Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion

I've always been a good promoter. It comes with the territory when you spend as many years in sales and the advertising world as I did. But it was usually for someone or something else. Rarely myself.

However, things change. As an authorpreneur with a growing coaching practice, I am learning that self promotion is necessary and can actually be fun once you take the shame out of the equation.

I  learned the art of bragging in the first class I ever took with Regena Thomashauer. Regena would use the analogy that you meet a man at a cocktail party and he could brag unashamedly about his golf score to the point you might believe he was ready for the pro circuit.  Ask the woman next to him what she does for work and in a rather small voice she might mention her latest book was just selected for a Pulitzer Price, qualifying  that it's really no big deal.

Women more than men have clung to the idea that we  live in a meritocracy, where good work will be rewarded but more importantly noticed. I learned that to be a myth. That without speaking up and bragging about our achievements, we might never get noticed or worse passed over because someone whose work wasn't as good had a louder voice.

It's more important than ever that we get past what Kelly Watson calls the myths of self promotion in  a recent article at ForbesWoman. There are a lot of big voices out there in our 24/7 world. There can be no shame in self promotion.

It's not an easy thing to do. When my detox tech series was published as a column in ForbesWoman last week I thought nothing of posting it on Facebook and Twitter, but when it came to sending an email to my non social networked group of friends to brag about it, I had to take several deep breaths and wait for the combination of cultural and familial messages that had been embedded in my psyche that this was wrong to do passed  before I could hit send. Old habits, die hard, but they must die.

For anyone who is reinventing, starting their own business or looking for the next move in their current career, shameless self promotion will serve you well.

In this month's Oprah Magazine, Donna Brazile says this on accepting compliments. "I thought acknowledging praise meant you were arrogant, but I've learned that knowing your strengths enables you to make use of them."

And that is what I think is key about self promotion. Learning what you are good at, owning it,  believing it is worth sharing and letting it be known.
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