How to Stop Feeling Like A Fraud As You “Fake It Till You Make It”
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” ~ Francis of Assisi
Do you try to “fake it till you make it?” I think this philosophy can either be helpful or harmful. For some people, it means screwing up their courage to do something they know they’re capable of doing; they just need the confidence to take the first step. For other people, they really are faking it, in the sense of not being real or true to their authentic self. They’re trying to be someone they’re not, and their push to be that “other person” sets them up for yet another “failure,” which leaves them feeling like a fraud.
I’ll give you two examples:
One client, who had an upcoming speaking engagement told me, when I asked her to step forward out of her comfort zone, that she was feeling like a fraud because she couldn’t view herself as a great speaker. However, I saw it in her. She has a message she’s impassioned to share. She’s worked at creating a strong presence. She’s hired a speech coach to hone her skills. What made her feel like a fraud was that she hadn’t owned the part of her that everyone else could see. The gap was finally filled when she stepped out on the stage and addressed her first audience. Since then nothing is holding her back.
Another client, who excels at organizing and working behind the scenes, came to me wanting to make a 180 turn in her career trajectory. She wanted to be the “next Oprah Winfrey.” Her motivation to help others was commendable, but that dream is not in alignment with who she really is. Everything she tried failed and she was sinking lower into despair. For her, the turning point was finding her niche of teaching one-on-one, which is in harmony with her unique skill set.
The first client knew intuitively that she was a speaker within. That’s why she did the work, pursued speaking courses and booked the speaking engagement. The second client wasn’t clear on who she was. Things started working out for her, only when she stopped trying to be someone else and allowed her real personality to shine.
Both of these women are successful because they worked at knowing themselves well. When each one overcame limiting emotions and stepped forward in harmony with her authentic self, they really wowed me!
I’ve come to the conclusion that “fake it till you make it” isn’t the best advice when you need courage to step forward, out of your comfort zone. Since the word fake means that it’s not real, that it’s counterfeit, you’re telling yourself, from the start, that you’re being dishonest for even trying.
There are three keys to removing that uncomfortable state of feeling like a fraud…
2. do the work, and
3. step forward!
You intuitively know what’s right for you. It’s what makes you feel alive and puts fire in your belly. Once you accept that, you can do the work to excel in your chosen endeavor. Build your confidence and resilience, develop your presence, resolve internal conflicts, acknowledge and understand your limiting beliefs and learn whatever skill sets you need. That’s how you close the gap between longing and belonging.
One caveat to remember: if you spend all your energy wanting things that are always out of your reach, you’ll miss out on what’s right in front of you today.
Instead of faking it, make a conscious decision and own it. “Today I’m not pretending; I am going to push past the nerves and be confident enough to walk out on that stage.” “Today I will slow down and feel gratitude within my relationships.” “Today I will embrace and show self-love, because I don’t need to pretend…I am worthy.”
If fear, anxiety or some other limiting belief, thought or emotion stops you, review this three-part formula by asking yourself these questions:
1. Am I sure this activity is in alignment with who I know myself to be?
2. Is there some internal work I haven’t completed or is their some knowledge I lack, which is keeping me from stepping forward?
3. Do I need to expand my comfort zone by further engaging with my support system, i.e. family, friends, coaches, or is this a case where I need to quit stalling, practice my skills and just step forward?
You will stop feeling like a fraud when you face your limiting emotions, beliefs and thoughts and move them out of your way. You will always feel like a winner, because you are a winner! I love what Golda Meir said about this, “You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.”
If you need a huge boost, consider joining our 3rd annual Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat. We’ve got a program planned that will help your best self emerge and prosper in this coming year. And there’s still time to get the Early Bird Pricing. That’s a win-win!