I don’t believe in the saying “fake it till you make it.” I am still a long ways out on my journey, but I don’t think faking it is ever the right choice. Faking confidence will expose you. People can smell a phony. You can never have true core confidence by faking it.
Alternatively, there’s a different saying… “Competence breeds Confidence.”
In order to be confident in something, you need to be competent in it. In order to be competent in anything, you need to gain the necessary reference experiences. And the only way to gain these experiences is to take purposeful action.
Just because you have “experience” in something, doesn’t make you competent in it. You need to have taken purposeful and measured actions that you can internalize and reflect on. The struggles of problem solving and figuring things out on your own build these experiences.
It may mean you need to stand up to deal with uncomfortable situations. It may mean you need to have crucial conversations with your team or client. Whatever it may be, the uncomfortable and risky situations are the ones that you truly learn and gain real knowledge from.
My former boss used to say that you learn the most from your most challenging projects. It means that the most stressful periods of your life is when you grew the most. Ironically, when you do go through that fire, it never feels like you are learning though. You feel like quitting or changing careers, but it’s true when you look back on those experiences.
But why do you need to go through this process? Can’t you just skip it?
Unfortunately, no. Humans are weird where we need this stress to ingrain these principles in our mind. Also,
You need to be able to ask the right questions.
As we are learning, we ask a lot of questions but they’re not the right questions because we just don’t have the experience to see the big picture. It takes time and in order to be able to ask the questions that are critical and push the job forward.
If you know what you’re talking about, people respect you and can take direction from you. And that… takes time and experience.
There are no shortcuts. Millennials think they know everything, but lack patience to be able to go through the trials and tribulations that prevent them from gaining the necessary reference experiences to develop true competence and confidence. So, make it before you fake it.