For some, the in­cli­na­tion to share per­sonal achieve­ments and skills comes nat­u­rally. The rest of us? Well, let’s just say we’d rather give up carbs for life than self-pro­mote. “We hate to pro­mote our­selves be­cause we don’t want to look like we’re be­ing a show-off,” says Margie War­rell, au­thor of Make Your Mark: A Guide­book For The Brave Hearted. “Yet, the fact is, if we’re not shar­ing what we’re up to and what we love to do, we’re ac­tu­ally de­priv­ing the world of our gifts and strengths.” Find out how to be­come your own cheer­leader (mi­nus the cringe fac­tor).

There’s a good chance you’ve grown up with the no­tion that brag­ging is prac­ti­cally a crim­i­nal of­fence, so it’s no won­der you feel icky about spruik­ing your skills. But self-pro­mo­tion isn’t the same as self-con­grat­u­la­tion. It’s just an op­por­tu­nity to tell the world what you have to of­fer. “I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant to look at it through the lens of, ‘This is what I have to give,’” says Margie. “To me, it’s not a brag at all, be­cause the more peo­ple who know what it is you want to do, the more peo­ple there are who can help you do it.” Get started by think­ing about your per­son­al­ity traits (you might be su­per or­gan­ised, or great at con­nect­ing peo­ple). Next, con­sider what your prac­ti­cal skills are and what you al­ways de­liver in your work. “And then, what are you pas­sion­ate about? What’s one lit­tle in­sight that sets you apart? And it shouldn’t be like, ‘FYI, I love cats,’” says cor­po­rate coach Nikki Fog­den Moore. “It’s your added value. So it could be a high at­ten­tion to de­tail, it could be cus­tomer ser­vice. What’s your ‘spe­cial sauce’?” Reach out to friends, family or col­leagues for their take on what makes you unique and what they love about your work. “Get a tes­ti­mo­nial or a ref­er­ence – that way you’re not talk­ing about your­self and it takes away the onus,” says Nikki.

“It’s all about us­ing lan­guage that’s com­fort­able to you,” says Nikki. “Share ex­am­ples of your work and pas­sion for what you do in a con­ver­sa­tional style rather than shov­ing it down peo­ple’s throats. So it might be some­thing like, ‘Hey, I re­ally loved work­ing on this shoot – here’s a be­hind-the-scenes look.’” Self-pro­mo­tion might make you cringe the first 50 times you try it, but the more you put your­self out there (and no­tice that the earth doesn’t stop spin­ning as a re­sult), the bet­ter you’ll get at toot­ing your own horn. Build up your con­fi­dence by cre­at­ing a kick-ass LinkedIn pro­file, sug­gests Nikki. And if you still feel awk­ward about the whole self-pro­mo­tion biz, re­mem­ber this from Margie: “If all you ever do is what’s com­fort­able, you’ll never re­ally thrive.”

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