I Wish Someone Had Told Me… to Brag!

Last week, two executives came to the visit the office I work in. They both work out of our headquarters office in New York. The executives flew in for the week to share their experience at the company and share their point of view with where the business is headed. During their time in our office, I had several meetings with the younger female executive. 

She had come to share with the other women how she had become so successful in a short amount of time. 

Things She Said Led to Her Success

There are a list of things she said that attributed to her success such as:

  1. Ask Questions – don’t be afraid to sound like an idiot, you’re not – you’re curious and hungry.
  2. Ask for Feedback – don’t be afraid to get feedback from mentors, peers and maybe managers if it’s worded properly. Give managers something tangible to give you feedback on. For example, don’t just ask “how am I doing?” instead ask “did you like how this was done on this project or what would you have changed?”
  3. Sit at the Table – following Sheryl Sandberg’s advice on taking a seat at the table and not along the edge of the conference room. Don’t leave chairs open for the men and I would like to add, keep your hands on the table. For a bunch more tips on mistakes women accidentally make in business read Lois P. Frankel’s book called, Nice Girls (Still) Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers. The Pencil, Paper & Pearl Cliff Note version coming shortly. 
Things She Modeled that Led to Her Success

But the main thing I took away was something she modeled:

  1. BRAGbrag hard and brag often. Brag shamelessly and brag confidently. Brag until you’re blue in the face! Ok, she didn’t brag that much – that might be too far. 

This lady was not afraid to talk herself up!

She came in and went “I did this, this, this and this and I did it perfect! I had people asking for me. I was known around all areas of the business. I never asked for a job I got, people came and offered them to me. Executives would come and pick me out because they knew my work. They would argue over me” and so on. 

Every meeting I was in with her – she talked about her and her teams excellent work at least 90% of the time. I don’t know about you but as a women, I have never been taught to be cocky or brag or talk about myself. I’ve always assumed my hard work, long hours and dedication will speak for it’s self. But guess what… it doesn’t.

Women cannot assume their work will be noticed or that someone will come along and go, “Wow, you’re killing it here!” Managers and coworkers will not know what you’re working on or what you’ve accomplished unless you tell them. Seems silly right? Like you should see I put together this massive fucking presentation and just finished coding up an incredible automation project but NO! They won’t. You know why? Because people care more about themselves than they do about you. And that’s ok! But as working women we then need to brag about our dedication and hard work so it will be noticed. 

How I’m Going to Brag in my Daily Life

The trickiest thing about bragging about yourself, is that there is that fine line between being confident and just being a douche. This executive bragged in such a way that it left me admiring her and wanting to be her. She had motivational energy (if that’s a thing) and she showed pride in all of the work she had done. I think what made her bragging so undouchy was the fact that it was tied in with advice.

Instead of just saying, “I’m flippen great!” she would explain, “I did this and it was great and worked out well because then this happened” or “One time I decided to tackle the whole project on my own because I had no help and I had a genuine interest in learning the ins and outs of everything. 

I’m going to slowly start incorporating accomplishment advice/stories into my daily routine. It’s easy to be hyper critical of ourselves and to remember everything we ever did wrong… But what if instead we focus on and talk about all of the things we did right? Will people stop being friends with us or will we draw in more motivated individuals? I know I’d like to hang out with the person who is confident and is going places, it would only help me better myself. 

What do you think? Would you want to punch the bragger? Or would you want to hear their success stories but only for a few minutes?