Shameless Self-Promotion, Beautiful Unique Snowflakes, & Extra Nose Syndrome
Popular opinion among smart, skilled, hard-working people seems to go something like this:
Something is wrong with a society/world that values and rewards outgoing people, who talk up their strengths, over good or even great people who do not.
Is there any other skill in the world of which smart, skilled, hard-working people love to boast, “I’m just terrible at it”?
When did you stop beating your wife?
When I hear designers, programmers, and writers lament the sleaziness of self-promotion — and look at me, dammit — I can’t help but hear something else.
It reminds me of the No Child Left Behind Act. The very words are an invitation to fight: Do YOU want children to be left behind?
How could any right-minded person disagree?
But, unlike with the naming of law packages, no think tanks were consulted in the making of this questionably-phrased belief. No one’s being disingenuous. These beliefs comes from a real sense of social justice, and hurt.
The fact that they are extremely, almost irrationally persuasive is a natural side effect of people trying to persuade themselves.
Put the loaded question down, and step away from your ego
If you’ve ever even entertained the belief I cited above, I’d like to invite you to a challenge.
Take a moment and look at the situation from the opposite direction:
What kind of hubris does it take to think that everybody in the world should spend their time investigating you, without no effort on your part?
We all want to be valued for who we really are and what we can really do. Every single human being on the planet wants that. We want to feel special and, if we don’t work to make people recognize us and they recognize us anyway, that makes us feel even more special — because it’s not “forced.”
However, there are nearly 7 billion people on the planet (according to google) right now.
Conservatively, most of us encounter hundreds of people a day if we count casual contacts.
What would happen if we spent 10-15 minutes a day, evaluating every single person down to the last detail, in order to be fair?
It wouldn’t work. The world would grind to a halt, and nothing would ever get done.
Naturally — and by necessity — we focus on people who HELP us make those decisions about who to call, who to trust, and who is good at this or that. How could it be any other way?
Promote yourself for the greater good
Here comes the ugly, undeniable, power-punching truth:
If you’re good at something, your skills will HELP people. Change their projects, their relationships, their minds, their jobs, their companies, maybe their lives.
Do you want them to go without that help, all because you personally hold the belief that it’s sleazy to say, “I’m good at this, I can help you”?
Aren’t you then, in fact, hurting them — in favor of protecting your delicate disposition?
The tale of two noses
Imagine you’re a doctor with a ground-breaking solution to the debilitating Extra Nose Syndrome. Nobody else comes even close.
Now think of all those poor, depressed people with Extra Noses, living without hope, who’ll have to go on being depressed and double-nosed because you think self-promotion is sleazy and therefore don’t write about it, don’t talk about your work at parties, don’t put ads out there, and so on.
Those poor double-schnozzed people don’t CARE about your beliefs about self-promotion. They don’t care that you believe you are virtuous and allowing meritocracy to do its thing.
They just want that ridiculous extra nose gone.
ALERT! SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION! OH THE GUILT! THE HUMANITY! You like this? You want more of it? You wanna make your own product? You don’t wanna wait? Check out my launch course. It includes more funny stories that will kick your ass to do what’s right for you, and processes to help you keep it going.
I’m cookin’ up plenty more musings & freebies right here on the blog, too, so subscribe, and follow me on Twitter.