Bragging or Owning It?

Steven Spielberg

I often speak to groups on how to be effective in expressing your power. I talk to and coach these groups in owning their own brilliance and magnificence. Most of these people are accomplished, smart, educated entrepreneurs and small business owners. Most of them diminish who they are when they speak about themselves. That is a problem. If you are building a business, or growing your business, you must be able to get people interested in working with you. To do that, you must own your power, your brilliance, your accomplishments. We all know that people buy and work with people they know, trust and like. How can I trust you are good if you don’t own it?

As I have done this talk, which is highly interactive with a couple of hundred people over the past year and when I work with my individual clients, I see this phenomenon of people downplaying their worth. So, I have inquired deeply into what gives, here?! What I have discovered are a couple of common threads.

The first common thread, that is frequently in the background for people is what they learned as children- “Don’t brag”. I think there is a real difference in someone bragging about how great they are with the intention of being superior and making the other person feeling inferior and owning your accomplishments. So, while whomever taught you (if this fits you) to not brag likely had that intention in mind, you (if this fits you) took it as don’t speak about how great you are. I am telling you, it does not serve you. What serves you, and frankly, the people you serve, is to own your own accomplishments, skill sets, uniqueness and, frankly, your brilliance and power. Those that work with you will then be proud of what they have in working with you as well as know they have someone they can count on. So… OWN IT!

The second common thread that I have observed, upon inquiring, is a fear of success disguised as fear of failure. What I have seen is people often gather evidence for any failure or compare themselves to others who are ‘better’ than they think they are. Or if they say great things about themselves and someone thinks they are not that great, they will get found out to be a fraud. This is so incredibly common they have named it ‘impostor syndrome’. I want you to know that every single person fails. You fail, you learn lessons, you grow and you move on. Are there people who are better at ‘it’ (whatever it is for you)- likely—- so what, that doesn’t diminish who you are or what you have and can accomplish. The biggest impediment seems to be this statement, that is often under the surface: “What if I am really successful, how will I sustain it or do better?”. This leads to mediocrity and a failure to own your power.

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