Fake It Till You’re It

You’ve probably heard the phrase “fake it till you make it.” When thinking of this phrase, you may face it with scrutiny. Placing value on authenticity, we question those who seem insincere in their identity. What if I get caught faking it? What if they find out i’m a fraud? The thought of pretending to be something you’re not can feel out of place and dishonest—mainly to yourself. However, allowing fluidity within your identity may be the key to accomodating personal growth and change.

As it happens, faking it may actually help you become it. 

If you've ever felt like a fraud, you're not alone: Even the most successful people after having achieved their checklist of goals still may feel as though they are not deserving or unable to identify with the merit achieved. It's called impostor syndrome, and it's experienced as chronic self-doubt. It can dismiss the circumstances of success due to a lack of confidence that they are true deserving of that role, especially if the role is new to them.

Part of the underlying problem of imposter syndrome is our attachment to the roles that come with our identity. You can continue achieving and feel the exact same on the inside. When we are presented with a new unfamiliarized role (a job, a romantic partner, a home owner, etc). this new role doesn’t match with the identity we know. The part we need to understand is that identity is the furthest thing from being fixed. A person can come to be who they want to be by changing their actions at any given moment. Your actions and patterns allow you to recreate yourself everyday, however staying fixed in the identity that you’ve known is limiting and prevents progression in the long run.

Fear of the unknown is common in everyone. Our self-perception becomes comfortable when we’ve lived that way for so long, making it much harder to switch into this new role as our actions stay in alignment with that comfort. Breaking out of an old identity often symbolically means breaking the illusion of connection with our family of origin where the identity was formed. This is often one of the biggest challenges when breaking cycles. When we are surrounded by others that we trust, it feels safe to hold onto the identity that they have created even if its not always the most beneficial.

A helpful mindset when dealing with imposter syndrome is to remember that nothing about you is concrete, ever. Your identity isn’t real, neither the one created by you or those around you. When you allow fluidity to your ever-changing persona, you allow yourself to change. And you embrace the mindset behind this new person. Begin feeling as though you have what you want and you embody the lifestyle of someone that has it. Changing your mindset means change in your behavior, even down to the small details such as body language. Remaining too stuck in the previous self will only keep you feeling restricted in who you can become, which is literally anyone.

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy argues that power posing can boost feelings of confidence, affecting our chances for success. She further explains the concept of ‘faking it till you make it’ and the power you give yourself when you embody a new persona.