A popular motto used in addiction recovery is, “Just fake it until you make it.” I have seen this confusing phrase thrown around in business circles as well, especially for new entrepeneurs.

Although this phrase CAN be used for short term reasons, it can actually cause more harm than good.


You Can’t Fake Being Happy

If you’re struggling with depressed feelings or grief, it can be more exhausting to feign happiness. Usually, the feeling we’re trying so hard to hide, is totally apparent to everyone……but ourselves. Recent traumatic events (divorce, loss of loved one, job loss, health diagnosis) may require us to take a time out. During times of grief, I truly had to reserve my “normal” face for work and that was it. Don’t ask me to smile after 5:00. I once had to duck into the bathroom between clients to cry, because it was torturous trying to put together a coherent conversation.

How can we distance ourselves in order to regain our emotional balance? Maybe you have to skip a family event, birthday party, sporting event, kids’ activities or work event so you don’t risk SNAPPING! After 3 times of people asking, “Hey you’re not yourself. What’s wrong?”, we may be inclined to yell back in response. Stuffing our feelings for too long will inevitably cause an explosion. Exploding on the wrong person can be damaging to our jobs and reputation. And as I mentioned above, explosions aren’t always angry. Tearful outbursts can actually scare people around us and will come at unexpected times. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings because we don’t know how to inventory our emotions.

Tip: Take an emotional inventory and be honest about how much longer you can “fake it.” It may be time for a self-imposed time out. Don’t push yourself to act on a normal schedule when your emotions need a chance to rest.

You Can’t Fake Your Passions

If you’re starting a new job, business project or activity for your family, there’s a time limit on how long you can fake passion. When I started blogging I had to find my niche and area of expertise. It wasn’t hard to discover that self-care & helping others is my passion since it’s my full-time career.

Faking your passions “until you make it” can only work on short-term projects. I’m not normally a baker but I could handle baking a cake for a family member or colleague because I see it more as a challenge rather than being “fake.” Now, I wouldn’t sign up to be the resident baker at my office because I wouldn’t put my heart into it. Personally, I don’t have THAT type of creativity. Since I’m a blogger, I would be more aligned with a company newsletter.

Plus, faking a passion for too long is a sign that you’re not assertive with yourself. Why are you unable to speak up and remove yourself from this job or task? Being honest with yourself or others about your limitations is a foundation for healthy communication. Don’t say yes if your heart says MMM MAYBE and allow yourself space to accept opportunities with a HELL YES!

Tip: Identify what you’re good at. THOSE are the passion projects you should sign up for. You wouldn’t have to fake anything and it would be a welcomed challenge.

Remember! Challenges are good and shouldn’t be filled with resentment. Click To Tweet

Resentment = faking happiness.

Some people may argue and say “faking it until you make it” helps motivate them to workout. This is great! If you need a motivating mantra (i.e. No pain, no gain) to keep you on track with fitness goals, PLEASE USE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. But if you’re faking that you love the treadmill, see how you feel on a stair climber or cycling class. I don’t mind working out but the treadmill bores me to tears. I prefer Zumba, weights, running outdoors and hot yoga. Life is really too short to be half assing something that’s supposed to be beneficial for you!

In short, “faking it” may work for a short term project or activity but our lives are too busy to be resentful all the time. This is why boundary setting is key. If you don’t want to act fake around certain people, then bounce! Seriously, protect your energy and your precious schedule for taking care OF YOU!!

Recommended read: What Are Boundaries?

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