Why Fake It Till You Make Is a Lie: Fight Imposter Syndrome

Adam Goss
10 min readJun 23

Have you ever heard the phrase “Fake it till you make it”?

Perhaps a friend told you to fake it till you make it at school, a mentor said it to you when you started a new job, or even your parents preached it when you tried a new hobby. Pretending to be someone until, one day, you suddenly become that person is common advice that society tells you will give you the confidence to tackle new challenges. Recently, many have preached it as the cure for imposter syndrome, especially in the tech community.

Fake it till you make it is dead, and there is a much better way to install confidence in yourself and fight against imposter syndrome. Let me share this knowledge with you as someone who has used this method to overcome imposter syndrome.

Now is the time to take actionable steps to grow your confidence and not feel like an imposter.

Fake it Till You Make It Fails

Before I can introduce you to a better way to combat imposter syndrome, it is important you understand what imposter syndrome is and why fake it will you make it fails so many people.

If you have ever worked at a technical job, you have probably encountered imposter syndrome. It is the nagging voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough, that everyone around you knows a lot more than you, and that you don’t belong here. It can eat away at your confidence and isolate you from your peers. Studies have found that 25–30% of high achievers suffer from imposter syndrome, and around 70% experience the feeling at some point in their life (source).

So how do people cope with it?

A simple Google search on coping with imposter syndrome produces over 12 million results, predominantly creative lists of psychological tricks. However, a common piece of advice always given is fake it till you make it. Pretend to be someone you are not in the hope that, if you pretend for long enough, someday you will be that thing.

This wishy-washy guidance airs on the side of mystic prophecy rather than actionable advice. Common questions for someone giving this advice might be:

  • How long do I need to pretend for?
Adam Goss

Cyber Security Professional | Red Teamer | Adversary Emulator | Malware Analysis | Threat Hunter | Threat Intelligence