confidence will slowly start to fill.  As you wear your new behaviours, your inside will start catching up with your outside, until you’ve made it. And you will.

So don’t keep faking it. Instead, ‘practise it until you become it’.

If you know you’re up for a bigger game in life but you feel stuck, confused and don't know how or where to start, we need to talk!