Here’s what they never tell you. The grown-ups. The successful ones. The winners in life. They never tell you that right up until the moment they “won” – they were faking it. In relationships, career paths, all of it. While we’re looking in from the outside thinking they’ve got it all together – they’re flying by the seat of their pants, praying it doesn’t all come crashing down. Working at it until they do in fact know what the hell they’re doing and leaning into luck to keep them afloat until then.

This is a secret of adulthood that I only just recently realized. After obsessively listening to and reading interviews and biographies of people I admire, it suddenly struck me that there was one thread that tied them all together. In the beginning? They faked it. With shaking knees they went out into the world and projected confidence in whatever it was they wanted to do. And day after day, they got one step further away from having to fake it and one step closer to being a master of it. From Michelle Obama to Julia Louis-Dreyfus to Dolly Parton – everyone basically said the same thing.

The important distinction to me was that their “faking” was still authentic because it was something they were truly passionate about. If it’s a sham marriage or a job you’re only in for the payout and you’re faking it – things likely won’t work out according to these rules. But if your heart’s in it? Go ahead and tell that person you love them even if you think you’re “bad” at relationships. Sell the house and move abroad even if you don’t know how to navigate France and barely speak the language. Take the promotion even if you think you’re not yet fully ready for it. I’m not saying get yourself into a position where you’re grossly under-qualified, but winners don’t wait for “ready”. They feel scared and do it anyway. And if they can? You can fake it ’til you make it too.

You know what else helps? Dressing like you mean business. Here are some great plaid blazers sure to do the trick: