The Art of Selling Yourself Short

Here’s the secret about self-promotion: it’s not narcissistic to talk about yourself. I’m not advising that you lie about, embellish, or misrepresent your work, but it is important to portray yourself as an impressive person who is excited about what you’re doing! I admit, I read the paragraph above and feel a little uncomfortable talking about myself in that way. But why do I feel that way?

Why do we sell ourselves short?

The number one reason we do this is because we’re afraid: afraid of rejection, which we think will hurt worse if we talk ourselves up, as though we’d fall further. So we talk ourselves down, thinking that it’s a shorter fall. Then, we’re more likely to be rejected.

Or we’re afraid of not living up to expectations; if people think we’re awesome, what happens when you aren’t always awesome? So we lower expectations for others, thinking it will make us seem all the more accomplished when we do achieve something. This approach can only backfire.

And finally, we’re afraid we’re fooling ourselves. We confuse self-respect and self-appreciation with entitlement and selfishness, and we don’t want to be like that. So we downplay what’s important about ourselves and deny that we did anything truly special. And our self-esteem follows suit.

You don’t have to cure cancer or go to the moon to have achieved something!

Our society idolizes people who do extraordinary things, then encourages everyone to compare themselves to others. This means that we’re socialized to think of ourselves as commodities and talk about ourselves in a passive way. If I had a penny for every time I heard someone talking about “receiving” their degree, “getting” a promotion, or “starting” a business, I wouldn’t have to work another day in my life. Didn’t you work hard for and earn that degree? Didn’t you compete for and win that promotion? Didn’t you follow your passion and launch your business?

With powerful language and a celebratory attitude toward yourself and your achievements, you are unstoppable. Take some time to evaluate your resumé, elevator speech, dating profile, anywhere or any place you talk about yourself. How can you tell your best story?

Read the full version of this post on Medium, or contact us today to learn how we can help you tell your best story.

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