Fake it till you make it: A Guide

May 7, 2013 By Archives, The Soapbox

Play Mind Games With Yourself

Start acting the part, even if you think you are not ready. News flash, in life, there is rarely an ideal time to begin anything. You just gotta do it; may I quote the great and powerful Nike “Just Do It”.

A simple example from my own personal life goes a little something like this. So, I wanted to start taking my education and schooling more seriously during my Junior and Senior years of college, and improve my grades. The first thing I did was watch some of the better performing students in class, and learned from them. After people watching for a bit, I just started acting like them. The biggest takeaway, and first thing I changed was, I started sitting in the front row of class. Everyone knows the front row kids are the go getters, and the ones who always do their homework. I was never one for homework, but after sitting in the front row, and adding my thoughts to the class conversations, I began to feel pressure to keep up with the other kids. These small changes helped my grades and overall school production dramatically. I was never a very strong student, but I never really challenged myself and thought I could hang with the front row kids. You never know until you try.

* A great way to look a lot cooler than you actual are, is to make business cards for yourself. It is an inexpensive but very powerful tool to set you apart from other fakers. A note however, do not write “aspiring…whatever it is you want to be”. Write what you want to become, or just something catchy and clever. 

Surround Yourself With Success

You want to be a CEO, Art Director at a lead advertising agency, congressman, make tons of money? Then go hang out with those types of people as soon as you can. Another huge tid-bit that I have learned over the years is that, it is all about who you know. You might be an entry level accountant at a huge firm, but if you hang around with CEO’s of small to medium sized companies, and want to create one of your own, people will catch on quick.

If you want to become an art director, or work at an advertising firm (I keep using this example because I once wanted this), then start hanging out with those people. Find a meet-up group, or go stalk them at their offices. Similar to the front row kids example, you want to learn from the people who you want to become one day. Take the good and the bad, weigh them together and mold your own personality into it to create your own persona.

My personal example of surrounding yourself with success might be too much for some, but if you have the opportunity, go for it. After college, I was not really sure what I wanted to do professionally. I did know that I wanted to travel, but I did not want to take a “gap year” and just teach somewhere and extend my senior year of partying. After having a conversation with my big sister Elizabeth, about Shanghai, (which was where she was living at the time)  I thought to myself, “well, China is kinda kicking ass right now in the world, it would probably be a great experience if I put myself right in the middle!”. Two months later I was living and working in Shanghai, China as a Project Manager for an Interior Design company. While in China I learned so much, and was so grateful for the experience. Being the minority “a working profesional white person” I was able to attend conferences, American Chamber of Commerce events, travel to Beijing and Nanjing for business meetings with GM’s of multi billion dollar companies, and other random events. The Chinese are the kings of faking it till you make it, and surrounding myself around some of the worlds best for a year, taught me more than my entire four years at college.

Look the Part

First, I don’t want people getting the wrong idea with the featured image in this post. I used the Catch Me if You Can image because A: it’s a great movie and B: Leo fakes it like a champ! Now, he was performing illegal activity, something I of course do not endorse.

If you want to be a successful businessman, then look the part! Dress up in a nice fancy suit, and look like a million bucks. If you want to be an art-director or something on the creative side, buy yourself a MacBook and an iPhone and instaramg away! You get the idea. As much as people say they do not judge by appearance, they do. Another easy, but effective faking.

Get Ready to Actually Perform

With all the faking that will be going on, do not forget to actually retain and learn new skills, information and industry knowledge. There will come a time where you have faked it so well, and gotten exactly where you want to be, that you have a mini freak out. Don’t fret! You have come this far, and you are more than qualified and ready to take on the challenge that you have put infront of you. At this point you will learn that you know much more than you give yourself credit for, and you will start surprising. You will look back on everything you have accomplished, and how far you have come, and realize whatever is thrown at you, you can handle it. And if you cant, you will figure out a way, no matter how long or hard you have to work on it.