But when it comes to telling other people how great I am, my awesome wants to shrivel up and hide in the corner. I hate self-promotion.
I'm not sure why this is. And really, I don't know if figuring out why I park my candlelight somewhere underneath Bushelville is very helpful. The forces that keep me from the limelight are too hard to draw out of the past.
Could it have been my little childhood friends telling me it wasn't nice to brag? Oppressive societal messages telling me that tooting my own horn will drive people away? A church-induced fear of Jesus turning his money changer whip on me if I use my gifts for my own personal gain?
None of this helps because I just end up wallowing in the past instead of moving forward.
It's a tricky balance when you're figuring out when to promote yourself and when to let other people do the talking. You likely know people who self-promote so much that you've unfriended them or you ignore their phone calls. It seems like they don't know how to talk about anything except themselves.
And if you're trying to promote yourself at work, you might worry about being too pushy since you don't want to put yourself in danger of losing a job. It's true that women can often be penalized for coming across as too aggressive.
But promoting yourself in your work is exactly what you need to do to be successful. If you're not reminding your boss about your great qualities and amazing accomplishments, it's quite possible that he or she will overlook you at promotion time. Women who are more proactive about making their achievements visible are more likely to get ahead.
So how do you promote yourself without alienating everyone you know? I've got a few ideas, but I'd love to hear more (feel free to comment below!).
- Promote other people as well as yourself. Not only will this show that you're not completely focused on yourself, it may motivate other people to do the same for you.
- Have a life. In other words, talk about subjects other than yourself and your work sometimes.
- Know your audience. It might be smarter to discuss your ideas for your computer repair business among your geeky friends than among your hairdresser friends (though you never know). You can personalize your online self-promotion by reaching out to groups or individuals with whom you have things in common so that your self-promotion seems relevant rather than intrusive.
- Trust yourself. If you assume that people like you and are interested in what you have to say, you'll be more optimistic about your chances of success. If you assume that you're bothering people, you may end up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy or spinning your wheels.