Faking it until you make it.

BrainsI thought (and often thought) that “fake it until you make it” was the same as lying. However after reading some press from Marla Gottschalk, I’ve shifted my view, somewhat. Here’s the gist of it.

Marla Gottschalk: Most of us have been in situations where we question ourselves and our ability to succeed. Whether this is in response to significant challenge, promotion or a stretch assignment, we can experience a lapse in confidence.

We can be inaccurate judges of our own abilities – and often underestimate what we can accomplish. However, if we simply can begin and make some measure of progress forward, that feeling can subside. You must keep putting one foot in front of the other.

If the feelings of doubt seem to linger, reflect on where you feel your weakness lies and attempt to address it. Seek a mentor and explore your doubts. Above, all get the direction and support that you might need.

Easy, right? I have said it before, I wish there was a “test” in my school days that I could have taken that told me my strengths (but “suggestions” not “orders”). So some sort of questionnaire loaded up with the kind of questions that guide you in your post-secondary school choices. I’ve been told there was something like that and I vaguely remember doing it, however I didn’t take it seriously. Maybe that’s the problem with taking the exam at 14 years old. In any case, how do you figure out what you’re good at?

Back to Gottschalk: That is a very interesting question – and the reality is we need an accurate picture of who we are in the workplace to move forward. It is critical to seek information from a number of different sources. For example, from supervisors, colleagues and clients – with the goal of obtaining a 360 degree view of you.

Please note, not everyone will have the time or interest in filling out a survey about how they view you and you might need to have tough skin when you get it back!

There are also aspects of our work life that are part of our “invisible” or “unwritten” resume. In many cases, others might hesitate to share this information with us. However, when things don’t “add up” for us work-wise (continually overlooked for promotion, not assigned to valued assignments), we need to probe further.

We also have our own assessment to consider. When I (Marla Gottschalk) first meet with a client, whether an individual or a business, I usually inquire about their view of strengths and weaknesses. If they have difficulty answering the question, I usually ask the following: What tasks do you feel drawn to? What do you find yourself avoiding? For a business, I might ask: How do you think your customers view your organization? We are more self-aware then we’d like to admit. It’s listening to our inner voice that is often the challenge.

Transacting strengths into opportunity is also critical – and aligning work with our strengths is a good place to start. Setting forth a plan to impact relative weaknesses is also part of the picture. This involves setting clear goals and identifying learning/development opportunities.

While reading through this article, there was something odd and I’ve put it in bold. Marla starts by saying we can be inaccurate judges of our own abilities, however she later says that we are more self-aware then we’d like to admit.  This confuses me and maybe I don’t understand the viewpoint, if anyone could clarify this, it would be much appreciated.

In the end, I believe that we need to listen to our gut. There’s a reason we’ve got this gut instinct, listen up people!