When I was in 4th grade, I developed a habit of telling every adult that I met about everything I had accomplished. Not only that day or that week but literally everything I had ever accomplished. Back when I was 9, my parents and friends thought it was kind of funny when I Developed some weird habits. But by the time I turned 15, all it got me was a reputation as a freak.
I learned that being busy does not always mean being productive from my mentor when I was job-hunting after college. At first, I couldn’t believe she was telling me I hadn’t accomplished anything. After a minute or two of reflection, however, I realized she might be right. Realizing that I had stopped vocalizing my impact and accomplishments, that evening I took some time to reflect on what I was most proud of. In my journal, I wrote a list of everything- big and small-that attributed to the changes in my life as a result of hard work. As I showed my mentor my revised resume, I suddenly felt guilty, as if sharing my accomplishments was boastful and impolite. But then she exclaimed how much better it looked, and that validation changed everything.
A lot of the time, possibly during a discussion over drinks or even in the locker room at the gym, I’ll speak to a woman who will say quietly, “I don’t want to toot my own horn….” and then in a voice barely above a whisper mention a recent success she’s had.
When we don’t celebrate our successes with those closest to us, how can we go into future opportunities expecting to do well? Want to make a great impression on somebody important? Being able to share your accomplishments in a way that sounds good is a skill that successful people use all the time. So how can you get better at bragging about your awesomeness? Here are some ideas:
Write It Out
Are you aware of all that you’ve achieved? If you’re not certain how to answer, take 10 minutes to write out a bulleted list of your accomplishments. (at work or outside of work) that you’re proud of. After you finish this first list, spend another 10 minutes going through it and adding some facts and figures to make it more substantial. For example, “…contacted various media outlets to pitch new digital content” would be stronger as “…added cultivated 20 new international media relationships which lead to 5 new content partnerships.” Or another example, “Worked with young women on self-esteem and empowerment issues” would be stronger as “I developed a personal development curriculum to support teen girls in identifying their strengths and increasing their self-esteem”. By grasping a personal understanding of the work you do and how it affects those around you, sharing your accomplishments becomes that much easier.
Practice With Strangers
Now that you have language and maybe even a little more pride in what you’ve done, it’s time to practice talking about it out loud. When I was in junior high school I had a small part in the musical “Hello Dolly”, during one of our rehearsals, we were given the opportunity to present our lines for constructive feedback from the director. The director gave me some words of wisdom when they told me to put my script down and really feel the emotions behind the scenes I was supposed to be acting out. And now, I’m passing this same advice on to you. The next time you’re on a plane, try to make small talk with the person sitting next to you. See if you can work on something that makes you proud. The more you talk about your successes, the easier it will become. Practice telling your personal success stories to the woman who sits next to you on the bus every day. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at bragging about yourself in a way that feels natural and comfortable.
Don’t Apologize for Being Awesome
Since you can now express your greatness and have practiced this with individuals you might never see again, you’re prepared for the hardest section. When you’re catching up with your BFF at the nail salon, and she asks how work is going. With your girlfriends, share your successes and encourage them to do the same. By making this a part of your relationships with them, you will be more prepared to sell yourself when the time comes to speak with a recruiter for the company you want to work for. They need to know what value you can add.
Want to learn more about how to show others you’re awesome?
Check out these tips for showing off your greatness through outfits!