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Be Genuine or FAKE it till you make it?

Expert: Karen Hilts - Web developer and Inbound Marketing

In business, it is important for customers or clients to trust in your expertise. If you're just starting out and relatively unknown, the temptation to embellish your message or "fake it till you make it" is more common advice given then you think.

Being genuine means you are being real, honest and sincere in all aspects of life.

Faking it till you make it means you might be stretching the truth, camouflaging a truth with some "white lies" not meant to hurt anyone or making yourself appear one way... when it's not as wonderful as you pretend it to be. You are creating a desired perception for someone which is not completely true. You want people to see you in a certain way.

 

So the question is, is it better to be Genuine or to Fake it till you make it? Another good question is, "Who are you surrounding yourself with?"

Let's take a look at the characteristics of being Genuine vs. Faking it...

Fake it till You Make it

Fakers are attention seekers who have a void that needs to be filled. Their ego is always needing reinforcement due to insecurities.  Perhaps some narcissistic behaviour is apparent.  They manipulate other people's emotions to serve their needs and often, it is disguised as though they care for the other person, however it is more to do with what they can "get" from the other person, in the short or long term, which drives their "faking kindness" agenda.

They are in a hurry to become an overnight success and will manipulate their persona to match their agenda - of appearing to be a successful and accomplished expert.

Relationships are not as important to them in the long term.  Being "found out" is always a fear and under-delivery or disappointment in service (that was promised to deliver results), leads to short term customers/clients.

This type of person will easily let relationships go. They got what they wanted in the short term, "onto the next" is their mantra.

Fakers believe people are gullible and will believe whatever they tell them. They will look to build brand new relationships with people who don't know them.  They can turn a relationship into whatever they want, with the intention of benefiting themselves sometime in the future. They will seek out naïve people who can easily be fooled.

They will embellish their conversation to exaggerate their experiences, knowledge, accomplishments and status, sometimes to the extreme of complete fiction.  It's hard to differentiate what is truth or lie because the story is so well polished.  They are very good with story telling and coming up with ideas on the fly, that seem legit.

It's hard to "get to know" a faker.  They don't let you into their personal life and everything is on a need to know basis. Mainly the surface stuff.

Fakers have a void that needs filling.  Their happiness is often dependent on external reinforcement rather than coming from inside.  If you don't fulfill their happiness, you become dispensable to them.

They will hold back from telling you how they really feel, so long as they are getting what they want from you.  They don't "rock the boat" as long as you're filling a need in their life and serving a purpose on their agenda. However, when you're no longer serving their purpose, all those built up thoughts and feelings will either come out - full vengeance OR you will be cut off coldly, as though you were non-essential to them. Often their true colours get revealed when the relationship comes to an end.

They don't handle feedback or criticism well. Their skin is not that tough and even the smallest critique is not welcomed feedback but rather, an attack on their character.  The faker will quickly determine whether you still serve their needs and if they will respond. Don't be surprised if they cut you off in a heart beat if they feel your feedback was unwelcome.

Fakers brag or boast and will do so at opportune times, when it serves to make them look good, even if it is on someone else's platform.  They will use opportunities (other's offer them) to pursue their own agenda of self promotion. They look at opportunities to help other's with the agenda "what's in it for me" rather then simply out to be of service to someone else.  They will use the platform to elevate their own status.

Every opportunity is an agenda to raise their status further and build audience perceptions about them.

While genuine people are consistent, the faker is unpredictable. Plans are always shifting. If something isn't working or returning results, rather then removing obstacles to making it work, new plans are forged.  They give up and start something new with a "brilliant sounding story" to back up the new direction and ....because it sounds good.... the unsuspecting person goes with the flow. After all, the faker has made themselves likable and it's difficult to say no to them.

A faker will make you think they can do anything, even if it is not within their skill-set.  Their ability to think on the fly can be a downfall when plans are forged to do a project outside the scope of what they've done before.  They will try anything, even if they've never done it before, and will never reveal their lack of skill to do it.

This can lead to failures in the future but in the meantime, as long as you're paying them to try, they are happy to take your money and stretch out the relationship.  They'll worry about the consequences later with an "oh well, that didn't work" attitude. 

They always "appear" busy and will even go so far as to say just how busy they are, working extreme hours, going to bed late, getting up super early, working ridiculous hours.  The perception given is one of  super-dedicated, driven, do-it-all, whose calendar is filled 24/7 with almost super-human ability to complete everything thrown at them...but did they....REALLY?  When they brag about their super-powers, people can't help BUT be in awe of them and offer up free accolades about how great they are, further feeding the ego and void.  

A faker tells you what they think you want to hear, often without thinking it through.  They don't consider what is best for the other person, rarely considering their vision, mission and purpose.  Their desire to appear as the expert, along with their ego, dictates what they think is best for the client.

It's like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks. 

Fakers are driven by their desire to be liked.  Everything is measured against this standard.  If you don't fit the agenda, you're not likely to have a long term relationship with this person.

Every move, every thought, every action, every decision is all part of an agenda. They get ahead by manipulating your perception of them and will ride off anyone's coattails to get them ahead of the pack, at the expense of whatever feelings they crush in their path.

Their insensitivity and lack of genuine caring is only apparent when you point out a fault. 

Fakers won't take responsibility or admit their faults.  How dare you say they are in the wrong.  To do this would mean revealing their true "fake" nature. They can't be honest with themselves because they've stretched the truth so far, they may believe the stories they tell.  To admit otherwise would take them off their pedestal, and they would rather lose your relationship then be honest or to take responsibility for their actions.

Fakers judge quietly.  They can easily pick out people who can be easily manipulated.  As long as you heed their advice and hang on their every word as truth, you're in their good books.  They can point out your faults, expecting you to see them as a superhero that is going to change your life for the better.

