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Fake it ‘till you become it: A lesson on individualism and beating imposter syndrome

We’ve all heard the popular expression “fake it ‘till you make it.” It’s definitely an encouraging statement at school, in the workplace or in social groups, but often this outlook can lead to worry that you’re unqualified for positions that you really have the potential to succeed in. This idea implies that in order to fulfill your goals, you should adopt a false persona of confidence to temporarily reach a place you think aligns with your sense of self. By the time you “make it,” though, where are you?

When you delve too deep in the comparison of yourself to your superiors that you seek to imitate, you may reach your initial target but fail to recognize why you sought to get there in the first place. The first step in truly becoming the person you wish for is to evaluate your specific plans for yourself and what you must do to achieve them. If there’s a reason to succeed in your current position and eventually go even further, it will likely be reflected in your internal passions, which will increase your desire to continue.

After you’ve set up a strategy, you need to discover a clear way that you can make that path your own rather than solely following in the footsteps of your role models. Though examples of others who have succeeded in the role you hope to hold can be valuable tools in learning what direction you should go, it is also necessary to use their knowledge as a building block of ways to expand beyond their achievements. Be creative! This goal is something you should become passionate about, so although it may take some work, thinking deeply about a new way to show others your capabilities can boost your self-confidence and credibility.

Another part of this is to avoid comparison entirely. While it may appear as if everyone around you is more qualified than you are, confidence is a large factor in appearing that you belong where you are. With confidence, you believe that you deserve to be where you are, regardless of what others think. Even after reaching our goals, like enrolling in our top college or being accepted at our dream job, many of us feel as if we don’t really have the credentials to be there among others who we presume are much more qualified than we are. I, for instance, continuously doubt my writing ability while surrounded by an extremely talented group of writers for KRNL’s blog and wonder if I’m qualified enough to work alongside them. In reality, though, knowing that I have a passion for the work and a clear goal in mind for where I want it to take me is enough qualification to get my foot in the door. From there, achieving the potential this work could give me is just a matter of exerting the effort it takes to persevere through the challenges it places in my way and altering my mindset to understand the long process it requires.

In your current state, it can be difficult to imagine why others assumed you were qualified enough to earn your place; however, once you notice ways to grow that would increase your confidence in your position, it will be easier to learn the ways in which you truly belong.


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