We all know people who make it look easy: the gifted presenter; the decisive leader; the calm, steady manager; the confident networker. You would think they were born with the charisma and confidence to set the world on fire.
The truth is, they might be shaking with shyness inside. Their insecurity might feel (almost) paralyzing. Have you ever heard that expression fake it til you make it? They might have heard it too and are following that very powerful dictum.
Fake it till you make it is not about puffing up your resume, exaggerating your skills, or pretending you have expertise. It’s about being willing to act AS IF you feel comfortable and confident, even when you don’t.
My mother was my model in this. She could walk into any room with her head held high and begin introducing herself. Hello, I’m Betsy Crook from Jackson, Tennessee. What’s your name? She’d engage anyone, eliciting the most amazing information, not just where are you from and what brings you to Jackson, but the nitty gritty about their work, their family, their take on current events.
My mother saved me when I moved to Caracas, Venezuela. I was thirty, a gringabusiness woman in a prosperous, sophisticated international city. To make connections, I became a member of the Venezuela American Chamber of Commerce. Terrifying! I remember that first gathering, walking into the then elegant Hotel Tamanaco. The huge ballroom was filled with several hundred people. 95% were men. I felt insecure, embarrassed, and ridiculous. I just wanted to go sit at my table and not mingle at all. But, I pictured my mother moving (in what seemed an effortless way) into a large gathering smiling her charming, confident smile. Was she ever anxious or uncertain? I will never know, but… I bet she was in the beginning.
I moved through the crowd, introducing myself to two or three people and then strolling around again until I saw at least one person I knew. I approached them and entered into conversation, even though I felt like crawling into my car and driving home.
I went to every single meeting. And, slowly, I met more and more people and my Spanish went from halting to fluent.
Then one miraculous day, I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t embarrassed. I didn’t know everyone, but it didn’t matter, I could meet them with ease.
I faked it until I made it.
You too can fake it, too.
What’s a situation you want to feel confident in?
Who do you know that seems to handle those situations with ease?
What can you “borrow from them”?
Try it on for size and let me know how it goes.
Or, if you faked it till you made it, I want to hear about it!! Tell us the story, so we can get our confidence up, too.
Can’t wait to hear from you! Until next Tuesday.