They called Muhammad Ali The Greatest for a reason. He believed he was the greatest. He planned to be the greatest from the time he was small child. He told everyone he was the greatest and then he did what it took to be the greatest boxer and most beloved athlete of all time. Ali captured my imagination from the first time I heard him say “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee….” He was a force of nature and he owned it.
How will they know who you are?
Here’s what Ali knew that many people didn’t understand back in the 60’s and 70’s and most people still don’t understand it. You have to tell people who you are and what you do or they might never know what you’re capable of. I know, you don’t want to engage in blatant self-promotion. I get that. So think about this quote
“Without promotion, something terrible happens…nothing!” – PT Barnum as quoted by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
This especially applies to your career. If you don’t share your accomplishments with others in a meaningful way, your bosses, your co-workers, your PM, may never know the skills you use to do your job well.
Share your experience.
How? When you’re asked about a project in a meeting, put some meat in your answer. Let the group know what you did and how you did it. If there was a problem share a couple of soundbytes about how you solved it and completed the project. Be succinct (there are examples in the articles below) and descriptive. When someone compliments you about a job well done, don’t deflect the compliment, own it and share a bit about what surprised you about the work you did and a little bit of what you learned.
When you share your experience in the form of a story, it rarely comes across as bragging. However, if you indulge in humblebragging (“I can’t believe I have to go to Milan again for work!”), know that studies at Harvard show that people will respond negatively. People value an authentic statement of your accomplishments.
You can make it easier to share your experience if you keep track of your accomplishments regularly. When you finish a challenging project, take notes about what you struggled with, what was easy, what you learned, and how it felt when you were done.
Add that project to your LinkedIn profile and any new skills you acquired in the process to your résumé. If your project led to improvements in the bottom line, increased sales, increased up-time, or anything that can be measured with numbers, figure out those numbers and add it to your LinkedIn profile and your résumé before you forget!
Own your work!
Own your accomplishments, learn how to share them effectively, and watch your career grow. Toot your own horn.