The Perils of Faking It Till You Make It by Steely Springham

They say… ‘Fake it till you make it’.

I say… “Bull$%#@”! … Wouldn’t you?

I mean ‘Fake it till you make it.’ really means BS your way through something.

According to google the definition of ’fake’ is;

not genuine;






Put ‘I am’ in front of each one.  Read those words again.

Let them really soak in for a moment. Now, imagine yourself walking into an opportunity.

You are about to make your first impression utilizing your freshly acquired ‘fake it till you make it’ mind-set.

“Hi my name is Jon/Jane Doe. I am not genuine, I am a counterfeit, a sham, a fraud, an imitation. I am a hoax while I try to make it, its very nice to meet you.”

Not really the glowing reputation one wants to emit out to the world as a first or last impression.

Not to mention when you ‘fake it’ or BS you deceive people and yourself as well as undermine your integrity.

They would have you believing that this phrase which is similar to ‘act as if’ you know what your doing, will somehow lead you to actually ‘knowing’ how to do what you are trying to do. The theory is that if you ‘imitate’ the competence of doing something you will create the confidence to do it or, at the very least, create a somewhat optimistic mindset that you convince yourself that you can pull off performing that task. But is that a genuine mindset or have you BS yourself into fake optimism? The latter might influence your drive toward success but there is a vast difference between competence, confidence, and an optimistic mindset.

Lets be real about this for a moment.

Confidence is an expectation one has of a positive outcome in a specific situation.

Competence is having the ABILITY to ACTUALLY DO something successfully or efficiently.

One is a mind-set, the other is an ability. You can have the ability and still not feel confident in doing it.

In both cases you can choose to have an optimistic or pessimistic mindset. Either way, its a choice and ‘faking’ has little to no bearing on the reality of that choice nor on a successful outcome.

Remember you must possess the ability first, before you can possess the confidence IN that ability. To merely possess confidence in the idea of an ability that you one day may possess, does not create the skill or ability.

Walking through life attempting things with the underlying premise of “…I have no clue what I am doing but will pretend or fake like I do, wing it, and pray to God no one notices…” is not exactly a secure feeling to carry throughout your life.

Nor will it bode well when you actually have to step up and perform the task when you do not possess the ability to do so. What you are trying to do will forever be undermined by the constant fear and worry of how you come across to others or if they will discover you don’t know what you are doing. Every one has a BS detector, eventually people will see through the smoke and mirrors and you will be called out for your deceit.

‘Fake it till you make it’ is ego-driven thinking, which places the emphasis on ‘impressing’ others. Take all that energy used to ‘pull the wool over peoples eyes’ (deceiving them) and put it towards learning the ‘HOW’.

There is only one way to learn how to do something and that is ‘learn HOW do it!”. With that learning comes, experience, with experience comes the ability & belief and confidence in ones own ability.

Invest your time and energy into acquiring the skill or skills needed for what you set out to do.

Or follow the ‘fake it’ advice and expend your energy on faking it and never really be invested. Just remember, if you are not invested in what you are doing, ultimately neither will anyone else.

Let me put it into perspective. If I ‘act’ like a heart surgeon it will not help me to become a heart surgeon. There is no ‘fake it till I make it’ as a heart surgeon.

NO, in fact the ONLY thing that will help me to become a heart surgeon is

– deciding and setting the goal to do so

– taking action to get started (See my May article called “Getting Started”.)

– study and learn the skills

– ensure that every decision and action that follows, supports and facilitates the original decision to become that heart surgeon.

No matter what it is, becoming good at something requires effort, commitment, investment, action, practice, repetition, follow through, diligence, and asking for help again along the way.

There is no faking involved. Its called ‘effort’. That includes admitting you don’t know how, asking for help, seeking mentors along the way, involving yourself in things that will give you more and more experience.

You will attract more of what you put out. Guaranteed! Garbage out ~ garbage in. BS out ~ BS in. So be true to you and your capabilities by putting effort out ~ experience in. What you do not know… you learn, then you know, and then you can do.

Lets suppose though, that you are feeling less than confident about what you are wanting to do. You need to know that that is natural and we have ALL been there. The temptation when one feels like this, is to ‘fake it till you make it’, and the advice ‘they’ would give you.

My advice to you in this area is ‘Face it’ do not ‘fake it’!

I can assure you that the majority of people you reach out to will have far more respect for you admitting that you may be new to something and unsure of how to do it and that you are willing to learn and that you are open to being taught how.

Have you considered that maybe people are willing to teach you all of their skills, knowledge and expertise?

Something for you to consider is that if you BS them by pretending you already know how, in fact denies not only yourself the opportunity to learn from someone who knows more than you, but you also deny them the privilege and opportunity to teach and mentor you, which is as equally rewarding for them.

Becoming an expert or professional or at the very least experienced at something has no place for the likes of anything fake. If it is confidence you lack, then seek to build some. Shovelling BS does not build confidence muscles in the area you are hoping to succeed in. Shovelling BS just gets you really good at … well… BS-ing. If that is the goal that you have set forth for yourself – awesome – BS your way through life then ‘fake it till you make it’ and good luck with that. Just remember, if BS is all you’re bringing, you will soon find that you’re left in the outhouse.

However, if becoming skilled at bringing the goods and becoming respected for what you do is your aim, then learn how and you will ‘wow’ each and every time.

SteelySpringhamTheTeenMentorAbout the Author: Steely SPRINGHAM is one of Your Monthly Mentors, ‘Perspective Whisperer’ & Confidence Coach, defied the odds and stepped onto her first competitive stage in the world of Figure & Fitness in 2011, at the age of 42. In 5 short years, Steely earned National level status & won the coveted BC Provincial Champion Overall Masters Figure Title in 2015. This former Top-10 recording artist turned her passion for fitness into her present day career. She is currently a Certified Behaviour Change Specialist, an ACE certified personal trainer, a Confidence Coach, specializing in competition posing, mental preparation for athletes in her sport and in public speaking and confidence coaching for 8-12 year olds.  Learn More… 

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