Faking until you make it is a well accepted and common practice in the workplace. This raises the question; if everyone knows about it, can’t we just be transparent about our skills and abilities? How much time and efficiency are we losing by pretending we know something we don’t, and then figuring it out on our own? What’s that doing to our mental health?
Faking it can lead to feelings of impostor syndrome, which Merriam-Webster defines as: a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success. These feelings can lead to anxiety and depression and can happen even if you aren’t faking it, but it’s much more likely among those who are faking it because they have real reasons to fear they’ll be exposed. It’s normal to have some feelings of self doubt when taking on a new challenge, but faking it adds to the stress of trying to overcome the challenge.
I suggest a different course. Be open and honest about your skills without downplaying them or selling yourself short. This leaves the door open to ask questions and get the help you need to learn that new skill faster, and people will respect you for your honesty and genuine confidence. If you feel a skill is critical to getting hired or advancing, do the work to learn it before applying. Commit yourself to continuous learning throughout your career so you’re ready to take on new challenges and opportunities as they present themselves. It’s not healthy to live with the stress of being fake and you’ll feel better without that weight around your neck, so start being honest today!
There are numerous benefits to helping others succeed. First and foremost, most of the people you help will remember it and do the same for you some day. I remember my father-in-law mentoring a young intern pharmacist by helping him with homework over the phone, and years later witnessed him ask for advice from the young pharmacist who had graduated by then and was an expert on the latest developments in the industry. When you help others, it builds your network of people who can be relied on for advice, references, open positions, etc.
Experts say we retain 50% of what we write down and 80% of what we teach to others. By teaching others, you’re actually reinforcing the knowledge you’ve learned so it doesn’t fade over time. When teaching, you gain knowledge yourself from getting the perspective of someone who views the problem in an entirely different way. If you’re open enough, interactions like this lead to the next industry development or business disruption because you’re able to combine your deep industry knowledge with someone else’s knowledge of current technology, etc.
Finally, helping others succeed is a sign of strength and leadership potential. Your organization will notice who’s sharing knowledge and helping the entire organization grow, and who’s hoarding knowledge to keep everyone else weak. Both the sharing and hoarding are very apparent to leaders in the organization, and despite the hoarders believing they’ll be promoted for their superior knowledge over everyone else; the opposite is true. Good leaders recognize the power in sharing and teaching within the organization and will promote people who possess this behavior.
Motivated professionals love to work, and the argument could be made the world is a better place today because of their contributions, but how many end up regretting not living a little more when they reflect on their lives? My favorite TV commercial of all time is the old guy telling his grandkids how much he loved Harleys when he was younger. When they asked him about it, he had to tell them he never got it….he spent the money on aluminum siding instead! I put a link to the video above but it’s a great reminder that we’ll all die some day and most of us will get old enough to reflect on our lives.
I’ve always worked a lot, even when I was a kid, but as I get older I’m having to live with some regret despite achieving a lot of my personal and professional goals. Because I write every week about achieving goals, I feel the responsibility to remind everyone to live a little along the way. I don’t advocate quitting your job when you’ve got more responsibilities than savings though, just don’t spend your entire life working. Be intentional about creating balance between work and the rest of your life. If you enjoy work like I do, it’s really easy to dig into it for nine days or nine months, only to look up and find you missed some opportunities away from work to have new experiences.
One trap we fall into is thinking that if we push through this month or this year, everything will quiet down and we’ll have less on our plate at a later date. I do this a lot and find that it never holds true; the more value I provide, the more opportunities come my way to provide value. That’s a good thing but learning to manage it is a challenge, especially when ego and simple pride in your work get in the way.
Building a good team who shares your values and pride in the work your organization does is the best way to lighten your load enough to step away but keep an eye on them, there’s a few who will need to be encouraged to live a little as well. As a leader, you will be respected more by your team if you encourage them to enjoy life outside of work and get a higher quality of work being accomplished when your employees have some balance and aren’t burned out. Here’s to summer vacations!
Hi everyone, today I want to talk about the hardest part of achieving a large goal; actually getting started. How many of you have goals that are important to you but have been waiting for “the right time” to take action and get started on them? I’ve heard hundreds of excuses over the years and used quite a few myself so I know that many goals never make it past the “dream” stage. Let me tell you, life is short, and conditions will probably never be perfect, but that shouldn’t stop you from starting small. Don’t wait for the kids to leave the house, your spouse to win the lottery, or whatever is preventing you from achieving goals that will let you lead a more fulfilling life.
I’ve learned that starting a project or goal instantly gives confidence and feels like a weight lifted from your shoulders. Somehow the goal seems less intimidating after the initial step of just getting started. Maybe your goal will ultimately take some money to finish it completely, but you will benefit from reading and engaging with others who are on similar journeys toward the same goal and find there’s a lot you can do for free.
For professional or career goals, there’s never been a better time in history to get into an industry you’ve always wanted to work in because most industries are struggling to find help. There’s twice as many open positions in America as there is people looking for work which means employers are motivated to hire someone with a good attitude and a passion for the industry and teach them how to be successful in it. How awesome would it have been to start learning what you needed to do your dream job a few years ago so that in today’s economy, an employer would see that although you don’t have all the credentials, you’re definitely passionate about the work? Do your future self a favor, build some confidence, lift that weight, stop making excuses, and start today!