Ep. 169 Fake it til you make it

Fake it til you make it

In this week’s podcast, Anna explores whether we should be following that old advice to “fake it til we make it”.

Doesn’t it feel a little ‘icky’ and inauthentic to ‘faking it’? And doesn’t it make you even more nervous, as you pretend to be something you’re not? Let’s consider an alternative approach…

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate

Fake it til you make it


Something that comes up quite a bit with clients is the idea of faking it till I make it. It’s that confidence that we are lacking. And it’s the, I suppose well-meaning advice that we get that is all about, okay. Pretend that it’s fine. Pretend you can do it. And then, you know, that will come, I guess, is the idea now I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of faking it. So part of that is my good girl. Heritage. I’ve always hated getting caught out. I don’t wanna get into trouble. It feels like a lie. Really? Doesn’t it, it feels I’m pretending that I can do something that I am something that I’m doing something that I’m not. And I don’t like that idea. And it just feels very inauthentic. Even if you don’t have my, uh, discomfort to my ethics or morals, you might also see that there’s no point in faking at some areas.

So to clients, you can do something that you can’t, whether it’s a core skill or competence or a problem that you say that you can solve. And you actually can’t, what’s the point of that? You know, you, you actually can’t fake that. Yes, you can fake confidence, let’s say, but you can’t fake competence or knowledge, right?

You can’t say, yeah, I’m an expert on this. And then you can’t answer any questions on it because you’ve never heard about it. You know, nothing about it. So, you know, there’s no point actually in faking a lot of the time, but in any case, I just don’t love the idea. And, and maybe you are the same as me now. I have a slightly different take on this as a result. And I have talked about this certainly to my clients before. And that’s around connecting yourself into the future and asking yourself, who would I need to be in order to be able to do this?

What if I’ve already achieved my goal? How would I behaving then? So one way to look at it is to look at external role models. Wow, they’re behaving this way. This is what they’re doing, and they’re getting the results I want. But the other is, and I side there to distance yourself, detach yourself a little bit and project yourself into the future. So future Anna, who has a load of press coverage, who’s written 10 books. You know, whatever that vision is would do X, Y, Z. They would be writing every day. They would be contacting media outlets. They’d be maintaining, you know, nurturing relat with journalists. And so on. Once you’ve identified how that future you would be, be behaving, then you can act as if you are already there. So that’s about changing your behaviours. It’s not about lying to anybody else, right? It’s in a way you could test lying to yourself, but it’s not.

You’re just taking on board. You’re taking elements of the future. You just fast forwarding a little bit. And as you change your behaviours, that then of course changes, changes your results, which is a really lovely, positive reinforcement VIR cycle of I’m actually changing my behaviour. Therefore I’m gonna get more results. Therefore I’m faking it as a word less and less as I move forward. So it’s not about faking it. It’s actually thinking ahead. Okay. If I were that person, if I did have that competence, that skill, that again is probably more likely if I, if I was already in that place, what would I be doing to maintain that again? I, the, the fitness example always comes to mind as something I think we can all relate to. If I were someone who was sporty fit, you know, healthy. And as an aside, I love a good aside when I was younger.

You know, when I was little, I used to win all of a hundred metre sprints at school. Um, and, and, you know, I loved sport as as many young kids do. We’re always running around and always active. I won the sports cup. When I dashed primary school, I won a netball badge, all sorts of things, right. Then I guess puberty happened secondary school. I still played a bit of tennis, played a bit of netball, but I, to you. So not very well did some cheerleading and so on. And ultimately, I, I told myself the story, perhaps subconsciously that I’m not a sporty person. I’m not that active, maybe a little bit chubby, a little bit lazy whatsoever. And you know, related to that, I guess a lot of us will say, oh, I’m not a runner. And I hear that from people again. In fact, my sister said that if she ever listen to this, my sister said that she’s not runner.

