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location, notting hill, london

I recently completed a secondment in the Investor Relations team at my firm; they needed a hand leading up to Q3 results and of course I’m always up for learning something new. It was only 3 weeks, but I really enjoyed it, more than anything because the team was just so lovely. Last week, we all went out for drinks, and the team PA/Office Manager told me that some people on the team thought I was really smart. It actually made me legit ‘laugh out loud‘ just a tad – because I wasn’t sure how I had managed to give off that impression, but was pretty proud that I did; I patted my back a little bit, for the sheer fake it til you make it skillz…

…Now saying that, I’m not at all trying to put myself down. I’m know I’m not dumb, but I also know that I spent a lot of time in the secondment, especially in meetings, not really knowing what was going on. Although I wasn’t totally clueless, I was about 50% clueless. But I just sort of worked to pick things up (I did learn a lot), asked questions, took notes, and did what I was tasked with without trying to appear oblivious. I faked it.

It sort of got me thinking about the concept as a whole. It’s a concept I am whole heartedly an advocate of and something I am forever seeing people around me doing (and more than than not, it pays off). Here are 5 times I’ve had to ‘fake it’:

The first guy I was ever seeing
I say this as if there’s a long list, but there truly isn’t. I remember the first time I really liked someone (and wasn’t 12 years old), I remember the first guy that ever showed interest in me so much so that we’d genuinely chat and text (or BBM, back then) almost every day. I remember thinking – so how do you do this whole ‘dating’ thing? Do I message him first, or does he message me? And if he does, do I have to wait some time to respond? Where is a first date meant to be – in a restaurant? Or, the classic, screenshotting conversations to send to my friends and asking them how I should respond. Of course, he himself didn’t know this. I wanted to make out that I was totally cool, calm, collected, and of course this wasn’t the first person I’d ever dated – of course not. Little did he know…

My first big assignment at work
I remember the first time, over a year ago now, I was set a legit assignment. I had to look at a company and its peers’ outstanding bonds and try to work out why some were trading better than others. Of course – I had absolutely no clue and no answer to this question. I just started with pulling a bunch of data together, ranked some stuff, sat back and assessed. I still had no clue. Eventually, I sort of came up with a few random theories, drawing off some of the data I’d collected, and submitted it. I wasn’t sure it totally made sense and hence I hovered over the ‘send’ button for, I dunno, half an hour? Later that day I sat down to discuss it with my associate; to my surprise, he said I had made some good points, helped me clean up the points (and expand in some areas), and submitted them to the client. I remember thinking – “damn! Is this work?! Making up sh*t?! If so, I’m alright with that.” Of course I now know a year on that’s not totally the case… at least not all the time.

Faking confidence
Now this is something we all have to do sometimes. There are days when I’m really up for going to social events and there are days where it actually requires me to have to drag myself out of bed, and when it comes to the latter I usually have to psyche myself up for any event and get myself in the right attitude to actually, you know… socialise. Depending on my mood this can sometimes be so much of a chore that I end up patting myself on the back afterwards for really putting in that effort, knowing that no one else would’ve guessed all the effort and thought that went into it.

A few unfortunate uni exams
I was not one of those people at uni that left things to the last minute, even now, the only thing I leave to the last minute is leaving my house on time to meet someone. I actually would do my assignments (well, at least from second year onwards), I would typically start prepping for exams ahead of time, and I’d do all available practice papers, twice if I could. This meant that by the time I would get to my exams, I was usually very well prepped, fairly confident, and aiming for nothing less than 100%. However during university, I’ve had two very unfortunate exams: exams I just was not prepared for. In both of these exams, it felt like I was going through a war for three hours, there were scribbles all over my pages, I would skip from question to question and not even complete each one, I needed 100 extra papers because my answer book was filled with fully crossed out pages, and overall these two exams were both a pure panicy mess. Ironically, I got a 1st in both of these exams. I couldn’t even get a 1st in exams I had genuinely prepped for!

I actually think being able to ‘fake it til you make it’ is quite an invaluable skill, sometimes you just have to act like you know what you’re doing, to convince people that you really do. And if you fake it well enough, you can probably even convince yourself of the fact.

Do you have any ‘fake it til you make it’ experiences?
  1. I think we all spend so much time faking it til we make it! I used to think it was just me that felt like that but now I know it’s definitely not just me, which definitely makes me feel better lol x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle

  2. I stand by the “Fake it til you make it” motto so much! There have been so many situations where I was clueless but faked it until I made it xD Just to illustrate, when I was doing an internship at a tech firm, I was thrown with technical jargon every day which I initially felt really overwhelmed with. At the time, I just kept a straight face and when I was left to get on with it, I researched and worked hard through trial and error to make sure I understood.

    Another example would be at interviews and talks. I’m nervous as hell on the inside but on the outside, I’m faking confidence so much because I have to. IT HELPS A LOT!

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