Fake it till you drown

When I was in the infrastructure business; they always say, you’re this close to being extremely rich and this close (much smaller gap) to being bankrupt. And so the takeaway is that you have to fake it till you make it. You need to make sure everyone believes in the project; that the demand is there, or can be fostered, and the project will be financed, so that the demand can be addressed. And then probably at some point, the project can be sold off to someone richer, with stronger balance sheet and cash position.

I never truly felt comfortable with that. I always thought it was important to build trust on the ground and be candid about the situation. You may start collecting wind data with some wind masts, work with local villages about getting access to their farm land for wind turbines, etc. But you will have to be clear to them about the risks. Also engage the financiers sincerely, sharing the impact of your work and the scale of the possibilities.

Today, in the sustainability world, there are a lot of people taking up leadership positions of Chief Sustainability Officer but really just with a thin layer of credential or experience dealing with genuine sustainability issues and topics. The world is going to learn and catch up very rapidly. And you’ll be tossed 101 different issues you won’t be able to google for answers. Ironically, those positions are not sustainable. You can fake it but it’ll be hard for you to eventually make it.

And it’s going to be bad for mental health. Imposter syndrome is one thing; being an actual fraud is another.


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