Should you fake it till you make it?

Rosanna Machado | June 22, 2021

Last weekend, I found myself in Dover feeling very anxious about a practice boat trip for my upcoming channel relay swim. Predictably, the anticipation was far worse than the actual swim – all my hang ups from 20 years of being rubbish at sport and never picked for a team were front of my mind and my imposter syndrome kicked in. I had to dig deep, give myself a talking to and when I got in to swim, it was fantastic, and I swam well in challenging conditions.

Fake it till you make it, I hear you say. Well the truth is I didn’t have to fake it. My issue was that my frame of reference was based on my abilities from 10 years ago. Since then, swimming has become a big part of my life and since qualifying for my channel swim, I have been training hard to improve my speed and technique. Yet at that moment in time, none of these positive things came to mind and my mind was filled with every reason why it would be hard.

I agree it is useful to push yourself into your discomfort zone and fake a bit of confidence when you go into challenging situations, but I think it is equally important to take a realistic view of your current situation and celebrate your strengths, hard work and preparation and also prepare to improvise based on what life throws at you. Negative thoughts can often be based on one bad experience, and it is useful to get these in perspective and understand the whole picture. If in doubt, speak to yourself as if you were supporting a good friend.  Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t fail, but it does mean that you give yourself the opportunity to do the best you can. For most of us, we’re better prepared than we give ourselves credit for 😊