How to talk about your achievements (without feeling boastful)

By amandaalexander | Confidence

“We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”

You probably recognize the quote from Marianne Williamson. Here it is in full..

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

A few weeks ago, I interviewed one of the finalists of today’s Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards in the Midlands. The finalist is a lady I nominated for the Awards. Her name is Grace Marshall and she is also one of my extraordinarily proud-making clients.

The interview came about because, during our coaching call, Grace wanted to get to the heart of something she was uncomfortable about: Self-Promotion. All finalists of the Forward Ladies WIBA are encouraged to shout about their achievements as finalists.

And yet, it’s easier said than done, to shout about our achievements, isn’t it?  And Grace was exactly the same as the rest of us – she had “little old me” syndrome! 

In the interview, Grace and I talked about:

  • How Grace initially felt that she wasn’t “worthy” of being nominated for an award compared to other women who had overcome huge life challenges
  • The problem with comparing ourselves to other people – and how to stop!
  • What “personal branding” really means – and how it actually allows you to embrace your weaknesses as well as your strengths
  • How to “get over yourself” and tell people about things you are proud of achieving, without feeling that you are being boastful or self-indulgent.
  • And, as Marianne Williamson said, how, when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same

This was part-interview, part-coaching and when you listen to the recording, you’ll love how Grace’s wisdom pours out as we unpick her resistance to allowing herself to shine. I think you will thoroughly enoy this interview and I hope that it will give you permission to shine.

Here are 4 of the key learning points from the interview, in Grace’s own words:

  1. By  learning to acknowledge your own achievements, you give others the permission to do the same

Grace said: “If we are acknowledging our successes, if we are promoting ourselves, a way that we can feel more comfortable, more at ease is by promoting others as well, celebrating other’s success. The more that we can celebrate our own success, the more we feel competent enough to be able to celebrate others for their particular unique qualities because we are happy in our own skin… And if as a result of me being a finalist, other women decide that they can put themselves forward as well because they are more deserving, that is a good thing.”

  1. Self-acknowledgment is key to helping you to build momentum

Grace said: “I think every time I sit down and just go through the motions of acknowledging what I’ve done and what I’ve achieved or what I’ve overcome, there is a transformation that happens in me that goes from so I guess it goes from dismissing or overlooking or just kind of normalizing to just properly acknowledging. And I get a sense of satisfaction, I get a sense of completion, I get a sense of achievement, I get a renewed sense of momentum for what comes next as well.”

  1. Self-acknowledgement is a brilliant personal productivity strategy

Grace said: “There are some things that don’t feel productive, that feel self-indulgent or lazy or pointless. But actually some of those things can be the most productive thing that we do. Things like giving us all the time to think. Things like recharging. Things like getting a good night’s sleep.

Sometimes taking a break can feel unproductive. It feels like we are not doing the work but actually if that helps us to be at our best, it helps us to do our best work, therefore it’s productive. And the same thing goes with celebrating achievements. Sometimes it feels like well, I’ve got so much to do, it feels way too self-indulgent to stop and celebrate what I’ve done because I’ve got to get on with what I need to do.”

  1. You don’t have to be a star, but you can be a light

Grace said: “I think there’s a difference between being a star and being a light. So I think we would look at people and go oh wow they are like a star and they are shining brightly like they are amazing. But actually the best stars are the ones that shine their light on other people. And you know for me, if I think about being a star, look at me, you know that doesn’t sit well with me. But if I think if I had actually all I want to do is be a light, I can be a light for other people.

So I can shine a light on the pathway of other people. Also when you are a light you reflect back to people what they are doing. And where they are strong and where they are shining. So a light is always about looking back at the people that you are shining on. And so I think you know for me it’s about being a light rather than being a star. So it’s about being able to illuminate other people but in order to do any either of those you have to shine. So you have to be willing to shine in order to be a light for this.”

And that is a beautiful metaphor to conclude – shine your light so that others can be illuminated too. There’s nothing boastful or self-indulgent about that!

Listen to the Interview

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