Be humble. One of the many things teachers used to tell their students, especially those who boast so much about their stellar grades. Well if teachers all around the world taught something, it has to be important — right? Wrong! Well, maybe not entirely. The whole humility thing is a tricky thing because there are so many perspectives and angles you can look at this from. My angle is uniquely controversial though (and as you know, counter to the societal norm) and that is after sitting through secondary school and dealing with people who bragged so much about their grades and achievements.
Why humility is a weird thing to have
In the business world, achievements are more than just simple certifications. Things like reviews play a large part in our success. These reviews enhance our credibility and give us an edge over our competitors. Well of course then the old adage of “let the results speak for itself” comes into mind, which probably means something along the lines of not doing anything but better your product and letting success come. Feels like having the reviews flow right on onto your review page and letting people take a look.
Not promoting yourself is a cardinal sin. Think of this way, if I don’t get the word out, who knows when to check my page? Secondly, don’t even get me started on whether people actually leave reviews despite the excellent service or product. Don’t believe me? Simply google your favorite restaurant and see the number of reviews left on the page, probably not a lot. Even if you say that the restaurant is popular because it really is good and requires no online reviews, well, 1) you already reviewed it and 2) it is inexpensive. The products that businesses might have might not be as affordable as a simple steak, so what makes people more willing to purchase it? Ding-Ding! You got it, a trusted and reliable review.
The same can be said about interviewees. Can you imagine not selling yourself properly and leaning only to “I am a good fit for your company because my results on my resume say so”. That’s a no-go, and if that’s not what you would do in your interview, would you do the same for your business or service? Probably not.
Critics tend to say things like “the answers speak for themselves”. Unfortunately, answers are dead and require people to uncover. I mean, sometimes people need a nudge or two and that’s when your old “lack-of-humility” comes in to sell your product. Just ask your old self when you were in school. Doing well then was important, but there you were, slackening off and running about doing other stuff. My point is simple: Take pride in your results and don’t be afraid to tell people about it. Got an A on your test? Good for you, post it on facebook. Closed a deal? Tell the world! Be proud of what you achieved and don’t forget to tell the world about it.
Where do we draw the line?
Ah, the million dollar question. Well, there is a simple explanation for this. Framing. Framing is the tender balancing act of juggling your ego and your achievements. If you have some sort of imbalance somewhere, you will wind up dealing with a lot of social problems. Society is wrong, but that doesn’t mean you become a maverick. No, the tricky part now is dealing with your achievements in the correct way — which means to say flaunting it where it is socially acceptable. This clearly also means not putting someone down when you are doing it, if you haven’t got the hint.
Well, remember the times when you had to sit beside a friend or a colleague and all they could do was talk about themselves? If you do, you must have felt repulsed, disturbed and even jealous. If you didn’t, well, maybe you were the braggart. Yet there were often times when we sat through such things but felt neutral or happy for the person. We didn’t feel disgusted or any gag reflexes lingering from those interactions, so what’s the deal with the others? What you experienced is what we call the “fine line”. I mean, there is a fine line between being proud of something and just outright bragging — so where then is that line?
The things that you say and do have to be honest (tacky, I know). Just as a job interviewer loves honesty, your customers would appreciate that too. It is important not to exaggerate or put yourself on a level that is higher than what you are. Let’s be honest here, nobody is perfect so please don’t market yourself as that. Take confidence in the product or service you have, and amplify what it has done for others all around. For instance, Brydan Group has done much in the sectors of performance for professionals as well as people who wish to change careers. We have incorporated much analysis and time into every individual, and it has worked! But above all, don’t ever put someone else down to sell yourself because that tends to backfire.
Say it like you mean it and be confident about it. It really does work.