Book Excerpt: Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Every role I’ve taken since leaving Boston College has required some element of “fake it ’til you make it”.

Lack of confidence, lack of knowledge, and the feeling that I should know “stuff” made the start of any job uncomfortable. Depending on the job it could take anywhere from a few weeks to a year before I hit a groove.

As I moved up the corporate ladder, I found it harder and harder to shake the feeling. By the time I hit CFO I felt like a complete fraud, a used car salesman. As a pretty solid introvert, I needed to know exactly what I would say and do before I did it. That kind of preparation took time. I had to run through all the possible scenarios in my head so that I could come up with appropriate responses and sound like I was awesome off the cuff when I really wasn’t. I assumed at any point in time someone would be there to call me out. There was a healthy dose of pride associated with all of this.

I didn’t want to embrace failure or rejection in my work. I exhausted myself.

When I changed careers I hoped that phenomenon would disappear. Instead, it only got worse. As a sole proprietor, I had to figure out what I wanted to sell as my consulting services. I had to set my rates and figure out what clients would be willing to pay. I felt like I had to be an expert in the back office support I offered potential small business clients. I was gun-shy about offering marketing and social media services after getting such brutal feedback and no support for my role at the magazine.

Once again I found myself uncomfortable in my own skin.

I’m writing a career change memoir and I’d love your feedback as I post small ~300 word blurbs. What do you want to know more about? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Comment below or e-mail me.

Image credit: Austin Kleon

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