Fake it ’til You Make It’s Evil Twin

One of the most and least helpful pieces of advice I have ever heard is “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Get yourself so involved in what it means to be a creative that eventually you’ll see the progress and reward. It seems simple enough…unless you’re like me.

fake-it-til-you-make-it-hpq-printsIf you’re like me, images from Oceans 11 flash through your mind—con men, swindlers, people who eventually get caught and have to pay for their faking. Sure you feign confidence in your own work now, but what happens when someone better catches up with you? Huh? What then?

Ok. No. Chill.

Take a breath (or ten)

It’s Impostor Syndrome

Impostor syndrome is the pesky factor behind hundreds creative’s panic attacks and anxiety. It’s all of the negative thoughts combined into one major nega-feeling that’s trying to trick you into thinking that you don’t measure up to others in your field.

But it’s okay. I’m here to tell you that these thoughts are all too common. Here are a few tips to help you combat this impostor.

Remember the humble beginnings of those we celebrate

Have you heard of this guy Walt? He was a newspaper editor who got fired due to his “lack of imagination.” That obviously dull imagination eventually led to this incredibly obscure title card.


You’ve probably never seen it before. There was also a secretary who was constantly daydreaming on the job, got fired, and received “loads” of rejections on her first manuscript about some boy with a scar and glasses.

….but don’t focus too hard on what others are doing

It’s great to be encouraged by those we admire…but not so great to use this as means of self deprecation.

Try this. Every time you compare yourself to someone else, add 5 minutes to your daily practice time. The best way to get a better view of yourself is, after all, to better yourself.

Do what you can

There are different levels of making it. Whether it’s making X amount of sales in your shop a day/week/month or finally getting the hang of the technique you thought was only for people weren’t you. The way you get there? Doing what you can and pushing yourself until what you do overlaps with your make it.

Write down all of the times you did make it

If you don’t have anything to list, ask your most honest friend or make a list of things that will help you along the way.

Don’t actually be or make anything fake

The “fake it” is all about the attitude, not quality. You’re still giving your work all you’ve got. Don’t skimp.

Finally, know that most of us have no idea what we’re doing either.

I rolled my eyes at that too until I heard it directly from the mouth of someone who, in my eyes, had definitely already made it. She even went a step further and warned me that even when I thought I knew what was going on, something would shake things up and I’d start having to fake it again.

Imposter syndrome is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. We all develop our creative processes and ventures differently and will all have different outcomes. In the end, we only know our own journey and can only vouch for that. So, let’s fake it ‘til we make it and support each other all along the way.

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