Happy me or grumpy me- it's still me...

Happy me or grumpy me- it’s still me…

Whilst surfing Facebook, I happened across a post written by a college classmate on the subject of Faking It Until You Make It and the corresponding argument about whether this was a valid and useful philosophy or not. (On the balance, the sentiment seemed to be that, no, it wasn’t very useful as a philosophy).

In some ways I have to agree: mostly because I don’t personally find it to be a very sustainable way of working. As an introvert I find emotional labor especially exhausting. I can do it, but it takes its toll and I need a lot of time to unwind afterwards. So the emotional labor of keeping up a persona of any kind is too much work to be appealing in the first place. But as someone working (or preparing to work, anyway) in an industry that doesn’t always clearly quantify the skills, knowledge, or personality traits needed for success so there is a constant need to try to be all things to all people. This is not a business where one size fits all or there is one easy, obvious path to success.

The up side is that there are many ways to be successful. The down side is that no one knows what those ways are or what training you might need when those opportunities arise, so there is always a worrisome sense of discomfort that an opportunity will present itself and will pass you by because you weren’t enough for it. If you’re too organized you’re not creative enough. If you’re too creative you’re not realistic enough. If you’re too pragmatic you’re not upholding your creative integrity. If you’re too nice you’re not being shrewd enough. If you’re too cutthroat then you’re not enough of a team player….

Enough, enough, enough. (<—- Jeeze louise that’s a funny looking word).

I could go on. The point is that each of these traits works for someone, so the tendency is to believe that if you can just have enough of all the traits then success will be assured.

So there is a lot of faking. I do it. I recognize it in others. “Faking” makes it sound dishonest, but really no one is fooled.  It is more like giving one another the benefit of the doubt: if you say that you can do it then I’ll take you at your word, but it will quickly become apparent if the skills you pretend to have are actually fake. I suspect that the phrase “Fake it ’til you make it” became popular for its pithiness, not its accuracy. When I catch myself “faking” it is not usually because I am claiming to have skills that I don’t, or that I’m trying to be something that I’m not, but I do fake conviction. Often I will find myself to be uncertain- because I do know my potential limits, but I also know my potential to learn. So my skills may be perfectly adequate, but just not have been tested. I may be uncertain about how I will handle them under pressure, but there’s no reason to say so until I have a chance to try.  Speaking with conviction is just as important as having something worth saying.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on February 19, 2016.

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