Ah, the good ‘ol “Fake it ‘till you make it” advice. I’m sure you’ve heard that one before.
“Don’t worry”, they say. “We’re all just pretending.”
Um okay. Can we cut the bullsh*t for a second?
I never really understood what it meant when people told me, “fake it till you make it”, until I found myself in a position where I had no choice but to “pretend” like I knew what I was doing and for about a year and a half it all was just smooth sailing.
So imagine my terror when I woke up one day completely sideswiped after realizing that all this faking it until I made it stuff was actually starting to make me feel like a fraud. What had happened? I was so sure of my path, so sure of everything just falling together! How was I feeling so unsure, and almost ashamed, all of a sudden?
It took me 4 months to finally find my footing, and now that I have gained understanding and perspective, I want to share my process, for moments when you might end up feeling like a fraud:
Feel the feels
I want to say DON’T FEEL LIKE A FRAUD, but I know that in the moment its not that easy. So please, embrace your feelings. If you can afford it, lay in bed for a a few days and incubate. It’s OKAY! We seriously are ALL pretending we know what we’re doing. Lay in bed for as long as you need, make some tea, move slowly. There is NO RUSH. If you have kids, a family, RESPONSIBILITIES, like I do and 99% of the population does, moving slowly might not be appropriate all the time, but try your best to at least move slower than your normal pace, and…
Ask for what you need
This is tricky one for a lot of people, but I promise you it’ll help speed up the process. Talk to the people around you and let them know that you’re feeling a little less on top of it than normal. Ask for assistance. If you need help bringing the kids to school, ask. If you can’t cook a meal, order take out. If you need someone to listen while you sort through your emotions ask them to be there for you. Our loved ones are our support system and the ones that want to be available for us when we feel less than our normal selves. Once you’ve allowed the feelings to show up, and you’ve asked for help,…
Move your body and go inward
Dust off the yoga DVDs, put that gym membership to use, go for a run, sit by the water, go for a walk. Figure out what helps you move your body and helps you to move inward. Yoga originally was used to prepare the body for meditation. We can’t deeply relax if we are antsy and have energy stagnant in the body. So move. In my incubation period I would put on some drumming music and I would dance. By myself, with no rhythm, then I would sit and meditate. Pull out your journal and write down whatever comes to mind. Once you do this,
Answers won’t come up right away so be patient. In order to feel better I had to ask myself why I was feeling like a fraud. Where was I lacking self-confidence. Why did I all of a sudden feel like my “fake it till you make it” mentality wasn’t enough to get me by? Sometimes the answers seemed silly, other times my issue was much deeper, but eventually they presented themselves. And once they do,
In my particular case, I didn’t feel knowledgable enough in my field. Elevator pitches only carry you so far. I felt like my work/life balance was lacking and the dirty laundry and clutter that was piling up, was only evidence that that was true. I was moving so fast, doing so much that I forgot to fill up my cup, and ultimately I felt drained, resentful and angry. I needed that incubation time to understand where I needed to take immediate action and I did. I enrolled in seminars, webinars, workshops and courses to get a better understanding of my field. I started scheduling my week/days/hours. I dumped all my to-do’s on a list and tackled them one by one. I took full days just to clean/declutter/donate. I spend more time engaging with my family and started to take daily walks as a small gift to myself in the morning.
These are my methods and not everything will apply to you or even work for your lifestyle. But if you wake up one day feeling like a fraud, try these steps and tell me if they helped or share your own methods below!