Three Ways to Give Yourself Credit
Recognizing our own accomplishments and sharing our success stories is not easy. We often feel awkward talking about ourselves, even when clearly handed the microphone and the spotlight. Many people point out that men feel more comfortable talking up their own success than women do, and that’s a problem. Not to mention that a shaky economy means most of us need to prove our value, and want to move up the career ladder. So if you feel awkward talking up yourself and the ways you help your company, how do you break the ice?
Just do it! Don’t wait for someone to put you into the spotlight. Rush the stage! Well, not really, but speak up!
Here are three ways to give yourself the credit you deserve.
- Performance reviews. I am always shocked when I hear about a company not doing regular reviews. These scheduled sessions are a time to catch up with your supervisor and goals, progress, and areas that you could use help. If your company doesn’t do this, ask your boss if it’s possible. Say that you’d like to schedule just thirty minutes to go over some of the things you’ve been working on and share what’s working versus what could be improved. They’ll likely appreciate the initiative. If your company already does reviews, prepare material ahead of time. Look at how your department has improved because of your work, credit yourself and others who have helped, but don’t pretend like things get done because of nebulous teamwork. You’re important!
- Staff meetings. Our staff meetings are usually pretty productive. We take time to talk about what projects we’re working on, who we’ll need to bring on for various pieces, and when we expect to be finished. Sometimes our staff meetings devolve into “I’m super busy with [ambiguous project name] stuff.” That can be okay if it doesn’t really concern anyone else, but don’t end with, “And…yeah, that’s all.” Even adding just one sentence about an accomplishment that you’ve had will help you stand out from the crowd. For instance, “The added PR that I’ve been coordinating for our loan program has paid off, and we were featured in the business journal last week.” Maybe your boss knows that, but you have to rise up from the crowd instead of blending in.
- Office culture. Depending on the size and culture of your company, you may be able to get some self-promotion going in a few ways. Do you have a company newsletter that features updates? When something pretty impressive happens for you and your department, send a blurb to the newsletter person. How about a company blog? That’s a great way to share what’s going well and how you’re helping your company succeed. In smaller offices, just work it into conversation now and then. Instead of always just answering the “How’s it going?” question with “Busy,” actually tell them something. “Pretty good. I worked hard to finish the audits a few weeks early, so the department is ahead for the month.”
I’ve been told more than once that I downplay my accomplishments. My natural reaction is to say “Oh yeah, well I just did these simple things and then…” and I trail off. That’s a thing of the past! I work hard, am bright, and have good ideas. Not everyone has the specific skills that I have, with the attitude and motivation to make big things happen. When you’re making big things happen, tell someone!