Don’t Fake It ‘Til You Make It

By now, you should know that overnight success is largely a myth. Sure, you’ll encounter the occasional exception to the rule, but the rule still stands. Of course, you’ve got to start from somewhere and it’s hard for people to take you seriously when you’ve got nothing to show them. That’s why “fake it ‘til you make it” is such a common piece of advice. 

In the 2000 movie Boiler Room, Ben Affleck’s character tells Giovanni Ribisi’s character that he should “act as if.” This is just another way of saying he should fake it until he makes it. If you go around like you’re already successful, like you’re already a big deal, then people will start treating you like you’re already successful, like you’re already a big deal. Or, at least that’s how the psychology is supposed to work.

But if your ultimate goal isn’t to PRETEND to be successful, if it isn’t JUST TO LOOK like you’re successful, but rather to ACTUALLY BE successful, then faking it until you make it just isn’t going to work. 

Make It ‘Til You Make It

You might remember when I discussed a similar topic and offered a similar piece of advice. Rather than deciding to fake it until you make it, you should just make it until you make it. What does that mean exactly?

Let’s say that you want to be a successful YouTuber. It’s a very popular goal these days, whether the YouTube endeavors are meant to make money directly through advertising and branded content or if they’re meant to be a marketing tool for your other business. Great. Except, you don’t know the first thing about making a good video.

Here’s where you need to make it until you make it. Far and away, the biggest reason why people don’t succeed is that they never get started in the first place. Using YouTube as an example, they’re afraid they don’t have good enough equipment or they don’t know how to edit a video properly or any number of possible obstacles. Truth be told, though, you have to get started at some point if you ever want to make it anywhere.

So, create that first video using what you already have. Maybe it’s just your smartphone. For me, many of my first videos were made using a cheap Flip Video Camera (remember those?). I progressed to a cheap Canon point and shoot, and now I use a micro four-thirds camera with an external mic and lighting and all that. At some point, I might upgrade to full frame or 4K or whatever else. The point is that I got started. And I’ve learned a lot about video making in the process. I made videos. And I’m going to keep making them until I “make it.” 

Face It ‘Til You Make It

Here’s another related take on the whole “fake it until you make it” mentality. Rather than faking it, you should try to face it ‘til you make it. This is similar to making it until you make it, but it goes a bit beyond that. 

Whereas making it until you make it is more about developing expertise and experience — get in those 10,000 hours to achieve mastery! — facing it until you make it is more about resilience. I’m going to level with you. Most people aren’t going to make it. They’re going to drop out for any number of reasons and they’re probably not going to get back into it. 

But, you’re different, right? When you choose to face it until you make it, you choose to keep yourself in your game. You try your hand at the thing you want to do, whether that’s blogging, vlogging, affiliate marketing, business coaching, or whatever else. You’ll make some in-roads, hopefully, and then you’ll likely fall short of your lofty hopes and aspirations. That’s okay. You might even fail. Hard. And that’s okay too. 

So, you do the thing and you fail. Then, you get back up and you face it again. You stare adversity and hardship square between the eyes and say, “Not today.” So, you try the thing again, now with more knowledge and experience under your belt. And you might fail again. And you’ll get right back up and face it again. You’ll learn to fail fast and often, because you’ll also learn that failure is not the enemy. 

Instead, you’ll choose to face it. Again and again. With new and different challenges along the way. 

How to Make It Big

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary. Overnight success, by and large, is a myth. It’s much more about the learning process and making continuous process. If you’re lucky, you’ll hit what is called the “ramp” and some people might call you an overnight success. Of course, you’ll know better. Because you’re in this for the long game. It’s about making it big. And then making it bigger.