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Fake It Til You Make It Equals Practice

One comment I hear (far too) often is clients and Food and Feelings message board members insisting they can’t possibly “fake it til they make it.” The belief that you can’t act in a certain way unless it’s instinctive and natural right down to your toes is an unhealthy belief in itself. The truth is that we’re all faking it til we make it at times or, said another way, practicing til we get it (whatever “it” is) right.

Think about the first time you drove a car after you got your license. Did you feel as if you were ready for the Indie 500 after taking some lessons and receiving your license? I sure didn’t. Did you feel compelled to tell everyone on the road that you really didn’t feel totally competent and were terrified that you might mow someone down, or did you just do your best to maneuver your vehicle? When you start a new job, do you announce to everyone that you’re positive the boss made a terrible mistake in hiring you because you’re actually pretty clueless about what’s supposed to be your expertise, or do you come in every day and try to be worthy of having been hired?

This is just how things are: we’re not supposed to feel 100% sure of ourselves when we’re learning new information or behaviors. We have doubt and that’s okay because so does everyone else at times even if they act as if they don’t. We don’t need to believe we know what we’re doing all the time; we only need to continue to practice until we actually do know. If you think growing into who and what you want to be happens any other way, I’m here to tell you that you’ve been sold a bill of goods by someone who really didn’t know what he or she was talking about.

I’m not suggesting that you lie to yourself or pretend to be something or someone you’re not. You’re not out to deceive anyone, including yourself. You’re acting like a mentally healthy adult and taking a challenge with the belief that you will get where you want to go over time. You’re learning, which means going from knowing nothing to knowing something, from having familiarity with a subject to knowing it inside out, from never doing something well to doing it well sometimes to doing it well most of the time.

I understand that you feel like a fraud and hypocrite and fear someone will find out that you’re not who you’ve made yourself out to be; that you’re terrified you’ll fail and people will be angry at or disappointed in you. But, the only way you won’t succeed is by repeatedly telling yourself (and others) that you can’t fake it til you make it. That’s a lie in itself. Please give it up and free yourself to succeed with eating and other challenges.