'Fake it 'Til You Make It' is THE WORST Saying

I said it and I will die on this hill. Let me explain.


The phrase 'Fake it til you make it' perpetuates the single perspective it is meant to dispel - that you don't belong.


Typically, it is used to boost a person's self confidence in unnerving situations. When walking into a room where you don't feel like you belong, you say that magic phrase to convince yourself you are allowed to be there; that you may not be one of them, but you will be eventually if you figure our how to fit in. It implies that while you are beginning to learn a new skill, embark into a new industry, or entrench in a new group of friends...that you are 'faking it,' that you don't ACTUALLY belong to that group of people that do that thing...you are just a fake, posing as one of them.


The reality of this situation is that as soon as you start learning that skill, researching that new hobby, working in that new industry, you ARE that person and you belong in that room just as much as the next person. The best comparison I can think of is what they always say to new runners: The minute you set foot out of your door to go on a run, you are a runner - it doesn't matter how far you get or how much you walk or what you are wearing, you are a runner. Similarly with quitting smoking: The minute you decide to quit, you become a non-smoker. Not that it's easy at all, but you don't have to live your life in the mental limbo of the quitting process. You don't have the perpetuate the feeling that you are just attempting to do something, to fit in, until you actually get to the final destination. Which, the myth that there is a final destination is another topic for another day.


I'm going to cite Brené Brown, because, of course I am. If you have read her books (or, like me, listened to her books on Audible - I highly recommend Dare to Lead, and her new one, Atlas of the Heart, is also great) she often speaks about the difference between fitting-in and belonging. If you have access to Netflix, she also discusses this in her special A Call to Courage. It comes down to two concepts:




The phrase 'Fake It Till You Make It' implies that you have to fit in, that you don't belong, which is complete crap. You belong there just as much as the next person. You might not have as much experience. You might not know a single person in the room. You might not know the jargon, or totally jive with the first few people you meet. But that's only because you are still a novice, a beginner, a newbie. You are still learning the thing. It might take a hot second to find your niche, but that doesn't make you LESS of that thing. Remember that everyone was new to the thing at one point, it might have been yesterday or 40 years ago, but they too took that first step down that same path and likely told themselves 'Just fake it 'til you make it, Steve; it will be fine."


Just in case you need to hear it from someone....

If you don't feel like you belong anywhere, shoot us an email. We would love to have you. I'm not just saying that...we really would.