The Danger of The ‘Fake It Till You Make It’ Culture

By now many have heard the story of Theranos, a privately held health tech company that claimed to have created a system that could take over 200 blood tests with a finger prick of blood verse the one off vials we get at a Dr. visit today. The CEO, Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos were called the “next big thing” in Silicon Valley and she was said to be the next Steve Jobs. The only problem is, she’s not and the company was a fraud. The book ‘Bad Blood” by John Carryrou did an amazing job unraveling how someone with good intentions, lifted herself up to be on paper, a self-made billionaire, to later find out her and co-founder Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani misled patients, investors, board members, employees, companies (e.g. Walgreens) and others on a world stage.

This isn’t the first nor last story of deceit in business obviously. The collapse of large organizations like Tyco, Exxon and the U.S. banking system at large is still very fresh. Now good documentaries are popping up on Netflix and Hulu on the failed Fyre Festival. This festival created an allure that made many face the fear of missing out or FOMO on social media just to find out you could make a better cheese sandwich at home and that was the least of the issues.

Everyone wakes up with the desire to succeed in our journey. No one intentionally sets out to fail in their craft. In the desire succeed, we want others to join in and celebrate our success. Social Media has opened that portal. We’re comparing what appears to be our “regular lives” to others highlight reel. This brings me to the term “Faking it to you make it”.

You can go to any church on a Sunday or listen to a life coach and hear despite our obstacle(s) “fake it until you make it”. I used to be an ordained Pastor and get the essence of what’s being said. To act and carry yourself where you see yourself before you get there vs how you may feel or appear to be today. You want to be a businessperson but don’t have the credentials yet? Carry the briefcase anyway…even if you don’t have a thing in it. That’s harmless and I agree in principal but in grander scale as the examples I gave above, you lose the essence of who you are. You’re so busy impressing others and creating this facade for yourself that you can lose what the journey itself really means.

I believe it’s imperative to dream, believe for better, strive to be great but not losing the essence of how you got there. Sometimes success is sweeter when you embrace the suck. You don’t have to live there by no means but you shouldn’t lose your integrity and soul trying to “show” and prove”. David Goggins, author of the best-selling book ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ said it best “It won’t always go your way, so you can’t get trapped in this idea that just because you’ve imagined a possibility for yourself that you somehow deserve it. Your entitled mind is dead weight. Cut it loose. Don’t focus on what you think you deserve. Take aim on what you are willing to earn!”

I believe knowing who I’m not helps me understand who I am. I try to avoid the trappings of creating a staged life on social media. My integrity in life and business remain consistent because this journey is mine shared with others, not mine for sale.