Fake It Til You Make It: 3 Things You Should Fake

There are certain qualities that we can and should fake until they become a natural extension of us.
Photo Credit: itamaryu via Compfight cc  

I am a member of Toastmasters International and am active in a local Toastmasters group. In the Toastmaster's International magazine, I came across an article called "Fake it 'til you make it." 

It was one members recount of his first Toastmasters speech. He wasn't a seasoned speaker or naturally gifted but instead of letting his novice shine though, he told himself that he'd fake confidence until he actually had it. That mind trick helped him achieve his first Toastmaster's award.

That got me to thinking. What are some communication or leadership qualities that are OK to fake until you actually have them?

I am a huge proponent of being authentic. I usually don't like the idea of faking anything because it goes against being your authentic self. So in order to live peaceably with the advice I am about to present, I had to tell myself this:

When traveling across the desert of self improvement, the mirages may be the only thing that help you reach your destination.

3 Qualities that are OK to Fake...for now!

1. Listening

We fake listening all the time but the goal for any good leader is to strive to be a genuine listener of motives, emotions, and facts. Listening takes practice and as you practice listening you will slip into non-listening. Once you find you have roamed, purposely decide to come back and stay with your speaker. 

2. Confidence

Confidence is the full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing. Sometimes you have to actively choose to believe in yourself in order to successfully accomplish a task. Confidence comes as you see more success. But you won't see success if you aren't confident that it will come.

3. Making (or not making) the call

For some, making a decision comes easy. For others it is hard. If you tend to have a hard time making decisions, you will need to fake being at ease or making decisions quickly until making the call becomes easier. If you tend to be quick to make the call, you will need to fake being patient, gathering input, or thinking a situation through before calling the shot!

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
~Martin Luther King Junior

I don't want you to get hung up on the word fake. Know that until you get used to and/or proficient in something, it is OK to use a skill or practice a quality that you aren't fully convinced you have. 

Toastmaster Magnuson summarized his reasons for faking by saying "in the bid to sell yourself--whether as a speaker, professional,--always start high." When you set the standard high, you usually achieve it. In other words, when you fake it...you usually end up actually making it.

What are other qualities that are OK to fake?


  1. I was just having a conversation with another author about taking ourselves seriously. One of the things we noticed was when we spoke to others, whether that was book promotions, securing interviews, or other activities that might seem intimidating, by "faking" our confidence, we saw some pretty great results. After enough of these results, it will move from being fake and into reality.

  2. Yeah. I call it a performance. Soon it isn't a performance anymore. Hey Ryan, I tried to tag you in a post on twitter but couldn't find you. I referenced your post in my piece called What's Unique About Your Brand of Leadership

  3. Oh, sorry I missed it, I'll go check it out, it sounds interesting. I'm at @crazytotry on twitter.

  4. This is a great question to ask oneself, and I think you did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of what makes a great business/leader. We all have a unique story that brought us to where we are today. Whether that's our person or our professional background, no one has walked in our shoes. By leveraging this unique perspective, we can always add value to someone else.

    And we do have to be selective about what we focus on, because as you said, we can't be all things to all people. By trying to be, we fail to harness our true potential of our strengths.

    Great post, Julia.

  5. This was spot on sis