Crippled CEO Blog #083:
Fake it ‘til you make it.
I think we have all heard this phrase before.
The idea is to present yourself as successful until you actually are successful. In business, this often means portraying your company as larger than it is in order to garner trust or respect.
I think this is a bad idea.
For starters, I think deception in general is a pretty bad idea, but even that aside, I think there is a pragmatic reason to avoid this tactic.
If you “fake it ‘til you make it,” if you pretend to be further along than you actually are, then you rob people of the opportunity to be invested in your journey. One of the best ways to get people excited about what you’re doing is to let them see you when you started, and allow them to follow along as you go. People love rooting for an underdog. People love seeing someone work hard, then be successful. This kind of investment creates loyal evangelists for your business, cause, or brand.
Also, if you’re honest about where you are in your journey, and you are sharing that story, people will be more understanding when you have a difficulty, or even if you let them down. They know what you’re going through. And, if you’re honest, you get to ask for help when you need it — something you can’t do if you’re pretending that you’ve already made it. Not only do you get to ask for help, but you give the people invested in you the opportunity to help you of their own volition when they see something that they can do. The already successful aren’t going to get this kind of assistance.
It is tempting to present yourself to the world as already thriving and on top, but just as your mother used to say, honesty really is the best policy, and in this case, it’s also the smartest thing to do.
(You know who never has to fake it? Your mom. She also gets a text from me every Sunday with a link to the latest blog because she sent a text message to the number 484848 with the word CRIP as the message. You could do that, too, you know.)