And then behold, she’s become more of a runner almost than I have now over the last few years. And that’s those little steps that we’re always talking about as well. But that story I was telling myself, that’s, you know, true to some extent, but of course then if I project myself, okay, what would a person who was sporty, who was active, the kind of person who would stay active on holiday and over Christmas and so on, and, and, you know, not go to extremes or at least wouldn’t just be, I guess, lazy, if that’s the sort of term I was thinking of my story, then, okay, that person would be maybe working with a personal trainer. They’d be keeping a diary. They’d be, you know, working out X number of times a week, they would bring their running shoes on a holiday or a weekend.

They wouldn’t just give up, et cetera, et cetera. So again, it’s not faking, I’m not pretending to be a sporty person. I’m just changing my behaviours, taking action, going for a run, a runner would be going for a run, right.

It’s regularly. And then before you know it, boom, you are actually a runner. So again, it’s not about lying. It’s not about faking it. You’re projecting in the future, asking yourself, who would you need to be in order to be able to do this? And what would you be doing if you were that person changing your behaviours? A few more, um, business focused examples come to mind. One is, um, if you remember, Pete can, who was on, uh, a few months ago, I, I shared his interview on an escape in the nine to five. Um, he was in the hospitality industry as, as you know, of course COVID hit quite badly and is now the laughter man.

And the idea of laughter yoga is a little bit around this idea that I’m sure you’ve heard about. If you haven’t shared of this idea, heard of this idea is that if you start smiling and in this case, if you laugh your body, can’t actually tell the difference. And before you know it, you will be genuinely smiling, genuinely laughing. And that’s that positive reinforcement. It’s such a physical thing. The other one that I remember hearing about years ago and, and the Ted talk was the power pose, right? And I realise now I’m just sitting here slouching, when I’m talking into you, I’d like to get a standing desk, but you know, if I raise my shoulders, arms back, hands on hips suddenly I feel very powerful. And it’s again, that reinforcement, okay. Wasn’t feeling very powerful now. I feel great. I feel energised. Maybe hear a difference in my voice.

<laugh> so laughter yoga, power pose. Again, even more business focused. One is networking. Ugh. I hate networking. If I go in, I don’t go to events. I haven’t been in years. I haven’t even tried, but you know, if I go to an event I’m there in the corner, who do I talk to? I feel awkward. Okay. But if I were an amazing networker, if I were the life and soul of the party, how would I be behaving? Now? I’m not gonna go out in the middle of the room in a red dress and, and start singing possibly certainly not at a corporate event, but that networking guru, that person who’s amazing at connecting with people would be smiling. They’d have open body language, they’d say, hello, they’d make eye contact. And if I can try to embrace just a few of those behaviours, suddenly I’m probably going to get positive results.

People will make eye contact back they’ll smile. They’ll just, they’ll be just as nervous as me. And they’ll be so grateful that someone’s talking to them. We’ll have a conversation, we’ll have an incredible, um, you know, connection and, and who knows where that relationship will go a as ever. It’s also about your motivation. So I think, you know, are you wanting to fake it? Cuz you’re trying to prove something you’re trying to again be good enough. You’re trying to show them. Yeah, yeah. I’m I, I can do this and I’m better and check out how successful I am, my new business or whatever. Are you trying to live up to other people’s expectations? If you remember the five biggest regrets, um, from anywhere who was an Australian palette of careness who worked with people in the last weeks of their lives, the number one regret is I wish I had been true to myself and not live up to other people’s expectations.

So, you know, that’s not a great motivation. If your motivation rather is to change your behaviours, to, to, uh, achieve a particular goal, that inner intrinsic motivation. That’s a very different thing. Now, one other aspect to this. So this is acting as if you’re already there. Another aspect, if you remember, if you weeks ago, I talked about this idea of having different characters. So there’s the hippy me, there’s the businesswoman me, there’s the, uh, whatever else me, right? There’s the different parts of my, my personality, little bit of split personality. There are different parts of me, different characters that need to show up in different ways, depending on the role in my life. So as a mother, I need to behave in a different way probably than as a partner and nurturing perhaps a little bit bossy. <laugh>, you know, leading mother, isn’t the same thing.

