You will grow your tribe (and business) best by stepping back from the idea of having to promote yourself and simply putting yourself out there in the most genuine way possible. No growth will come from standing on the sidelines, reading through social media feeds and being fearful of “having to promote” yourself. In fact, just strike “promote” from your vocabulary and replace it with “be of service”, “share your story”, “ask for feedback”.
My kids are finally in bed, so I sit down at my computer with a glass of wine for a little bit of ‘me’ time…which at this stage in my life means scanning through Email, Facebook and LinkedIn to see what my friends and colleagues have decided to share about their day. On this particular evening, I notice how my friends, friends-of-friends, colleagues, co-workers, …are promoting themselves. They promote their values, their businesses, their friend’s business…they promote through ‘sharing’, through ‘liking’, through ‘commenting’…various modes of interaction and commitment. This really hits home with me…because I’m coming to grips with the fact that for many (including me) it’s hard to promote yourself. It’s not so hard to ‘like’ a story you think is good or worthwhile for others to read – it’s not hard to ‘share’ a story or statement that someone else may have spent weeks/months/years writing – because it’s not your own. When you ‘like’, ‘comment’, ‘share’…you are putting something that someone else did ‘out there’. And it’s different when you have to ‘put yourself out there’.
I started my own consulting business this past summer – it’s something I’ve thought about doing for many years, but it wasn’t until I found the right people to share this journey with, that I knew it was the right time. And I’m SO excited, and SO scared….but that’s normal, right? The thing that scares me the most though..is having to promote MYSELF…! I’m not good at putting myself out there. I’m not shy, and I’m not overly modest…but I’m not one to brag, or even talk much about my successes. I will talk the ear off of anyone who wants to listen about how wonderful my kids are, or how cool my husband’s job is…but ask me about what I do, and my successes, and I’ll tell you very briefly. I’ll say that prior to going out on my own, I worked for the same company for 16 years and I believe that loyalty means something. I’ll tell you I have a master’s degree in Engineering..but I won’t mention the many other things that I’m really proud of..the things that I really worked for and the things that were very hard, but that I did anyway. So, promoting myself is HARD…but now I’m a business owner..and I realize that I have to get over this handicap, I need to put on my big girl boots and promote myself and my partners and my business…I need to not be shy and I need to realize that no one else is going to ‘brag’ for me.
So, what do I do at this point…I actually google ‘how to promote yourself in business’ – and some interesting articles pop-up. The ones I liked the best…(here I go…sharing something that I didn’t write)
- It’s Okay to Promote Yourself — in Fact, It’s Necessary. Here’s How to Do It Better.
- How To Promote Yourself Without Promoting Yourself
The articles provide a little encouragement…so this is the start of sharing my story…writing something personal about myself. And, maybe others who have been in my shoes will read this and smile..and remember when they were (or maybe still are), trying to figure out how to promote themselves without ‘bragging’ or looking arrogant. I know it’s more of an art than a science…but I’m an engineer and art isn’t my forte. I will continue to work on how to promote myself and my company, with this blog as the first step in that direction…and I will be wearing my big girl boots!