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Strategies For Success: Don’t Self-Promote

Aaron McHugh

In today’s me-centric culture, self promotion is the norm. My least favorite self proclamation is when people use words like “Guru” when speaking about themselves.

My good friend Morgan taught me, “The problem with self-promotion is that it has to be maintained”. Gulp. When promotion is up to us, there is rarely any sustainable momentum. It’s exhausting.

I read a great quote once, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth.” I really struggled with this for a while, desiring to be recognized by others. Whenever I had an itch to be recognized or found myself insecure enough to need a dose of self-soothing affirmation, I would say to others, “I’m really good at (fill in the blank)”. Thankfully, I never went as far as calling myself a Guru.

I’ve learned that allowing another person to praise you for what they see in you stands up over time and ultimately is contagious. I am a proponent of telling a good story about what I do, why it matters and how it’s different from the next guy. The necessary distinction between offering insights versus promoting myself comes down to my motive. I have to check mine every day.

Are you willing to do great work and leave the promotion up to other people?

This post is an excerpt from the Field Guide: 99 Ways to Navigate Your Best Life. Download the full guide here.