Fake it until you make it?

Not if you want to be truly sanguine.

The pitfalls of a ‘fake it until you make it’ mentality

Hello my friends, welcome to Chapter 40 of Sanguine Stories. This month we’ve been exploring the Sanguine Element Authenticity and today, I wanted to share with you some thoughts on one of my biggest pet peeves: the fake it until you make it mentality.

I am not an advocate of people who choose to “fake it until you make it”. In their personal lives or professionally.

It really goes against everything I believe in.

I believe in:

  • It’s okay to not know everything. Be everything. Do everything.
  • It’s okay to have weaknesses, flaws and imperfections.
  • It’s okay to be vulnerable.
  • You can’t learn just by “throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing if it sticks”. Especially if the actions you’re taking will affect someone else.  A child, student, family member, friend, work associate.

Sure, in some ways, you can probably figure things out. Learn things the hard way.

If you decide to plant pansies in May in Southern California, you may look like a gardening pro at the time. But those pansies will soon die-off, revealing your true novice status. You could have read up on it first….better plant and enjoy them through the Winter and early Spring…

Or, if you’re a new mom, you will probably learn a whole lot hands-on but likely, you may have read some books as well. You may have talked with other moms or joined a support group.

You likely didn’t just show up at the hospital to give birth but probably took some classes beforehand. To learn what to expect and what to do.

Why do people choose to fake it?

  • to fit in
  • or to impress someone
  • or even to make more money, claiming they’re experts in something when really, they’re not.
  • Or maybe they’re trying to be a “people pleaser” when really, the other person would have probably preferred just honestly knowing it’s not something they can do.

Not sure if you’re faking it? Here’s some questions and thoughts to ponder:

  • Do you not accept and acknowledge your flaws or weaknesses but rather cover them up, pretending like they don’t exist?
  • Do you try to appear overly confident in order to cover up what you don’t know?
  • Are you open to getting trainings to learn new things? Or do you pretend like you already know everything?
  • Are you really showing up as you for the people around you? Are you being honest with them?
  • Are you doing the bare minimum to “pretend” like you know what you’re doing?

And one of my biggest problems with the fake it until you make it mentality is:

Not only are you taking advantage of those who aren’t seeing through your inauthenticity, you’re also not able to make real connections with those who could potentially be mentors for you, because those more experienced people can see that you’re being inauthentic, superficial.

When I was still living in California, I applied for a job at a nonprofit. The systems they used, I was familiar with them – in general – but specifically not so much. The interviewers had some pretty serious – and valid – concerns as their systems were complex. Now, I could have faked it and told them – Oh sure, I know how to use that software system. But instead, I chose to be authentic and explained to them – I didn’t have experience with their specific system but I did have experience with a similar software, made by the same company.

I really wanted this job. But I knew that if I had lied and gotten the job by saying I already knew what I was doing, when I didn’t, not only would that have harmed me and my authentic self, it would have also harmed the client.

The end result? I did get the job. Maybe even because of my choice to be honest and authentic. And because they could see that I was motivated to learn.

Education and experience [+ honesty] – they go hand in hand. And they make for a more authentic life.

To wrap this all up with a neat authentic bow, I’m going to ask you to:

  1. Have confidence in yourself – who you are, right now. Accept that you have flaws and things that you don’t yet know and take a moment to feel confident in what you do already know.
  2. Focus on what your strengths are – you are not superhuman.  No one is. It’s okay to have weaknesses. Either work on improving them or decide it’s better to focus on what you know how to do well.
  3. If you are really interested or passionate about something, dive deep into exploring new ways of doing, being, learning – don’t just skate along the surface being superficial and pretending like you’re an expert when you’re not.
  4. Be vulnerable. Let people know when you don’t know how to do something or it’s not your area of expertise and could be better handled by someone else.
  5. Be open to growing, both through hands-on experience and training.

Even just wanting to be a better YOU – find someone who can support you in doing that.

You do not have to do it all by yourself. There is no manual for how to “be an adult” and there’s no harm in saying “I don’t know how to manage this, I need help” and then seeking out support.

I know that what I love to do – and what I’ve trained to do – is support people in living their ONE beautiful life. To create more harmony in their lives and out in the world.

Being authentic means you give yourself time to explore the shallow end of any new venture. To find your way. And make it your own.

This not only helps you become the best version of yourself, it also helps the people in your life – both personal and professional – trust you more.

You cause less harm, and more harmony.

My belief is always to take small steps. To start off in the shallow end, to learn, to grow and make your way to the deep end and to be as authentic as possible along the way.

You will make mistakes. And if you’re not caught up in pretending to be something you’re not, you will be able to learn from those mistakes, transform and do better the next time.

Please don’t choose the fake it until you make it mentality. In the long run, it doesn’t do anyone any good.

If you’re choosing to fake it, it’s likely you’re not really taking action steps to learn and grow as a person. To be responsible and mature and to acknowledge where you are right now. Rather, you’re pretending to be someone you’re not.

And when you’ve made it, have you really? If you weren’t authentic from the get-go?

Some people may find success through the fake it until you make it method. But that’s not how I choose to show up in the world.

I invite you to explore your own thoughts on this topic and let me know… what do you think?

Look at it from both angles – who you’re being, in your own life. And who you’re choosing to associate with, to work with, to hang out with.  Are you or them showing up as your real authentic selves? Or playing pretend? From an authenticity standpoint, do the pros of “faking it” really outweigh the cons?

If you’re struggling with how to show up as your best self possible AND live your best life possible, please reach out and let’s chat.

Or check out one of my online DIY programs. My programs are designed to help you learn and grow and become a better YOU and live a better life.

As always, thank you for joining me on this journey into sanguine living. Until next time, be simply sanguine.

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chrissy gruningerChrissy Gruninger is an author and mindset coach. She mentors people on how to live their ONE beautiful life, wherever they may be. Her latest book, Lost and Found in the Land of Mañana explores her life in Costa Rica and both the challenges of working and living abroad as well as the beautiful life we can create from those experiences.

She loves her rainforest beach shack in Costa Rica, the sunshine and the rain and passionately believes that through intentional actions we create more happiness, health and harmony in the world. 

Her goal: to empower others to thrive in an imperfect world.