The Myth of “Fake it til you make it”

You can’t be an online personality without being hit over the head at some point with the “fake it til you make it” mantra. The myth goes something like this… if you act a certain way, dress a certain way, hang out with certain people and do certain activities that someday the world will go *poof* and you magically arrive at success.

That’s not how it works.

Every time I hear someone say “fake it til you make it,” I picture someone pretending to be a heart surgeon. She wears a lab coat. She hangs out at the hospital. She talks to patients. She knows all the right vocabulary words. But she’s never performed a single procedure. Would I let her operate on me? Ummm, no thanks.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think there are some good points in the whole “fake it til you make it” philosophy.  For example, here are some…

Things you can successfully fake

Dressing for success

By all means, you should dress the part. If you’re a personal trainer, I expect you to show up dressed like one. When our client, Ben Booker shows up for a meeting, he’s usually in gym clothes. I would be really suspicious if he showed up in a suit and tie. Dressing the part sets expectations between you and your audience so pick your wardrobe accordingly. You can “fake” this part and most people are none the wiser.

Hanging out with the right crowd

You’ve probably heard that you are an average of the 5 people you hang out with the most. Hanging out with the right people is not hard. Networking is pretty easy. Join a mastermind group for your niche, get involved in a local group or find some social media channels and get involved. You’ll be able to find a few mentors in no time and people will think you’re super smart and all because you have new super awesome guru friends.

Acting like a pro

They key word here is “acting”. You can act like the President of the United States if you want, but that doesn’t mean you get to ride on Air Force One. But there is a nugget of truth in acting the part. When you take physical action and start to do the things you need to do to “make it”, there is a mental shift that takes place. You can definitely fake this part, but take note of the…

Things you can’t (and shouldn’t even try to) fake


This is the biggest issue I have with the “fake it til you make it” thinking. You can dress the part, play a bigger game and hang out with smarter people, but there is no substitute for experience. You can’t buy it and you can’t make it up. You have to put in the time and effort to learn the skills.

Ben Booker - Before/AfterBen didn’t get on the cover of Iron Man because he decided to put gym clothes on one day and go workout. He spent a lot of time training and learning how to be a fitness professional.

Playing a bigger game

It should go without saying that if you expand your network to include bigger players, then you should be playing a bigger game. This isn’t something you can fake either. Walking into a stadium doesn’t suddenly make you a major league baseball player.


You shouldn’t pretend you have experience or pretend you are bigger than you are. People can spot a fake. So while you can fake a few things here and there, you can’t be someone you’re not. If you lack experience and authenticity, you won’t last long.

So be yourself. Take note of where you are and where you want to be. Map out the steps to get there and start building up your experience, make good connections and be real.

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