Fake It Until You Become It

Young beautiful girl driver with a wheel, concept

Finding business confidence means pushing forward and conquering doubt.


We all understand the idea behind “fake it until you make it.“

The idea is that sometimes you have to act as if you are confident and believe in yourself, your product, company, child, brother in law and so on, even when you have your doubts and, by doing so, push ahead until you succeed.

Doubts exist for many reasons. Sometimes doubts are legitimate, but more often than not, they arise from a pattern of experiences, behaviors or words that have driven doubt into your mind. Sometimes doubts are a useful tool — a reminder to be prepared and take thoughtful action. But most of the time doubts will simply impede your success.

I wrote about the differences between delusional optimism in decision making and delusional optimism in action. The former being generally ineffective but the latter sometimes being a strategy for success.


Because delusional optimism in decision making may stop you from carefully weighing your options and making well-informed decisions. While delusional optimism in action, once a sound decision has been made, will help you to push forward when doubt knocks on your door.

But how do you grab that optimism when doubt creeps in?

Recently, social psychologist and Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy shared some research that you may find interesting. In an informative and even moving TED presentation recorded in Edinburgh, Scotland, Cuddy told us about research demonstrating that when you change your body language by changing your positioning, you can change not only the way others view you but also the way you view yourself.

Body Language

If you take a moment to think about it, you are already aware that when you observe the body language of another person, what you see impacts your opinion of the person.

If someone is sitting awkwardly, shoulders hunched and arms folded, you have a different reaction compared with someone sitting straight with good posture and arms unfolded. You may perceive the second person as more confident and even more knowledgeable than the first.

What Cuddy told us was that not only is the opinion of the observer affected by your body language, so is yours: If you act small, you feel small, and if you act big, you feel big.

When you change your body positioning, when you add a smile and when you sit or stand tall, you can change the way others perceive you and actually gain more confidence and change the way you feel.

Next page: How does this work? and Go ahead and try this…