One of our learning program participants brought this up and I felt compelled to write about it
First up, I think this is a quite common feeling. And not one specific to women either because I have had male colleagues and friends mention they feel uncomfortable owning their achievements. I have myself gone through the same feeling from time to time. So know that it is not a special disorder to feel so 🙂 It is quite common.
Coming to what you can do about it,
Know that it is absolutely okay to own your accomplishments
You have worked hard to accomplish something and you must take credit for your work. When someone compliments me on a job well done, I often catch myself thinking — Oh, I did nothing. It was the team, we got lucky and so on. There is of course all those factors that had a role in the outcome, but as much as those factors did, I also had a huge role to play. I would have busted my ass off in making something happen and I’m the first person to dismiss all that effort when faced with a compliment.
We are usually our worst critics.
Even in a job well done, I keep picking faults and fail to notice all that went great. When I load memory of a project in my head, the mistakes come to mind first and because of this, when someone compliments on doing the project well, I find it hard to accept the compliment.
It is in one of my chats with Annie that she mentioned her monthly ritual of summarising all that she did that month, including her achievements. More than anything else, this is just a self-reminder of all the good work you’ve done.
Deliberately practising to look on the bright side of things while taking note of things that can be improved (without overtly beating yourself about it) is a what significant booster to your self-confidence. It helps way more in owning what you did. Besides, if you would shoulder blame on something when it goes wrong, you absolutely deserve to shoulder credit for it when it goes well 🙂
One way to balance out your extreme emotions is to adopt the message in the picture below:
If you are talking about something you have actually accomplished, then you’re not bragging, You are only stating facts. Bragging is when you oversell what you’re done and Belittling is when you undersell it. Let’s do neither and instead stick to just stating facts.
When you mention in your LinkedIn bio that you lead a project in your college or that you hold the position of Vice Chairperson, you are stating a fact.
This is a Facebook post I put up a while ago and I spent a long time thinking about changing the wording. Am I boasting is what I kept thinking. But then the answer is no. I’ve only stated facts and it was not easy to get to this point. I’m genuinely glad that I bust my ass to study well and get to this point.
I initially hesitated to put up validation mails about our work at Rethink. But then again, this is actual validation for the good work we have done. Why stop short of stating it as is?
Likewise in LinkedIn, I’ve switched to sharing numbers and details of what I have actually done. Saying that “I’m the best program anchor” could be bragging/boasting or overselling. But what I can go on to say is what I did as a program anchor and the results I produced. That is something I actually did and no one can say otherwise.
- Stop thinking too much about others perceiving you as being boastful. Other people really don’t care about you or your accomplishments.
- Mention your accomplishments as is — with details and numbers. Talking about what you really did is NOT boasting.
- Receive compliments graciously with a sincere “Thank you” and smile
- Get yourself to look at all the great things you have done. Your accomplishments are a record of your talent and merit. They make you believe that you can really get things done. Own what you did, for your own good.