I was always taught that to be humble was the MOST important of traits to possess. That as a Christian, my walk in this life would be less fraught with pain and punishment if I was not haughty or prideful (Job 22:29 and Psalms 18:27). It’s a better way of life, ensuring salvation (Psalms 149: 4). So imagine my dismay when I was told by one of my bosses that I needed to start tooting my own horn!
The horror!! I didn’t even know what to do with that information because it went counter to everything that I thought I should do. One of the things we as women sometimes suffer from is not wanting to appear like we are boasting or lacking in humility, well maybe not Kim Kardashian, but let’s just say a lot of women. One of the things we have to learn as women, is the balance between putting out some good information about who you are and what you have done, without appearing boastful. I think humility is a great trait to have but it is important to strive for balance. Don’t be humble to a fault. This is especially important in our careers. It would be great if our work would just speak for itself and people would just recognize it as great, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. You shouldn’t be afraid of a little self-promotion because if not you, then who? You gotta be your own best friend.
I don’t know when this shift happened in our world, but as large volumes of information pour out vying for people’s attention, it has become even more important to stand out. It used to be that we weren’t so distracted by our smart phones, the Internet, iPads and the busyness of life, and we could focus on one thing at a time, we noticed things more. Now there are so many moving parts and everyone has ADD. You have to jolt people, it seems into seeing you. You have to compel others to recognizing your “shine” or gift to the world. Some people go to extreme lengths, like those on reality TV or the lunatics who pull crazy stunts on YouTube, but I am just talking about blessing others with your unique talents and gifts in a respectful and honorable way. One of the best quotes that may remind you of this comes from one of my favorite poems by Marianne Williamson called Our Deepest Fear.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.Marianne Williamson, Author and Speaker
When I read that quote I was reminded that I am supposed to shine. That indeed my shine, makes God happy. That not being seen and trying to hide my glow is not what I should be doing. You can get so good at diminishing your shine that you can seem invisible. That’s what my boss meant. He knew I was doing a good job, but he didn’t have a complete picture. He needed me to tell him what I was proud of, and to not be afraid to tell him of all the great things I was doing. What I know for sure is that everyone has something to contribute to this world. We each have special gifts and the world needs them. In this era of everyone trying to stand out and constantly posting information as if to say “look at me” it can be hard to know which way to go. Should you stay small or should you just shine and take everything that comes with that? But what if you are saying that I just want to lead a quiet life and I don’t need to shine. I am quietly happy just being a voyeur and never drawing too much attention to myself or joining the “look at me” generation. I hear ya, and it’s great if you are in that space. But if you want to share your gift, do it! It doesn’t have to be grand, but just stop talking about it and make it happen!
- Go and update your resume and fill it with all of the accomplishments you are most proud of, let them see what a gem you are!
- Start that blog, put your passion into action and do what you love!
- Create that product you have been imagining, it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. I am a also a UX Designer and I can tell ya, everything is iterative!
- Write that book you have be dreaming about, it will probably burst from you, ready to come out.
- Officially launch that business you have been doing on the side for five years now.
Life is short, you are not promised tomorrow. All that waiting until you have more time and when the conditions are ideal, may never come. If you don’t do it now, then when?? I know, I know, it is scary! But this famous quote reminds us that… “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”Teddy Roosevelt, Former President
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”Teddy Roosevelt, Former President
Putting yourself out there is very vulnerable. But…
Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.Dr. Brene Brown, Author and Professor
What if they don’t like it? What if they don’t like me? I’m not at my perfect weight or have the best hair or the best blog….etc. What if, what I have labored on, doesn’t resonate with anyone or what if they don’t like it? What if they don’t hire me because I appear too confident or knowledgeable? What if I am too old or too young? What if…???
I had some of these same thoughts myself last week during a mini-meltdown. I questioned the path I was on, putting myself out there when it seems like no one is listening or reading. But I was reminded by a few wonderful friends that I needed to be authentically Franka whether one or one million people liked my work.
Your measure of success is not the number of comments on your blog. Sometimes things resonate with people even if they never say it. It’s actually good that you are going through this. The fact that you care so much is when great things happen!Yolanda Johnson, Transplant Survivor and Motivational Speaker and Dr. Kirleen Neely, Self-Esteem Psychotherapist
Thank you Yoyo and Kirls! It is when my breakthrough happened! What’s so wonderful about this is that the next day I got the most wonderful and heartfelt comment on the blog from a complete stranger. She shared a challenge and told me the post I had written really helped her and she thanked me for using my life. She also liked my Facebook page. One person totally lifted my spirits. Now I know for sure that everything I do and will continue to do, is within my purpose. I have put consistent action behind fulfilling that purpose, ever since.
Yes, there is a chance people won’t like what you have created, or you, for that matter, but does that mean you shouldn’t say it, do it or sell it?
Whatever you are trying to birth right now, don’t be afraid to go for it! Don’t get stuck in your head. I know that this may take some doing, especially if you were taught like me to be humble, to steer away from too much shine. But if you want to stand out or be recognized for your work or what only you can offer the world, a little horn tooting is absolutely imperative.
Now I believe that God can manifest amazing things in your life, far beyond what any human can do, I have witnessed His amazing blessings, but you must get in the arena and put yourself in a position to be recognized and utilized. Don’t stand on the sidelines, overthinking or over-analyzing everything. Sometimes the best thing you can do is…Shine!
If you loved this post, don’t keep it to yourself, share it with a friend! I love hearing from you so share your thoughts in the comments below. Until next time…xoxo.