‘Fake it till you make it’ has gotten a bad rep. Use of the word ‘fake’ brings negative associations and implies that one has to be misleading or deceptive to actually ‘make it’.
I beg to differ.
‘Fake it to you make it’ has been my number one strategy for overcoming hurdles as I grow my design business. It's all about creating confidence.
If I’d waited for someone to tell me I was ready to take the next step in my career, I’d still be standing in the same spot I started in. Some people are lucky enough to have an inspiring mentor that helps guide them through the start of their professional life, but most people don’t.
Most people attribute their current situation (be it good or bad) to a combination of hard work and luck. I’ve written about the power of luck in BB22 so won’t repeat myself but I wanted to mention it. I believe luck is why people feel uneasy about “fake it till you make it’.
When people feel that luck has got them to where they are today - which happens all the time, just imagine getting a job because your friend works at the company for example. It’s super easy to feel like an imposter. Wikipedia tells it like it is:
Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one's accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or interpret it as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.
Now I genuinely believe that imposter syndrome is more of a female problem than a male. I’m not suggesting that men don’t feel like imposters - not at all.
I’m going off my own observations of friends and family and of myself! Shit, it’s taken me years to admit I was a graphic designer! Years!!! It's ridiculous! Shameful even - but it all comes down to confidence. Without confidence, it's impossible to take the first step.
This is why ‘fake it till you make it’ is so important. A nicer way to put it is you need to “believe it before you achieve it”.
Believing that you can do something is what will give you the confidence to actually do it. You see this in kids all the time - take riding a bike for example. They can see themselves doing it - they want to do it so they try and fail, try and fail and then try some more until they can do it. They don’t think ‘Nah, can do that so won’t even try’.
‘Fake it till you make it’ is the cure to imposter syndrome.
As I’ve been grappling with how and where to position myself professionally these last couple of months. I’ve had plenty of time to think and rethink about what I want to be when I grow up.
I mentioned last week I don’t have business cards. This week I decided I will get some printed. I got stumped on my job title. This constant cycle of being an imposter and then owning it is exhausting.
Fake it until you make it! Believe it until you achieve it!
Reality is, I’m a designer and my business cards are going to have to be awesome - I’m talking about a beautiful stock, maybe a nice emboss of The Design Dept logo… They will cost a bomb to get printed so they had better last me for at least 5 years to cover the cost.
The question then becomes, where do I want to be in five years. Jess Kelly - Freelance Graphic designer just isn’t going to cut it! This is turning out to be a great exercise. Having something printed on a business card pretty much makes it official anyway so now I just need to decide what I’m going to be!