Guest post for CBS
As confident as people think I am maneuvering through this entrepreneurial path and bringing many woman along with me………I am not always. It takes work to understand and truly feel deserving of your accolades, to accept compliments, to learn the art of tooting your own horn without being annoying. For men, it’s common, it’s normal, expected even. We know that when networking, or attending a party, we will surely encounter some man who’s definitely ” feeling himself”, and he may have good reason. Nevertheless, we give him a pass, and move right along to more pleasant conversations.
But had that been a woman…….shamelessly bragging on herself, detailing the seemingly impossible feat that she has accomplished, even mentioning all of the obstacles that she has surpassed…..well that my friend, is obscene, obnoxious and not lady like. More amazingly, is that it is not only men who hold us to this standard. We as women do this to ourselves. We ridicule each other in groups…. ” Who does she think she is”, ” She doesn’t play nice”, ” she’s an uppity bitch”,……. that last one was my own description that I overheard last night.
Woman are breed to be nice, to be quiet, to smile a lot, friendly, and for God’s sake, not a show off. But why not? This is considered the time of the woman and more specifically, the business woman. We are navigating some of the same waters as men, and doing it successfully. We need funds, we write business plans, we sit in on and host high-level meetings and boards, and we are spending every waking hour trying to create our own dream lives. What have we not accomplished? Some of us do ALL of this and manage homes, children, soccer schedules and ill parents.
Women are moving mountains, building tech companies that are changing the world, starting construction companies that are housing our families, but we’re supposed to be quiet about it? Women have just as much of, if not more reason to take a moment and let you know that she is happy, confident, talented, and above all, successful.
We must stop the downplaying of our talents NOW! We must stop looking at other women negatively if they are confident. Of course, there is a gap between being obnoxious and having a healthy dose of moxy. Not sure if you can toot your own horn just a little? No worries. Start small. Try this:
- When someone gives you a compliment like, Kristi, your skirt is nice. Don’t immediately tell them how fat you look or how cheap it was and that the hem is tapped up. Simply smile and say, thank you.
- When a man says you’re beautiful, don’t talk him out of the compliment and tell him, ” You think so? I’m starting to see wrinkles around my eyes”……. smile and say, thank you.
- When someone says you did a GREAT job on that proposal/deal/account/presentation, don’t go into the war story of how it was really your team, your only real contribution was picking the smartest people to work with and all you did was hold the water……. Smile, and say ” We worked hard and it payed off. Thank you”.
- And most importantly, when you see a woman networking, working a room, smiling and speaking to everyone, don’t cower in the corner with your friends and talk about her. Take notes, watch her, see what you can learn from her and say hello. You never know. She may have been completely nervous, reduced to tears in the car 20 minutes earlier, and trying her hardest to put on a brave face as she aims to connect herself and her business.
There is no right, wrong or perfect way to learn how to brag a little on yourself. But I do suggest you start to at least remind yourself of the positive things you’ve done and to do this on a regular basis. Each quarter or every few months, write down all of the things that you’ve accomplished. Nothing is too big or too small. If you got your child potty trained- write it down. Lost 10 pounds- write it down. Successfully headed a proposal, presentation , and closed it….write it down. Brought an idea to fruition and are now building the best, most awesome, freaking business of 2013….. umm you don’t have to write this one down, no doubt, the New York Times has written it for you……