The Fraud Factor
Written by: | Monday, July 23rd, 2012
Who do you pretend to be – for your friends, family, coworkers – for yourself?
It is amazing to me how we work so hard to be what we think others want us to be – what views to have, how we live, where we live, what we drive, our titles, etc – and we give less effort to discovering who we really are and living it authentically.
In the last week alone I have met several people who say they are exhausted keeping up the charade – of trying to be who people think they are instead of who they really are. I ask, “Why?” They all say they feel they will be more popular, more successful or more of “something” than if they are who they really are. I call this the Fraud Factor.
Here are the two reasons I find why many people move through life in fraud factor mode:
• They don’t know their unique abilities – their talents, strengths and passions; they don’t know how truly amazing they are. They think they are something less than they truly are.
• There are always louder voices (media, press, internet, Facebook, etc) telling us what is hip, in, current and important; they want us to be and do what they say. We think they know more about us than we do – and that we will be more popular, important, successful if we do as they say…
When we don’t know what makes us amazing, we don’t have the confidence in ourselves to be who we are – we let others dictate things for us. The way I like to explain it is that when we don’t know what our own voice says (who we really are), we readily take others’ voices (and perspectives) as ours. But if we are clear about what makes us different, great, happy, wise and brilliant, we then develop the courage to meet the world as we really are – the Truth Factor, not the Fraud Factor.
In all of my coaching, I can’t think of one person who, when they discovered their unique abilities, wasn’t happier or more confident in their true identity than living in their Fraud Factor. This doesn’t always make things easy but I am reminded that a great life is not always an easy life. And being who you really are is the basis for a great life. After all, someone greater than you thought you should be you – and created you exactly as you are. It seems right to appreciate and live your uniqueness (or as Frank Keck, a friend and speaker, calls it your “freakness”).
Final anecdote: Ten years ago I had a client who struggled with whether to come out to his friends and family. He anguished himself into a dangerous depression, worried if the people in his life would leave him. He finally had the courage to come out and found that his life and opportunities dramatically expanded. And once the news was out, it quickly became old news; his good friends remained and the fickle ones left. Though he admitted it wasn’t easy, everything was better; it was the end of his Fraud Factor.
It is easier to be honest about who you are when you discover what makes you great. Because when you know you are great – as you are – there is absolutely never a need to have a Fraud Factor.