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How to blow your own trumpet


Selling yourself is hard, isn't it? That's what keeps a lot of us in our current roles, even if we don't really like them. The idea of going out "onto the market" and trying to authentically articulate why we're special - *shudder*.

But, you ARE special and you're doing yourself and other people a disservice by hiding your light under the proverbial bushel (a bushel is a basket and this quote comes from the bible, in case you're wondering - I wiki'd for you).

A disservice to many

It should be obvious why not blowing your own trumpet is a disservice to yourself. You're denying yourself the opportunity to do work that really plays to your energising strengths, enables you to live out your values and fulfils and motivates you.

BUT, it's also a disservice to other people and I use this argument because I know that a lot of readers are People Pleasers (yes, you know who you are). Let me tell you who you're letting down:

  • Your friends and family who aren't getting the best version of you - they're getting the version that has settled for OK rather than the version that is brimming with energy and joy for doing the work they love;
  • The people who you could be serving - who might benefit from the service you could be providing or the products that you could be delivering and/or contributing to;
  • The person who could be truly fulfilled by doing your job - yes, that job you don't really like is someone else's dream and you're half-heartedly filling that space that could be theirs.

Putting your WHOLE self on the market

So, I may have convinced you that it's a good idea to get yourself onto the market, if not for yourself then for that list of people to whom you are doing a disservice. Perhaps I've persuaded you to dust off your CV, update it a bit for your latest job and put it out to a few recruiters. Maybe you've already had a cursory look on LinkedIn for appropriate jobs? And maybe you've been really brave and updated your LinkedIn profile with a couple of new lines - hoping that nobody in your current company noticed (don't worry, they really haven't been looking).

Well done, good job, let's wait and see what happens.
Nooooo! That's not good enough.

How are you going to achieve a career you love if you don't sell your uniqueness, your "secret sauce", your best, most energetic and fulfilled self?

Alright Ali, keep your hair on and give me some pointers already ... So, here are my top tips for blowing your own trumpet - the ONLY way to create a career you love:

Step One: Own Your Strengths

If you're a seasoned reader of my emails, you may well be doing an eye-roll right now, but I PROMISE you that this exercise is life-changing. Not only will it help you to feel energised and motivated every day, but it will also help you to start "selling" yourself using language that you're comfortable with and that feels authentic to you.

Often, our energising strengths are things that we take for granted and don't think are special because they're such an ingrained part of who we are. I'm a great listener and I build rapport with people really quickly and easily. So what? Everyone does that don't they? Do you?

Maybe you're highly organised and have a plan for everything so nothing ever gets forgotten. So what? Everyone's like that aren't they? Er, guess what? I don't yet know what I'm eating for dinner tonight nor do I know what outfit I'll be wearing tomorrow... (scary huh?).

For tips on how to identify and use your strengths, read this previous article.

Now I want you to identify your top 5 strengths, put them on post-it notes near your desk and get used to them.

Step Two: Articulate Your Strengths

Now I want you to start talking about your strengths EVERYWHERE. Start with friends and family. Ask them for feedback. Do they see these strengths in you? When do they spot them?

Next, write a new opening line for the profile on your CV that showcases your top strengths. Mine might be "An empathetic listener who combines an innate ability to build rapport with a sharp focus on taking action and getting things done."

A few years ago, I would have found that opening sentence almost impossible to write. Now, I believe that this sentence showcases me at my best and would move me towards a role that enables me to perform and enables an organisation to get the best version of me - double whammy!

Finally, be brave and start to sprinkle your strengths into your LinkedIn profile. The "About" section of your profile is a great place to add a bit of personality to your whole profile and start to talk about your strengths.

Step Three: Evidence Your Strengths

The final piece of the jigsaw is to look back at your career and do some strengths spotting. For each of your top strengths, where and when did they show up? These are the achievements and stories that you want to include on your CV and be talking about at interview. Write them down and get used to telling people about them.

Grade 8 Trumpet

Follow these tips and you will start to be working towards Grade 8 for blowing your own trumpet. It's not something that comes naturally to many but, the more you practise, the easier it becomes.

Remember, we all have strengths and you have a unique blend that is personal to you. Show respect to yourself, your friends and family and the potential beneficiaries of you being at your best - go and blow your own trumpet.

Get in touch if you'd like to discuss starting trumpet lessons with me.

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