Confidence is King – tips to ‘Faking it until you make it’

by | Jan 14, 2018

Starting a new job, setting up a business or changing direction in your career is tough – I know from personal experience how easily the confidence can ebb away, self-doubt creeps in making you put off decisions and progress to your goals gets slower and slower.

Most people at some point in their lives suffer with a bout of ‘imposter syndrome’ kept awake at night worrying that they will found to be not up to the job, humiliated in front of colleagues or that they will let down those who believe in them.   ‘Imposter syndrome’ is invariably accompanied with high level of stress and a side order of perfectionism as we push ourselves harder and harder to compensate for our insecurities.

‘Faking it until you make it’ is all about self-confidence not about pretending you have skills you don’t.  Nobody likes a ‘big head’ so it’s important to understand the difference between confidence and arrogance.  Confidence means you know you can get the job done, you have the skills (if not the experience) to be successful. It’s important to honestly appraise your abilities and a coach can help to gaining true perspective.

Number 1

We all know that body language speaks louder than words so pay attention to what your body is doing.  Changing your posture every time you slump into insecurities will make a massive difference.  Walk Tall, Sit up Straight, Push Back your Shoulders and Lift up your Head.  The best way I know to de-stress and put everything back into perspective is to head into the fresh air and walk briskly looking at the sky! Instantly your body is taller, your shoulders are back and your head is high – the world looks very different and you get a completely fresh view on your challenges. (On a note of caution I have once or twice tripped on a raised paving stone doing this so take care!)

Number 2

It’s great to have those big goals, dreams and plans but look for progress in small incremental steps, don’t beat yourself up about what you haven’t achieved, celebrate what you have. Your journey to success isn’t a straight line, enjoy the journey, and enjoy the challenge of making it up the hills and take time to savour the view as you look back on how far you have come.  Remember to celebrate the small victories, they will increase your confidence and eagerness to tackle the next challenge. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by believing the hype of others when they boast how easily success came to them – it didn’t, they worked hard, got lucky and are often employing a large measure of kidology!

Number 3

Look for your role models, find the people you admire and watch what they do, how they treat people and how they treat themselves. Get to know them, ask them for their help – having a mentor to help you think through a problem or pause to enjoy a success really does make a difference. Journaling can also be a great way to break your thoughts from a ‘continuous mental loop’ of anxiety and indecision.  By simply writing things down you gain a new dimension to thinking and bring your thoughts back into perspective.

Finally on a note of caution, stress is cumulative and the physiological effects over a period of time will damage your health.  If you feel so overwhelmed every day that you feel close to panic then faking it may not be the best course of action.  Reaching out because the challenge is too great or the time frame to short is essential and human, we respect candour and honesty in others so extend this to yourselves.  Confident people have learnt how and when to say no.

I hope you have found this article useful I would love to hear your comments and ideas. If you would like to know more about coaching and how it builds confidence please message me at

‘Of all the judgements we pass in life, none is more important than the judgement we pass on ourselves’  – Nathaniel Branden

With thanks to Kim Morgan (Barefoot Coaching) and John Perry (Southampton University) Rebecca Knight (HBR) Amy Cuddy (Harvard Business School) Clance & Imes (Imposter Syndrome) whose ideas, teachings and publications have all been referenced and considered in writing this article.

Helen Burgess

Helen Burgess

On Point Coaching - Specialist in Leadership and Team Development


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