How to Graciously Accept Praise and Positively Self-Promote
I know I’ve been MIA. You haven’t heard from me in a couple of weeks because I’ve been on my book tour for Startup Your Life. As you can imagine, it’s been both exciting and exhausting. But it’s also been challenging in a way I didn’t anticipate and that perhaps you can relate to:
I’ve had to accept praise. But I’m not comfortable with praise. And I’m not the only one.
Women, in particular, are notoriously bad at accepting compliments (as depicted in this classic [uncensored] Amy Schumer video). And studies show that when the compliment comes from another woman, we almost always reject it. Simply saying ‘thank you’ and enjoying the moment doesn’t come easily to most of us. We feel we must explain away our success or accomplishments rather than feeling proud, and so we attempt to counterbalance the praise by negging ourselves. It’s as sad to witness as it is to experience — and we need to do better by ourselves.
And as if it’s not hard enough to accept praise, it’s even harder to self-promote. Broadcasting your accomplishments — whether they’re professional or personal — can feel narcissistic and self-indulgent. “Hey, look at meeeee! Aren’t I GREAT?!” is what I feel like I’m shouting every time I share anything related to me and my achievements on social media or discuss them in an interview.
But no matter how big or small the praise-worthy accomplishment, denying its existence or being overly self-deprecating it is not the answer.
Because hard work deserves to be recognized. It doesn’t make us better than someone else, but it does distinguish us. So think of it less as a celebration of the thing in itself and more of a badge of honor for everything you endured and learned on the road to that moment.
Accepting a compliment with grace and self-promoting in a way that communicates genuine gratitude is a skill. It’s also the courteous thing to do: By dismissing the praise or downplaying the depiction of an event or milestone, you deny others their role in the social exchange.
Think of a time when you’ve complimented or championed someone else. Chances are you were sincere, right? Now imagine how you’d feel if someone dismissed your praise of them out of their own discomfort. Not the greatest feeling, right?
So next time you find yourself in a position where you’re being celebrated or have something celebration-worthy to share, remember: to accept accolades is to honor both the people who helped you get there, as well as the individuals who took the time and energy to recognize you and your work.
Sometimes a little self-love is the most effective way to show love to others. Give back to your community by allowing them to embrace you.
That’s not to say narcissism doesn’t exist or isn’t a danger. Nor does it mean that exclusively tooting your own horn without also lifting up those around you will earn you many fans. So how do you find a balance?
Here’s the 3-step guide I created for accepting praise and confidently self-promoting:
- Challenge yourself to accept a compliment as you would want your praise to be received: with genuine gratitude.
- Share your good news as it comes — there will inevitably be plenty of not-so-great news to even it out over time (I promise).
- In the moments in between life’s peaks and valleys, take the time to revere and support those in your network or whom you admire. Our roles evolve and are fluid, and it’s hard to connect with someone who can’t play both giver and receiver.
Do you struggle with praise and self-promotion? How do you negotiate its place in your life? Please tell me in the comments section!
p.s. Since we’re on the topic of praise, I have a favor to ask you: If you have purchased Startup Your Life — first of all, THANK YOU. I am incredibly grateful for your investment and attention. And if you enjoyed it or it made you think or operate differently, I’d love for you to share your thoughts as a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Real reviews from people like you matter. Thank you in advance for taking a moment to do that (and please consider letting me know that you’ve posted one so I can thank you personally!)