. . . do you toot your own horn?
I don’t. I should but I don’t.
I’m always amazed by those who do. And when they do, my initial reaction is, “Who do they think they are?” Someone who is confident in what they do and proud of his or her work is who they are. Someone who is secure in his or her own skin. So what’s so wrong with that? When I think of it that way, nothing.
I tried a guided meditation once and the young woman who led it did a great job, guiding us through each breath and creating a sweet space. She had a calming presence and good energy. Afterwards, I felt a sense of peace and groundedness.
I decided to go a few more times to her monthly guided meditations, and each time I felt great afterwards. And that feeling lasted for a day or two.
At the end of each meditation, she shared that she did private energy clearing sessions. I was intrigued. I did a little research on her and then decided to contact her. Couldn’t hurt, right?
We set up a free initial consult phone call, lasting 20 minutes. I shared what I was looking for and what I expected to get out of a session. She shared about what she offers and how the process worked.
I was impressed, and I felt a good connection. I was game to set up a first appointment. But, wait, I realized I hadn’t asked her how much it would cost. Without hesitation and quite clearly, she said, “$500 for one session.”
I about choked. $500?! Seriously? I was stunned. That’s a lot of money for a one-hour energy clearing session, I thought. I didn’t hesitate to tell her.
“I’m good at what I do and I have the experience. I have been very successful at helping high profile clients unblock their energy and achieve their goals,” she said.
All that may be well and true, but I wasn’t going to pay $500 for an energy clearing session. I thanked her for her time and told her I wouldn’t be doing the sessions. I hung up the phone and thought, Who does she think she is charging that much money? That’s ridiculous.
And then I thought, She’s someone who values herself. She knows what she is capable of, she’s not afraid to say it, and she’s clear that what she does is of high value. I couldn’t fault her for that.
Prior to my conversation with her, I had a networking lunch with a friend of a friend. I wanted to branch out into other industries besides educational publishing, and she was a good contact for web strategy and design.
After we broke the initial ice, she asked me, “What is it that you’re doing now?”
I hemmed and hawed and stumbled over my words. I had a hard time saying what I do let alone name what I’m good at.
I managed to blurt out a few things but I walked away from that lunch without asking for what I wanted. I’m not even sure I knew what I wanted but I do know by not saying anything I was leaving it up to her to figure it out.
As a lifelong introvert, I have not been one to sing my own praises. My personal PR kind of sucks. But I will sing the loudest for other people.
Why is it so hard to toot my own horn? Why have I let other people determine my value? Why is it easier for me to share other people’s achievements rather than my own?
Like the guided meditation woman, there is nothing wrong with valuing yourself and what you do. And the thing is, I know what I’m good at. I know I bring a lot to the table. But, unlike the guided meditation woman, I’m not confident in talking out loud about the value I offer.
I was raised to be humble and not a braggart. My father was the hardest worker I have ever known, and he believed that if you worked hard, you would be rewarded. He thought it was rude to talk about your accomplishments or ask to be compensated more for them.
As an environmental engineer, my father worked for a major steel company to develop ways of reducing pollution from steel production. It was his job to research and create new technology, which he did. He had many patents for his products and technologies. But he never bragged about them, he never really even talked about them, and he always gave credit to his boss and research team.
While it’s fine and dandy to give others credit, it’s just as fine to give yourself credit for a job well done. If you don’t name your value, others will and it might not be an accurate reflection—there may be more there than others see. If you don’t take credit, no one, including you, knows what you are capable of. If you don’t speak up about what you want, you won’t get what you want.
I don’t have this all figured out, and I’m still not sure I could speak so confidently like the guided meditation woman. But I do know I’m my best advocate so it’s up to me to be clear about what I do and to ask for what I want.
Maybe it’s time for me get out that horn and start practicing.
(Photograph by Sorin Sîrbu.)