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Here's Why You Should Not "Fake It Till You Make It" We can only lead people to where we have been ourselves. The problem the coaching and mentoring world is now facing is that everyone sadly seems to think they are a coach or mentor.

By Mark Sephton Edited by Aby Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


I have never resonated with the phrase, "Fake it till you make it." In fact, I would go as far to say that when I hear people saying this, it causes a negative reaction in me, and that is essentially what compelled me to write this article you're reading now.

I am all about being authentic, which means, at times, you have to be vulnerable. I believe that vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness, and it is what often leads to the creation of an environment of trust. And when you have trust, you can then influence those around you for their greater good. As such, the whole notion of "fake it till you make it" grates on me, because there is nothing real, vulnerable, or authentic about it.

I honestly believe that while we should experiment and try new things so that we better understand who we are and where our sweet spot lies in terms of serving others, it's far better to sharpen your sword, being good at one thing, and staying in your lane, then trying to be and do something you are not or are not skilled in. As a mentor and coach, if I have not done or walked the path where my client is wanting to be led to, I simply won't work with that client.

For example, I have never sold a business, and so, if someone came to me as a coach and asked me for help in selling a business, I wouldn't "fake it till I made it" and agree to their proposition, simply because I have no experience, wisdom, or knowledge how to do what's requested of me. After all, we can only lead people to where we have been ourselves. The problem the coaching and mentoring world is now facing is that everyone sadly seems to think they are a coach or mentor. It's cheapened and devalued the real benefits of working with a coach or mentor, and this has happened because people are faking it.

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I know quite a few individuals in this space with courses and clients that, with respect, haven't earned the right to showcase them, and it's causing a problem within the coaching world. Think about it. Imagine that you hired someone and later found out they didn't have the experience or the knowledge they were supposed to have- the only reason they said yes to you was because they were desperate for you to be their customer. Of course, you wouldn't be too pleased if you were to experience this.

All of us need to serve our customers and clients and audiences out of our true wisdom, knowledge, experiences, and skillsets. My late grandfather taught me that the single most important factor in the world of business is your reputation. A great reputation is what is going to keep you relevant, and most importantly, in business. If your reputation is damaged, your business is sadly only going in one direction. And know that a solid reputation will be built not on "faking it till you make it," but on staying in your lane, mastering your craft, sharpening your sword, standing in your authority through experience and wisdom.

To underpin my thoughts on this matter, I was recently speaking about this topic with Tricia Brouk, an award-winning director, producer, author and founder of The Big Talk Academy. "Reputation is one of my most valuable assets," she told me. "I have built a very successful business and community by showing up authentically and consistently. There is nothing I fake, and I also know that having been on stage my entire life, I have had to imagine I'm Maya Plisetskaya before the house lights go down. For those of you who don't study the great Russian ballerinas, she's legendary. Being able to imagine yourself in the place you desire, or as the person you imagine, is not faking it to make it per se; it is however, doing what it takes to visualise your success."

The world needs real people, not fakes- after all, nobody wants to deal with people who promise and don't deliver or do a poor job. You have no business being something you are not, or doing something without proving your worth. The great thing to remember here is that we all have at least one thing we are all good at. That's where your secret sauce is found- not in trying to be everything to all people, but in being something very specific to all people. Find your lane of expertise, then serve your audiences accordingly.

Related: Meet The Consumer Chameleon: Don't Categorize Your Customers; Understand Them

Mark Sephton

Entrepreneur, Mentor, and Business Coach

Mark Sephton is a personal mentor to entrepreneurs. His mission to help others has seen him break into global markets while working with startups and millionaire entrepreneurs around the world.

Mark’s love for entrepreneurship has been expressed through serving as a podcast host for Brainz Magazine. When not on the mic, Mark is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, and a speaker for corporate events, entrepreneurship summits, and major conferences worldwide.

His expertise in personal and professional development has positioned him as an expert in the industry, resulting in transformational experiences for audiences, clients, and businesses alike. Drawing from personal experiences, Mark has taken the essence of what he has experienced and built a business that helps draw out the magnificent potential that every person beholds using his GPS system to highlight blind spots, efficiencies and deficiencies.

He is also the author of three personal development books Inside Job, Plot Twist, and his latest book, Mark of a Man, launching on November 30, 2021.

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