My peers articulate their accomplishments so well. My boss thinks they are so capable because they are able to speak well about their accomplishments. I find it very uncomfortable to speak about mine. I wish my work can speak for itself. ~ Senior Manager, Tech
Speaking-up for self on achievements is hard for some people. The discomfort stems from deeply held values like humility, respect for others etc. within them. Culturally, in some geographical regions, speaking about own's own greatness is frowned upon and is not a regarded as becoming of a civilised person.
The corporate world has a poor attention span. Hence there are multiple priorities vying for the attention of people. In this milieu, there is a probability in being ignored than being noticed. Hence the corporate mantra has been "build visibility" to most senior folks.
The ones who like recognition and being in the centre of attention, love building visibility as there is an inner drive to do the same. However the ones who like to be subtler, struggle to cope with the value conflict.
We can go on arguing whether building visibility is required for career growth or not. However it is obvious in the everything-fast corporate setup that without people noticing the greatness of you and your work, career growth can be slower.
What did people think & do differently inspite of the discomfort?
These are learnings co-created in multiple coaching conversations:
1. From Self to Service
In most people's heads, talking about one's accomplishments is equivalent to being self-centred, egoic, tom-tomming, etc and in their mental model, these are not good values to possess.
What if we re-frame building visibility to becoming a "beacon"/"map" for other people to reach out to get the right solution/advise/ product etc? What if it's not just about you?
Awareness & accessibility are the first steps in building a service. Speaking about yourself and your work are the building blocks to awareness.
2 Choice of medium:
Some people are good speakers, some good writers, some good organisers, some good learners etc.
To just get past the discomfort - pls use the right medium to talk about your ideas, your work, your accomplishments.
If you are good in speaking, speak up in meetings. If you are a writer, write blogs/emails etc.
If you are a good organiser, make your work part of your event. If you are a learner, take a knowledge sharing session about what you learnt new. Just begin anywhere. Once you get past the discomfort, you can move to other mediums.
3. Be inclusive
It may be awkward to speak about being a hero in your own story. However if you are inclusive of all the others who contributed to you being the hero, it will be lot easier. Everyone else will welcome your story and their part in your success. It eases the environment and establishes connection. Go for it!
All the cob-webs in one's own head will be cleared when you translate intention into practice. The more you practice, the confident you become and the better you get at your craft.
Choose a small group of people who support you to talk about yourself and your accomplishment. Continuously refine it and voila, one day you will be able to ace it.
What will help you speak about your work?