We’ve all heard the catchy slogan “Fake it ’til you make it!”. It is even used in contexts of leadership coaching where dressing the part is a hot tip on the way to success. And on an inspirational level of purchasing some fun hot-pants to restart a springtime jogging routine, I’m sure it’s great. But if really worked, I would be a very accomplished yogi by now. 

I have what must be more than 20 pairs of yoga pants in my closet. But I still don’t do yoga. I drink red wine in yoga pants. I do business in yoga pants. I’m very comfortable in yoga pants. But did I manage to attain my little dream of being an awesomely fit yoga practitioner? No. Because I didn’t genuinely feel it. I am a yoga pants fake and it has taken me nowhere.

In a business context, I can see that dressing the part could possibly make sense. It makes other people see you as that part, since most of us still judge the hair of the camel’s back. It may even make sense to people to act assertive, to play a leader and to pretend to be confident — as a means to attain those very states. If we want to become authentically powerful as leaders, however, there is quite a huge problem with this idea. 

The simple truth is, when we fake it, we know we are faking it. We don’t want to be fooled, and, hard as we try, we won’t buy it. We know we’re faking it so we won’t make it. No wonder. We are not just made up of a facade with which we face the world; we are complex, layered, emotional, wonderful human beings. There is something inside us—our inner knowing, our true selves—that knows about the unique imprint we are meant to bring to the world. Faking it doesn’t fit that strategy.

If we are asking other people to view us as something that we are not, a gap forms between what they see and what we hold to be true about ourselves. So you take a few successful steps with this fake strategy and think that “this is easy as pie” — but you will inevitably be filled with fear that you will be busted. You know the truth and the gap widens. The more fear you feel of getting caught, albeit unconsciously, the more you have to cover up the true you that is hiding under that “dressing the part” facade. This will not only make you feel empty on the inside, it will render you ineffective as a powerful leader on a great mission.

I do not believe that we need to “choose a role or pick a part in this movie called life”. I am frankly shocked to hear how people in my vicinity talk about themselves with this fake idea taken to a pretty advanced level. I hear things like “Oh that was way back then, I played a different part then”. Wait what, a different what? “You know, a different part, I played a different role back then, but now I play a business woman, that’s my part I play nowadays”. None of these people are particularly successful in their leadership or business endeavors, and they wonder why.

The older I get in business, the happier I am to leave space for who I am as a unique individual with my own unique thinking and experience, my unique ability to connect the dots, and my unique (bad) sense of humor. I feel from the bottom of my core the gist of what I can contribute with. So I show up. As the real me. In yoga pants. How can I help?

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BJORK BUSINESS™ offers Leadership programs that specifically expand leadership intelligence and strengthen the inner power of leaders, managers and teams. The programs combine MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), Success Coaching and a proprietary Leadership Awareness Matrix system. The next program open to the public is offered in NYC, March 31 - April 28, 2015, through The Academi of Life.

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