Fake It Until You Become It

This morning, while me and my hubby enjoyed the rare weekday breakfast together, we were talking about my work. Specifically, we talked about how newly-minted entrepreneurs so rarely know what they’re getting themselves into.

After our chat, I watched the Creative Mornings lecture in Orlando with Rifle Paper Co. co-owner and creative director, Anna Bond. And she boiled down some of the points me and my hubby made to a single, simple one.

Most people are faking it until they make it.

Let me elaborate what this means to me.

In that first year of starting your own business (or any endeavor you take up on your own), you’re focused on learning by doing — as well as, in our digital age, collecting and digesting as much information as our networks and the Internet can give us. 

With 2014 just weeks away, and my business’ six-month anniversary coming up in January, I find myself reflecting on these first months and how much I’ve learned.

My biggest lesson is that I don’t know everything. And that’s okay!

I started off with these big ideas — general hypotheses, if you will — when I launched. I felt in my heart that my ideas have potential and that they were worth testing out.

Looking back, I realize that some of those hypotheses were governed more by fear — the fear of not attracting clients, the fear of turning people off — than my gut instinct and passion.

As my work has progressed though, my ideas have become more refined. And in that refinement, I’ve become more enthusiastic and curious about where my work will lead me.

I’ve realized that in this idea filtering process, I am more attuned to possibilities that excite me and fit in with my vision as it takes beautiful shape.

This leads me to my second biggest lesson: you can’t be everything to everyone. You have to take your ideas and find a focus. That way you can nurture them and see how much they’re worth building.

Ideas really don’t work unless we do (thanks to my dad for that oft-recited maxim). And the true importance of “doing” is that you gain more faith in yourself.

That’s not to say that I now walk around all day, every day, feeling like I’m queen of the world.

But it does mean that as I’ve taken this chance, as I’ve given myself the time and space to explore and grow with my work, I’m not so quick to dismiss myself.

Just a few months ago, I would write my ideas off, the hyper-cautious and critical angel on my shoulder telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about, that I don’t have the experience, that I don’t know what I’m doing.

Then, as I’ve gone through each day and educated myself, I realize that none of us really know. We really don’t. But we can learn, adapt and grow. We are forced to fake it until we make it, where making it can be any goal, big or small, that is in front of you.

The point is not to fake it for others; your job isn’t to convince other people. Your job is to convince yourself that you can do it, whatever “it” is.

Your job is to believe in yourself.

I would even say that your job is to fake it until you become it.

As I learn to do that a bit more each day, I allow myself to dream — either out loud or on paper — and to imagine the possibilities, to visualize what it could mean.

And you know what? That gives me a lot of joy. It gives me that extra pep in my step and burst of energy when I sit down to do my work. It serendipitously spills over into other areas of my life.

I may not know what tomorrow brings, but I’ve learned that I can — and will! — make the best of it.

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