imagesFake It ‘Til You Make It is the title of one of the essays in BECOMING.  It was a memorable journey, actually toward authenticity, to write it. Exploring my experience with the phrase led me to plomb deeper depths, meanings, and applications.

On top is is the superficial level of faking it, which is anything but authentic — where we try to make ourselves look or feel good, to ourselves or others.  We puff ourselves up, or deceive ourselves into thinking we are kinder or more generous than we really are.  (Read more about the common human tendency called Illusory Superiority in Vive La Difference!)

I’ll switch to the first person here as I remember how frequently it has happened that I think that my motives are lilly-white and pure, only to discover on deeper reflection that there’s a hint of self serving in there after all. (More about a painful personal example in the essay, The Road to Hell.)

It’s not at all about blaming, or inviting the inner critic —  just about being honest.  But to be clear, this self-deception, looking-good kind of faking, whether intentional or unconscious, is not what I’m promoting here.

images-1There are, however, a couple other kinds of faking it.  One is about getting along in the world, about understanding high power/status and low power/status body language and posture, using them to grow into, and  becoming who you initially are faking it to be.  This can be learned and make a huge difference.

And then there is even a deeper, one could say, spiritual, level, about taking the high road, even when you feel really judgemental, shitty, and black.  When we behave with decency, curiosity, compassion, even when that’s not what we’re experiencing initially, it often happens that we become what we’re modelling.  At this level, it really is about the journey to being real, our true selves.  (You can learn more about this in the Fake It essay in BECOMING.)

Imagine my surprise, today, when by chance I came across a TED talk — over 20,600,000 views!!, by Amy Cuddy, (#1 in Time Magazine’s list of “Game Changers”) — about this very topic: Faking It ‘Til You Make It, making some of the very points we’ve just explored.

Amy calls the talk Your body language shapes who you are, and she speaks as  a woman who earlier experienced feeling like she didn’t belong… that she was a fake and a sham.  When she was encouraged to act and behave as though she did belong, to take on the posture of power and confidence, she began to transform.images

Not only did she fake it til she “made” it, she faked it until she “became” it.  She uses fascinating scientific studies to illustrate her message.  Our body language affects and changes our brains, our hormones, our moods — who we are!  The path can be one of transformation, becoming, authenticity.  Both her journey and message are inspiring.  I especially like it that within her powerful presentation, she’s still able to be touched.

Here it is, and I hope you’ll be inspired and touched as well.  Maybe even check out my essays 🙂

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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