The A Word: Self Promotion or Bragging?

How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about

Hats are my new “go to” accessory.  Until recently I thought they were only worn at weddings and Ascot, but they are proving very useful due to my unplanned “bouffant” hairstyle.  I was beyond excited when I bumped into my hairdresser in the high street last week; they are hopeful of a 4th July opening and I’m on the waiting list.  However, there’s a slight problem, we’re moving on the 2nd and more on that stressful event later.

As our nation starts to return work it got me thinking about the subject of self-promotion, a topic we covered regularly during my sales training.  Self-promotion is attempting to present yourself to others as an accomplished, capable, smart, and skilled person.  It can be done through face-to-face conversation, on blogs or social media platforms, or even through our mannerisms, posture, speech, or dress.   

Self-promotion is necessary for anyone running a business.  It’s important when interviewing for a new job, especially when competing with say 20 other applicants or even when vying for promotion.   In my current job, I interview people every day, some self-promote well and others don’t.  If someone has great skills, I try to help them with their self-promotion techniques as some people just don’t feel comfortable with it.   That said, it’s a fine balance as a boastful manner is unattractive and favourable impressions can also be accomplished by modesty or even self-denigration.

So, what’s the solution? How do you ensure your achievements and your unique selling points don’t get lost while avoiding annoying everyone with your bragging?   During sales training we were reminded of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote:

“You don’t talk because you want to say something, you talk because you have something to say.”

People generally don’t value confidence and self-promotion unless it’s accompanied by competence. I follow a number of people on Instagram who do self-promotion well but its combined with competence and knowledge in their chosen field so, as a follower, you receive value.

Writing my blog to raise awareness of autoimmune disease has been a new venture for me and, to start with, I loved writing it, but felt uncomfortable promoting it even though sales and marketing has always been a part of my career.  I’ve got better over time, mostly due all the nice comments I receive from people who enjoy reading it.

Research also concludes that gender has a strong influence in how much a person pushes themselves forward.  In most cultures there tends to be a view that confidence and self-promotion are more desirable male characteristics, whilst modesty and group-affiliation are more feminine ones 😊. 

Parking self-promotion for now, I want to talk about driving and the affect my ankylosing spondylitis has had on my ability to drive.  As AS attacks the spine it causes pain and swelling between the vertebrae, as well as in the joints between the spine and pelvis. I also have pain in my mid-back and neck which often gets worse when I’m in one position for an extended period of time, including sitting in a car, or on an airplane.   Even before my diagnosis my range of motion was often affected, making it difficult to check to the side and behind, affecting my driving.

If I’m in pain now, I tend to avoid driving long distances which is an inconvenience.  I also had a car accident around the same time as my diagnosis.  I was hit by a lorry who failed to see me overtaking him when he pulled out.  Whilst I was uninjured, the car and the motorway crash barriers were written-off and I was very lucky.  It knocked my confidence and I haven’t driven as much as I would like since those two events.  This is something I intend to work on over the course of the next year as my driving skills have definitely deteriorated!

And so, to my finale, our house move!  OMG, it’s so stressful.  We’ve lived in our family house for 16 years and moving seemed like great idea until we started the process.  I’ve read so many stories about how moving to a new house represents a transition in life and this move is certainly part of our life plan.  

However, moving home is also about change and unfamiliarity and for many people (including me) it can cause stress and anxiety.   I adore familiarity, routine, and order, they are my best friends.  When you’re moving, you have none of these, hence the challenge!

We’re also downsizing, and Jamie and I have been working towards this move for over a year.  Not only do we have the 16 years of our life in this house, we also have our previous 40 years packed away in cupboards too.   This house has A LOT OF STORAGE.  We’ve been quite ruthless assessing whether our “stuff” is still useful.   If not, we reasoned that it still wouldn’t be useful packed away in a box in our new house, so it’s gone.  We’ve exchanged contracts on our house and move out on 2nd July, hence my distress at my hairdresser opening on 4th!

To add to this distress, we’ve pulled out of our house purchase due to some complications with boundary lines.

As Joel Osteen said, the life in front of you is so much more important than the life behind you so fingers crossed for the next chapter

Until next time, keep safe. #StayAlert xxx

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