According to Wikipedia, “Fake it till you make it” (frequently ’til you make it or until you make it) is an English aphorism which suggests that by imitating confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset, a person can realize those qualities in their real life.

This past week I sat on a panel that was discussing the next steps for diversifying the Information Technology (IT) workplace and I was asked what I thought about the term “fake it ’til you make it”. I gave my answer which pretty much was, yes do it. There are times when situations call for you to fake it ’til you make it. As I sat and pondered that term more after my turn was over, I wished I would have given a different answer. Since I cannot do it at the Oklahoma Women in Technology luncheon, I thought it would be a great blog article!

When I was first asked to be on the panel, I was excited about the opportunity to serve on another panel to discuss diversity and inclusion in the workplace. When all of the panelists met via phone and we introduced ourselves, I suddenly felt out of place. I was going to be on a panel with a retired Senior Vice President of a University, a Director of IT, and a Vice President of Sales and Marketing. My excitement quickly turned into, “what am I doing here; they are in a totally different league than me!” Normally, I am never silent or at a loss of words; but on that phone call, I limited my conversation.

As we neared the event, my anxiety grew. I wanted to back out. I wanted to tell the event facilitator that she should pick another person. I didn’t chicken out though. I just told her I was nervous; to which she replied I would be just fine!

I finally looked over the questions and prepared my answers the night before the event. I was pleased with my answers, but still not sure I belonged. It was too late to back out, so I had to fake it….until I make it. I had to act confident when deep down I didn’t feel that way…at all!

On the day of the event, I met the panelists and moderator face to face. They were so kind, humble, and down to earth. My anxiety began to fade. I started seeing familiar faces. As I began talking with the other panelists, I realized we had so much in common. While we all had various titles, we were all in IT doing and experiencing the same things. One of the panelists and I talked about the books we were writing!

We got on the stage and tried to motivate the folks in the audience which I think we did. I walked away feeling accomplished.

I learned that day, that faking it until you make it has a lot to do with your feelings…which are fickle. I was feeling out of place, but that was so far from the truth. I had to fake it (believing I belonged even though my feelings were telling me differently) until I made it (Lining up my thoughts and focus with the truth that I did belong)!

When my thoughts and the truth aligned, it was over! The Spirit of God was on me and I operated in my gift of speaking encouraging words to those I encountered. As I rode home, I wondered what makes a person think they are not good enough or that they don’t belong? Why do we compare ourselves to other people?

I think it is because we have our focus on the wrong thing. As Charles Stanley says in his Life Principles Bible when talking about Gideon, “The Lord’s estimation of us often differs from our own.  God saw Gideon as a “mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12) because He knew what He was going to accomplish through him.  Gideon saw himself as weak and little because his focus was on his circumstances rather than on the Lord (Judges 6:15).  When we believe God and depend on Him to empower us, we become who He says we are–His beloved children through whom He overcomes the world (1 John 5:4,5).”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Friends, let me encourage you to not look at yourself, but rather on God. Yes, in our strength, we cannot do it. But when we allow God to operate through us, His spirit overtakes us and…we can! We are!

We are enough!

We are God’s idea!

We are chosen by Him to do great and mighty things!

We are a vessel of honor, sanctified, and fit for the Master’s use.

When you keep your focus on God and use the gifts he has given you without comparing it to someone else’s gift, YOUR gift will make room for you and bring you before great men (Proverbs 18:16).

May these words add spice to your soul!