“This award for achievement and excellence in their field goes out to…!”
Wouldn’t it be awesome if the world celebrated our personal accomplishments the way we do those of celebrities? Even more, how great would it be if we got demonstrable PROOF of our abilities or expertise?
When you own your own company, you probably don’t get work-based performance reviews. There’s no higher authority or upper management to review what you’re doing and say to you, “hey, good job. You’ve leveled up. Now you can call yourself THIS.”
As your own boss, you are likely undervaluing your experience and expertise, and especially if you identify as a woman according to this Forbes article.
I bet that if you’re being radically honest with yourself, you’re more impressive and more of an expert than you allow yourself to say.
I’ve struggled through deciding when to call myself an expert, because no one has ever crowned me “master of accountability” or “difficult communication skills expert.” But after reviewing my experience, I see that I’ve put in thousands of hours and have beyond sufficient accumulated wisdom on these topics. Wouldn’t it be inaccurate to claim anything less than expertise?
The problem with too much humility is that you’re showing up with an outdated image of yourself — you go around believing you are less than you are.
It is totally possible to be TOO humble.
We have to tell other people who we are in order to be treated appropriately. If we pretend to be less powerful, less experienced, or less wise than we actually are, people respond to us that way. That self-image is reinforced because it’s reflected back to us.
How do I know if I’m being too humble?
In trying to avoid being seen as a braggart or a narcissist, you are probably downplaying your greatness. And people hire those who exude confidence in their expertise, so that’s got to change.
Tips that will help you be less humble in a healthy way:
Offer when asked; volunteer when the moment arises.
There’s often a good or “right” time to share your achievements. Sometimes, people are asking for a volunteer leader – it could be you. Sometimes a group you’re in is sharing their wins – you can take your turn. Sometimes you’re getting deeper with a friend – they might love learning more about your character. When you keep your eyes open for a good time to share your accomplishments, you’re more likely to have it go smoothly and not feel like bragging.
Practice sharing your accomplishments.
You only get smoother and more confident through practice. Let it be a little messy or clunky at first. You can even say, “I’m practicing at sharing more of what I’ve accomplished and am capable of,” so people will be more forgiving or encouraging.
It’s not a competition.
This isn’t about needing to be the best or the only one. Focus less on trying to top what others have done and instead just celebrate you. When we stop speaking from a competitive mindset, it’s less likely to trigger others to want to story top or show off as well.
Validate yourself inside first.
Sharing accomplishments will go better if people feel that you aren’t trying to take something – like praise or validation – from them. So before you share, give yourself a little love and compassion. Remind yourself that you’re already good enough and that this is just practicing that skill of sharing. Try to be open to whatever response may come so that the pressure is off for everyone.
Ready to level up?
Rachel Alexandria is a former psychotherapist turned Soul Medic and Guide who helps high performers clean up their secret messes. She has written three books on how to apply smart therapeutic techniques to your life so you actually get results. Rachel has been running accountability groups for the last ten years and her favorite line she hears from clients on the regular is “you’re gonna be so proud of me!”