Getting by with a little help from my friends.
As I kicked off the monumentally long Power of Press email, I stated “this email is going to be the ultimate humblebrag so I’m going to do my damnedest to balance it with the ultimate lesson” and after 2,419 words I asked if I’d accomplished that goal.
Several days later I received a powerful response that was far too insightful to keep to myself. Shared empathetically by Steve Darr, CEO of Conversion for Good, he reminded me of something Kate Northrup had advised several years ago. She said, when someone offers you a compliment, jumps to pay for your coffee, or otherwise shares passionate support… practice acceptance. It’s so easy to meet a compliment of your outfit with a dismissive “this old thing” and it damages our own self image as much as it dampens the spirits of the person that just paid it to you.
Steve Darr is a digital marketer, author, and introspective explorer. The string of stories within his response highlighted how ludicrousness it is to overlook this lesson.
I’ve been plotting with Madi T. and Keith B. to bring you a menagerie of new content and Steve’s email poured gasoline on that fire. Many, if not all, of my emails thus far have been inspired and driven by your responses so I think it’s high time that you all have the platform to speak. If you’re prompted to have meaningful reflection, in any form, shoot me an email and let’s talk about putting a platform beneath your voice.
For now, I’m going to turn things over to Steve…
Yes, I thought the lessons you shared (Power of Press) were valuable enough to justify any amount of humble bragging however, I’m working to dissolve issue(s) I have with bragging — humble or otherwise.
Talking with a few entrepreneur friends the other day, I was telling one of them that she doesn’t own very much of her greatness and downplays her accomplishments. No sooner than the words had left my mouth, I realized I do exactly the same thing. If you listened to me talk about me… you wouldn’t think I’ve done anything very interesting or special.
It dawned on me that it is absolutely insane that I don’t talk about myself the way I talk about people (or bands or companies) that I am big fans of… why shouldn’t I be my own biggest fan?
As the conversation turned to politics and we all shared the view that we don’t want Donald Drumpf (aka Trump) to be president, I said that I think we could all benefit by being just a little bit more ‘Trump-ian’.
In seeing something the other week where Trump said he believed his book The Art of the Deal was the #1 top selling business book of all time. I called bullshit on that and asked the almighty Google. Of course his book isn’t #1, but I was surprised to see how well it had sold (and is now experiencing a new swell of sales no doubt a result of his campaign).
I’m sure few bothered to fact check his statements, but I was halfway motivated to compare his (actual) sales to my book, Profit Hacking.
In no way would I recommend people lie but even though I know it is pretty easy to be an ‘Amazon Best Seller’, Profit Hacking was at several points an Amazon #1 best seller in multiple legitimate categories (Marketing, Web Marketing, Ecommerce, etc) and has been in the Top 20 for Web Marketing for the vast majority of the 15 months it has been published — something that’s significantly harder than hitting #1 for a day and then disappearing forever.
Yet, even with what most would deem “success”, I’ve never truly owned how well the book has done (and certainly haven’t leveraged it as well as I could have to secure speaking engagements, clients, interviews, press, etc). Nor do I own the results I’ve gotten for clients.
The next day after the conversation, I was in an Uber chatting with the driver (sitting in the front seat, per usual). At one point she asked me about what I do. I told her that she was talking to “the best marketer alive.” This felt a little silly to say but it was a very safe place to practice being a bit outlandish and boastful.
As unnatural as the words felt leaving my mouth, she was instantly interested to speak to someone who would boldly make such a claim.
In this experiment I thought that taking bragging to the extreme would enable me to be more comfortable owning my reality. Not feeling bad about ‘bragging’ (humble or otherwise) but rather being proud of myself, the work i’ve done, and the results that work have earned (or rather the level to which that work has helped and been of value to others)
How have you found it challenging to accept compliments and praise?