Why "Fake It Til You Make It" is Great Advice
by Christine Occhino on July 25, 2019 via Soundfly
Let’s face it, people always like the shiny thing. Whether that be a fancy new car, dream vacation, or designer bag, people like to show when they are “winning.” And other people love to hang onto those winners in the hopes that they too can eventually have those same things. As long as history has been written, we see examples of this (sometimes flawed) human mentality. Just look at social media as a perfect example in its most raw, and vain form. You’ll find the most followed accounts are reserved for entertainers and the dreaded “famous for nothing” celebrity socialites (see also: Kardashians). Why are these humans followed by hundreds of millions of people that do not even know them? Sometimes it’s because we are fans of their talent, artistry, or brand, but overwhelmingly, it’s just because… well… everyone else does! These people are known for their lavish lifestyles and seemingly untouchable personas, thus making them well known in pop culture. They live a life most people only dream of, all carefully curated through the very specific lens of their professional teams to show you only the best of the best of what they want you to see, real or not. But regardless of how you feel about this reality, the masses indeed do gravitate toward that “shiny” thing in every way. No one wants to follow a loser. No one wants to go into business with someone who isn’t doing well… and why would they? People like to see success, a track record, overwhelming support from a fan or customer base, and everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon of the next big thing. This is why, more than ever, “fake it til you make it” is some of the best advice you can give yourself.
Now I personally do not subscribe to the idea of being an inauthentic individual, privately or professionally. My feeling here lies more from a business perspective of creating a brand around your most positive, high-quality attributes. That is what people will gravitate toward and want to see more of. A thoughtful, polished persona in every way is what will help you get ahead, and help others get on board with what you’re doing. Time and time again I watch up-and-coming artists scream into the black hole of the internet begging people to love them and listen to their music, usually closely followed by berating their fanbase for not showing the kind of support they were looking for, monetarily or otherwise. But here’s the truth: no one wants to see you squirming or suffering. It’s not cute, it’s not appealing, and it’s certainly not making us more likely to get down with whatever you’re doing. Hearing about your struggle is only cool when you’ve made it out the other side, and that’s the bottom line. Would you spend $29.99 on a hardcover book by someone who is currently a struggling musician with nothing to show for it living in their parents’ basement and slinging frappuccinos 5am-noon every day? Methinks not. But would you spring for a book by someone who started that way, worked their ass off, and became the head of a multi-million dollar empire selling out tours all over North America? Well, that might be a horse of a different color! Why? Because you can learn from this person. Because that story is interesting and appealing. Because you may want to be like them and do what they did and subscribe to their ways of thinking and doing things. This is because they have won. As much as you may or may not want to admit it, you too have an ingrained human nature of wanting to attach to success. So don’t wish for the success, don’t admire the success, be the success.
This is where the “fake it til you make it” comes in. What does it mean to “make it” to you? What does that look like? Taste like? Feel like? In the shiniest moments of your everyday life, those brief (though sometimes fleeting) moments of “making it” happen all the time. Are you capturing them? Are you even aware of when they’re happening? I’m not telling you to go out and buy a watch you can’t afford just to look like you’re making money you’re not actually making. I’m telling you to be aware of the baby steps you’re making in your life and not only capture those, but set yourself up for them. For example, have you got a music release coming up? Great. What are you going to do to celebrate and formally announce it? How about doing a release party? Doesn’t need to be fancy, just needs to have the important things in tact. Find a place you can pack. Want some press? Pick a worthy cause you care about and donate a portion of proceeds from the evening to them. Let the charity help you promote your event and cosign what you’re doing. Then you’ve got a press story on your hands. Next thing you know, you’ve got some media news coverage, a packed house, live performance broadcasted all over your social media, friends sharing the experience on theirs, more attention drawn to your project, and you officially look “legit,” my friend. And that is only the beginning. Look the part. Act the part. Dress the part. And that’s when the opportunities will come knocking. People want to see you winning, and even if you have some folks that don’t, your job is to make sure they still want to keep an eye on everything that’s happening because you are making moves. Make sure you have all your professional ducks in a row, and start embodying the person and the life that you want to live. But consistency is key. This isn’t a one weekend thing, and this isn’t temporary. Get comfortable with the highest version of you, and make every effort in that direction to show people that you have arrived and they want to be a part of the movement. After all, if you don’t believe in you, who else will? Be thoughtful, put your best foot forward, and design the life you’ve dreamed of with the skills and tenacity to back it up. The people who matter will take notice, and that hard work will continue getting you closer and closer to where you want be until “faking it” is a thing of the past, and “making it” becomes your lifestyle of choice.
Christine Elise Occhino (@XtineElise) is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for the music business. In addition to being a vocalist herself, she is the CEO of Elise Music Group, Artistic Director of The Pop Music Academy, and owner of Stamford Recording Studio. She is also the proud Founder & Executive Director of Hope in Harmony, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that uses music to help and heal those in need. Christine is a member of the Grammy Recording Academy, the American Society of Composers, Authors, & Publishers, and Berklee College of Music Alumni Association. She has experience speaking on many music industry panels, has been a contributing writer for music business publications for over a decade, and also currently hosts the music-based web series & podcast, Soundbytez. For more about Christine, visit XtineElise.com.