How "faking it 'til you make it" can boost your career

April 10, 2016

How

How do you respond when you are asked to do something that you have never done before? Do you say "I'm sorry, I can't do that because I do not currently feel mentally or experientially-equipped to carry out your request."? Hardly...at least not if you hope to keep your job.

There will be countless times during your career when you will be faced with a brand new challenge - times when you will have to "fake it 'til you make it" (FITYMI). This is all a part of learning and growing in your career and as a person.

An important note: "FITYMI" is not another way to say "lie". If you were asked whether or not you have ever done a particular task before, you should definitely tell the truth (personal integrity is like gold). FITYMI is, instead, a layer of confidence that says "I have never done this task before, but I will figure it out; I will get it done; and I will do my best to conceal my duck-like feet which are paddling furiously beneath my calm surface."

When might you need to FITYMI?

  • When faced with a new project task.
  • When facilitating a project over a new channel.
  • Pitching/presenting/public speaking.
  • Starting a new job where you may not yet have all the core skills/experience they require.

 

How do you FITYMI?

Pre-learn as much as you can

In work and life we learn new skills in many different ways:

  • Asking questions.
  • Reading.
  • Listening.
  • Observing.
  • Doing.

Try to act like a sponge and soak up as much information as you can prior to starting something new. You need to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what is required, including all the steps you need to take to successfully complete the task. At some point you will need to then step out and action what you have pre-learned.

Making mistakes

Unfortunately, much of our life-learning happens when the "doing" goes awry, and we make mistakes. 

It's totally OK to ask questions, and it's far better to ask 10 questions than to ask none and make an expensive mistake. As someone once said: "Smart people learn from their mistakes. Wise people learn from the mistakes of others.

 

How FITYMI can boost your career

Have you ever noticed how confident people seem to easily attract praise or promotion? Does that mean that these confident people have more intelligence, experience or skills than others? Probably not, but you can bet that they have learned the art of FITYMI and they will be darned good at this particular core skill.

Employers LOVE confident people. They love it when someone says "no problem, I can do that", and then get the job done.

It's time to remove the words "no", "I can't", "I don't know how" from your vocabulary and replace them with "sure thing", "you bet" and "no problem", then sit back and watch how your life will begin to change.

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