In my previous post, I talked a little bit about why sometimes you just have to move forward and pretend a little bit in order to stretch yourself and reach your goals. By acting in a confident way, smiling more, being assertive and staying engaged you too can tap into the benefits. Of course, sometimes this can go a bit too far. We’ve all heard about people who lie on a job application or oversell their skills, experience or financial acumen. There is a big difference between lies and deceit and taking on challenges that allow you to be the best, most solid version of yourself.
So, let’s jump into a conversation about when things go on for too long or things are taken too far. We’ve all seen it, and let’s face it, no one likes it when others oversell and under deliver. How can you avoid being that person?
Taking “fake it util you make it” too far
Now, in my view, there are about five key signs that you’ve taken “fake it until you make it” too far.
1 – You realize you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. You’ve said “yes” to too many things because you want to show others that you can do it all. Now you are working late and in a bind all of the time. This is normal when you first start a job and are in the process of trying to find your way but should never be a long term thing.
2 – You feel like others have stopped trusting you. You feel like everyone is whispering that you’re all talk and no show. Don’t be a career “paper tiger”. You actually have to deliver at some point if you want to build good will with the individuals in your circle.
3 – You start down a trail of dishonesty. “Fake it until you make it” should never become about blatant lying and dishonesty. Play up your strengths and show your best side. Spot opportunities and engage with people by helping them. If you are caught in a lie, no one will ever trust you again. Game over!
4 – You’re falling behind with what you said you said you could deliver. You should always aim to under promise and over deliver. If that equation gets turned around, you have to think long and hard about what you are focused on and really look at your priorities and projects.
5 – You feel overwhelmed but not in a positive way. It’s starting to make you ill with stress. Don’t get me wrong, we all need to stretch ourselves at times and it’s not supposed to be too easy – that’s how we grow. However, you need to know what your limits are and stop before things go too far.
OK, so you’ve taken things a bit too far. Thankfully, there is a way back from this. We all have times where we bite off more than we can chew. There are ways to get around this though. You want to ensure that you stop to take stock of what is happening, where your stress points are and what you need to do to get back on track. Let’s do this in two steps. First, make a list of all of the things that you find stressful right now. Second, put some letters next to the list. Choose:
The CNDL Method
- “C” for things that should be cancelled i.e. deleted from your list
- “N” for things that you need to pick up now
- “D” for things that could be delegated or outsourced
- “L” for things that can be picked up later
I call this the “candle” method so that I remember it. Doesn’t seem so stressful now does it? To make things a bit easier, I have created this handy, dandy download for you to use. You can print it out and post in front of you at your desk at work or at home.
To take things one step further, I have also created created a worksheet freebie that you can use to get back on track and motivate yourself to step it up. Top Tip: You can save paper if you put this in a plastic holder and wipe off the cover as needed. This saves paper and you can use it again and again!