Picture this: you just nailed a work or school presentation/project/pitch/etc. You walk out of the room and think, “wow, I can’t believe that worked – it was all just a bunch of bullsh*t!”
You may have even felt this so many times you’re starting to consider yourself a bullsh*t… artist.
Maybe you’re one of the lucky few who is thrilled with yourself when you “pull it off” each time. However, if you suffer from Impostor Syndrome, being in a high-stakes role that requires occasional bullsh*t can be crippling.
It’s that feeling of “only because” –
I’m finding success only because I came in at the right time.
It worked only because my manager was in a good mood.
I got positive feedback only because they like me.
I aced that test only because of luck.
If you suffer from impostor syndrome, any scenario that requires you to “bullsh*t” can feel like validation that you really are an impostor – that you’re getting positive feedback you may not deserve. That they really did make a mistake when they accepted your application.
I want to remind you of an unspoken fact, though.
Bullsh*tting is a valuable trait.
You’ve probably heard this most frequently in another form – “fake it ‘til you make it.” The idea that you should “act as if” until you become that thing.
In her book Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Dr. Valerie Young shares a story about Ted Koppel:
“…part of the reason Ted Koppel said he ‘does not consider it a handicap when [he] knows next to nothing’ is because he knows he can ‘pick up enough information to be able to bullsh*t his way with the best of them.’ I’ve emphasized these last few words so you understand what he’s really saying.”
If you don’t yet see it that way, you may have a strong aversion to the notion of bullsh*tting. It leads you straight down the impostor path.
Young’s (and my) advice: reframe the bullsh*t. It can become a super-power.
Reframing bullsh*t is all about acceptance. It’s about acknowledging inevitably ambiguous situations, and being proud of how you navigate through them.
Maybe that presentation you aced wasn’t a “bunch of bullsh*t” — maybe it really was a great presentation that also showed your ability to perform under great ambiguity, or with less time than you would have liked, or with less information to guide you.
Acceptance requires you to see the positive in your ability to bullsh*t, the fact that it is a strength.
Here are some suggestions for alternate ways to frame your bullsh*t, or faking it til’ you make it:
Holding your own
Rolling with the conversation
Being in the moment
Trusting your instincts
“What you call it doesn’t matter. What is important is recognizing that there are times in life when you have to be able to fly by the seat of your pants – and that this kind of going with the flow can be very freeing. But if you’re not open to rethinking BSing as fake-it-till-you-make-it approach, you may never get to experience that kind of freedom.”
What do you say? What’s your perspective on embracing the bullsh*t?
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P.P.S. Need more 1:1 guidance? Click here to schedule some time with me — I’d love to chat and help you love what you do.