3 Ways to “Fake It Until You Make It” as an Entrepreneur
Ever heard the phrase “fake it until you make it?” Turns out its extremely useful advice. If you’re new to running your own business, then you may sometimes feel intimidated by people who have been entrepreneurs for many years! If so, you must remember that everyone needs to start somewhere and that the people you put on a pedestal were also once in your shoes.
However, you can do a few things to make yourself feel more confident and to fake it until you make it, as the saying goes. That way, you can look the part even when you don’t feel the part.
Is It Wrong to Fake It Until You Make It?
If you’re worried that “faking it until you make it” is a lie or about tricking people into believing you’re more competent than you are, we can help reassure you.
The phrase “fake it until you make it” isn’t about bamboozling or conning people. It’s about understanding that confidence isn’t always something that comes naturally — it’s a skill, like any other. Would you say someone who is first practicing the saxophone or knitting is “faking it?” No, they’re trying something new and making mistakes while they learn.
Confidence also isn’t a natural byproduct of skill — many incredibly skilled and talented people suffer unfairly from impostor syndrome. If you’re hoping that success will breed confidence automatically, you may be disappointed. Sometimes, you’re going to have to work at it — to fake it until you make it.
In this article, we share some of our favorite ways to fake it until you make it, so you can start boosting your self-image and moving closer to success.
1. Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Some of the people you admire the most may not even be as smart or successful as they seem. However, they’ve gotten good at communicating confidence and authority. If you’re worried you’re not appearing strong and assured during business presentations or board meetings, even small adjustments in how you carry yourself can have huge effects.
Did you know that you can come across as more authoritative and trustworthy with some small adjustments to your body language? Make sure to stand up straight by throwing back your shoulders and lifting up your head. You may not even realize how hunched you’ve gotten from sitting at a computer all day.
For inspiration, look at some photos of the most revered superheroes, who put their hands on their hips for an extra-powerful stance.
And remember, improved body language isn’t just for keeping the job and getting promoted. Even before you get hired, recruiters are taking note of how you look, how you act, and the confidence you project.
2. Get in Touch with Your Strengths and Successes
Have you ever considered that you may not be giving yourself enough credit?
You’re probably more successful and competent than you care to admit, so it may be time to reconnect with your accomplishments. We have a tendency to see our victories and accomplishments as “givens,” while even minor failures will stick with us for years.
Sit down with a blank notebook and start listing all the ways you’ve made yourself proud in the last year or even five years. Before you know it, you’ll be impressing yourself with all your talent and drive. Think about what goals you set for yourself and then achieved — and don’t worry if those goals are small. Oftentimes, lofty goals can do more harm than good, anyway. Small victories create momentum, and reachable goals are more likely to motivate than impossibly ambitious ones. Then, once you’ve acknowledged your accomplishments, you’ll want to make sure you share them, whether on your website or your LinkedIn profile.
From there, use your successes to improve yourself! Consider the Japanese philosophy of kaizen, of constantly making small improvements as you go. You can only do this by marking your achievements first and bolstering your confidence not only with your past achievements but also with the new, active improvements you’ve made.
3. Dress the Part
How much attention do you pay to your wardrobe? If you’ve never gone shopping with your professional image in mind, then it may be time to order a few core pieces that will boost your confidence and make you look like a million dollars.
They say “clothes make the man (or woman),” and you can completely change your mindset by simply changing your clothes. In a recent social psychology study, it was found that clothing strongly affects how you feel about yourself and even how you act. According to Dr. Galinsky, who headed the study: “When we put on a piece of symbolic clothing, we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it.”
If you’re not savvy about fashion, then ask a trusted friend or family member to help you choose some polished pieces. Or, you could hire a stylist to assist you with curating your wardrobe. Consider a subscription clothing service, like Trunk Club or Stitch Fix, that pairs you with a personal stylist and sends appropriate clothes right to your door for you to try.
You may need to spend more than usual on some nice clothes, but the investment in yourself will pay off quickly.