I recently had a conversation with a colleague about when it is okay to “Fake it”. My philosophy is when I know I’m the minority (whether it is race, gender or age), it’s important that I am always one of the best – if not the best at what I do. I must admit, sometimes that means I have to “fake it till I make it”. You may be wondering what I mean by the term “fake it till I make it”, well here are a few key rules I stand by:
- If I am in a meeting and we are discussing something in my expertise and I’m not familiar with it. I don’t ask questions in the meeting, I always wait until after the meeting and ask a trusted colleague and/or research the topic myself.
- When I am speaking and someone asks a question that is not in my field of expertise and I don’t have the answer. I articulate clearly that is not my functional area, which is why I don’t have the answer and I point the individual in the right direction.
- If I am assigned a stretch project that I need assistance with I always reach out to a trusted colleague and/or friend in my functional expertise for assistance.
I was surprised when I realized the amount of knowledge I have compared to alot of people that have more years of experience than me. I attribute alot of that to my ability to “fake it till I make it”. Even if I don’t know how to do something or I’m not familiar with a specific concept. I always find the resources to learn, rather then taking the stand of “I don’t know” or “I can’t do that”.
Many professionals “act” like they know alot but I have found the more I learned through school and on the job training, I know more than most of the people around me with significantly more experience.
I am not a perfectionist but I do like to be the best! As a minority, I am aware that I am always going to be a target. Therefore, I try to be 110% prepared at all times and if I do get blindsided by anything – I “Fake it Till I Make It”!
What do you do?