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Fake It Till You Make It

Posted on: November 15th, 2012 by bubbyjoysandoys 4 Comments

Enjoyed this? Share it, and attribute it. Copyright 2014, Bubby Joys and Oys, M. Hendeles

The email in my box from my friend read “Are you okay? I’m worried about you. You haven’t blogged in days.”

Did I have to apologize to my readers – or even this reader, who is a good friend? I’m not sure if I have to ‘splain, but that’s what I do. I ‘splain. I was busy, I was swamped. All the usual excuses. But as my dad always told me, “Qui s’excuse, s’accuse.” I only sound more foolish with silly explanations.

Okay, onward. My topic today is about faking it. No explaining. No excuses. Just pretending to do things the right way.

What am I talking about??? Well let me explain – I mean let me elaborate!

No, I’m not talking about being insincere. I”m all for sincerity, honesty and all that good stuff. What I’m talking about is winging things. Kind of like they say in those 12 step programs – Act as if. Here’s what I’m talking about.

We all want to accomplish and succeed. We want to be a wonderful grandmother (that had to come first, didn’t it?), person, mom, wife, (hey, not in any particular order, okay?), teacher, student, friend, daughter, son, grandchild, and so forth. At work we want to do the best job we can possibly do.

My grandson who is two years old, often walks around the house copying his big brother who is four. The two year old mimics the four year old, and acts really confident, almost as if he is “needed” by his brother. He thinks he is his big brother’s side-kick. The reality is that the big brother is not really in need of the two year old tagging along. But here is an example of how someone – the two year old – is faking it. He laughs at the jokes, because he hears the others laughing, even if he has no clue what is funny. He’s pretending to others (and to himself) that he knows what is going on.

The same exists for adults;  sometimes we feel as if we don’t know what the heck we are doing. We feel as if we are fakers. I know I do. When I started to teach piano lessons when I was 18, I recall my mother’s friends calling me and asking me about how their daughters were doing. I think I used every fancy word I knew about “motivation,” “practice,” “potential” in the book, to make myself sound really impressive as a teacher. I shopped around for the pedagogy books, I asked other teachers how it is done, and I pretended to be a good piano teacher. I couldn’t play pieces past the early intermediate stage at that time, but it didn’t seem to matter. I was teaching BEGINNERS. So it was fine for them.

Same thing when I became a mother (piano teacher? Mom? We don’t need a segue from one to the other, in case you thought we did). Anyway, when I became a mother, I really did not know what I was doing. How do I hold him, how do I diaper him, how do I this or that?  How to burp him??? That was really something I faked. I winged it. I figured it out, and I acted like a mom. I think I’m still acting sometimes.

I wonder if I’m the only one who feels this way about life in general. We go through life and we do our best. We really don’t know if we are doing the right thing most times. We practice, we learn, we try things out, but at the end of the day, we are all just a bunch of fakers.

One day, we earn some good grades, some acknowledgments from our superiors (who probably faked it back when they were younger too!), and some compliments from the world out there about what we have been doing, and sort of faking it till now

That’s called “nachas.” – a Hebrew word for pride.

At those times, we are no longer fakers. Then we are the real thing. (we hope). We continue to do the same things as before, but now we don’t have to think of ourselves as fakers anymore. Now, we can feel good and strong and secure about what we are doing.

We faked it. And now we are making it. Onward and upward.


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4 Responses

  1. BJ says:

    Ahh, you have joined us in our “Impostor Syndrome” disorder- a topic of conversation I have had with many of my “professional” friends. We know how much we really do not know; yet as we are professionals, we do need to fake it! Welcome to the club! (or maybe we should start a support group?!)

  2. omilaca says:

    Great comment. Thanks. That’s a great support group to have. I’ll bet every field of professionals goes through those feelings. My husband, the software/computer guy always says (as you wisely said) that the more we know, the more we realize how little we know. Another reason to fake and pretend even more that we know what we are doing. Oy.

  3. beccakinla says:

    You know, while there is a role for “faking it,” it’s also very, very important to ask for help when you really, really don’t know the heck you are doing. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. I’ve “faked it” on occasion (like most people), but most of the time, I take a class, refer to mentors, ask them for advice, look up books at the library–even ask our rav a shyla. That feeling of flailing around when you don’t know what to do is frankly scary to me, and isolating, too.

  4. omilaca says:

    Yup! Of course it goes without saying that we study, read, take courses and ask advice and guidance from mentors and experts, but at the end of the day when we are in that room, doing our professional or life roles….isn’t it just us and our winging/acting and intuition..? All about the process…

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