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Nutmeg Gazette: "Fake It 'Til You Become It" - Maxine Philavong

July 19, 2018

“Fake it till you become it. Do it enough until you actually become it and internalize.” - Harvard professor and best-selling author Amy Cuddy


How I ended up here isn’t exactly like everyone else’s story. Although, I do love everything about film and television, I never thought I would ever end up with a group who shared the same interests as I do.


It started when I volunteered at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival. A few weeks prior, local filmmaker Gorman Bechard asked if I knew anything about social media. I mean, I love Instagram and Twitter. I run my own personal accounts, as well as another account where people can submit vanity license plates they find and I give them a 1-10 rating. (If you find a good plate, let me know!) So in that regard, I knew what I was doing.


He asked if I would run the festival’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I said yes, but not without feeling like I was a liar. Although I had social media accounts, I wouldn’t go as far to call myself a social media expert. Was I a fraud? Would I going to turn the festival’s account into a train wreck?

Through everything I do, I feel like I’m faking it at least a little bit. I almost feel like a fraud.


There’s a word for the feeling, it’s imposter syndrome. It’s the feeling you have when you believe you just “got lucky” or fear of being exposed as a “fraud” soon enough.  


I know I’m not alone. According to the Guardian, up to 70% of successful people have experienced impostor syndrome, including Maya Angelou, Albert Einstein, and Meryl Streep.


My imposter syndrome kept me up anxiously thinking about all the ways it could go wrong. So, that night I researched. I read articles on best social media practices. I figured out when was the best time to post on each platform. I researched ways to get the most interaction with each post. I tried to prepare myself as much as I possibly could so I wouldn’t be exposed as a fake.


Turns out, my imposter syndrome anxiety helped me. I was perfectly fine running the accounts, and I did a pretty good job at it. There’s no problem with feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing. According to the Atlantic, when adults in the United States, England, and Russia were asked who they were most authentic with, co-workers were dead last. Most felt like they were faking their way through it. Yet, adults in the United States and England said it in no way affected their overall well-being. Meaning, although they felt like they had been faking it, they were still happy with the way they made it work.  


There’s no problem with faking your way through. I’ve been doing it for my entire 20-years of existence. But, you have to at least try to learn. Learning as much as I could about best social media practices has prepared me from my position here at Nutmeg. And while here, I will continue to learn and do the best I can.



- Max Philavong 


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