Dump the bragging baggage: How to ‘show off’ without p….ing them off!


Tooting your own horn or blowing your own trumpet, rather than  being a sign of arrogance  can be  more  a sign of believing  in yourself.

Here a really  good blog  written by Claudia Crawley that  delves into why it is important to embrace this idea.

When you hear terms like ‘bragging’ how do you feel?  Perhaps, like me, a strong emotional response to the thought of blowing your own trumpet. You might even remember being scolded for showing off, with a message such as ‘girls should be modest and quiet about their achievements’ attached.   So, it’s hardly surprising that we shy away from showing off.

As we tend to under-estimate our accomplishments, we may see talking about our talents as wrong, self-seeking and off-putting for others. And when this contradicts another childhood message, to put ourselves last and others first, we fear becoming unpopular.  We all want to be liked, don’t we? How different would your career be if you could dump that baggage?

Women need to transform the egotism of bragging into the much more mature idea of self-promotion – in life and in the workplace.   So how should this transformation operate? Many women are conditioned to believe that working hard and doing a good job ensure career progression. ‘The Myth of the Ideal Worker’ (2011, Catalyst), says that they won’t.  It suggests women are more likely to get a salary increase, and boost their job prospect and satisfaction by doing 2 significant things – connecting with power-brokers and self-promotion. Now this might seem like ‘showing off’ but to be effective it needs to be more mature and purposive, and in the service of something larger than the self, to be listened to. If some men are less inhibited by modesty then why shouldn’t women use it better to advance their careers?

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Reframe it: Call showing off, bragging or self-promotion something less negative laden such as ‘voicing your value’, which refers to promoting your successes rather than promoting But make sure that ‘success’ is in the service of something deeper than egotism. Simply self-serving is value-subtracting. Everyone eventually sees it for what it is –even men!
  • See it as Self-Leading:  Promoting valid successes company-wide and broader, is a necessary part of influencing. And instead of the conditioned ‘I’m not a leader’ response, reframe again and see yourself as learning to self-lead.  You’re a leader when you decide to be one – at any level. See it as a task everyone faces at some stage. And now is the time to practice your leadership skills. When you do, you’re not only growing, you’re also preparing the content of a captivating CV.


Now you’ve changed your mindset, how should you promote your successes?

  1. Identify your personal value proposition (PVP) i.e. ‘….the unique benefits you will bring to an employer that others won’t’. (Jill Konrath). Just ask yourself what have I achieved that others haven’t? In what roles and in what projects did I get them? How did they benefit the company?
  2.  Declare your PVP: Create and practice an elevator pitch that emphasises your PVP and the processes, outcomes and benefits for the company. It’ll make you conspicuous, convincing and confident in the work place.
  3. Showcase your value internally and externally:
  • Do more than your job description. For example help your boss with hard-to-finish tasks.
  • Keep your boss informed about your project- progress. Share successes and problems and seek  support where necessary.
  • Seek out and offer to do stretching work and recognise the often less than a perfect fit for your PVP hence the importance of lubricating it.
  • Write solution focused articles and blogs on issues in your area of work. Publish them in internal and external forums and develop your status as a whizz.
  • Contribute to meetings by asking questions (as a key part of self-leading), sharing your views and build a reputation as a considered thinker in your area.
  • Know who controls what in your company and make a point of talking to them frequently. When communicating results and business benefits of projects you and your team developed,be humble – in contrast to the managers who say guff like ‘there’s no me in team’ yet continually find one (i.e. themselves).


Women who used these ideas to progress:

  • Helen, a PR manager client: discovered that her PVP was her knack for managing projects within tight deadlines and tight budgets and effectively addressing conflicts that threatened to destabilise progress.  The effect? Returning customers increased, as did referrals. Ultimate benefit? Company reputation and bottom line. The result? Helen was approached to participate in high profile projects which enhanced her CV and got her her dream job.
  • Vanessa, a middle manager client: made a point of getting to know her boss’ boss and the rest of the executive team.  At formal events she conversed and shared her and her team’s successes. The result? Getting favourably noticed so when opportunities arose she was alerted to apply.

Finally: Voicing your value needs your continual vigilance. It means getting feedback from those you work with so you can continually recraft your PVP. It may not give instant gratification but will result in more sustainable value for all.  And if YOU don’t do this nobody else will.

Do you want to stop being your own shadow and become your own light in the service of something greater than yourself? Then join other women who are reclaiming their value and learn how to overcome challenges to voicing your value. Sign up for the ‘Empowered Woman Conference’ on 30 April, in London. England. Book your place here

Did you enjoy this post? Why not share it with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter?

Claudia Crawley, CEO of Winning Pathways Coaching is an executive coach for women and a career coach for women seeking career advancement. She is also the creator of the Page 1 Woman (TM) concept.  Click here to find out more about Winning Pathways Coaching.

So go ahead  and use the  ideas presented in this  interesting informative blog. Blow  your own horn, because  if you don’t, nobody else will.





About Em-Powered-Solutions

Veronica's purpose in life has been to inspire, motivate and empower individuals and organizations to help them to find creative solutions in transforming their situation or circumstances. She has a demonstrated track record of making a difference in the lives of people and organizations. Her expertise includes services in the area of public speaking presentations, key note addresses; facilitation of seminars and workshops in the following areas: health, wellness, stress management, self esteem building, relationship building, emotional healing, empowerment strategies, personal motivation and growth with large and small organizations, as well as providing 1-1 counselling and coaching to individuals in these areas.
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