Fake it Til You Make it ... Still Relevant or Not?

21 replies
During the booming 90's and early 2000's, there was a popular saying in self-improvement circles," fake it until you make it". Meaning, try to act or look rich before you are.

But in this let it all hang out, reality t.v, full disclosure world, is fake it til you make it still relevant or even necessary?
#fake #make #relevant #til
  • Profile picture of the author GT
    I don't entirely agree with the concept, but I understand the thinking behind it.

    Even if you are not intentionally trying to fake the appearance of success, there is still value and importance in being professional in your appearance, your manner and your presentations.

    When you dress and act professionally, you tend to feel more confident and it shows in your attitude and presentations. When you look good, speak well and convey a sense of expertise and professionalism, people pay attention and prospects open up to your sales message and closing invitation.

    GT
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by GT View Post

      I don't entirely agree with the concept, but I understand the thinking behind it.

      Even if you are not intentionally trying to fake the appearance of success, there is still value and importance in being professional in your appearance, your manner and your presentations.

      When you dress and act professionally, you tend to feel more confident and it shows in your attitude and presentations. When you look good, speak well and convey a sense of expertise and professionalism, people pay attention and prospects open up to your sales message and closing invitation.

      GT
      Good insights. But I think acting professionally should be a given in business for anyone, no matter what financial station.

      But I'm talking more along the lines of people who act like you're rich or financially successful. You know the leased luxury cars, the rented jewelry the borrowed flash to make others think you've made it.

      You see that alot here in Los Angeles, also in places like New York and Miami. But it's everywhere, sort of like keeping up-with-the-Jones.
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      • Profile picture of the author GT
        Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

        ...But I'm talking more along the lines of people who act like you're rich or financially successful. You know the leased luxury cars, the rented jewelry the borrowed flash to make others think you've made it.
        I do believe image is important in business and if a person aspires to the luxury lifestyle then I suppose it's fine if they want to "start early" in a sense. However, they are taking a huge risk, unless they are absolutely committed and very confident that they will achieve their goal.

        I wouldn't recommend it to anybody but the most experienced or well trained.

        GT
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  • Profile picture of the author apurvmat
    I can see that this advice can have a positive side to it as well.

    But that really depends on how you choose to interpret it.

    If you're trying to act rich, you might spend money on things that you don't really need and stuff... so that's something which you wouldn't want to do.

    And I've seen people who're so desperate about making it, that when they are walking around like they've already made it and stuff (faking it before making it), they come across as super desperate, arrogant and not to mention just plain weird.
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  • Profile picture of the author avhow
    I believe fake it til you make it is a good business practise when done right.

    I have friends who went to college to study photography to become wedding photographers. Because that was the supposed route you took.

    But I shot a wedding as a favour for a friend and then for a relative. They loved the shots so I went full time. Through good marketing I made it look like I was a pro and I soon set up a good business without having to go to college.

    One big proviso though. I had the common sense to realise that with wedding photography you are taking a big risk. You mess it up and these are people's memories you are messing with and the brown stuff really will hit the worly thing.

    So yeah, fake it til you make it works well under the right circumstances, but never use it to screw someone over. Always use it with its fellow saying "Under promise and over deliver" :0)

    Cheers

    Adam
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    • change the verbiage, change everything.

      From Fake it til you make it to

      Act As If

      act as if your 1 of the best in your profession, you have the expertise, or will learn it...

      act as if you will reach your goals, rather than waiting Until your there...or being negative and doubting your own ability and resolve.

      act as if, your happy and smile, and you start to be...

      act as if...... you can, when you see a child about to take a fall

      it's not phoney... not a sign of the times
      it's the human condition of human motivation and locomotion.

      IMO
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      • Profile picture of the author RobbieT
        Originally Posted by kirbymarketingconcierge View Post

        change the verbiage, change everything.

        From Fake it til you make it to

        Act As If

        act as if your 1 of the best in your profession, you have the expertise, or will learn it...

        act as if you will reach your goals, rather than waiting Until your there...or being negative and doubting your own ability and resolve.

        act as if, your happy and smile, and you start to be...

        act as if...... you can, when you see a child about to take a fall

        it's not phoney... not a sign of the times
        it's the human condition of human motivation and locomotion.
        Thanks Kirby - in my opinion you have nailed it.

        You need to believe and picture yourself with whatever it is that you have as your goal before you can achieve it.

        Take good care of those that you love.

        Robbie T
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      • Profile picture of the author BlackMetal
        Originally Posted by kirbymarketingconcierge View Post

        change the verbiage, change everything.

