How to fake it til you make it and why it works

I recently watched an amazing TED talk by a Harvard researcher (who happens to be a badass + brilliant woman) about using body language to literally change our minds.  It is research that supports the age old adage “fake it ‘til you make it.”  It got me thinking…

Women are often totally brilliant, with a ton to offer the world.  And yet, we often shy away from leadership opportunities and get quiet when asked about our accomplishments. WTF.

You’ve heard me say it a hundred times, the world needs your brilliance.  It really does.

There have been SO many times when I’ve felt scared and unsure.  In those moments, I try “fake it ‘til you make it” to push me to my next level of success.  You can (and probably have!) too.

I was 21 years old and headed to interview for my “dream” job, which also happened to be my first “real” job.  I was freaking out.  I knew I could do the job, but I also knew I was a rookie.

I put on my brand new, black Ann Taylor suit and road the train into the city.  I entered a board room where five “adults” were waiting to fire questions at me.  Smile.  Firm hand shake. Eye contact. Share my accomplishments when asked.

Then, I actually got the job.  Oh shit, now what?  The job required that I travel between four different middle schools in challenging urban neighborhoods and coordinate programs with major universities.  The students and the leadership were almost entirely African-American.  I am not.  I was young.  I was new.  I had a lot to learn.

But, I was passionate, a quick learner, and determined.  I faked it ‘til I made it by working hard, asking questions, and using my skills of connecting with teens, organizing, and being approachable until I learned the new skills (of which there were many!)

Fast forward to my first job as a school counselor, with my Master’s Degree fresh in hand. An irate parent entered my office.  I wasn’t a parent yet, but I had strong listening skills. Fake it ‘til you make it, yo.  Use what you have, present yourself well, and learn the rest as you go.

And then…my first child was born.  Uh-oh.  I got him dressed with the diaper on correctly, made sure he was usually clean in public, and smiled a lot.  I asked questions of veteran parents, read articles, and slowly learned to trust myself as a mother.

So, when you’re feeling scared, worried, insecure, unsure… Fake it ‘til you make it, my friend.  Truly.  Others are doing it around you all the time!  

Do you think your boss has always been so self-assured?  Do you think that mom at the playground always kept her cool when her kid fell off the swing?  Nope.  We are all rookies at some point in our lives.

When you wake up feeling shitty, put on clothes that make you feel hot and consciously smile more.

When you have an interview and your heart is pounding, smile, give a firm handshake, and make solid eye contact.

Now, I want to hear from you.

In the comments, tell me about a time when you’ve used “fake it ‘til you make it.”  

[HINT: if you’re a parent, you’ve done this.  If you’ve ever had a new job, you’ve done this.]

Yours in living a badass + brilliant life,



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As promised, here is the must see Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on body language. Let’s get our power postures on!