Why I don't believe in fake it 'til you make it
Updated: Mar 13
Well, let me clarify that.
Fake it 'til you make it is fine - sometimes - but it isn't always helpful. Sometimes it can even make things worse, and that's what happened to me. I struggled, hugely, with lack of self confidence. Social anxiety - I would rather the ground open up and swallow me than make small talk. Having to do an interview or hold a meeting - the brain fog was so immense, all I could think about was what the other person thought of me and how badly wrong it was going (I only ever did about 3 interviews in my life). Speaking in front of people? I'd have had butterflies for about a week before having to to do anything like that. Loss of appetite, shaky legs, heart pounding, dry mouth, wobbly voice... the works. It was horrible - but I thought it was normal, just how I was. So I kept pushing on, trying to fake it in the hope that one day it would magically get better. It didn't.
When persistence is futile I might be an introvert but I'm a very determined introvert, so I kept trying to put myself in scary situations. The nerves got worse and worse. Not what I'd signed up for!
Now it turns out that feeling the fear is fine - if you can use it to demonstrate to yourself that, despite it being scary as ****, you got through the event and actually it went ok.
Exposure to the scary thing + good result = brain that's less scared next time. Win.
But if the fear causes things to go badly - it just leads to more catastrophising, more proof that this is a horrible, scary situation - we just reinforce the fact that we should be afraid.
So the next time we're in that situation our brain goes looking for things to go wrong. We feel terrified - so inevitably they do go wrong. And so it continues.
So what does work?
Apparently 75% of us hate public performance - and there's are good reasons behind that. But it doesn't mean we have to be that way forever.
Now I've figured out what works, I regularly give mindset lectures, do live broadcasts and videos. I go to networking events and I can answer confidently, even come up with things on the spot. This is so far removed from how I was!
What got me there?
Partly learning techniques to control my nerves.
But what really turned things around was understanding what was going on, mentally and physically - and then sorting out my subconscious mind and reprogramming it to recognise that it would all be ok. Getting my mind on side.
Teaching my brain to recognise that speaking isn't life or death. Logically I always knew that - but fear doesn't come from the part of us that deals in logic.
Learning that I'm worthy of having a place in the world and expressing an opinion. I now help other ambitious people do the same - and seeing someone step into their confidence is the most wonderful thing in the world!
So if you know anyone who's serious about success and wants to be more visible in their business or career, but struggles with self-doubt, imposter syndrome or just plain old can't stand speaking in front of people - please do them a favour and point them my way for a free chat. I really would love to help.
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