The very thought of self-promotion is enough to make most cringe, but I love what P.T. Barnum said…
“Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!”
Quiet achievers – this one is for you! Entrepreneurs and employees – this matters to all of us. In an ever competitive, socially vibrant and noisy online world, it’s more acceptable (and important!) than ever to sing your own praises once in a while.
Before you recoil, let me share a little secret. Shyness, being reserved, being cool – or whatever we default to as our reason for not self-promoting – does not necessarily equal humility. More often that not it’s the total opposite. It’s actually our ego. We avoid self-promotion because we don’t want to put ourselves on the line for any criticism so we do nothing and mask it with an over modest, “Oh, I’m not a self-promoter”.
Let me share with you why there is nothing brave or beneficial about that.
I was in corporate sales for a decade and learned over the years that we are ALL in fact selling something, all the time. Every single one of us. Promotion is not reserved for smooth-talking realtors or those rocking retail careers. Dentists, teachers, hairdressers, HR professionals, dog-walkers are all unofficial sales people too. We all persuade and influence other people every day. And almost all web authorship is a sales tool too – your Twitter bio, LinkedIn profile and yep, the profile photo on your Tinder app.
Here’s why a little self-promotion is totally okay:
1. It’s the new normal
Do you flinch when you see someone sharing a recent job promotion online or an exciting development in their business? I doubt it. We expect to see these posts and when we like the person (and we almost always do if we are following them), we cheer them on. Other people will do the same for you!
2. You can’t assume anyone is aware of your achievements
A former manager of mine said to me over a martini once, “Susie – unless you tell me about your wins and how happy your clients are, I am just not going to know. Help me help you get recognized!”
Everyone has his or her own agenda, priorities, and to-do list. You have to be proactive and tout some of your achievements to ensure other people are in the know.
3. It’s a necessary part of creative work
Are you a gifted singer, photographer, graphic designer? How do you expect people find out about you and your talent, exactly? Promoting it gives it the light it needs, which will naturally help it flourish and grow. When we receive constructive feedback it also helps us improve.
4. It motivates you to do better
Self-promotion means that you’ll only want to put your best work out into the world, as you are accountable for it. It opens up opportunities too.
When a manager is looking for a project leader or newlyweds are seeking out an interior designer, who will be top of mind? The people they hear about who are doing great things! Don’t let your self-consciousness prevent you from progressing.
5. It might just help other people
If you are confident enough to self-promote you unofficially make it less scary for other people to do the same thing.
As the famous Marianne Williamson quote says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
When your personal brand grows, your power allows you to help other people along too.
A very famous example of this is Oprah Winfrey – known for having “made” Dr Phil, Nate Berkus, Dr Oz and Suze Orman. Her mega-watt brand helped birth many other brands. In fact, one of the best things about any type of promotion is that it’s positive.
Haters have it wrong. The big misconception that being critical of others elevates you somehow is misguided. It’s just mean and plain boring. We all benefit more by knowing and sharing what is going right in the world.
Acknowledging and taking ownership of your personal brand (which exists whether you like it or not) is the very first step in claiming your power. There is nothing inspirational about your comfort zone. And there is nothing arrogant about sharing your light by way of a little self promotion.