When I was earlier in my career at a digital marketing agency, I heard my senior coworkers repeat one piece of advice almost daily.
I bet you’ve gotten this advice too. If I had a big cat for every time I’ve heard it, I’d be the Tiger Queen.
“Fake it till you make it.”
Cue the eye roll.
I get the intention–you need to show confidence in your ideas and push aside self-doubt.
When I was younger, I tried to follow this supposed wisdom, but it never worked for me. Not only do I have a poker face that makes card sharks drool, faking knowledge or expertise made me feel inauthentic.
Back then, I tried to silence the questions in my head. What if someone finds out you’re faking it? How can you build genuine relationships at the same time? And does being fake make anyone else feel bad?
I can now say confidently, don’t follow this advice.
The implicit idea is that you need to have all the answers. That it’s unacceptable to say “I don’t know.” And that you must be confident in your ideas at all times.
This isn’t only impossible, it’s detrimental to your growth. You need to admit what you don’t know if you ever want to improve.
With so many of us fighting imposter syndrome, it’s important to acknowledge our gaps openly and publicly, not just for ourselves, but for others. Staying genuine gives an alternative example for those who feel like they’re the only ones who don’t know it all.
Reframing this advice gave me the courage to admit what I don’t know and drop the act once and for all.
To being better without being a human knockoff Louis bag,