They are often looked at as someone who has "all their shit together", wildly successful, and having the perfect life.  They paint this picture for you.  They will even share their empowering story with anyone who will listen, so they are seen as the perfect person to be connected to. This builds their self-esteem and ego.

They can only absorb the good feedback to build their self-worth. 

Fakers can not be HONESTLY vulnerable - they fear that sharing their "true self" might reveal a person people don't want to know. Living the created story and faking vulnerability feels better to them.  

Fakers will lead a conversation - not listen to one.  They will want to cut to the chase in a "get on with it attitude" and their interest in what you have to say will become apparent by their attention span.  They will cut conversations short, find excuses to leave the conversation, or get easily distracted by triggers in the room (phone, other people, other conversations).  If they don't give you the time of day or carefully considered feedback you requested, this is often a good sign of the type of person they are.  They will avoid conversations completely that might reveal their true skill-set.

Topics might change quickly to allow them to lead the chat in a way that serves them. 

The fakers measurement of success is not success itself but rather, in compensation and accolades bestowed on them.  They will get people speaking of them highly, early in the relationship and based on perception not ability.

Trust your gut. If you spot someone with faker traits, you're probably right.  Only you can decide if the person is right for you ...but don't say you weren't warned!

Can you spot the "Fake it till you make it" people in your life?  Hopefully reading the traits above allows you to see people more clearly.  So let's take a look at what genuine people traits are so you know what to look for and possibly attract more of them into your life.

 

GENUINE PEOPLE

Genuine people are happy with themselves as a person and their ego doesn't need reinforcement. They see and accept people for who they are and can spot an egotistic person a mile away.

They fill their life with few but genuine friends and are confident and authentic in who they are as a personand filled with self-awareness. They are simply themselves at all times.

Their mantra is "If you like me, fine. If not, that’s fine, too." They would rather have long term relationships based on genuineness and honesty.

Genuine people are well-grounded and live in "reality".  They are empathetic to people and know when someone is "full of it". They often give the benefit of the doubt because they genuinely care about others but, can spot early when someone is exaggerating or insincere.  They aren't easily fooled and are NOT naïve. They’re ability allows them to know when things don’t add up.

They won't tolerate someone being in-genuine because it conflicts with their values. 

A genuine person doesn't need much to make them happy.  It's the little things that countand they don't need anything extravagant to feed their happiness quota. They are comfortable in who they are and find happiness within themselves, their loved ones and a job well done.

They keep their word and honour their commitments.  They don't offer empty promises and will do what they say and say what they mean.  They are honest and don't mince their words to sugar coat the truth. If something is needed to be said, even something tough, if it needed to be heard, they will tell you - because they care.

They value feedback themselves, even if it is tough.  They want honesty.  They seek the truth and if it means it will help them improve somewhere, they want to hear it anyway, even if it hurts a little to hear it. They don't hold things against the messenger. 

They don't feel the need to brag about their skills and strengths.  Action speaks louder then words. They take pride in what they do and the rewards come from seeing results and knowing they succeeded.  They don't need a pat on the back.  They are humble and don't exhibit false modesty.

Genuine people are consistent in all aspects of life, predictably so.  They know themselves and what they are capable of doing.  They practice what they preach and won't advise others to do things they wouldn't do themselves.   They might suggest you find someone with more knowledge and skills to determine if it is right for you. They don't pretend to know everything.  What you see is what you get. They don't make empty promises and are truly honest, at all times.

Genuine people THINK. They will take their time to form opinions before offering them up.  They will tell you straight out if they "know, don't know, or know there is a way - but need to sort it out".  They aren't shy about sharing a well-thought out opinion but only when they have had time to think about it. They are more concerned with sharing an opinion that is caring and proactive, rather then one that is hurtful and reactive.  They will take time to think, in order to deliver a caring response that is in alignment with their genuine character.

They are guided by their internal compass rather then what the world expects, plotting their own course.  What they think, say, do and how they are in the world are all guided by their beliefs, values, expectations and purpose. Their legacy is important and would prefer to leave one based on truth, honesty and integrity.

They can admit their faults because being true to self means taking the good with the bad. They take responsibility for their emotions, thoughts, beliefs, behaviours and the actions as a result.  They are not threatened by being imperfect.  They have a growth mindset that can learn from and improve upon their faults and failures without damaging their self worth.

They absorb both positive and the negative feedback with grace.

They also do not judge others but take an understanding approach and will consider other's individuality and differences including their beliefs, experiences, values and know that we are all unique.

Genuine people are truly interested in what other people say. They focus in a conversation and are not easily distracted by outside forces.  Distractions are set aside (cellphones, wandering mind, wandering eye).  They are in no hurry to leave the conversation.  You are important to them as they are interested in building a long term relationship with you. Their attentiveness to you is pure and if they can help you, they will do what they say.

They want to serve, not take.  

Success is their compensation, everything else is bonus.  Focusing on what they're good at and loving the process speaks volumes in end results.  If you're good at what you do, you won't need fake it to make it - you simply do it and the word spreads.  They love when a client or customer get results because of their efforts.

When referrals or accolades come, they feel good because it was earned, not manipulated. 

Finding a genuine person to work with in business can be difficult. You might have to make a few errors in judgement before you find the genuine person.... but once you do, you won't be disappointed.  You'll make a life-long friend.

Being genuine takes confidence, tenacity, and courage.  It is a quality that is hard to find in a world filled with "fakers" but having this trait is one you can stand proud of.  Don't let envy or the temptation of someone's fake successes deter you from a path of being genuine.  Time reveals all.

Stay the course and focus on what you’re good at – what you love  – serving your clients/customers from a genuine space and you won’t have to fake anything to make it.  Success finds you. 

 

Source: Karen Hilts

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