Article Originally Posted on Levo League
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Nearly every week, there will come a moment, over drinks or maybe even in the locker room at the gym, where the woman I’m speaking to, no matter her age or socio-economic status will say meekly, “I don’t want to toot my own horn….” and then in a voice barely above a whisper mention a recent success she’s had.
As young adult, if we can’t share our successes with our friends and family, then how can we expect to ace the next interview? Seal the deal on a new opportunity? Or impress a new supervisor or contact? That ability to share your accomplishments in a way that is palatable is a skill that successful people leverage on a daily basis, so how do you enhance your ability to articulate that you're awesome. Here are a few ideas:
Write it Out
Do you know what you’ve accomplished? If you just read that sentence and then looked off into the distance because you aren’t sure how to answer, I suggest taking the next 10 minutes to write out a bulleted list of what you’ve done (at work or outside of work) that you’re proud of. Once you finish this first list, take another 10 minutes to go through the list and add some facts and figures to it, flesh it out and make it more substantial.
For example, “…contacted various media outlets to pitch new digital content” would be stronger as “…cultivated 20 new international media relationships which lead to 5 new content partnerships.” Or another example, “Worked with young women on self-esteem and empowerment issues” would be stronger as, “I developed a personal development curriculum to support teen girls in identifying their strengths and increasing their self-esteem”.
Once you have a personal understanding of what work you’re doing in the world and can articulate that work, you are a step closer to being able to share your accomplishments.
Now that you have language and maybe even a little more pride in what you’ve done, it’s time to practice talking about it out loud.
Practice With Strangers
The best way to get comfortable talking about your successes is to talk about your successes. The next time you find yourself on a plane, strike up a conversation with the person in the seat next to you, see how you can mention something that you’re proud of. Test your personal success story telling ability with the woman who sits next to you on the bus every day. Try it again and again so that you can get cozy with shining a bit brighter.
Don’t apologize for being awesome
Now that you’re able to articulate your awesomeness and have practiced this new skill with people you may never meet again, you’re ready for the hardest part. When you find yourself sitting with your friends and they ask, "how’s work going?", toot your own horn! Let them know what you’ve been up to, encourage them to share also. Make it a part of your relationships with your friends to share your successes. That way, when it’s time to share your accomplishments with the recruiter for the company you’d love to work for, you’re ready and able to share your value add.