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Don’t Fake It til You Make It

The This vs That Transformational Series

We’re thrilled to present the This vs That Transformational Series by transformational speaker and author Jay Williams.  Jay has worked for world-class hair brands, thriving distributors, educational institutions, and one-on-one with thousands of leaders.

He’s joining us as a guest blogger and sharing his published works with us so that our readers can transform!

Face It vs Fake it

Chapter 16 of Jay’s book, This vs That

Acknowledge lack of plan, experience or ability.

Cover up.
Conceal lack of plan, experience or ability.

Four years ago I was in Cleveland for a speaking engagement and found myself with a free Sunday. I wanted to do two things: Go to church and go to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. For the Hall of Fame, I went online and booked my ticket, my transportation and bought a t-shirt. For church, I thought, “If God wants me to go, he’ll give me a sign.” Cause that’s how faith works—right?

Saturday night, while checking in at the front desk, I saw a sign for “The Forgiveness Church.” I asked about it and the front desk person told me the church’s building burned down and was being rebuilt. In the interim, they were meeting in one of the hotel’s ballrooms. There was my sign!

The next morning, I went to church in the hotel ballroom. The pastor, a gentleman in a three-piece green suit with a matching tie, preached maybe the best sermon I’ve ever heard. He told his congregation, “I know you’ve all heard the saying, ‘Fake it ’til you make it,’ but I’m here to tell you, you’ve got to face it to make it.” At that moment, the pastor shifted my thinking and got an amen from me.

For many organizations I’ve worked with, “fake it ’til you make it” is the strategy for newly promoted leaders and people taking on new roles. For those who have taken on a new role and didn’t have a plan, experience or the perfect skills for a job are probably familiar with the strategy. When this happens, it’s not uncommon for people to be in over their heads for a time and combine “faking it” with doing their best until they grow into their new position. If you come off as arrogant, or if you’re not transparent with people, it will eliminate any margin of error you have with your team when something goes wrong. Faking it and hiding your deficiencies breaks the trust and connections you have with the rest of the team and organization.

Facing it requires the ultimate leadership quality: vulnerability. I define vulnerability as sharing openly and allowing others to see something in you that could leave a less-than-positive impression. Vulnerability is me sharing that I didn’t graduate from high school or college. By admitting that, I run the risk that you may think differently about me.

Faking it was the first half of my career—I hid my secret from everyone. No one knew, but for me faking it was the equivalent of carrying an extra 100 pounds. When I finally did share my education the reaction was astounding. Rather than pulling away, people were drawn to me.

In Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose Driven Life, he wrote: “People impress from a distance and influence from up close.” How do they influence? By being vulnerable. Since revealing my education, or lack thereof, I’ve embraced vulnerability in my leadership style. It’s my go-to connector with people. When I share my inexperience, fears and failures, my peers, team and audience draw closer to me.

A leader is someone who influences. You can lead from anywhere and you can lead without a title. If you influence other people, you’re a leader. However, better leaders embrace vulnerability and face pain points, problems and predicaments with honesty and transparency because they’re open to growth. They know vulnerability is a strength. Not a weakness.

Jay Williams

Jay Williams has over 25 years of experience across a wide variety of disciplines. He has held numerous roles including: general manager, vice president, divisional manager, regional manager, facilitator, keynote speaker, principal, senior manager, and executive communications and dialogue coach.

With a focus in delivering exceptional client satisfaction, Jay has helped numerous clients achieve “MY GIFT WILL NOT BE KNOWLEDGE. YOU CAN GOOGLE ANYTHING I SAY. MY GIFT WILL BE NEW THINKING, DIFFERENT THINKING, AND DEEPER THINKING.” desired business outcomes through his leadership and contributions in the areas of sales, client services, and executive coaching.

He has significant experience in sales process transformation, managing and driving change, and designing and tracking to customer needs. He also has proven expertise in creating alignment among executives and leaders to ensure clarity and focus on strategic priorities, process analysis, and values, ultimately improving profitability.

Jay has worked for world-class hair brands, thriving distributors, educational institutions, and one-on-one with thousands of leaders. Jay created an experience that reveals an entire lifetime of insight. Jay examines the role of the leader using a blend of art+ science. Jay is also the author of the book Leave Your Mark…the thinking, skills and behaviors of influencers. A frequent speaker at industry events, Jay’s warm and humorous…and at times irreverent style engages audiences in a way that keeps them on the edge of their seats, gives them confidence, and shifts their thinking. He understands their challenges and opportunities from their point of view and draws on his rich experience to help them unlock their potential and fuel their passion.

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