For the longest time, I had a struggle with meeting new people. I found it hard to approach, introduce myself, and carry on a conversation.
For the longest time, I thought to myself that I had to “fake it til you make it.”
And it worked, but it only got me so far.
I found success with it to start, but I could only go so long, and I could only keep it up until I got mentally and emotionally tired.
After so many years of “fake it til you make it,” I’ve developed the skills to be able to approach people, introduce myself, and carry on a conversation. There’s less anxiety now, and more confidence.
But it never gets any easier.
And it kept me wondering if there was a better way.
It’s me, but it’s not me.
It never gets any easier because it felt like I had to turn on a “switch” inside of me to go into my “meet a lot of new people” mode.
It never felt natural, and there were times when it felt so phony for me, and I wanted the night to finish quickly so I can go back to being my relaxed self.
Just by telling yourself to “fake it,” comes a realization that what you’re going to do isn’t you. It may not come naturally to you, and it’s something that doesn’t jive with what you currently consider “you.”
It doesn’t jive. Does not compute.
And you may become better at it. In my case, it was approaching, meeting, and talking to people I didn’t know. But it never felt natural, and will never feel 100% natural.
It always felt that I had to sort of become a different self, and “switch on” that persona for some time.
There are even times when I felt that, sooner or later, someone’s going to catch me.
That someday, they’re going to call me out for what I did – “fake it til you make it.”
It did help me for some brief period of time, but it never sat well with me at all.
Don’t fake it, believe it instead.
“Fake it til you make it” is about using and displaying behaviors that will get you the results that you want. It’s hoping that the behaviors that you practice, train, and develop, would affect how you think and shape who you are.
It’s about developing from the outside – in.
On the other hand, there is an approach that entails developing from the inside – out. It’s about developing the right mindset, principles, and thinking to support the behaviors and skills you want to learn.
It’s about building a foundation, so that whatever situation comes your way, you’re on track to reach the outcome that you set out to do.
Behaviors are rooted in principles and intentions.
One time, I was in an event meeting new people, when somebody bumped the arm that I was holding my drink in, and I spilled it all over the person I was talking to.
Awkward. More awkward was me, who didn’t have a single clue what to do. I hadn’t prepared for this, and this was outside of my calculations.
As if I could really prepare for the multitude of possibilities that could happen.
What if, instead of focusing on the skills and behavior of a person that was great at meeting people, I believed that “each person has something to contribute, and that we are all connected?” and that “each person is inherently good.”
With those beliefs, what do you think I would do?
I felt I would have an easier time responding to the situation.
And so what about what other people would say? As long as I know, deep down in my person, what I did was right. And in accordance to what I believed in.
And I could never 100% connect with another person when I was just “faking it.” Your person, your intention, your beliefs, seep into every pore of your action. People feel it, they can sense it.
Somehow, they can tell if this person is not worthy of their trust, or if another person is all-out honest with them.
And it’s easier to connect with other people when you’re totally honest. Focusing on making the connection and co-creating a relationship, and not just with how your voice sounds, how you’re standing, and making sure to make eye contact.
The tactics can only get you so far. The intention, mindset, and beliefs can take you all the way.
Don’t fake it til you make it.
Believe it til you become it, instead.
Have you ever “faked it til you made it?” Please share in the comments below!