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The longstanding adage "Fake it till you make it" leads us to act like we are in a position long before we can master it. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, pretend you are already one. When looking for investments, you are mimicking the behavior of someone who raises funds frequently. When you form partnerships with high-level players, you repeat the actions of a person worthy of that alliance, and so on.
This well-executed exercise needs to include visualization and knowing where you ultimately want to land. If you know what you are looking for – by describing the result and visualizing what you are planning – the more likely you will get it.
Or are you?
What if FITYMI doesn't work? What if that wise advice does the exact opposite of what you want? Remarkably, this happens most of the time. The majority of people tend not to think about how FITYMI can cause a problem or even backfire completely.
Here are four common scenarios where "counterfeit 'til you can do it" is undoubtedly the root of your failure.
1. When you think you are the most important person in the room
Uncontrolled nerves sometimes get the best of us. We are constantly being asked to feign confidence, keep our heads high, and straighten our shoulders when we come up with an idea. Our attitude towards self-confidence is a pillar of success, right? Who wants to work with someone who is afraid of their own shadow or who seems unsure of what promises they are making or what business plan they are announcing? We should renew our thinking and find ourselves in the positive space that we want. However, sometimes a small shift in one direction or another will make you seem like you are more important than everyone else in the room. Nobody likes a braggart especially mixed with the damn nerves that are ubiquitous. So make sure your FITYMI trust is not extremely high. It's a delicate balance of having enough confidence to be worth investing (financial or otherwise) while being humble and authentic enough for people to want to work with you.
Related: Leave your ego at the door and find the path to growth
2. Pretending that you are better than other people
It is important that someone takes the lead in every meeting in order to control the process, the flow and the outcome. take responsibility and move the conversation forward; to see who can speak when. Of course, if you are the entrepreneur who shares your ideas with other people, you want to behave in a way that suits your pre-made plan. After all, you've probably spent hours thinking about how to conduct the meeting. However, you need to make sure you are flexible enough to make serpentines like they said earlier, or just slide and pan if someone else in the room wants to change direction. It never works like you are better than anyone else when you hire someone to make changes on the ground. They are all in this room together. Don't fire anyone or treat them like they're smaller than. Go with the flow. That in and of itself gives you noticeable strength – exactly what you were looking for in the first place.
3. When your language and verbal communication seem pompous and condescending
Oral communication is important. Your tone, your choice of words, and the way you deliver them can make the fine-grained difference between success and failure. You may not like what someone is saying in your meeting. You may not like how it denigrates your presentation. But once you let irritation seep into your voice or body language, you will come across as condescending at best. If you keep pushing back the person derailing your flow, you will be perceived as pompous. If so, it's best to end the meeting before the situation gets worse.
Related: 25 Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior
4. When you think you know more than you do
You went to college, you googled, you talked to friends. They went out of their way to learn, memorize, or remember some quirky, obscure facts in hopes of gaining the fame of FITYMI before this big gathering. You start with a bang that appears to be knowledgeable, then you take a step too far and find that you've opened a topic that shows that you're not as knowledgeable as you appeared seconds before. The mood in the room changes instantly and you start catching up by going back to a topic that didn't require going beyond the second search page on Google. The rule to remember here: stay within the limits of your knowledge. It's okay and sometimes welcome to ask questions and not know everything. Most people in positions of power were happy to be asked questions. Questions can protect your FITYMI skills. It can prove very useful and refreshing when you demonstrate that you know a small amount while also expressing your desire to learn more.
How are your FITYMI skills now?
The most important person in the room is generally the person with the most money or the greatest title. Plain and simple. This person is usually the person in the highest position who holds the key to final decision making.
You don't want to start a meeting with your dick between your legs, your shoulders are slightly slumped and your negative self-chatter is dragging you into the depths of uncertainty. Make sure, however, that you are swinging to the other side of the spectrum. You need to be very careful when using visualization techniques and confidence building exercises to ensure that you are worth an investment, partnership, or even a job.
Make sure you always create an atmosphere where each person in the room feels like the most important person there in their own way. Hone your FITYMI skills, but learn how to be nuanced and teach yourself how to keep "faking" to a minimum and "doing" to a maximum. When you understand finesse, you have mastered the powerful practice of "faking it until you get it" on this bumpy, unforgiving road to business success.