Fake it till you make it.
Or as some of you may have heard from Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk:
Fake it till you become it.
It’s true — experience is the best teacher. I’ve learned early on in my writing career that if you call yourself an “aspiring writer” or “amateur writer,” then that’s all you’ll ever be. But if you want to be a writer, you’ve got to start calling yourself a “writer” and your mindset (and writing) will follow suit.
And as I’ve deeply discussed with others no matter how early or established they are in their career and/or life, they’ve all admitted to having to “fake it” and take risks to get to where they are. Many times, we grow and sharpen our skills by just saying, “yes” to tasks or projects we actually don’t know much about, and throwing ourselves into the fire with confidence. But when exactly do we “become” it? When do we have to stop faking it?
In my discussions with many talented and brilliant creatives, from witty writers to flawless designers to amazing filmmakers, most of them don’t feel or think they are that good. (At least the humble ones feel that way.) Despite the work they’ve produced, clients/companies they’ve gotten the opportunity to work with, awards they might’ve won, or simple praise from noteworthy people, they feel like they haven’t “made it.” Some admit to feeling like a perpetrator; they just “faked” their way to those accomplishments. I often find myself feeling the same way.
For example, I got to chat with famous YouTube creator, Anna Akana and asked her at what point she felt she “made it” and to my surprise, she said she still doesn’t feel like she did. 1.5 million subscribers. Sponsorships. Roles on Ant-Man, Comedy Central, and Disney. A self-written series picked up by VerizonGo. And it was inspiring to hear her say she still doesn’t feel like she’s “made it.”
So back to the question: When do we stop faking it? I don’t think we ever do. To stop faking it means to stop pushing yourself; to stop faking it means to stop scaring yourself; to stop faking it means to stop growing. It’s like the carrot on the stick effect. So if we “make it,” then what? I guess this is a rather funny way of keeping ourselves motivated and growing. So cheers to never stop faking it.