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Fake it till you make it!

When a contact suggested Amy Pierce pitch for a well-paid job in a new field, her reaction was, ‘I can’t do that!’ But she pushed herself, and discovered she was more capable than she had ever imagined

Waves of panic engulf me. It’s 3am and I can’t sleep, thinking about the meeting later. I get up to check that I have concealer to hide the developing dark circles under my eyes, which would give me away – the confident, forthright, capable person I am at work would sleep soundly, sure in her ability… But then, she isn’t the real, shy, intimidated woman lying here.

I am faking it till I make it.

‘Faking it’ is not about pretending you can do something you are unqualified for – instead, it involves imitating authority, positivity and confidence until you change your mindset and achieve those qualities. Thankfully, our brains are programmed to help us, explains Jackee Holder, leadership coach and author of The Write Prescription (Step Beach Press, £15.95). ‘If you are doing and saying, “This is where I want to be and what I want to do,” you give energy to the part of your brain that has developed to help you progress,’ she says.

More and more women are ‘faking it’, and with good reason. Research shows that while a man will apply for a job based on the one skill he has on a list of required attributes, a woman will abandon the application if she sees one skill that she does not have, which may be part of the reason there are more male CEOs represented on the FTSE 100. Men have been putting on their game face for years; it’s time we do the same.

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