Fake It Til You Make It: Where's the Line?
As entrepreneurs, we are often faced with the concept of 'Fake It Til You Make It', or portraying yourself as something a little larger or more impressive than you are to gain credibility within your market. While it is a common practice, and somewhat accepted and expected, there is a fine line that exists between 'stretching the truth' and simply lying and deceiving for personal gain. So the question becomes, "Where's the Line?"
I recently attended Inc.'s GrowCo Conference in Nashville, TN, and had the chance to ask this question during a taping of their Inc. Uncensored podcast show. Panel members, which included Inc. Editor James Ledbetter, Inc. Executive Editor Jon Fine, Inc. Editor-at-Large Burt Helm and Inc. Editor-at-Large Kimberly Weisul, shared their various thoughts on the 'fake it til you make it' concept. You can listen to the recorded segment of the show below.
While all panelists agreed that there is some expected level of 'fake it til you make it' from entrepreneurs, the opinions varied quite a bit.
"I'm a big believer of 'fake it til you make it' because it's a lot easier to change your actions until you believe you are the person you want to be than it is to change your belief about how you are and hope that comes out in your actions. I think it's acting like who you want to be and at some point you will be because that kind of motor memory and brain memory will sink in and become real", said Kimberly Weisul.
Another panelist believe that between 10 - 80% of all business are lying to some degree and added, "sometimes people drink their own kool-aid and they don't believe they are bullshitting you."
James Ledbetter offered a very important fact, "Once you are a public company the regulations about what you can say change dramatically. What the FCC calls a forward looking statement, entrepreneurs calls a cocktail comment. The line is really really thin between the person who believes in him or herself and the charlatan."
What's your opinion on this debate? Is 'faking it til you make it' okay? Where's the line in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below.