        From Fake it til you make it to

        Act As If

        act as if your 1 of the best in your profession, you have the expertise, or will learn it...

        act as if you will reach your goals, rather than waiting Until your there...or being negative and doubting your own ability and resolve.

        act as if, your happy and smile, and you start to be...

        act as if...... you can, when you see a child about to take a fall

        it's not phoney... not a sign of the times
        it's the human condition of human motivation and locomotion.

        IMO
        That's definitely a more positive frame.
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        • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
          Originally Posted by BlackMetal View Post

          That's definitely a more positive frame.
          I agree. I think many people get confused and apply the fake it til you make it to things outside of ones self. For example, focusing on material, external things, bling, flash, even excessive borrowing to look rich to others.

          When you apply "fake it til you make it" philosophy to your inner goals, or inner self it rocks. The hip term we use from my old neighborhood is having a strong "inner game".
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  • Profile picture of the author TheLinkMaster
    You have to look and act the part to actually get it. So yeah, I'd still think it applies as long as you're not deceiving anyone. Say you wanna be a kickboxing champion and you enter the ring against a 210 pounds beefy, professional muscleman believing you are an expert when you're a skinny 110 pounds amateur
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  • Profile picture of the author mervyngoh
    I don really agree too , I believe in think big And dream big
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  • Profile picture of the author David Sneen
    I agree with Kirby. One certainly should not spend oodles of money they don't have to give the phony appearance of success...but, if one can adjust the mindset to think and act as if.....they had already achieved success; then success will likely follow.

    People who act as if...were already successful will have the mindset, "What will I, a successful person do," when faced with decisions. The subconscious takes over, and great decisions are made.
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    David Sneen
    It's what you do when no one is watching
    that determines what you will be able to
    do when everyone is watching.
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  • Profile picture of the author almiller
    I live by it, and I'm still around!

    Alberto
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  • Profile picture of the author ramblingrye
    Well, it depends on your take on it. Because if you really think about it everything starts from the superficial. In my experience, when I was in my teens I rebelled a lot but I didn't really have any real cause for rebellion. I liked loud music (still do), dressed differently from other kids, drank alcohol, went to rock shows. I started to "imitate" them. Dressed and talked like them. "Fakin it". But then what started as a totally aesthetic and superficial nonconformism developed into a way of life and thinking for me as I matured. That is, I learned to question the norms of society, think differently and be more open-minded. So in a way I faked it til I made it.
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    • Profile picture of the author PLRExpress
      I know quite a few people that are in the "fake it" stage of of the whole "fake it til you make it" concept!

      But, I do think that there's some truth and benefit to it. Not just because it's about deceiving people that you're something more than you are, but I think that the aspect of feeling like you're living your true potential is great for self esteem.

      Most of the time, to actually see any success, we just need to focus on something for long enough and not lose sight of the goal. If "fake it til you make it" helps you to do that then I say go right ahead!
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  • Profile picture of the author dreganomics
    I believe that "fake it till you make it" applies, but not with pretending to be rich. Think of it this way...act the way your most successful, best version (the person you want to become) would act, and eventually it will become natural and you will be that person. Pretending to be rich when you're not is a step in the wrong direction IMO, but that doesn't mean that changing your outlook on money isn't one of the best things you could do for yourself.
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  • Profile picture of the author paul_1
    One basic skill every public speaker must have is the ability to project full confidence by pretending or thinking that hes the expert of his topic...
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  • Profile picture of the author speedbird
    I will say that it depends with the situation at hand. There are some situations which require you to 'fake it' but in some other situations you really need to be yourself to make an impression.
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  • Profile picture of the author wangui
    I think what it means bottom line is that we must act the part even if we are not the part yet and so yes it is relevant even in the 21st Century.
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  • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
    Originally Posted by YasirYar View Post

    Honesty, as it seems, isn't always the best policy. Or at least it seems that honesty CAN be a best policy if it has the right PR spin. Years ago I learned a HUGE lesson: 'fake it until you make it' has a cost and, if the gamble doesn't pay off, you'll be saddled with more than you can handle afterwards. It was my first business and everyone advised me to look more experienced and more established than I was. Since I didn't have an official office, I needed to pretend that I do. And since I was new, I needed to come on the scene with a bang. So I spent a whole bunch of money I didn't have up front and didn't tell anyone that I was going in debt for it. Long story short, it seemed to work for a while, but when the market fell out beneath me, I was saddled with more debt than I could bring in income. I had to get a real job in order to pay for my previous 'faking it'. Lucky for me, the social web rose up and radical transparency became all the rage. Now everybody was talking about how they worked from home and coffee shops, how they don't always know what they are doing and bootstrapping became an honorable way to start a business. Where I once needed a rent-an-office space, brochures, fancy website, answering service and other expensive collateral, I could now merely have a blog, a laptop and a bunch of Moo Cards. This no longer seemed amateur because everyone was amateur and amateur was the new professional. But something has shifted back over the past 5 years or so since then and there seems to be a resurgence of the 'Fake it til you make it' battle cry. I'm not sure if it's because we could get away with our scrappy little amateur web businesses when we were still on the bleeding edge and now we are part of a serious money-making industry or whether it's just a natural pendulum swing to counteract the 'We Live in Public' viewpoints of the world that were hyperbolically transparent (and even shocking to an open advocate like myself).
    Either way, Faking it is the new transparency and I don't think its resurgence is a good one. Why not?

