Does the idea of selling yourself fill you with dread or make you feel wildly uncomfortable? If so, you are not alone. And you can change. Many of us can become preoccupied by our faults and development areas. We struggle to articulate where we add value. These practices, where we praise ourselves last and bat away compliments, hold us back and diminish our confidence further. It also makes it harder for others to hire, promote or partner with us.
Here are some thoughts on why it is important to voice your positives and how to make this feel less nauseating…
Interestingly, many of my clients whose goals are to grow their confidence and assert themselves come with a similar fear and hesitation. They know that there is so much scope for growth when we start leaning into our worth and our power. However, they fear that if they unleash their confidence and start “selling” themselves then they will come across as arrogant, unrealistic and lacking self-awareness.
To combat this fear, I can reassure you that selling oneself does not need to include a pendulum swing away from being likeable or relatable. It does not have to equate to peacocking or misleading others about our abilities. Instead, selling oneself means giving a clear and authentic picture of who we are, showcasing our skills and accomplishments unapologetically.
We need to allow our inner advocate to speak for us, without distraction. We can’t simply hope that her message will be heard over the din of polite, self-limiting descriptors that minimise and contextualise our contribution.
How? Here are some simple ways to enable your confident advocate to take the lead whether at interview, at work or in our personal lives.
1. Selling yourself is not selfish, it helps others
Perhaps you are more motivated by the idea of helping others than of helping yourself? If so, remember that selling yourself – aka clearly stating who you are and what you bring – is incredibly useful to others.
For example, the candidate who is fixated on the gap between them and the ideal personal spec makes things harder for themselves and for the recruiter who is trying to ascertain their fit. Instead, help your interviewer by giving clear examples. They’ve probably got a lot on, don’t burden them with the extra effort of deciphering your modest euphemisms. Tell them how you’ll add value and so make their job easier.
2. Use ‘I’
Not always (because it is of course important to credit your team) but be clear on your role and your contribution.
3. Practice articulating your strengths
You can start by doing this in writing. Keep a rolling record of the little wins and the big wins. State your role and where you’ve added value. Keep up this routine and you’ll soon have pages evidencing your strengths. When we substantiate these with facts, it’s much harder for our inner critic to undermine them. This document will help you if you’re having a lapse in confidence and when preparing for appraisal and/ or competency interview.
This article was written by Emma Gill, one of Careering into Motherhood’s partner coaches. She specialises in coaching and mentoring women to feel confident and thrive in their careers. To find out more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 7, 2022