Thursday, 19 September 2013

Fake it till you make it

When you're self taught you always worry that you will be found out – Cath Kidston

The start of a new term, and my second year of training at Vicar school, is fast approaching. In terms of workload not much will change from now but there is something about it becoming 'official' that puts butterflies in my belly all over again, just like I had them last year. Perhaps it is that the start of something new always makes you stop and take stock a little. To look back and gaze a little further forward. That is where the butterflies come in.

One of the best books I read before starting training was by the Bishop of Oxford, John Pritchard. He described an incident where he invited the local primary school to the church for a special service. He went in to the school to do assemblies often but not in full Vicar garb so when one of the children saw him dressed up in robes and dog collar he said 'Mr Pritchard, why are you pretending to be a Vicar?' To which Bishop John thought, 'Crikey I've finally been found out! Why am I pretending to be a Vicar?!'

I've never met anyone who lives with complete self assurance or on some level doesn't feel like a bit of a fraud in their own world. I regularly chuckle to myself at what an excellent job I am doing pretending to be a grown up. Maintaining a house, having an ISA, going to garden centres. No one except those who have seen my CD collection truly understand that underneath I still have the mentality of a fifteen year old. I don't know whether there comes a moment when you suddenly think, 'This is it, I have arrived. I am terribly grown up.' Perhaps when you have kids, though I can quite imagine that moment arriving and thinking 'Why am I pretending to be a parent? This can't be safe!'

I suppose it is the same thing with work and it is deeply encouraging to here people I admire express the same feelings. The quote above comes from Cath Kidston's autobiography 'Coming Up Roses'. I love reading stories of business people who have made a hugely successful enterprise against all the odds. They always have such tenacity and self belief. And yet...that nagging thing still hangs about and Cath writes about consistently 'faking it till you make it' and the frequent moments wondering what on earth she had really gotten herself in to and if she could really handle it after all.

So as I start another term as a REAL TRAINEE VICAR. I'm going to take comfort that we all feel a small sometimes and it doesn't mean we can't think big. And hey, they may never figure me's hoping! ;)


  1. Hi Nicola, I came across your blog via Louise. This post really resonated with me. Since I left OUP, I have taken a completely different career path, just like you. I left at the end of 2011, moved to Israel for 6 months, and then returned home and decided to set up my own business in surface pattern design, just like Cath Kidston. Actually I have never read her book, and in fact, I know very little about her. So it was funny and interesting to read it from someone else.

    I've been at it for just over a year now – and have come a long way since I began. But it's still so hard for me to not feel like a fraud in what I do, despite great feedback, or the 7 day weeks I work. I exhibit at the London Design Festival each year, and I think, due to the sheer quality of work on display there, and the way in which I have to operate in such a public space, I never fail to feel like a imposter. It's funny isn't it?! I guess we all feel like that from time to time... :-)

    I really admire you forging a new and exciting career – and developing yourself and your life in a positive direction.

    P.S. I just bought 'Coming Up Roses'!

    Sian :-)

    1. Hey Sian!

      So nice to hear from you and glad you came across the blog through Lou!

      That is so brave to go out on your own with a new business, I'm always massively inspired by people who do that. What's your company name? I'll have to look you up!

      Thanks for commenting, hopefully see you soon!

      N x

  2. Your blog is really great – I was really absorbed with all your writings on various topics! It's so refreshing to read such honest and interesting thoughts and ideas. I'll be back :-) It would be lovely to catch up one day soon – I'm based in Cardiff these days, but do miss Oxford a lot xx