In my case as being, you know, a respectful, uh, collaborative, that’s not the best romantic word, but you know what I mean, partner, um, as a coach, in fact, I need to be different. Again, I shouldn’t be going around coaching my friends and partner and family and so on. Right? So as a professional coach, that’s another arena as a mentor because that, those are two different hats. My, um, thesis that I wrote in my coaching training was all about blended coaching and consulting. Consulting is a very different thing to coaching. They’re two skills that absolutely can and could and should be blended, but, uh, you know, again, they require different hats. When I’m managing a team again, I’m taking on more of a leadership role coaching role, perhaps sister, daughter, friend, et cetera. <affirmative> interestingly, even though I’ve been talking about this for years, I’ve just read Todd Herman’s book, the auto ego effect.

And he talks about exactly this and particular athletes coming from sort of the sports arena, having a persona on the field. And he talks about the different playing fields in our life as it were coming from that sports arena. So yes, a case sports, but in again, in this case, your family arena, perhaps a professional arena, there are different arenas and you need to show up in a different way. The examples he, he gives and, and I encourage you to read the book. It’s an interesting one is, you know, if you are a professional athlete, you might be a very fair collaborative person, but that that person can’t show up on the tennis court. Let’s say you need to be unit to win. Now, you don’t need to be an ask about it, but you need to, you know, you need to not go, oh, it needs to be fair.

I’m winning by too much. I better like slow myself down. You need to be competitive. You need to be the best you can be and focus on your game. So that’s a different person. If I’m showing up again as a coach, who’s completely present, who’s here. Non-judgmental listening, supporting completely unconditionally. That is what I need to be as a coach. And I strive to be that I probably can’t be. And maybe don’t even want to be that as a mother, as a partner, I, I need to be more real, more, more completely myself, right? With other people who know me better, who love me, who aren’t paying me to be that person. So it’s, it’s thinking again about who do I want to be? Who do I need to be as a mother? And then if, again, if, if there is someone in your life who is a role model in that area, you know, who maybe it’s your own parent or someone else, you know, a friend, how can I be more like that person?

It’s not trying to copy someone, but it’s being fired by others and, and trying to emulate some of their behaviours again. So again, I don’t love the idea of faking it till I make, till you make it. I like the idea of projecting myself into the future, asking who would I need to be, and then acting as if I’m already that person changing my behaviours. And then briefly there at the end, I talked about this idea of the different characters, the, the, perhaps the alter ego, the Clark Kent Superman kind of personas required in the, you know, in the journalism field versus in the saving the world field. So you can really think about, and in fact, Todd Herman talks about how you can cool rate that alter ego for a specific arena. Bring it back to the context here. If you’re wanting to achieve certain goals in business, if I’m not good at sales, um, I’m just not this, that and the other. I procrastinate. I’m a perfectionist, et cetera. That’s not a helpful story. You’re telling yourself, can you create a persona again? It’s not about pretending it’s not being in a authentic, it’s taking your best bits. It’s learning. It’s emulating someone else projecting yourself into that future you, and then already accelerating that process and bringing those elements back to change your behaviours so that you ultimately become that person who you’re hoping to be, who you are inspired by hope you found that interesting look forward to seeing you next week. Bye for now,

Are you ready to build and scale your business to achieve everything you dreamed of when you started without sacrificing your personal life and your sanity to do so? The truth is that escaping the nine to five is not just about saying I quit to your boss or putting up a website and ordering a set of business cards. A sustainable escape requires you to design and build a viable business that consistently brings an income and that fits in around the other priorities in your life. Join us in the Outsiders Business Accelerator to get ongoing coaching, training, and mentoring, to help you create a long-term brand and business that works for you. Read more and apply at onestepoutside.com/accelerate. That’s onestepoutside.com/accelerate.

If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:

Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation

Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall

Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com

Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5

Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate



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