I signed up to be a part of this workshop out of a happy accident. I had a very different idea about what I was going to learn there. I thought I will get to learn ‘Tips and Tricks to Promote myself better’ rather I got to learn that my own mindset was standing in my way of showing up and embracing my own achievements. So here I am today to lovingly challenge you to embrace your stories and your achievements too.
We believe we are uncourteous or even impolite if we are trying to brag about our achievements or what we have to offer. We don’t want to be perceived as someone who is preoccupied with him or herself. So we try not to talk about the things that make us remarkable, we dull down our light and dumb down our stories or experiences. The same thought patterns apply to someone who is trying to share their stories and their accomplishments.
In addition to that, we often downplay our successes and the things that come easy to us. We forget the things which are coming easily to us are maybe a huge milestone for someone else. Quite a few examples I can think of now that I’m trying to articulate it but I’ll share this one – I never struggled with the technical side of things so I assumed that it came easily to everyone else too but I’ve seen people struggling with that.
Attending #iamremarkable made me question the way we look at someone who is self-promoting and sharing what makes them remarkable. Talking about accomplishments could be in a way challenging the social perception around self-promotion and I’m a big believer of challenging the cultural norms. I believe, we all get to decide what works for us and what doesn’t, what feels right for us and what doesn’t.
The most interesting part of the workshop was looking at the stats and learning how women who are assertive often receive a social penalty, described as bossy and aggressive. On the other hand, men who are assertive are considered as go-getters. Discussing gender-based bias led to the conversation of how bias affects decision making and the stats showed a definite pattern there. The more diverse a group is the more productive, innovative and creative the outcomes are. We also discussed how the lack in diversity in companies both gender and ethnic terms are 29% more likely to underperform in terms of profitability – which wasn’t surprising but definitely an eye-opener. Reminded me of Huma’s article on Why simple living and minimalist lifestyles need to be more inclusive. Also, here I would like to shine some light on #RepresentationMatters And Other Thoughts and #InfluenceInclusivity by Rabya Lomas.
Here are a few ways to challenge those old thought patterns:
- The things that we’re afraid to share, the ones we want to hide, or the ones we want to minimize are the very things that connect us, that make us feel less alone, that inspire, that remind us that we are human. How about holding some space for yourself and others around you for that connection and to simply be human?
- When someone shares their accomplishments and their stories instead of thinking how self-involved he/she is try thinking, ‘He/she did really good. What can I learn from that?’ and challenge the way we look at or think about someone who is sharing their accomplishments and promoting themselves.
- Opening up conversations, asking for feedback and giving honest constructive feedback could be a start to make it okay to talk about the things we have to offer – the things that make us remarkable. Also, it is going to challenge us and our beliefs around our accomplishments not being good enough to be celebrated.
A sentence that struck me the most from our facilitator, Mette Knak, was, ‘It’s not bragging if it is based on facts.’
#iamremarkable has inspired me to encourage you to speak about your accomplishments, your story, what you have to offer and practice self-promotion more in your creative work and life. It has also given me the confidence to speak about my story, my accomplishments and what I have to offer and promote myself more and better.
In conclusion, accomplishments do not speak for themselves. Learn from how others are doing it. Improve a little better every time. Challenge each other. Hold space for each other. Challenge cultural norms. Keep track of accomplishments, big or small. Share what you have to offer in a way that feels right for you and remember, you get it if you ask for it.
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