Upon receiving a promotion at work a few years ago, a wise, previous co-worker of mine gave me some really valuable advice over dinner: "Fake it 'til you make it." She could sense that I didn't feel like I had what it took to conquer my new role. I was a 20-something young woman being promoted to a job with actual, load bearing responsibilities. I wasn't simply serving in a support role like so many times before - I was making decisions. People were looking to me as an expert. Expecting great things.
It was a lot of pressure. And eventually, it got the best of me. I couldn't fake it, I didn't have it in me. I left that job, veering completely off my career as a marketer, solely to get out. In hindsight - I was doing great, people loved me (they asked me back multiple times), and I could have handled it (today) - but not then, I wasn't equipped with the right skills. I needed a breather. I needed to make sure that this "career" I had going for myself was what I wanted, even what I needed, to feel like I was doing something valuable with my life.
Which brings me to today. I'm 5 years post-breather, 4 years in with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare's marketing team and anticipating many more. I faked it until I made it vs. letting the responsibility on my shoulders take me out. I believe being able to "fake it" better came with age, mostly. And as I develop more professional confidence, it feels less like faking and more like I actually know what I'm doing. At 31, I'll take that.
I had a mid-year review today that affirmed that maybe, just maybe, I do know what I'm doing. And if I don't, I acknowledge it and learn from it. In my review, I confidently stated that "I feel like I'm a good marketer." And I do. There wasn't a bit of hesitancy. And it has made me feel that all of the years prior that I've told myself that I wasn't a marketer, that I couldn't do it, that I needed a job where I knew what I was coming in to do everyday...were needed. I needed to doubt, I needed to explore, I needed to FAKE it - until I made it. The truth of this statement could not ring more true to me today.
If you are out there, and you're feeling how I did a few years ago...the best advice I can give is to literally, fake it 'til you make it...and I hope you do.