“Don’t toot your own horn”
Who was the first person who ever said that… or something that amounts to that… to you?
Was it your well-meaning Aunt Sally? A well-meaning neighbor? A well-meaning teacher? A colleague? (Actually, they were all probably well-meaning, and yet…)
Even if we haven’t heard that specific phrase, as women, that message is communicated to us all throughout our lives in hundreds of ways.
As girls, we’re told not to brag (even if what we’re doing isn’t bragging at all). In the working world, we’re conditioned to minimize our accomplishments and give credit to others.
Even as adults, and as business owners, the message persists.
Case in point:
I recently came across an article from career growth site The Muse: “3 Ways to Toot Your Own Horn (Without Being Obnoxious)”.
The underlying message? Sharing your accomplishments is, by definition, obnoxious, so here are ways to avoid that.
Or this message that my SIGNED student Joanna received from a national PR group a few weeks ago, all about Advice from Top Women in PR. These were the top 2:
You’ll go far in business if you don’t care who gets the credit.
Make others around you look good.
After years of hearing this message, it’s so woven into our psyche that it becomes a part of us.
As change management consultant Glendalynn D puts it, “That voice has never completely disappeared, somedays its a whisper, other days it’s impossible to drown out.”
And as a result, it can keep us from getting new clients. Why? Because it prevents us from making ourselves SEEN to potential clients.
We don’t put ourselves out there.
We don’t share the successes our clients achieve.
We don’t talk about how our business is going (especially if it’s going freaking great).
We don’t toot our own horns. We are, as copywriter Betsy T put it, “quietly awesome”.
But you can’t be quietly awesome and expect clients to find you.
AND if clients do find you, WHY would they be excited to hire you if you aren’t willing to share your confidence in what you do?
UX consultant Heather O agrees: “I spent a long time believing that if I just do good work people, will magically notice. Time and time again this has not been true.”
So what to do? How can you overcome years of, “don’t toot your own horn”? It starts with permission. Give yourself permission to share your awesome.
And then, start small. Share a win your clients achieved with your help. Talk about what’s going on in your business. Celebrate your own business wins.
Toot that horn, because if you don’t toot it, no one else will do it for you.
Now I want to hear from you: What’s one win you can share right now? Write back and let me know!
To your success,