“Fake it til you make it”
I remember reading somewhere (this is actually something I can’t quote but would love to!) saying that this (“fake it til you make it”) is the worst advice you can follow. YES, it’s all well and good to pretend you’ve got it all together – you know where you’re going and how to get there, but what happens when you don’t.
Faking your way and stumbling along blindly won’t get you anywhere fast. Yes, sometimes you need to act confident along the way, but not all the time and not for all situations. Why is it SO wrong to say “I don’t know”? Why is it frowned upon from the outside? Why is admitting you’re scared or unsure or wrong viewed as weakness?
I think part of the problem is a combination of toxic masculinity and women trying to get the respect their male counterparts have. Compassion and empathy is a lost trait. For years and years, we (the Royal “we”) have told boys to toughen up and we’ve told girls that they can be and do anything they want.
Personally, I think it’s awesome that girls/women are breaking into areas previously “reserved” for boys/men.
However, during the uphill struggle of women achieving the same status as men, we’ve been forced to hide anything that might be reserved as weakness; uncertainty, fear, anger, irritability, frustration, moodiness, compassion, empathy… any type of emotion. We have to be cold and calculated as we climb up the corporate ladder. And yet, some of those emotions are our (women’s) best qualities.
Compassion, empathy, nurturing, tenderness. We, as women, are losing some of our best qualities.
And on the flip side, why is it so wrong for men to express those emotions? Yes, those emotions are typically associated with women, but men can – and should – be able to express themselves without being crucified.
The first step in reversing the whole “fake it til you make it” mentality is respect. Respect for yourself. Respect for each other. When we can respect each other with compassion and empathy and without judgement or prejudice, then people will be more likely to open up. When there’s a feeling of safety, people are more likely to ask for help. When there’s a feeling of safety, people will say “I don’t know”. And it’s not just women – men, too! I know it’s harder for men, but we ALL have to show more empathy and understanding and RESPECT to everyone – no matter sex, race, religion, orientation, age… WHATEVER!!!
Don’t “fake it til you make it”… try, fail, try again. Fall down, pick yourself up, try again. Ask for help, try again, fail. Try again, fail, ask for help, succeed. Success (whatever that looks like to you) is not linear! You won’t succeed straight out of the gate. You will fail and stumble countless of times. You will need to ask for help – probably several times. You will have to work your ass off. You will have to put in countless hours until you get where you want to be.
And the best way to do that is have a plan. The more planning you do, the more forward movement you’re likely to have. But don’t plan for too long – at some point you have to take that first step; make that first commitment. My husband is brilliant – but he has a hard time taking that first step; that commitment. As much as I encourage him, only he can make that first move. All I can do is support him and help dust him off if he needs it.
Everyone’s image of success looks different – and so it should! Not everyone can be the CEO of some Fortune 500 company. Maybe it’s to be the first person in your family to go to college or university. Maybe it’s buying a new car or house. Or buying your parents a home or new car. Maybe it’s moving to a bigger home. Or getting sober and breaking the destructive cycle.
Don’t “fake it til you make it”. Ask for help. And remember that if someone asks you for help. Show that compassion and understanding that someone showed you. THAT is how we break that cycle.