ARE YOU FAKING IT!? Is Your Real Self A Help Or A Hindrance?

Back in my days as a new franchisee the phrase most oft’ bandied about was, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” I don’t mind admitting I did and on my own I’ve shared that advice to many a business owner, salesperson and client since. Why not? It has its merit, primarily by making sure you see yourself in a desired state so others are enabled to see the same thing. After all, isn’t business partly a charade, or surely a conformity party? We’ve become so good at putting on the right face, showing the right front, log-piled into culturally acceptable positions, postures and phrases it can be a pretty vexing question when confronted with a mirror and asking, “Is this really me?”

The outside social/political positions we see demonstrated today all seem in either black or white with nary a shade of grey to be respected. Our facility for variety seems more about how many ways black or white can be represented and nuanced but always pressured towards the poles and polls. Business cultures usually make it clear what the majority, and the power-preferred position is. For those in agreement a comfortable comradery, for those opposed there may be acceptance despite clear them and us thinking. To avoid conflict some bite their tongues and avoid politics, religion and sex conversation, the holy trinity of binary human division, and why should those topics drive the price or production of a widget?

Tactics of true self can be programmed, muted or amplified as part of a success strategy. Human nature prefers and generally promotes those more like ourselves. For some it is comfort versus fear or uncertainty, for others a business morality of what is right and wrong. That’s not to say we haven’t come a long way in recognizing the value of diversity in many iterations, we have, yet even within an accepting and encouraging culture the proclivity toward creating a specific business personae, an accepted or strategically advantageous one, drives us to become something that can be less than authentic and even grow unrecognizable in time.

Being authentic is not to suggest that you let fly every impulse. That may be your true self but anyone who succeeds generally makes concessions to a degree of impulse control, we call that wisdom. We condition ourselves with desired reactions to where they become reflexes. Dangerous because we can lose sight of where sincerity stops and bullshit begins. Here again, being full of crap may be who you are so we beg the question: How important is being your true self to your success?

The answer lies in two equally vital but complex parts. First, there are personality traits that are more helpful in pursuits towards the general notion of what success is. Being confident, outgoing, thoughtful, decisive and a dozen other adjectives can be weighted and charted to “types” that statistically perform to certain expectations. Aspiring to develop success characteristics is certainly not being untrue, it is the very nature of personal evolution, part of the journey to any success.

The second part, which really goes before the first part, lies in how you define success. Stubbornness to speak one’s mind when it is clearly against the grain may retard vertical ascension in a company or industry but those challenging the status quo who are being real, true as they see it, may have their own metric for triumph. Success then may have a price, or it may have a catechism. It is not a consequence to say, make less money, if one believes the cost/value is out of sync. The price and the payout make the equation a personal one.

 What cost conformity?

Perhaps the big question each of us must ask is where are the hard boundaries of our truth? Do we also have hard black and white lines or wide swaths of grey where we can meander, rationalize, grow and gain acceptance. In efforts to be other than who we really want to be the byproduct of that pageant is stress. No one aims to eliminate all stress because it can be enjoyable and rewarding. Pressure can stimulate urgency and higher stakes can mean higher rewards. Unfortunately, those who have created a masked identity, where sometimes they are unaware of their own insincerity, may not be able to measure the toll their falsehood is creating. Stress is known as a silent killer and that can be metaphoric and literal.

We are the product of thousands of decisions and that journey can mean someday finding yourself down a road that you had no idea you had chosen. Rewards along the way can give confidence to a falsehood that seems to work but there are no offices or homes without a mirror somewhere, take a minute and look deeply into yours. Do you see your true self in action or have you become something you don’t care to be? That honesty may be the key.

Imagine yourself re-entering your world at the Immigration booth of life. You pass over your passport with your not so current picture, your stamps of where you’ve been. Let’s say you are that booth officer sitting in judgment of yourself? When you are looked over, up and down, do you match your documentation? Do you look suspicious? If so it’s probably because you can’t hide the inside and outside in conflict. Maybe you’ll get a cautious stamp and a nod of approval to proceed, maybe you’ll fly right through…or maybe you’ll get taken to that little room for an invasive investigation. Have no fear, unless of course, you’re faking it.

© 2017 MyEureka Solutions.  Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow on Twitter @TomFoxTrainer or read more business insights here at

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