STOP “faking it”.

Here is me "faking it" when I worked at Adbusters. I had a degree in environmental science, but then ended up as a production manager of the world's largest counter-culture magazine. Go figure.

Here is me “faking it” when I worked at Adbusters. I had a degree in environmental science, but then ended up as a production manager of the world’s largest counter-culture magazine. Go figure. [photo by Daniel Zomparelli]

So I just finished Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In (woohoo one “goal for the summer of Lauren” accomplished!), and the biggest take-away I had from the book was this: WE ARE ALL FAKERS AND DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT EXPERIENCE FOR A JOB. Let me explain.

Sandberg brings up The Imposter Syndrome, which is basically when someone thinks they are faking it and any successes are due to luck or duping people. This was obviously not a new concept to me, I suffer from a plethora of insecurities and generally feel that I am faking it, but my big revelation was that if Sheryl Sandberg and Tina Fey sometimes tell themselves that they are faking it, and we all tell ourselves we are FAKING IT, then we need to get over it and stop saying that:

This phenomenon of capable people being plagued by self-doubt has a name – the impostor syndrome. Both men and women are susceptible to the imposter syndrome, but women tend to experience it more intensely and be more limited by it. Even the wildly successful writer and actress Tina Fey has admitted to these feelings. She once explained to a British newspaper, “The beauty of the imposter syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania, and a complete feeling of:’I’m a fraud! Oh god, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud. Seriously, I’ve just realized that almost everyone is a fraud, so I try not to feel too bad about it.”

AND FURTHERMORE, I also hear loved-ones, pals and even strangers say they “don’t have experience in that” so can’t apply for so-and-so job. I agree with Sandberg on this one too that no one’s experience is bang on for a job and therefore this belief should not be used to hold people back:

“Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s chief technology officer, was asked by The Huffington Post, “What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?” She responded, “I said no to a lot of opportunities when I was just starting out because I thought, ‘That’s not what my degree is in’ or ‘I don’t know about that domain.’ In retrospect, at a certain point it’s your ability to learn quickly and contribute quickly that matters. One of the things I tell people these days is that there is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make them fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”

So there you have it. We basically just need to be more confident. But I also believe that if we ALL ARE FAKING IT, then it basically cancels the FAKING part out, and we are all just DOING IT, so let’s STOP SAYING WE ARE “FAKING IT”. And if we ALL feel like we have “no experience in something” or “our degree wasn’t specifically in that thing”, than NONE of us are qualified so it again cancels that out and we are ALL QUALIFIED! There you go! I hope I’ve solved any confidence issues you may have.

Seriously though, my biggest take away from the book is to believe in yourself. The book wasn’t amazing or life-altering, but anything that reminds me to stop doubting myself and continue to put myself out there, take initiative, and speak up for what I want is alright by me.