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Fake it until you make it: what is the price?

By Anastasia Baraeva
2 min read

My grandmother always told me how smart and outstanding I was, nurturing my feeling of extraordinariness. Besides, getting excellent grades and being in the teacher’s good books proved that I effortlessly got the whole chocolate factory. A trap, however, I fell into was the educational system, where an A grade was given for knowledge but not skills. That built an illusory superiority that prevented me from doing an accurate self-evaluation and being on the right track.

Overestimation of my own skills turned into a problem later in professional life. In fact, I did not know where I could forge ahead on my own decisions and instincts and where I should, instead, seek advice.

In science, this phenomenon is called the Dunning-Kruger effect, when poor performers suffer from seeing invisible holes in their competence because of a lack of expertise, knowledge, and experience. As a result, people are often caught in a bubble of inaccurate self-perception.

Dealing with pockets of incompetence required me to have the courage and readiness to work hard; I had to know my true self and shift my attitude toward achievement.

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Photo by Tamara Gak on Unsplash

Here are some tips that helped me on my journey:

  1. Embrace your zigzag career path. Take your time to discover your true career path, even if you move at a snail’s pace.
  2. Compare yourself only to who you were yesterday.
  3. Recognize your pockets of incompetence by asking others for feedback. Getting feedback might be hard, so let emotions go; don’t bottle them up.
  4. Analyze the feedback and learn to connect the dots. Keeping a diary is one of the most powerful and helpful tools to improve self-awareness.
  5. Design a strategy to take your skills to another level. Consider what skills and experience you have in your current job that will help you advance. If you cannot do that on your own, ask for help.
  6. Measure your progress: analyze, evaluate, correct the strategy if needed, and try again with a new iteration.
  7. Remember that success is a series of purposeful, intentional iterations of failure.
  8. And last but not least, what you do always boils down to one thing: to become a difference-maker in your own life.