Should you ‘fake it until you make it’ in business?
‘Fake it until you make it’.
This simple phrase is often spouted to entrepreneurs and start-up business owners, as a motto to live by.
Business owners need to look successful, to be successful surely?
It’s always created pictures in my mind, of the yuppy DelBoy, sporting bling, smart suits, mobile phone and Filofax. Van emblazoned with Trotters ‘International’ Traders, time zone wall clocks, a string of credit cards and a telex machine. Meanwhile, the business is run from a spare room and the garage.
Faking it can be a dangerous way to crash and burn for an ambitious entrepreneur. A common story of the dot.com boom of the 1990s, plush offices, leased cars and millionaire lifestyle, all before the business and its income is ready to support it.
If like me, this was your interpretation of the phrase, chances are, we got it wrong.
As a business owner, having control of your mind is one of the greatest skills we need to master.
There are times when we are going to be overcome by fear, frustration or worry.
Our mind can be our greatest tool or our greatest enemy.
Perhaps we are suffering from imposter syndrome because we are just starting out in business. It’s easy to worry that we don’t have the respect of our industry peers, or that customer we haven’t heard back from has gone to a competitor. Overthinking issues can just compound the worry.
Wikipedia suggests “that by imitating confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset, a person can realize those qualities in their real life and achieve the results they seek.”
When we learn to act, pretend, or fake it, it uses creative skills within our brain allowing us to focus on creativity instead of worry and anxiety.
Acting as though we have the respect of our peers and our clients are loyal, helps us to focus on positives and keep our minds free of worry. They often become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The word Fake was defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as an object that is made to look real or valuable in order to deceive people.
In business, we trust and value confident and competent people.
So isn’t being fake a contradiction? Our aim of ‘faking it’ isn’t to deceive others, after all, we wouldn’t be competent if our product or service wasn’t saleable. You wouldn’t fake being a doctor, electrician or gas engineer. Instead, our aim is to train our brain or fake it into a new set of habits and behaviours, until they become natural to us.
Fake it until you make it – how to get started…
Acting as if you already have it, is a central concept of the Law of Attraction.
Rhonda Byrne is quoted:
“How do you get yourself to a point of believing? Start make-believing. Be like a child and make-believe. Act as if you have it already. As you make-believe, you will begin to believe you have received.”
Taking that first act of building self-belief requires we engage the creative side of our brains.
All humans were created equal, we come into the world and leave it equal. It’s reasonable to assume that everything in between is down to learned behaviour, education and environment.
Self-belief and confidence are two areas we can learn new behaviours and they too become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Social psychologist and speaker Amy Cuddy believes that mastering our body language and non-verbal expressions, can help improve our confidence.
Our bodies change our minds, our minds can change our behaviour and our behaviours can change our outcomes.
Amy takes a look into behaviours in nature and how we can adopt them, to improve our interactions with others, in turn, the outcomes we desire.
Finding a new comfort zone just takes immersion, preparation and practice and tiny tweaks regularly lead to big long term changes.
I like the closing points, it’s not a case of ‘fake it until you make it’, it’s about faking it until we become it.
Photo by BROTE studio from Pexels