We are taught from childhood age how socially unacceptable it is to brag or boast. Children’s books are full of stories of friendless boasters, and not getting a big head is a lesson which has been passed through the generations.

And to a certain extent I would agree. No-one likes to listen to someone who monopolises every conversation with continual boasts about their home, wealth, work related successes or even how fabulous their children are. But there is a big difference between being a boast and being able to acknowledge your strengths and achievements.

How many times have you not said something, or changed the way you have said it, for fear of sounding like a boast?

One of my favourite things to ask of clients is to list three or five things they are good at. And you would be amazed at the answers I get. Very often I may get one thing, or, grudgingly, two. More often than not they will be qualified with a “but” or something similar. An example: “I am quite a good cook, but no Jamie Oliver of course.” Well, I don’t expect you to be Jamie. Unless you are, actually, Jamie Oliver, but you wouldn’t say that if you were would you? And FYI the person who said this is a brilliant cook.

Another common response is to say that they were good at something in the past, but not anymore. Because admitting to being good at something, no quibble, right now, without having to make a modest qualifying comment or self-deprecating joke is too hard for far too many of us.

The discomfort we feel when we are asked to talk positively about ourselves can be quite crippling. But coming out of the comfort zone of self-deprecation and modesty is a big step towards self-confidence.

I promise you that owning your achievements, being honest about your successes and being able to admit to being good at things is not boasting. It’s not bragging. It is good and empowering, and a skill that you will find very handy if applying for a job or a promotion, or asking for a pay rise. And outside of the professional arena being aware that you are good at something will help you feel good about yourself.

So my challenge to you is to tell me, either in the comments below, or on Facebook, Twitter or by email, three things you are good at, with no ifs, buts or excuses. Don’t be shy, own your awesomeness!

And because I practice what I preach, here are mine:

  • I am great at getting a message across in writing

  • I am a really good listener

  • I make the yummiest stuffed mushrooms I have ever tasted

Your turn. Be brave!

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