An interesting thought slice from Kellogg Insight reads that women are less likely to boast about their achievements.
Sapienza and her colleagues tested three possible theories as to why women may be less frequently selected as leaders. … By far the most important reason why women were being underrepresented as team leaders was how they portrayed their abilities relative to men’s. Both men and women in the study were inclined to overstate how well they had done in the earlier competition and how well they would do in the future, but men were far more willing to do so.
– Kellogg Insights
“But I’m not supposed to brag!”
In my experience, I agree – it’s very hard for many of us to even describe things we’ve done, much less bring them up in conversation.
I’ve felt it myself, even. It’s so easy to just say “Oh, I take photos,” or “oh, I build websites.”
It just seems so over-the-top to qualify it at all — “I ran the Ogden Camera Club for 6 months and have worked as a product photographer for 3 years.” “I’ve led online storefronts to $XX,XXX/month sales based on my SEO background, content marketing strategy, and attention to customers’ needs & pivots based on insights gained.”
How to Talk Yourself Up
Here are a couple practices you can do as a person who is typically shy and modest about your achievements. Try these and make them a habit. Even if you only remember once a week, you’ll get more comfortable with talking about yourself!
1. Start a journal, a Google Doc, or even a portfolio website. You can do this free on WordPress.com and it doesn’t even have to be public to the world!
Create a list of all the projects you’ve worked on that were meaningful to you, and create a bulleted list for each project about achievements, accomplishments you were proud of, or even people who you were able to help.
You can use this to keep track of what you’re lifting at the gym, if you’re hitting your macros, or new yoga poses you’ve accomplished.
Brain-dump for now, and then set a reminder to update it once a month (include a link so you don’t have to go searching for it!)
I’ve done this in Google Keep for the last 2 years and I’m so proud of how much I’ve grown.
2. When you meet people, practice saying 1 more sentence about yourself.
Instead of saying “Hi, I’m Rose and I build websites,” just get in the habit of saying “Hi, I’m Rose and I build websites. The most favorite site I’ve worked on was for this client who.. _______.”
Then not only do you give the conversation more fuel, but you also get to share more about yourself and something you’re proud of!
This doesn’t have to be about work. You can say “Hi I’m So & So and I love hiking. Have you been up the Waterfall Canyon trail?” and get things going from there.
3. Join Instagram and share pictures of things you’re proud of. Hashtag them properly and make sure your profile is set to public. It’s so fun to meet people doing the same things you do, and become part of a community that encourages it!
If you are a creative entrepreneur, the Rising Tide Society is a great account to follow and a great group to join. With the philosophy that a rising tide lifts all boats, these are free monthly meetups where you can meet with other business owners and practice speaking about yourself and your business.
There are 3 awesome meetups in Utah — Ogden, Salt Lake City, and Utah County!
Leadership comes from owning your achievements and getting buy-in
Being able to be a leader isn’t totally about being in charge of people. It’s about being able to get people’s interest and their buy-in on your project. The more you can show you can lead people and connect them, the more you can succeed, personally & professionally.
Have you been shy & overcome it? Do you still feel like you’re invisible or your accomplishments don’t mean much? Think of a step you can do today to change your habits & grow more visible 🙂