People. This is a public service announcement. Stop faking it.
It will only lead to:
Wondering…where the hell your shoe went, your life went, your morals went.
Faking it, completely distinct from swagger and confidence (which you need TONS of in life…and we’ll visit this in a moment).
Up until a few months ago, when asked, what’s the best advice you’ve been given.
I would have looked you dead in the eye.
I would have given you the popeye arm (start at shoulder, go down to belly, one swoop)
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.
We would have high fived, cause I never ever miss an opportunity for a high five. You would have believed me, because I was telling the truth.
I remember the day Terry gave me this advice. I was knee deep in stats books, and developmental psyc books, mugs of coffee and sandwiches (yes, plural).
It was 1am, and I couldn’t wrap my head around this complex stats problem, and I couldn’t see straight, and I was a first-year PhD student, living in a basement apartment with one window, ikea furniture and cereal for dinner. I feared every day, that someone would figure out what a fraud I was.
How did this blue collar kid get into this program?
She’s got a lot of personality, but her GRE math scores were the lowest in her cohort.
She can write…but this isn’t a writing program, this is a PhD program.
She’s got a lot of opinions.
She’s not like the others.
Ps no one ever asked me how ‘a blue collar kid’ got into the program, but I was insecure as hell, and asked myself everyday, feeling like I simply wasn’t worthy of my counterparts.
Here’s the thing, I’ve never ever been like the others. I’ve never quite ‘fit’ in. I’m under 5 feet. I’m half Korean, german, and French, I check the ‘other’ box, always.
I was half-sleeping on a giant text book that cost me more than half my rent, elbow on book, hand on face, overhead florescent light flickering, taking sips of cold coffee, glasses on top of my head (does anyone know where my glasses are?)….in my constant state….panic and exhaustion.
You see, people have always rallied for me. They have, done the equivalent of fireman carry me over finish lines, and semesters, they have qualified me for jobs I was not qualified for, I have always been deeply cared for. I have always always been a part of a team.
We were 20 women in various stages of getting our PhD’s in psychology, and we rallied hard for each other. It was the only way.
Terry, a 3rd year, looks over at me.
‘Fryer, here’s the thing, you gotta fake it till you make it’
She got suuuuper close to me, and it was very much a rudy moment, or school ties, or one of those athletic team overcoming the obstacle moments.
She slaps me on the back. Spills a bit of my coffee.
I said it out loud. ‘fake it till you make it’
And then I said it louder.
And then I just straight up shouted it, rose right up from my seat and landscape of sandwiches and notebooks and books I could not afford.
We high fived (naturally).
And by all means, to get by in this setting, I DID have to fake it. I had to march into that stats exam 6 hours later and ace it. How?
Meaning by the time you get to certain environments ‘faking it’ becomes the unspoken code. By the time you’ve found yourself in a phd environment, they truly truly do not want you to fail. Not at all. You’ve already ‘proven’ you have the chops to be there, and it does not look good for the program if you leave.
So there’s a rally. Cohorts, departments, professors….everyone. Working together.
If you royally screw up a stats problem, you’ll have the chance to circle back with your professor and show that you actually know what you’re doing. Not always…but especially in the beginning. And you have to know what you’re doing, it’s not a pass to be like ‘um, I don’t know’ it’s a pass to move through the nerves. And then you just get better at it, you get better at studying at a pace and rate that are unnatural, you get better at saying the right thing, you get better at scientific writing, you get better.
You get better.
You get better.
But what I found was, I was getting better at the things I just didn’t care about.
I was getting better, and learning how….but I didn’t want to do it anymore.
That was 10-years ago, and for the last 9 or so, I have marched right on with fake it till you make it as one of the best things that came out of those 2-years.
I applied it to teaching yoga.
To getting jobs.
To dating a lot.
To um….sleeping with some people.
One of my main teachers, Baron Baptiste says, ‘the places you find yourself tired…those are the places you are most inauthentic, these are the places you are hiding’ (I’m paraphrasing) but I remember thinking that I was tired….everywhere.
So there’s a difference between faking it to get by, cause you have a job to do…and just faking it cause you’ve come so far away from yourself.
Cause your boss knows you as one person, but you’re really another.
Cause your partners knows you to be this….but really…if they only knew.
That if your friends/lovers/co-workers/bosses/neighbors/pets…ETC. knew this about you…surely they would leave.
I’m here to tell you. They wont. Not always anyway. And then you’ll get this powerful beautiful lesson that people stay. Even when you’re flawed. Even when you make some of the worst choices you have ever made. Even then.
People have a soft spot for the truth.
Only the truth sounds like the truth.
Only the truth sounds like the truth.
and I know you know that.
Only the truth brings you to your knees, to the top of a mountain, to looking someone in the eye.
Only the truth does that. Ever notice that the truth truth (like I’m talking the kind that’s reeeeeal hard to say) it doesn’t feel at all in the middle, it’s either really easy to say (mountain top) or really hard (on your knees-kinda truth)
The past few months I’ve had to realize where I am still faking it.
When I’m not sure, I ask myself this….where am I most tired. Where/when/who in my life makes me want to take a giant nap and check out.
What you must do….is you must do the thing you think you cannot do.
You must not give up.
You must try like hell. You must do the very best you can for the people in your life. You must walk into a room like you own it. If you care about it, you must stay up late trying to figure it out. You must sacrafice. You must teach that class/go on that date/apply for that job/say what you must…as though your life depends on it (it does). and this. this is swagger.
You must not (not ever) stop telling the truth.
You must say where you’re hurt.
You must say where you love.
You must stop looking good. Cause my friend, that faking it? We can see it from a mile away. And it feels gross.
How do I know? Oh duh, cause I’m sure I’ll fake it a little bit today. I’m sure I faked it yesterday. Tomorrow…tomorrow sounds like a good day to fake it.
But a little less.
And a little more truth.
Try that for a bit.
I want to see you be brave.
I freaking love to sing this song in the car. Brave. by Sara Bareilles