Everyone Fakes It & It’s Okay
In our world of social, many project an edited version of their lives that conveniently removes or at least covers the things they don’t want others to see or discover.
I do it (and so do you).
Why not? It’s becoming increasingly easier to embellish our words and works via a few clicks, edits, endorsements, and pics. I mean, who doesn’t want or need better public perception? If selective exaggeration helps you do what you’re passionate about, do it. All of us are the best marketers of ourselves, right?
A Good Motive to “Fake It”?
I don’t blame us for projecting the kind of life that we would rather live than the lives we currently have. While some of this behavior may be rooted in our selfish egos, insecurities about being ourselves, escapism from reality, or even in our false humility, I do think aspiration has a lot to do with it as well. In a culture that continues to inspire people to move forward with their dreams (which I think is a good thing), it’s quite natural to root our self-perception in what could be over what currently is. In other words, our motive, whether subconscience or not, may actually be rooted in something good with a futuristic bent towards reality.
What Does This All Mean?
None of us will ever have the ability to clearly see people’s motives. In fact, we often don’t even see our own motives for the way we act and speak. Nevertheless, I think it’s important to work towards framing our lens for engaging people and better understanding ourselves. Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking through in shaping my own understanding and approach to “faking it”.
- Give People the Benefit of the Doubt – Human beings are complex and will naturally shift motives during engagement. As a result, all of us will have a tendency to over-promise and over-project who we really are and what we can really do. Have you ever disappointed anyone by your over-promising? We all have. Many of us genuinely start with great intentions, but often don’t see what’s lurking in our blind spots. So, what do we do? Stop believing in people? Some people have literally advised me not to trust anyone. After thinking about their advice, I took their advice and chose not to trust them in their advice! I would rather get burned relationally from time to time than not trust people. I get it. We all fake it whether we intend to or not. Aspiration can show up as embellishment.
- Move On After Disappointment – If you experience disappointment because someone faked it and didn’t deliver a promise, keep moving on. Dwelling in things you can’t change won’t help you. It’s life. I just hope that you have friends and family that will come alongside you to help you get to where you need to go.
- Temper Your Self-Projection & Promises – This will take time and experience, but it is possible to temper how much we choose to project or promise about ourselves and our work. Self-awareness is key here. Each time we cross the line into over-promising, it will come at a price. You can move with confidence based on what you’ve done in the past, but be upfront when there’s uncertainty. Generally speaking, I think people appreciate that. In my world of consulting, it’s so tempting to fake it when it comes to promising deliverables. My experience has taught me over the years that this method doesn’t really pay off in the long run. It is far better to be upfront about what you can or cannot do. This kind of transparency turns a service relationship into a collaborative one that builds trust over time. While it’s perfectly fine to communicate your aspiration to develop something new, may that not come out as a promise rooted in falsehood.
Yes, everyone fakes it to some level. Nevertheless, I think (or want to believe) that the majority of people aren’t looking to live a fictitious life. There just happens to be a fine line between aspiration and reality sometimes. We just have to learn to navigate our relationships with this in mind. Everyone fakes it from time to time and I think it’s okay. It’s the beauty of human relationships.