I’m sick and tired of running into professional fraudsters, or “Fraud Willies” as Jay-Z likes to call them. Nowadays, it’s difficult to tell the real from the fake. I blame a lot of the business articles in the universe telling people to fake it before they make it. They tell us to get an answering service when we have a small company to make it look bigger than it is, they tell us to round up our percentages to the nearest hundred, they tell us to get in circles and rub elbows with big wigs before we’ve done anything significant. But this philosophy is very problematic for a number of reasons.
When you build up your ego with false impressions of majesty when you have little or no talent, ability, or experience to support the way you represent yourself it will end badly, very badly. (See the con artist chronicled in American Greed). When you fake it, you come across as disingenuous. You’ll make big mistakes, and you’ll make a number of miscalculations all because you haven’t created an environment where you don’t have to fake it. When you fake it, you lose all credibility in the minds of others and you probably don’t even know it.
Faking it is so detrimental to the individual because when people fake it well, it opens doors that wouldn’t have otherwise been opened. When you fake it and get small wins you never realize the need to work hard. One lie or half-truth will lead to bigger lies and more half-truths. If you’re good at faking it, you get more wins and more doors will open, but the world will soon get to know you for who you really are. Your reputation will become irrevocably stained, and that’s the point of no return. Self-destruction is imminent.
Instead of faking it till you make it, my philosophy is to make it so you don’t have to fake it. Be so good that your work speaks for itself. Below are ten steps to make it without ever having to fake it.
1. Do things in the right order. Build and perfect your craft first, then go out and tell people about it. Create results before you start boasting about what you’re capable of doing. If you’re really good, you won’t have to say a word, your reputation will precede you.
2. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. This is the worst. So many people make promises and when they can’t deliver it’s a huge let down. If you don’t have the power to make something happen, simply don’t make that claim.
3. Show, don’t tell. Your actions should speak so loudly that I can’t hear a word you’re saying. If you’re not 100% certain that you can close a deal, shut your mouth. If you do have the power to make things happen, just make them happen.
4. Don’t force it. Understand that greatness happens with time and that you will get there if you do things in the right way. The reason why people feel like they have to fake it is because they believe it’s a short cut to the top. But there are no short cuts, it takes time to analyze and learn from your mistakes.
5. Follow up when and how you said you would. When you can’t follow up because you faked your power or ability to make a certain thing happen, your prestige and value diminishes. If some external factor stopped a deal from happening, be clear and communicate ahead of time.
6. Be consistent. The truth is consistent and lies are inconsistent. This is how fraudsters get caught. There are too many inconsistencies when we fake it. People will easily see through your façade and will call you out.
7. Don’t exaggerate. So many people in the entrepreneur crowd exaggerate their knowledge, their experience, their expertise, their accomplishments, their relationships and their compensation. If you put in the work to reach your goals there’s no need to exaggerate, your actual numbers and results will be good enough to brag about.
8. Focus on what you’re good at. Do what you’re passionate about. You can’t fake passion or enthusiasm, it’s most believable when it’s most natural. If you’re not good at something, don’t do it. Figure out your strengths and operate in them.
9. Reflect on your goals. When you think about your long-term goals and objectives, you’ll see that faking it takes too much time and energy and it actually moves you further and further away from your goals. The best way to accomplish your goals is to put in the hard work.
10. Don’t name drop. Stay as far away as possible. If you build strong, positive, and lasting relationships with VIPs, they will drop your name and solidify your credibility without your permission.
A lot of people frame faking it till you make in the sense that it gives people confidence when they just can’t seem to muster up any. But if you’re successful, it will give you all the confidence you need to carry on. The real way to boost confidence is to create positive outcomes and being prepared for opportunities.
Where I’m from, they say “real recognize real”. When you come across someone who really puts in the work to be great, they will quickly discover your fraudulent persona. You can recognize those who make it and those who fake it by the fruit they bear.
While it is popular nowadays, faking it is too difficult; being real is easy and is a much more effective way to reach your goals.