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Signs You're Faking it Not Making it

The old adage, “Fake it till you make it,” has helped many people get through very challenging situations. Walking into new situations such as starting a new job, mingling with strangers or facilitating a workshop can cause us to feel insecure. In an attempt to neutralize our nervous energy, we portray a persona of confidence. This kind of “faking it” can be a valuable tool and helps us to cope in uncertain situations.

But, here’s the thing we have to watch out for. Sometimes when we are feeling stressed, our nervous behaviors can suddenly show up as if they are on steroids. Here’s an example: A person who is extroverted may be perceived as loud and boisterous when in a stressful and unfamiliar situation. Others may get the impression that this person is arrogant or not authentic.  This may be completely untrue, but if we don’t manage ourselves during these types of situations, we could give the wrong impression. 

Here are 3 common missteps that people make when they are feeling self-conscious or nervous:

Making fun of yourself. Although it's common to poke fun at ourselves, use this kind of humor sparingly. If you constantly downplay who you are, people will perceive you in the same way you represent yourself.  So always speak approvingly of yourself and others.   

Bragging or dominating the spotlight. When speaking with others, do not dominate the conversation. Confident people share the spotlight by showing interest in other people.

Gossiping. There's an easy trick for breaking the gossip habit. The next time you're tempted to say something derogatory about someone, imagine the person standing next to you.  How would your words make that person feel? How would you feel? Your mother was right – if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.


Next time you feel nervous and less than confident, pay special attention to your “behaviors on steroids.” And, if you catch yourself committing any of the mistakes above, take a breath and reconnect with your authentic self – not your fake self.

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