After working for 9 years, let me tell you that SELF PROMOTION is a skill that EVERYONE should learn. The earlier you learn it, the better.
Early in my career, I always believed that my work would be enough to prove my worth to my managers and the company. Why be that person who constantly talks themselves up in front of management? I didn’t want to ‘brag’ or ‘exaggerate’ my achievements, because I just wasn’t THAT sort of a person, and I couldn’t stand others who were so clearly sucking up to management.
The result? I’m pretty sure that the lack of self promotion was partly a factor of what cost me my promotions, simply because I lacked ‘executive presence’.
Clearly, accomplishments do not speak for themselves.
WHY DOES SELF PROMOTION HAVE SUCH A TAINTED CONNOTATION TO IT?
Growing up, we were taught that good values and behaviours included being humble. When we talk about ourselves and our achievements, it can almost seem like we are constantly showing off which goes against the very thing we were taught not to do.
Even when you try to do it, a sense of guilt sneaks in, and you don’t ‘go all in’ when you share - because it just feels wrong.
HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN SELF PROMOTION & BRAGGING / SHOWING OFF?
A few years ago, I had the privilege of attending a course from Google called #IamRemarkable
(highly recommend you check it out here
) - and the most important lesson I took away from it was:
‘It’s not bragging if it’s based on facts.’ - #IamRemarkable
If you’ve done the work, don’t feel shy or guilty talking about it! Share the amazing stuff you’ve done with others because you definitely have the right to do so.
It’s also about WHEN, WHERE & HOW you self promote. Obviously you don’t want to be self promoting every single time you see someone. There’s an appropriate time and place to do it - and as I always emphasize, you want to do it in a very authentic way. For example, by sharing your work in a regional meeting, you can help others learn from what you have done, while naturally ‘branding’ yourself.
Now that we know the difference, it’s time to put it into practice. As uncomfortable as it is, the only way to learn, is to do.
I found it difficult as a start too, but here are a few mindset shifts I took which made it easier to start self promoting.
1) SELF PROMOTION IS NOT A BAD THING
Change the way you think about it. Disassociate self promotion being a ‘bad thing’, and commit to learning how to do it in a subtle way that works for you.
2) SIMPLY THINK OF IT AS ‘SHARING YOUR WORK’
By sharing your work, you really never know who could benefit learning from your ideas. People in the workplace could learn from you and your ideas, and that’s how innovation sparks!
3) INCREASE YOUR SURFACE AREA OF POSITIVE OUTCOMES!
Yes, it is part of your manager’s job to help showcase your work to the higher ups, and ‘fight’ for you - but why not further expand your pool of luck by self promoting?
Similar to the concept of Window Openers Vs. Door Knockers
, by self promoting you increase your leverage and visibility at work
. There might not be an immediate, guaranteed short-term return but doing this, your efforts will eventually compound, and it will substantially increase your chances of your work getting noticed (which could eventually lead to a promotion).
Lastly, help ADVOCATE FOR OTHERS when good work has been done.
I’ve always believe in helping to uplift others, especially when good work has been done. Give credit where it’s due, and help share the amazing stuff they have done / pulled off. Sometimes the manager is not around to witness these things first hand, so I always make it a point to share the good work others have done with their manager. You never know, it could an added data point for their manager to help push them through for a promotion.
Do you get anything in return? No, but that’s not the point. Don’t expect anything in return.
But wouldn’t you want others to do the same for you? After all, it really doesn’t hurt to send praise when it’s deserved.
Start practicing, and you won’t regret having this skill to help propel your career.
Till next month!
PS. Sorry that there isn’t a video this month, I’ve just come back from a long holiday and haven’t committed the time to edit and upload a video just yet - but stay tuned for more good stuff next month!