I get it. It can be uncomfortable. Tooting your own horn. Raising your own flag. Building your own throne. Letting the world know about your awesomeness.
We’ve been taught that it’s not nice to brag, that good girls don’t stand out or talk too loud or take up too much space.
But here’s the deal: your genius cannot help anyone unless they know about it.
Self-promotion is really an edge for most of us. It’s hard to overcome decades, perhaps eons, of programming that’s told us to not draw attention to ourselves for fear of making others feel bad or coming off as arrogant.
But if you want to start a movement, get a message out there, and shake things up, people need to know about you. And who best to tell them but you! (Because waiting around for someone else to do it is a sure-fire way to end up resentful and broke.)
I struggle a lot with this myself. That’s why I’m writing about it. (I pretty much just write what I need to hear, and nearly every time it turns out I’m not so special and someone else needed to hear it, too.)
While it’s totally possible to self-promote in an obnoxious, totally self-absorbed way, it’s also totally possible to do it in a way that’s altruistic.
Wanna self-promote as part of your mission to make the world a better place? Good. Me, too.
Here’s what I recommend when it comes to altruistic self-promotion:
Have a friend sit behind a video camera (could be your iPhone – don’t get caught up in technicalities here) and interview you about what you do and why you’re so great. Continue having her ask questions until you feel like you’ve gotten into the flow and have at least a couple of soundbites that you can pull out to use in the future. Go back and watch the video (I know – this can be painful, but it’s worth it) and write down the things that sounded the best. These can become copy on your website, social media posts, and your elevator pitch. (Though I don’t have one of these and probably never will, it’s helpful to have something to say when someone asks you what you do that feels authentic and also casts you in your best light.)
Write out what’s awesome about you and what you do.
Seriously. Just make a list. List out everything you can think of that’s awesome about you, whether it has to do with your amazing work or not. Before you go to a pitch meeting, film a video, write sales copy, or go interview, read the list. Post it by your computer and read it every morning. We all need to be reminded of our awesomeness on a regular basis. You might as well be the one to do it for yourself.
Save the thank you’s. You’ll need them.
I have a label in my email called “Keepers.” When someone writes me to tell me that something I did or shared made a difference in their life, I put it in the Keepers file. I also have a physical Keepers file for snail mail thank you notes I receive. Our team also is regularly archiving testimonials from our Facebook groups and the interwebs at large. Yes, they’re great social proof for marketing, but they also help remind me that what I do matters and that I need to keep telling people about it because it could help them.
You can be humble and proud at the same time.
Humility is charming. But completely hiding your light under a bushel just makes the world darker. (And Lord knows we don’t need that right now.) It is absolutely possible to be humble and proud of yourself at the same time. This takes finesse, but I know you’ve got it in you. A great way to hold these two things at the same time is to proudly state what you do that’s amazing and then hold yourself back from rambling on and on about it. Instead, turn it over to the other person and ask about them. You have a moment to shine. They have a moment to shine. You see? There’s enough to go around. Your pride doesn’t take away from them. Your humility doesn’t need to take away from you.
Bottom line: keeping your amazingness all to yourself is just darn selfish. Don’t let your fear of what other people will think of you get in the way of sharing your gifts. If you turn the spotlight off yourself and on to the people who need what you have to offer, self-promotion automatically becomes service.
Celebrate yourself in public so you can make a difference in the lives of the people who need what you have most.
In the name of altruistic self-promotion: what’s awesome about you and what you do in the world? How do you help people? Practice shouting it to the rooftops in the comments because I want to hear about your brilliance!