In today’s blog I want to talk about SELF-PROMOTION. Have you ever wondered how to self-promote yourself? I’m sure for many people reading, the thought of talking about how great you are to people runs a shiver up your spine. However, self-promotion is essential if we want to succeed in our careers, businesses, and heck, even in social or romantic situations.
Why am I talking about this? Because it’s been something on my mind too this week.
After 3 years working as a confidence coach, working 1-2-1 and delivering workshops around the UK, I’ve finally got round to building myself a dedicated website for my coaching work (only took a lockdown for me to finally get the time!). I have images, I know my services and skills inside out, and I have a wealth of copy writing experience from working with brands (including my own pole dancing studio!).
I open the word document ready to wax lyrical about who I am, what I stand for, and why people should work with me. Things are going great, until I’m 700 words into the first page, and realise I have 4 more pages to write.
That’s when the self-doubt begins to creep in…
‘Oh no! What if I don’t have enough to say?’
‘What if I come across as conceited or worse… boring!’
‘Do people really want to read about MY story???’
If you’re also in the business of self-promotion, whether as a performer, studio owner, entrepreneur, or anything else that requires you to shout about yourself, I’m sure this is all very familiar.
So, how can we begin to confidently promote ourselves and our work? How can we talk about what we do without trying to make ourselves smaller because we fear about making other people uncomfortable?
In order to overcome the self-doubt we must first understand why we feel this way.
Confidence is Arrogance
This is a topic I discuss in-depth on my Killer Confidence: Slay the Self-Love Game course online. We have, in many respects, been conditioned to believe that to talk highly of yourself, or praise yourself, is a sign of arrogance. That to do so is a negative trait that will cause people to judge us and dislike us.
When it comes to writing promotional copy for ourselves, whether on our Linkedin, social media, website, or elsewhere, we can become paralysed with those feelings that we are doing some fundamentally wrong. After all, you’ve always been scolded for speaking highly of yourself, and now you’re thinking ‘they WANT me to talk about my skills and talents?’
I asked on Facebook how people deal with this themselves, one comment came from a fellow coach who pointed out that these reactions come around because on a biological level we want to fit into the group. She’s right, we feel we are in danger if we do not conform to how other people think we should behave. If we are disliked we will be rejected. If we are rejected then we won’t be safe, we won’t be nourished (socially or otherwise), and we won’t survive. Of course, this is not really the case, but our brain doesn’t know that!
Being able to overcome these feelings is important if we wish to live more authentically. If we want to create a life we WANT to live, not just how we think we SHOULD live. Understanding that we’ve been trained on an unconscious level to dislike displays of confidence, can help you to understand why promoting yourself can give you that horrible, icky, anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach each time you need to do so.
In my Killer Confidence course I talk about how these messages are used to keep us small, to stop us from finding our inner confidence and expressing it to the world. That we are unconsciously programmed from a young age to believe that being confident isn’t something that we are meant to be – whether because it is arrogance, or we haven’t ‘earned the right’, or we just ‘aren’t that kind of person’. These messages are used to keep us insecure. They are designed to keep us reliant on the industries that profit from our low self-confidence.
How to Begin Living Big
Living Big is one of the concepts I champion. Living Big is the opposite of shrinking yourself for other people. It is the opposite of doing what you’re told, or feeling you have to mould yourself to someone else’s box. It is the process of breaking out of your own limiting beliefs in order to fulfil your potential.
I believe that every person has a special purpose in life. That there is a path for each of us. Now, this doesn’t need to going down in history books, or changing the world. Your purpose can be to touch the lives of just a few people. It can be standing up for yourself. It can be creating something. It can be living joyfully.
Living Big is the process of introspecting and saying ‘Yes I am special, I have something to give to the world, and I am important’.
I ask you, TODAY, to make a vow / agreement / pledge to yourself, that you will LIVE BIG. In order to Live Big, you’ve got to allow yourself to Grow Big. Begin to put in the work now that is going to allow you to get there. Promise that you will see yourself as more than a singular human, but someone with the power to make a positive impact on the world. Finally, dedicate a part of yourself everyday to consciously fighting the desire to shrink yourself smaller.
Whatever your purpose is, if you’re to grow in confidence and be able to promote yourself, you need to believe in your purpose. You need to believe in yourself. You need to value yourself. The easiest thing to sell is something you believe in and are passionate about, yourself included!
Realising that when you promote your work or yourself, you are not simply promoting YOU, but the way that you can help and touch other people’s lives. Either through friendship, relationships, as work colleagues or clients. You have something special to give the world, and no one will know that unless you promote it!
Now you have decided to begin living your purpose, you need to actually do it. Part of this is being able to find the type of people who you can best serve with your work. How can you help them if they don’t know who you are?
Shift from a space of seeing self-promotion as ‘me me me’, into a space of realising that it is much more about the people you are looking to help / entertain / inspire / motivate / connect with.
My final tip is about the writing itself. Writing promotional material becomes much easier (and much more powerful) when we apply this mindset shift. When you come to write about what you do, who you are, and your purpose, think less about YOU, and more about how this applies to your reader.
So, if you’ve been wondering how to self-promote yourself, the answer is – YOU DON’T NEED TO! You can focus on how to promote the ways you help and benefit other people.
For example, maybe you work as a pole dancing instructor who has won many pole dancing competitions, and wants to help other athletes to break into the competitions circuit.
Spot the difference:
ME ME ME
After training in pole dance for 10 years I have won multiple national pole dancing titles. I am an elite level dancer who can coach you in competition skills.
THEM THEM THEM
Resilience, dedication and ambition were all essential parts of my 10 year pole journey. It is these skills I will teach you, along with practical guidance on how to train, prepare and approach pole dancing competitions, after winning multiple national titles myself.
Promotional content may feel like it is about you, but it is really a lot more about the people you work with. This knowledge helps me massively in being about to write great copy about what I do, and to minimise that anxious feeling you get when promoting yourself.
How are you going to tweak your self-promotion going forward? Has this post been helpful? Let me know in the comments.