Success takes time, fortitude and a certain measure of self-esteem. If you’re in short supply of any of these things, sometimes it’s worth “faking it to make it.”

Success takes time, fortitude and a certain measure of self-esteem.  Tweet This Quote

I want to tell you a story, a story that may help you when you are feeling like a fraud as you try to make a career out of saving the world. A story that may help you see yourself as an influencer rather than a poser, an insider instead of someone always knocking on investors’ doors asking to be let in. A story that may help you feel like you belong doing what you are doing.

My dad was a reader not a thrower. He never took us into the back yard with a bat and ball. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a ball in his hand. But in spite of this, or maybe because of this, I’ve always admired athletes. I’ve admired their grace, skill and form and have longed to be one of those gifted people who can catch a ball and toss it back without putting an eye out in the process.

The thing is, I’m not that kind of girl. The kind of girl who admires from afar. When I admire something I try to become it. I have to get right in there and give it a shot. Here are the side effects of being that kind of girl: embarrassment, injury, loss, rejection, more embarrassment and more rejection.

In high school, I wanted badly to be on the track team. I was not fast, nor could I jump or throw, so I took on the mile run and I did it badly.

I’m not the kind of girl who admires from afar. When I admire something I try to become it.  Tweet This Quote

For three years I came in last place every single time I raced (and I’m flattering myself when I use the word race). It must have been torture for people watching me. I remember wanting to do better but not knowing how to, wanting to be part of the team and – if I’m honest – flirt with the boys on the track bus during away meets. In my senior year the coach Roland Antilla, a jock of historic proportions pulled me aside and said, and I quote, “Please God, don’t run this year, you can ride the bus and be a part of the team but don’t make me watch you run anymore.”

So, I rode that bus and embarrassed but undeterred I never stopped running. I ran all the way through nursing school and my post-graduate studies in exercise physiology and exercise psychology entering triathlon after triathlon (turns out there was a sport for me) while studying what I admire most – the human body and mind.

Ironically, after all these years, I find that I am truly my father’s daughter. I’m a reader and a writer. You see, I have always admired authors, so I began writing. I wrote even after my grad school professor and mentor of ten years said to me, “You are the worst writer I have ever come across and I’ve obviously failed as a mentor to you.” Embarrassed, rejected, I kept trying. Then, one day, I won a writing contest and everything changed.

I faked it and faked it until I found the kind of writing that I am good at. I’m good at story telling. So I started writing stories that got rejected, over and over again. I was embarrassed and discouraged when one literary agent wrote in response to my pitch for a novel, “No way, this is ridiculous, stop writing.” I put my head down and wrote some more.

I can’t explain where this stubbornness comes from. I can’t fathom my ability to continue when all signs say to stop. Moreover, I’m relieved that I funnel that stubbornness into something worthy rather than stalking old boyfriends or collecting ceramic cats.

In the end there is a lesson here, success takes time, fortitude and a certain measure of self-esteem. But, it also takes some faking until you make it. If you act it long enough you will become it. Fake it baby, because eventually the embarrassment and rejection fades and you make it.

Fake it. Eventually the embarrassment and rejection fades and you make it.  Tweet This Quote

About the author

Ann Garvin

Ann Garvin

Ann is an author, speaker and educator. As professor of health, stress management, research methods and media literacy at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, she has worked extensively in psychometrics, statistics and psychology. Ann is the author of On Maggie’s Watch & The Dog Year (Berkley Penguin, 2014).