Fake It ‘til You Make It

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A friend of mine once said that the way you become good at something in life is by faking your way through it the first few times, until you learn how to do it without faking. That makes sense. Even as adults, there are many first times…a first time you run a meeting at work, a first networking event, a first sale, a first party in your home, etc.

In many of life’s public situations, you don’t want to look new and green; it’s embarrassing, and messing up could prove costly. Even if you explain that it’s your first time and ask others to cut you a little slack, there are still plenty of first, second, third times that you’ll just need to push on.

Fortunately, most people are willing to accord you with the authority you are taking on. If you’re running the meeting, you are probably the right person to run the meeting. If you’re making the sale, you’re probably the person with the knowledge to help them make a decision. If you’re at a networking event, you probably have something to contribute. And, nervous as you might be that no one will show up, if you throw the party just the way the experts say to do it, you’ll probably have a great crowd.

People tend to expect that you belong in the role you are taking on at any given moment. Once you know that, you can be powerful in just about any new endeavor. If you don’t let on—by apologizing, hiding out, or calling attention to your own mistakes—then they probably will never realize it either. If you step into the role you’re taking on, almost as an actor, and pretend to be experienced at it, they’ll go right along with you.

It may feel like you’re faking it the first few times, but eventually you realize you’re not faking it anymore, because you’ve made it!

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