Believe It As You Brave It

“Fake it until you make it.” It’s a phrase most of us have heard. Matter of fact a recent survey published by shared that, “62% of Americans admit to ‘faking it until they make it’ through life.” Wow! That is a huge chunk of us clinging to something silly because the confidence struggle is real. This also means that I am not alone. For the majority of my life, I was one of those people. I needed something to help push me into uncomfortable places because I didn’t believe in myself enough to step forward on my own. The impact of this hit me hard when I posted a picture of me and my dad on my social media one night. Let me set the scene for you, in this picture I am in high school, it’s the early 2000’s, the picture is a little grainy. My dad is in a black suit with his hair combed and a face that says my mom is making him take the picture. I am in a sequined, turquoise dress, my hair is in an up-do, and my arm is tucked into his. What I post about this picture is this:

“Here are some fun facts about this picture.

#1) I love seeing this picture of my dad all dressed up. I am from a small town. He is a farmer and not a big, “lets wear something other than jeans” kind of guy. This was him doing something extra special for me.

#2) Man, time flies. This feels like only a couple of years ago, but it was a couple decades ago.

#3) I loved this dress because it made me feel pretty at a time in my life I was REALLY struggling with that.

#4) This dress was backless and VERY heavily taped on me so that I could hold all of those sequins up!

#5) I wore this to prom which I went with a friend because no-one asked me to be their date…again.

#6) I also wore it to a pageant I was in and embarrassingly enough…I had to fix said tape right before I went on stage and didn’t realize, until it was too late… that a third of the audience could SEE ME fix my boob/tape issue. I DID realize when a little boy said loud enough for the judges on one side to hear and look up for, “I hope she wins.”

#7) I did win, but only because I was really good at the on-stage answer and interview parts.

#8) I still have this dress.

#9) I still struggle with my confidence, just like I did back then. However, I have continued to push myself and not worry about the things I can’t change…like not being asked to prom, embarrassing moments like number six, and that “being pretty” is built from the inside. How I felt about myself then was a standard made up by those around me. As soon as I re-defined that standard on my own terms, I felt a lot prettier and hell of a lot more confident. That is also the platform I spoke about when I was Miss Lubbock USA back in the day.

#10) I am still so thankful for my Dad and the way he is always cheering me on!”

This was a window into a time in my life that built the struggles that brought me where I am today. The rest of the story is that I struggled with confidence and feeling like I was good enough. Getting older didn’t make those struggles go away. It moved through my life. I let it move through my life.

When I posted this, I was really surprised with the comments that followed.

These people… some that had known me in high school and some only from seeing me speak at an event could relate or were flat confused because I looked like I had it all together. This post made me sit and really think, which brought me to realize, all in a moment, the impact this phrase had held in my life.
The phrase I held onto the most when I was less confident, struggling with self-doubt and being good enough was “fake it until you make it.” I would just pretend I had it together until I did. This became my mantra.

While I was faking it until I made it, there was a whole group of people that I went to high school and college with that thought I had it all together. So much so that when I didn’t have it all together, there was nobody checking on me. I set in dark holes all alone because other people thought I was fine.

“I totally relate to this.”

“THIS! What transparency. I would have never known this!”

“Julie, I am truly astounded to read that no one ever asked you to be their prom date, and even more astonished to read that you struggled with not feeling pretty. I had similar struggles.”

“Julie, thank you for sharing the transparency of your struggles. So many of us hide behind masks and don’t realize others are struggling as well.”

“Most people look at you and would never know the battles you have. Thank you for posting and reminding us that even the most beautiful have insecurities, some of us are just better at hiding them.”

“I wasn’t asked to prom either.”

“I never knew you didn’t think you were pretty…I thought you had it all together back then.”

This is the point of the story that I remind you that if this is hitting you hard, it’s okay to feel that darkness and that you are not alone. This is also when I tell you to check on your happy friends. Even though “fake it until you make it” helped me when I didn’t know how to believe in myself, it was robbing me of the journey and the opportunity to grow as a an individual.

As I thought about the moments I used it the most and asked myself what I needed in those moments. I realized that what I needed to do was believe in myself instead of faking it. That’s what I needed. I also needed to not do it “until I” but “as I”. I didn’t need to just make it because life is not about making it. It’s about braving it and enjoying the journey you’re on right now. In sharing this with you, my goal is to help
you flip your focus. What if we believe it as you brave it instead of “fake it until you make it.”


The true definition of fake: to pretend, to practice, to condition yourself to tolerate negative emotions, to act in spite of emotions telling otherwise, a worthless imitation passed off as genuine imposter, designed to deceive. No wonder when we say fake it, it feels awful. No wonder I felt like I was putting a mask on to make it work. No wonder Imposter Syndrome is the most talked about issue in my circles. I let myself
feel lucky it worked out because I was convinced I didn’t know what I was doing. I was holding myself back and putting myself in the shell of deceit and imposter. You can’t brave anything if you’re faking it, but what you can do is find the pieces you believe in enough to push forward with belief. Now the definition of believe: is to consider to be true or honest, to accept something as true, to hold as an opinion. It can just be your opinion, it can just be a small piece, it doesn’t even have to be that your whole heart believes you can do it…just a piece you can hold onto. You can believe one step at a time; to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, value or ability of yourself.


What about “until you” vs “as you” do the thing? It’s easy to get stuck being in the grind and forget to enjoy the journey. We want to just make it through to the end. We get tunnel vision wanting it to be at the end. Listen, if we are so worried about making it to the end or getting to the next accolade, finishing the hard level we are on, we will forever be lacking joy. The journey you are on is where the memories are made, don’t wait to enjoy them! Learn to love the “as you” parts of life.


Finally, “make it” vs “brave it.” If we’re looking at the definition of make it: to pull it off, succeed, thrive, achieve, accomplish. That sounds great, but what if I don’t ever feel accomplished? What if I have been faking it this whole time, and just trying to “pull it off” and I don’t ever feel like I made it. It’s this piece that I struggled with for so long. I never felt like I “made it” because I am a high achiever who habitually moves my bar. (Sound familiar?) However, if I’m just braving it, I am not defined by the moment I make it.

If I am braving it: I’m having and or showing mental and moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty. I am having or showing courage! Strength comes with the word brave that leads to being your most confident self. This is crucial because there is no true end. There is no mountain top that declares you have “made it” and you are done. Spoilers: that mountain top is just going to give you a better view of the other mountains you can climb. You don’t want to make it you want to brave it and embrace it so that you can fully enjoy it…all of it (whatever you “it” is).

I challenge you to take this idea and start BELIEVING IT AS YOU BRAVE IT instead of faking it until you make it, and for heaven’s sake, DEFINE YOUR OWN IDEA OF “PRETTY” or successful or whatever it is you are working towards. I promise it will save you a lot of time, worry, and heartache. You deserve that. You are better than faking it, my friend. Believe in what you can do, enjoy the journey, and be brave stepping into whatever space or path you embark on, because you’re worth it.

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