Fake it till you make it!

A common kōrero that comes up regularly when I’m working with wāhine who have taken on a new project or a new role or find themselves in a situation that is outside their comfort zone is the “Fake it till you make it” idiom.

It’s not a piece of advice that I would ever give.

Think about it – the word “fake” means not genuine, sham, fraud.

You get the picture.

That’s not what I’m about and I’m sure it’s not you either.

Authentic leadership is about being genuine, being yourself.

So, what should you do?

Try Acting “as if”.

Acting “as if” doesn’t mean being phony or inauthentic.

Acting “as if” is about changing your behaviour first and trusting the feelings will follow.

Let me give you an example – one wahine I’m working with told me she doesn’t like going to networking events or conferences because she feels socially awkward and doesn’t enjoy making small talk.

She knew that her shyness was holding her back both personally and professionally.

Furthermore, she understood the importance of making connections for her career.

I asked, “What do you usually do when you go to an event?”

She said, “I stand awkwardly off to the side and wait to see of anyone will come and talk to me.”

Then I asked “What would you do differently if you felt confident?” and she said, “I’d initiate conversation and introduce myself to people.”

Right then and there, she discovered the solution to her problem: If she wanted to feel more confident, she had to take action.

That wasn’t quite what she wanted to hear.

She’d hoped for a solution that would immediately make her feel more confident.

But the key to becoming more comfortable in social situations is practice – doing it over and over again and after a while, it will become comfortable.

Her instinct was to wait until she felt more confident, but that confidence wasn’t going to magically appear out of thin air – especially if she was standing around by herself.

I get it.

It’s not easy.

But if you start talking to people as if you’re a confident person you’d have an opportunity to experience successful social interactions and your return on investment in doing so, is a boost in your confidence.

However, you have to do it over and over again to really build your confidence.

Trying it out once or twice won’t do it.

Mahia te mai hei painga mō te iwi!




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