Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Authentic Fakin' It

A buzzword around the training and education circles is about learning to be authentic. There are books, classes, programs and workshops on authentic leadership, authentic organizations, authentic beauty, authentic learning, authentic voice, authentic happiness, authentic brand to name a few. Authentic has lost its edge. It’s overused. The word may actually raise more questions and suspicion than define. It is also an abstract descriptor begging for more meaning. While the concept is noble, I wonder about the principle challenge to authenticity, fakin’ it. I think we have a whole lot of authentic fakin’ it going on!

I'm such a dubious soul,

And a walk in the garden

Wears me down.

Tangled in the fallen vines,

Pickin' up the punch lines,

I've just been fakin’ it,

Not really makin' it.

from Fakin’ It written by Paul Simon

Learning fakin’ it

Big boys don’t cry...in other words fakin’ it

Father telling his five year old daughter to apologize to the other little girl whom she hit, “and say it like you mean it!”... learn to fakin’ it

You can be anything you want to be...faked out.

There is one piece of pizza left and you say you don’t want it...you're fakin’ it.

Rude fakin’ it

Attending a meeting, sitting in church, sitting in the audience at your child’s school play...looking down at your Blackberry answering email... fakin’ it

Taking credit for other people’s work... fakin’ it

Fakin’ it for survival

You’re a drama queen... fakin’ it

Spending more than you make...fakin’ it...not really makin’ it

Treating the Bible like a software license...scroll down and hit “I AGREE”... fakin’ it

Unyielding, unlistening, determined certainty... I know what I believe, don’t confuse me thus believing everything you think... fakin’ it

Having an open door policy, but never in or is always busy... fakin’ it

Miscellaneous fakin’ it

Leaning against an expensive car that’s not yours... fakin’ it

Facebook ‘likes’...could be fakin’ it

Publicity stunts... fakin’ it

Flirting waitress or waiter... fakin’ it for the tip

Serious, unprincipled fakin’ it

Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina, said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail but went to Argentina to see his mistress... fakin’ it

John Edwards having an affair while appearing to support his wife who is fighting cancer... fakin’ it

A priest, pastor, counselor or other trusted person who preys on victims... fakin’ it

Before you add “authentic” to your resume, bio, introduction, Linkedin, or title of your next program check your fakin’ it factor. We all do some sort of fakin’ it. Fakin’ it is a coping mechanism. What degree are you fakin’ it? Does fakin’ it rule your life? Do you need to authentically work on your fakin’ it ?


Carrpe Diem! said...

But, ya know, it is a good way to get where you want to be. You can fake being a confident person, when really you are a mouse, and pretty soon, you are a roaring lion! You can put on a fake smile and pretty soon you are singing a happy tune. Those folks at AA use “fake it till you make it” to get from being a dysfunctional alcoholic to a sober, sane person. So, I see the use in “fakin’ it”.. D.W., Black Mountian, NC

Carrpe Diem! said...

Thanks for the inspiration this morning. I found this piece interesting because some of the points you mention are things that I encounter daily. The Blackberry (and cell phone) are wonderful pieces of technology, but the folks that use them at inappropriate times are a pet peeve of mine. It reminds me of a one on one meeting I had here with a VP who kept checking his Blackberry as I was talking to him. And of course when I see the words “drama queen” I immediately think of Brett Favre. So thanks for the food for thought and keep up the great work with the blog! B.N., Cincinnati, OH

Molly said...

Someone once said, "Going through the "motions" triggers the "emotions". In other words, If we want to be a certain way, one way to begin is to start acting the way we want to be. Essentially, we're faking it when we put on a facade. But after a while, the facade becomes who we are. There's usually wrong with it. It's the way humans make changes in their lives. For example, I used to be the biggest liar in elementary school (even more so than I am now). I was getting into trouble with lying. So, I started faking that I wasn't a liar by keeping my mouth shut when I was tempted to blurt a fabrication. Or, I would actually tell a blunt fact behind a situation instead of making an excuse or story. It was hard to put on the facade that I was a truthful person because it was so unnatural for me. But, once I faked it enough that I began to realize people still liked me even if I told the truth (even if wasn't half as interesting as an elaborate lie,)I was able to become comfortable with telling the truth. Notice I said "more" truthful, not "completely" truthful. After all, I'd be faking it if said I was now a completely truthful person.

Jim W. said...

Dear CD:

This reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: Keep Mole Hills Mole Hills and Mountains Mountains.
I have been blessed with saints and mentors who have allowed me to fake it many times while I was learning to navigate new and sometimes rough life passages. They were good enough to let me run so that I would learn for myself and good enough to call me out when I was doing harm to others or myself. For that, I will be ever gratiful.


Jim W.

Carrpe Diem! said...

From E.G., Lebanon OH

Fakin' it to me is definitely a coping mechanism and one of those necessary "evils" in life. However, fakin' it is not necessarily the negative that those words connotate. Fakin' it can make my day more pleasant as well as for those who have to be around me during the day. I think of it as the "choosing your attitude" part of the FISH philosophy. The only thing in my life that I really can control is my attitude. If a little bit of fakin' it improves that attitude for me and for others, then I think fakin' it is a positive!

As in a lot of other things in life, everything in moderation...even fakin' it:)