Bragging vs Just being honest

In a world of social media and entrepreneurship, self-promotion is essential. But many of us don’t like to brag so we keep a little quiet about our best qualities or our best work. We don’t like to sell because we are forced to talk about ourselves, and it feels distasteful. And then there are the fabulous marketeers and popular influencers who have no problem with self-promotion; it gets them a lot of attention and business. It’s not uncommon for the business to go to the best marketer rather than the best qualified.

Many of us worry too much about being a braggart and consequently the world doesn’t know about our skills or high-quality products.

So how do we find the right level of promoting ourselves – enough but not too much? First, we probably need to see what the difference is.

What is the difference between bragging and just telling the world about what we have to offer?

A lot of the difference is about impact.

We might look at others’ self-promotion, roll our eyes and say that’s bragging. Maybe we classify it that way because we are timid about our own self-promotion or our competitive side emerges and we feel they are trying to be better than us, which doesn’t feel so good.

Maybe when we simply tell the world about what we do, other people may roll their eyes (because of their insecurities) and then that’s their problem.

So that difference is just subjective – it’s just how we perceive others and how others perceive us.

But in addition, perhaps there are some less subjective ways to look at the difference – maybe there are some criteria we can use to distinguish the two. So that we can free ourselves from the worry about bragging and instead, step into healthy self-promotion.

When is self-promotion self-destructive?

Sometimes people go on and on about themselves because they are insecure and they are looking for external validation, admiration and a hit of feel-good dopamine. We would probably call that bragging and not many people like to be on the receiving end of that.

We can feel it. If this happens in a team or group it can get tiring, and it can have a negative effect on culture and even teamwork. There may be absolutely no purpose to this self-promotion other than self-gratification. There’s a classic model about building trustworthiness where the biggest factor is about self-orientation – the higher the self-orientation, the less people will find that person trustworthy.

When is self-promotion just being honest?  

There are times where we need to be clear and honest about our talents. For example, when we write a CV or bio, when others are going to introduce us, when we are asked what our strengths are, when we have a product that others would want to know about.

When we need to promote ourselves, we need to remind ourselves of the ‘what’ and ‘why’ behind that promotion and aim for just letting the world know the truth about who we are and what we offer. Otherwise, how are they to know?

Here are some things that can help with self-promotion without the edge of bragging.

  • Let people know about what you offer without an underlying message of “please like me”.
  • Check your own need for dopamine, needing to be liked, accepted, desired, <etc etc> and work on setting your own desperation aside and instead opt for sharing what you have to offer. 
  • Just tell the world what you have to offer. Use SW3 as a guide for whether they like you or buy from you:  Some Will, Some Won’t, So What?
  • Get feedback – how is your target audience receiving your message?

When content and context are applied to self-promotion it becomes a more palatable and relatable exercise.

So, instead of worrying about bragging, let’s dig in, find our talents, get honest about them and let the world know.

Coaches Going Corporate

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