Letter to my Women’s Mentorship Network Chapter. I wanted to share the majority of the letter (edited out the next meeting info) as a reference point for my challenge to them. I’m naturally a reserved person when it comes to talking about my own accomplishments, so this is also a personal challenge.
Type in google “women bragging leaders”. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I bet you already knew what you were going to find. Articles about women not engaging in self promotion because as a gender, we aren’t comfortable with “bragging” about ourselves. Or articles about how women who brag are seen as pushy and aggressive and not attractive as a co-worker. Or how to “brag” without sounding cocky. Probably all of that and then some. Inc published a good article about it, if you didn’t already find it.
Self Promotion is our topic this month. Not only becoming comfortable with it, but doing it with confidence and not apology.
A couple of months ago a senior officer asked me the status of a major reorganization in one of our components. He had left the command a year before I did and had an RFI about it. My info was also a little dated, so I gave him a run down of where we had been when I left. I found myself telling him how even though another unit was supposed to start the reorganization first, they were puttering around and our higher HQ wasn’t doing anything about it. So I pushed our unit forward. I’m a logistician, not operations or in the command chain, but I could see what needed to be done and puttering is not in my nature. I didn’t give anyone a chance to stop us. I kept moving forward and everyone else, my command, staff, battalions, and the higher HQ, went along with it.
As I’m telling the senior officer about it, I get embarrassed and I start apologizing for sounding like a braggart. I felt terrible for days after. What kind of cocky SOB takes credit for expediting a major unit reorganization??
But, wait. I did do that. And it’s the reason my unit was pretty much done with reorganization by the time I left and other units weren’t done or even started. So WHY did I feel like such a JACKASS for weeks for talking about? Questioning if I really did do that or maybe I was just blowing up the importance of my efforts.
We can’t rely on our champions to promote us. We have to be able to express pride in what WE have accomplished. If we aren’t able to, how can we expect anyone else? We sell ourselves short and allow others to as well, when we do.
So I have a challenge for you. #TwoTruthsAndAWhy I’m sure many of you have heard of the icebreaker, Two Truths and a Lie. You tell two truths and one lie and your new acquaintances are supposed to guess which is which. Well, we’re shaking it up. I want you to go on social media — FB, twitter, or IG — before the next meeting (more on that in a bit) and post at least three times. Two of the posts are going to be a self promotion. Something you did or do. NOT something your kids did (although they are beautiful reflections of you) or hubby or your team at work. You. It can be a picture or words. The third post is a Why. Any related Why you want. Why do you do what you do? Why do you feel embarrassed about the posts? Why do you feel pride in your accomplishments? These don’t have to be in any order and you aren’t limited to three, but in each one tag it #TwoTruthsAndAWhy
Not ready to go public with your self promotion? Our WMN FB group is closed, so it’s just us. You don’t have to attend the next meeting to join this challenge, either! Challenge a friend to participate. Let’s make the next month glow with pride on social media! I will admit, I want to try and make this viral and not after the next meeting. I want other chapters to get in on the fun and more. I developed this idea with my best friend (she came up with 2truths concept!). She’s a former Army officer and has been working at Microsoft for years as a badass project manager. They also have a women’s mentoring group and we’re hoping to get them to join in as well.
The rest was about the next meeting details. Want to join in the challenge? I hope you do. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.