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We live at a time when there’s plenty of dumb and unquestioned business and live advice floating around the internet. Most of it comes from an avalanche of problematic stupidities from hustle porn stars. There’s also “Follow your passion”, which doesn’t always work out. Of course, there’s the tried and true, “Fake it until you make it.” Our guest today, Sabrina Horn, is the opposite of that.
Sabrina Horn has seen those situations play out in her career as a Communications Entrepreneur and eventually, CEO of HORN Strategy, LLC. Her new book, “Make it, don’t fake it” is out, and has hit no.1 on the Amazon charts as soon as it was released.
In this episode of Follow Your Different, what you’ll hear from her is a fun, no BS dialogue about what success really takes. If you’re interested in hearing more from Sabrina Horn, stay tuned to this episode.
Catching Up with Sabrina Horn
I talk with Sabrina Horn about the Silicon Valley days. When asked if a lot has changed over the years, Sabrina shares that it has changed, but not by much. According to conversations she’s heard around, CMOs often last for around 4 years before moving on. A few years ago, the shelf life for CMOs is usually 18-24 months before moving on to another or building their own company.
Sabrina then asks if I would go back.
“Not for two seconds. I hung up my gloves, I have no desire to, and I got nothing left to prove. Most importantly, I love my life the way it is. Now I get to make a difference at scale through podcasting and writing. I’ll do some advising and I still enjoy that very much, particularly under the right circumstances. But no, I don’t have any desire to do it. I’m at a different stage of my life like you are right, I’m in the throw down the rope stage, not continue to collect merit badges stage.” – Christopher Lochhead
Sabrina agrees and thinks that even while outside Silicon Valley, the podcasts and books still fills a hole and affects the overall meta in the industry.
Make It, Don’t Fake It
We then talk about Sabrina’s new book, Make It, Don’t Fake It. What’s amazing about the book is that it’s almost sort of a hybrid between a business book and a memoir. There were a lot of stories from personal experiences, the most of the advice that was given has a real-life situation that she has personally been through.
Sabrina shares that this structure was intentional.
“(These are) The stories of my profession and my career, bring the message that I wanted to deliver to life. And I didn’t want to write a book and do a ton of, you know, external research and take yours and do surveys. I thought, I’ve got 25 years of running a company. That’s my research. “ – Sabrina Horn
The Problem with Faking It
Sabrina then shares one of the things that the book tackles right from the get-go. It’s the mantra of “Fake it until you make it”. Because the biggest problem with this mantra is that you’re exposed. Either you get caught up in the lie, or get exposed right from the onset.
“It is initially which was sort of an innocent like tongue in cheek, little quip, right has, has become like a way of doing business a way of living. it’s an it’s a really bad excuse for bad behavior. And it’s not just, you do it at work, you do it in your personal life. And in nine times out of 10, you get caught.” – Sabrina Horn
While one would think that the biggest problem with faking it is getting caught, there is another aspect of it. If you think you’ll just fake it and learn along the way, that means you are not working optimally for the job you have. Instead on improving yourself and doing better, you are playing catch-up to get the skills you said you already have.
So it is better to just be yourself. Tell them what you can and cannot do, so everyone knows what to expect from you. Nowadays, being authentic can be refreshing, and it might even earn you the respect of the person who you are trying to impress.
To learn more from Sabrina Horn and her new book, “Make It, Don’t Fake It”, download and listen to this episode.
Sabrina Horn is an award-winning CEO, communications expert, advisor, and author. Horn is currently CEO of HORN Strategy, LLC, a consultancy focused on helping entrepreneurs and CEOs navigate the early stages of their businesses. She serves as an advisor and board member for a number of organizations and is a frequent speaker at industry forums and leadership conferences. Horn’s new book, “Make It, Don’t Fake It: Leading with Authenticity for Real Business Success” (forward by Geoffrey Moore) is published by Berrett-Koehler and aims to help executives make the right decisions as they start and grow their businesses for long term success.
She founded Horn Group, a public relations firm, with $500 and five years’ job experience, becoming one of few female CEOs in Silicon Valley in the early 1990s. Over a quarter century, her firm advised thousands of executives and their companies—from the hottest startups to the Fortune 500—doing so with a special focus on authenticity.
As a young executive, Horn learned about leadership on the job through two lenses: one, as CEO growing and running her firm, the other, as strategic advisor guiding her clients through their own unique business challenges. Facing countless difficult situations, crises, even failure, she came to understand that leadership is about making the right decisions at the right time based on the often very harsh, realities of the truth. Through her journey, she learned that there are no short cuts to achieving long term business success. Still, she confesses to having made many mistakes, and now in her first book, she shares what she learned about how to make it without faking it.
Connect with Sabrina!
Sabrina’s book: Make It, Don’t Fake It