It’s always best to be honest with yourself and others. We’ve been hearing this since grade school. So why are millennials always told to “fake it until we make it?”It seems that we get more advice urging us to do things like “dress where we want to be, and not where we are,” and less advice about how to actually be successful.
I always ignored this advice, brushing it off as a pointless set of tips for those who want to rise to the top of the corporate farm. I certainly have never fit that description. But what I’ve learned over the past couple of years in a corporate environment, is that it’s okay to fake it sometimes. Because faking it isn’t always about projecting a false image. It’s about believing in your own abilities in a way that gets others to believe in them too.
Embrace Challenges. Life in your twenties is scary, stressful, and challenging. In a world where jobs (and careers, especially) are hard to come by, and more work doesn’t always translate into better pay, we’re constantly being challenged to work harder and faster. In my job, I’m often challenged to take on multiple projects and tasks that are out of my comfort zone, and force me to alter my work approach, sometimes multiple times in a day.
Workers are increasingly being urged to wear more hats, and expand their capabilities. It can be challenging to simultaneously work on highly creative projects alongside technical assignments, often while juggling a slew of administrative tasks. The modern world and its corporate challenges can often be overwhelming, and it can be easy to doubt your abilities, especially when you’re out of your comfort zone.
It’s normal to sometimes feel inadequate in a challenging role. An article by Entrepreneur explains, “The impostor syndrome is especially common among people who become successful quickly or early, and among outsiders, such as women in male-dominated industries.” Even when you feel overwhelmed, it’s possible to project an air of confidence. Embrace the challenges. You are capable of succeeding, and when the project is complete, you’ll be an even stronger employee as a result.
Dress to Impress. There’s really something to this advice. It’s amazing how donning a business suit on a Monday morning can boost your confidence. Don’t get me wrong, I live for Casual Fridays. All week long, I pine for the eight sweet hours I get to wear sneakers and jeans at the office. I admit, getting to wear comfy, casual clothes to work boosts my morale more than a pair of black pumps ever could. But no matter what, the more professional I look, the more professional I feel. And it’s that professional attitude that does wonders for my confidence.
Even if you’re an intern or low-tiered employee, dressing your best (in addition to working your best!) can leave a great impression on others. Wear a t-shirt to work every day, and you run the risk of coworkers developing an idea that you don’t take your job seriously. The best way to show that you’re serious about working hard is to give it your all every day, but never underestimate the power of looking the part.
Be Honest About Your Abilities. At the end of the day, it’s most important to be honest with yourself about your capabilities. There may be a time when you’re given a high profile assignment, but genuinely lack the resources or knowledge to effectively complete it on time. No matter how much confidence you project, no matter how nice your suit is, you simply won’t be able to accomplish the task.
Things like this happen, and when they do, the best option is to be honest with the project owner. Offer to help in every way that you can, but don’t set yourself up for failure by committing to a project you can’t complete. Your honesty will be a much better reflection of your commitment, than a failed project would ever be.
In the professional world, and life in general, it’s important to have confidence in your abilities. This can be difficult in a world where corporate culture often expects more talent out of a smaller workforce. You may find yourself in an ocean of work you never thought you’d be capable to doing. Just remember, act the part, dress the part, and always be honest with yourself and others.