Here’s Why ‘Fake It Till You Make It’ Actually Works
You can be sincere, while also believing in yourself.
When I worked at an ad agency, I had a coworker who was two years my junior, had a senior title and made $20k more than me. It pissed me off. What did she spend all that money on—a Barbie dream house? She was OK at her job, and sure, she was smart, but working closely with her made me realize her secret: She was totally faking it.
The baby business woman (let’s call her Liz) wore Ann Taylor and spoke like Hillary Clinton at a campaign fundraiser. She was confident, poised and had our bosses eating out of the palm of her tiny hand. Even after she left the company to go to grad school, my bosses still gushed about how great she was. I’m not saying she was a total phony—in fact, I’m saying the opposite. She was faking it until she made it, and that’s incredibly smart.
Even Erkel became a babe when he took off his glasses and faked some swagger.
According to Harvard professor and best-selling author Amy Cuddy, that’s exactly what all success-seekers should do. “Fake till you become it. Do it enough until you actually become it and internalize.” In other words, the path to success is mental—if we see ourselves as the people we wish to become, others will too.
This false ego life hack reaches beyond career success. Studies show people who appear confident are more attractive to others. Even Erkel became a babe when he took off his glasses and faked some swagger.
Radiating confidence isn’t just a mental exercise—you’ve got to walk the walk, too. Cuddy says, “Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves.” She’s an advocate for power posing—standing with confidence, even if we don’t necessarily feel all that confident. According to Cuddy, doing so can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain and could up our chances for success.
Here are some other ways to fake it to make it:
1. Make eye contact
2. Use your hands when you speak
3. Dress for success
4. Speak clearly and slowly
I’m an advocate for authenticity, but revealing self-doubt or fear won’t move you forward. You can be sincere, while also believing in yourself. You could be the youngest, least experienced person in the room, but if you believe you’re an asset, you will be—and others will see you as one too.