If you are anything like me, self-promotion is hard. Why is it that we can be the biggest cheerleaders for our friends and family, but when it comes to ourselves we fall flat? I have always believed that hard work pays off. And while I think that’s true, it doesn’t pay off (at least not quickly) when no one knows about the great things you are doing. My struggle with self-promotion has definitely held me back in life. It’s a harsh reality when you realize that you are your biggest hurdle to jump over on your path to success. But once you see that, you’re back in control.
I have been working for my current company for three years. Two years ago I was promoted to the position I still hold. In my company structure there are different levels within your position. When you are promoted you have a higher number after your title and more responsibility, but the overall role of the position stays the same. Since I am in sales, my quarterly and year-end sales are the biggest determining factor in my advancement within the role. In my role I work under another sales person, it’s a combination of assistant and apprentice so that I am able to learn.
Over the last six months I have become frustrated with my lack of advancement. When I spoke to my supervisor about some of my concerns I was surprised at how little he knew about my successes over the past year. But then I realized, how would he know? I haven’t been telling him and no one else is going to. So I made a conscious decision that I was going to be in charge of my future and not leave it up to anyone else.
Self-promotion is necessary but there are a few things to keep in mind, especially in a professional environment.
Master the #humblebrag
There is a difference between self-promotion and bragging. It’s okay to brag on the amazing things you’ve accomplished but know your limits. Keep it short and simple – like a highlight reel. For example, I send an email to my supervisor at the end of a great week sharing my successes. It’s a quick email with my sales for the week and maybe a follow-up on how I solved a customer issue. When you come from the place of wanting to celebrate successes, it’s easy for others to be excited for you.
Give Credit Where Credit is Due
Most likely you aren’t the only one doing amazing things on your team. So give a shout out to the people around you who support you and make it possible for you to succeed. Brag on other people and then brag on yourself. When you make it about the overall team but still share individual credit, then it’s a win-win. Your supervisors will recognize your generosity to your team mates and applaud you for it. Helping someone else shine does not dim your own sparkle.
Track Your Successes
It’s a good idea to keep track of your successes over a time period. This way when it comes time to sit down for a review you have a timeline to refer back to. Create a file to save emails to, or make a spreadsheet with analytics, anyway to track your progress.
Know Your Worth
We all have something to offer and each person brings something unique to the table. Sometimes it just takes a little reminder that this is true. Give yourself permission to brag. It can be uncomfortable to talk about yourself and your accomplishments, trust me it is for me. But you deserve recognition for all of your hard work. So when it comes time for a raise or promotion, or a different opportunity, know your worth.
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