    1. By faking it, we fail to share our struggles - I know that's kind of the point of faking it and all, but if nobody shares they are struggling, nobody will know anybody else is struggling. That results in a whole bunch of people feeling quite isolated and scared and thinking that they must be big, fat losers because they are the only ones in the whole wide world that struggle. Funny thing...I shared my struggle at TEDxConcordia (6,000 views) and at NXNE Interactive (167,000 views) and both were passed around like wildfire. I've never received so many thank you emails. This struck a nerve. People were thankful I shared because they no longer felt alone.
    2. By faking it, we fail to learn what it takes to REALLY make it - the amount of advice posts written by failing startups that other startups followed and promptly failed by is astonishing. Same with speakers at conferences who delve out advice for 'how to do it right' when they know full well that their community is crumbling, they are running out of money and their days are numbered. This is just wrong. People wanting to do startups look up to people doing them. And they aspire to be them. Let's not pass along our mistakes, only our lessons.
    3. By faking it, we ignore reality. I recently read 10 Facts About the Condition of American Families that Will Blow Your Mind at Business Insider. Wow. I think it's time for America to stop faking success ("Look at how Wall Street is recovering! Look at how much money is being invested! People are working/buying again!") and start facing reality. There is something fundamentally broken here. Admit it, grow some humility and fix it so we can achieve REAL successs. Because the longer you lie to the world, the more you will believe it yourself and the longer you will struggle. You only increase your chances of success when you admit your reality.
    4. By faking it, we perpetuate a culture of lies. It's the viciousest of vicious cycles, really. If we all just admitted we struggle, nobody would feel like admitting it would make people think they were a big loser. By 'staying in the closet' about our fears, doubts and stumbles, we keep that closet closed for future generations.
    5. By faking it, we are just plain lying. If it was my money on the line, I'd want to know what was going on with the companies I invested in. 100%. I wouldn't want to be surprised at a board meeting that the company I see as doing amazing things is about to close down because of legal battles, especially if those legal battles had been going on for ages and I could have helped. I've heard this story and many others from advisors, investors and employees who had no idea the company they worked for was in trouble. Yes, yes...revealing every little thing isn't good either. You need to help people feel like you can handle the small stuff. But when you are running out of money or being sued or discover you were on the wrong path or whatever is a bigger deal, it's time to reach out and get help.
    Now, this being said there IS such thing as TOO MUCH INFORMATION. I would never name names (even thinly veiled), give specific details in a legal or financial case, talk ill of anyone who wronged me (not naming names - but you can talk about lessons learned...how to avoid situation X) or personally attack anyone. You have to use your judgement. The way I approach transparency is: "This is how I am struggling. This is what I've learnt. This is what I've done wrong. This is what I did right. This is how things are broken. Please keep in mind this is my perspective. Anyone else want to add/share?" Sometimes I wait until this can be told in retrospect, sometimes I talk about lessons as I've learned them. Of course, this is also changing for me as time goes on. I find myself clamming up more and being less involved in discussions that are heated in this area. I'm aware that my own behavior reflects on my company, which means the other people who work with me have to bear the brunt of my sometimes misguided opinons. So I stay away unless I have something personal to share that I think will help others. Mostly I speak of my own mistakes now. And I've had friends in the industry advise me to keep quieter in general, but as I said above, this won't help anyone (even though I know their intention is to protect me). And I don't think it will help me (or anyone else) in the long run. I'm not stupid or reckless (mostly!) and I'm more than happy to admit it if I make a mistake. Feel free to tell me when I've crossed the transparency/TMI line. I know that we had a special luxury in the early days of the rise of the social web business when we were the scrappy revolutionaries and now that we are starting to make bigger impacts and affect real lives, we need to think about how our behavior touches other people. It's no longer about a revolution (was it ever?), it is now about changing the world to be a better place. But I do believe that transparency can grow up with us, too. It doesn't get left behind, it just evolves to be central to the way we interact. It's a better way and it's definitely better than faking it.
    Engaging explanation. Thanks for sharing your story, mistakes and what you learned from them. There was something in that response for everyone to choose and learn from.
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  • Profile picture of the author marywatson
    great share
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