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Fake it till ya Make it - the Faking Fallacy

Imposter syndrome loves the faking statement. It crushes the confidence out of people from every walk of life and at every stage of development.

In my 20's it was my mantra, I'd throw my head back and laugh saying "I'm the greatest faker that ever there was". I believed I was working in a zone where I didn't belong, I believed I was unworthy of the pay I received, I believed it was a fluke that I got a degree in psychology and I believed that one day I would be found out.

I was very free with my advice to anyone who would like it "Fake it till ya make it" was the best way to get through the working week.

I was obsessed with feedback forms, at the end of a workshop I would sit down and put them into piles. The good forms were from kind people who couldn't be honest and the bad forms were from honest people who chose not to be kind. Unless there was 100% above and beyond feedback I wasn't performing at the right level. More evidence I was faking it.

I looked at people who were ahead of me and thought about the day when I would be where they were, the highly esteemed place of competence. I never thought about how I would feel when I got there, I only noted that I wasn't there yet; I was still faking it day after after. I didn't know how anyone knew that they had arrived, but I could tell the people who had arrived, the competent people were in another league.

A friend who is an accountant once said to me in jest "You are an entertainer," my brain grabbed that and danced the room with it screaming out "She's a faking entertainer dressing up as an educator." My brain played that record regularly and while I knew my friend was saying "you are entertaining to listen to as you teach" my brain just played "entertainer".

Standing in my 50's I realise that silly nonsense phrase "fake it till ya make it" sucked the confidence out of my wings and had me kidnapped in self doubt. It took some courage to shake off the faker and fly the "fully competent" flag. My career is now 30 years in, with a track record I'm proud of and tremendous experiences that have shaped my education as a coach and facilitator.

I will never speak this phrase outloud again except to warn others not to allow themselves to get tangled in the prickles. When you talk about yourself with faking language you are cheating yourself, it's Tall Poppy syndrome 101 language.

There is just competent and yet to be competent. If you don't think you are competent then decide what it will take to be competent, put a marker in the sand and then set about making the changes that you need to in order to say "I'm here, and I'm fully competent" and while you are on that journey you are not faking anything.

Marina Shearer Professional Coach

BSc.psychology, Diploma Professional Coaching, Master Trainer

Marina is a coach, professional development expert, and facilitator who specialises in helping people develop themselves so they can be the best version of themselves and conduct their personal and professional lives more effectively.

Learn more about her HERE

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